Dating dealbreakers

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
September 13, 2010, 10:44 PM GMT+0

Mind your manners, wear deodorant and leave the offensive jokes at home if you want to get asked on a second date, or so say many of our panellists when asked to list ‘first-date dealbreakers’.

Racism, sexism, burping, body odour and general arrogance also feature highly on the list of unforgivable crimes that snuff out the flame of romance in its earliest flickers.

While one respondent was forgiving about first date blunders, saying ‘On a first date I wouldn't take anything at face value as most people are nervous,’ most respondents weren’t quite so lenient.

Unsurprisingly, personal hygiene was a particularly important feature in our quest to find the perfect partner. ‘Dirty fingernails, hair and teeth’ were identified by one respondent as a sure way for a potential lover to be pilloried to the loser pile. Keeping mints handy is also a good tip, as ‘bad breath’ was a big no-no, along with ‘disgusting habits’ such as ‘belching, farting, nose picking’, ‘talking with their mouth full’ and ‘slurping’.

Political pitfalls

Political opinions are also a major cause for concern. While some found Tories (‘if they like David Cameron or Boris Johnson’) a turnoff, others said that being a ‘Labour supporter’ was a one-way ticket to the dating rubbish dump. Some people wanted to steer clear of politics all together, saying their first date dealbreaker is ‘someone who is a former MP or banker’ or, the same panellist wrote, ‘who is cruel to animals and children,’ coming perilously close to conflating the one with the other.

Some respondents made it clear that the first date is the place to keep your hands to yourself. ‘I don’t like familiarity, someone who touches me all the time,’ one person said, while another identified being ‘pushy’ or ‘wanting first date sex’ as enough to rule out a second encounter. Others said that a potential partner with a sexual fetish would have them heading for the door.

Particular pet-hates

A few of our respondents were a bit more precise in their date pet-hates. While one would merely be put off by someone who ‘liked X Factor’, another wanted to completely avoid people who are ‘stupid like [X Factor contestants] Jedward’. One thoughtful soul said that ‘if someone had food on their clothes’ there would be no date number two, but thankfully, they then clarified: ‘I might be flexible on that one’. Hope for daters everywhere, perhaps? (If all else fails, we think a well-timed emergency phone call might do the trick.)