Top Ten Tips for a Successful Date

I am happy to welcome some ingenious guest bloggers to the mix — NY Times best-selling authors John Lloyd and John Mitchinson, the forces behind The Book of General Ignorance. They are back with another round in The Second Book of General Ignorance, and having some fun with dating tips for us. Enjoy!

Whenever I date a guy, I think, is this the man I want my children to spend their weekends with?

1. Try bungee jumping rather than the cinema.  When the body releases stress hormones, they activate the neurochemical systems which promote attachment bonds. In 1974 an American experiment called ‘Two bridges’ had two sets of unmarried men walking over different heights of bridge. In each case, a young lady intercepted the suitors and gave them her phone number. Twice as many of those who met her on the high bridge, 200 ft above a canyon, called her back.

2. Wear scent. And be creative: among the Dogon people of Mali, the smell of onion is one of the most attractive fragrances a young man or woman can wear. Among the cattle-raising Dassanetch of Ethiopia, no scent is more beautiful than the odour of cows.  And you don’t want to know what Capuchin monkeys rub into their fur to signal their availability and attractiveness…

3. If your date is yawning, it’s a bad sign.  Unless she’s a penguin.  Adelie penguins employ a yawning action as part of their courtship ritual. The happy couples face off amid the ice floes, open their beaks wide, and point their faces to the sky.

4. Make sure you read the signs before making your move.  At the end of a 1837 assault case in England, a judge ruled: ‘When a man kisses a woman against her will, she is fully entitled to bite off his nose, if she so pleases.’ A smart-mouthed barrister then added, ‘and eat it up, if she has a fancy that way.’

5. Be careful when making out.  Earlier this year a New Zealand woman was temporarily paralyzed by a love-bite on her neck. Doctors diagnosed that the woman had suffered a mild stroke but were puzzled about its cause until they found a small vertical bruise on her neck near a major artery, a hickey, she received a few days earlier.

6. Get touchy-feely.  According to psychologist Richard Wiseman, touching someone on the upper arm makes them far more likely to agree to a request because the touch is unconsciously perceived as a sign of high status. In one dating study, the touch produced a 20% increase in the number of people accepting the offer of a dance in a nightclub and a 10% increase in people giving their telephone number to a stranger on the streets.

7. Get your kisses in early. The most plausible biological explanation for the function of kissing is that it allows prospective mates to sample one another’s pheromones and test them for biological compatibility (although experiments have so far been unable to establish if human sex pheromones really exist). It takes a lot of muscular coordination to kiss properly – 34 facial muscles and 112 postural muscles are involved.

8. Fake it.  In the 16th century: lovesickness was thought of as a uniquely male disease: sunken eyes, jaundiced color, insomnia, anorexia, depression and melancholia were the main symptoms.  Men would colour their skin to make women believe that they were deeply in love.

9. For those of you in long-term relationships and/or married, “dates” with your loved one are important! Did you know? After sex, the brain releases oxytocin, which results in the warm, companionable feeling of love and the creation of the social bonds that facilitate co-operative child rearing.

10. If all else fails, reach for the chocolate. In 2007, the researchers at The Mind Lab showed that, for some people – especially women – eating a piece of dark chocolate made the heart beat faster, and for longer, than a passionate kiss.

Get more fascinating facts from The Second Book of General Ignorance here and here!


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