THE DATING GAME
So how much does it cost to plan the perfect first date?
SINGLETONS on the hunt for true love are spending a small fortune to woo a new lover and are going to extreme lengths to look perfect on a first date.
While dating can hurt the heart and the hip pocket, it’s far from stopping daters from splashing out in the hope of finding romance.
The ING Direct Cost of Dating report has revealed the hopelessly single spend on average $79 on the first date and almost a third of those flying solo go on a first date once a month. That’s $948 a year.
It also showed chivalry is far from dead — more than half of men (56 per cent) are keeping tradition real and are prepared to pick up the bill at the end of the night.
And for the Romeos out there, their largesse is appreciated by more than a quarter of women (26 per cent) who expect their date to cough up and pay.
Online dating service RSVP’s chief executive Dave Heysen said how much you spend on a first date isn’t key, instead “it’s the thought that counts”.
“Going to McDonald’s or getting a Groupon voucher for Pizza Hut won’t cut it,’’ he said.
“For guys, taking a girl to a footy match isn’t probably the best start unless in their profile they have said they love a team, so you have to think about what both people enjoy.”
He suggests avoiding lavish restaurants and said there are no problems with “going Dutch” on the first date and splitting the bill.
Relationship psychologist Peter Charleston, dating expert on TV show Seven Year Switch, said picking the right location is key and some topics are taboo.
“Pick somewhere where there aren’t too many distractions because if it’s a first date you need to get to know each other. A little bit of quiet and less noise helps,” Mr Charleston said.
“First dates are all about trying to get rid of the nerves quickly as you get to know each other. And don’t keep talking about your ex, that’s a big turn-off and shows the new person (he or she) doesn’t stand a chance.”
He also urges daters to steer clear of revealing what school they went to, where their family is from and to avoid name dropping.
Restaurant supervisor Annie Croke, 23, and her now boyfriend Alex Kelso, 23, had an unusual first date where she paid for the lot.
“For our first date I paid for everything because Alex forgot his wallet,” she said.
“We went out to the markets and went out for lunch and then we got an Uber and I paid for that too, but then we went out a few days later and Alex paid for dinner.
“Overall it’s an expensive relationship.”
The report showed one in four Australians are prepared to spend $100 or more on predate preparations, from buying a new outfit to getting their hair done.
They are also prepared to buy a new pair of shoes and spend on makeup, manicures, pedicures and even get their teeth whitened.
With many dating sites and apps available, Mr Heysen said those that charge a fee often attract the more serious dater and weed out singletons looking for something more casual.
Annie Croke and Alex Kelso. Picture: Tony Gough