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July 2, 2012

TODAY.com, the online home of America's No. 1 morning program along with Match.com, the world’s largest dating website, have teamed up on a “Love Bites” survey that reveals turn-ons and turn-offs of dining etiquette and food choices that will keep dates coming back for seconds – or not.

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With summer upon us and dating season at its height, the national “Love Bites” survey connects the dots between food, booze and dating during those first few impressionable dates. The findings just might help singles get closer to love by pointing out revealing facts they may want to avoid or incorporate into their dating life. From carnivores’ pickiness to wait staff flirting, the “Love Bites” survey cooks up the national recipe for dating success.

“Food is an integral part of our culture, and so many of us fall in love over a good meal,” said Vidya Rao, TODAY.com Food Editor. “We attach our memories and emotions to what we eat, and as a result, learn a lot about someone by observing their attitude about food. It’s a basic human need, and we use that to judge how a date might be in a relationship. Is he adventurous? Is she respectful? It’s a lot deeper than what’s on the plate.” 

"Food, sex and courtship go hand in hand in nature," says Dr. Helen Fisher, Chief Scientific Advisor to Match.com.  “Food also informs: what and how a partner eats – and if they share – says crucial things about their habits, health and empathy. We are also built to want an adventurous eater, a sign that this individual will be flexible – a vital trait for loving and parenting.  And of all the foods we share, there is nothing more primordial than meat.  It’s no surprise that meat eaters still want a partner who will give, receive and share this primordial symbol of a budding partnership."

Below are highlights from the “Love Bites” survey grouped by category and in response order:

Drinking Dos and Don’ts

-  You booze, you lose?: Nearly 70% of women said it was a big turn-off if their date had more to drink than they did, while 23% of single men and women said it was a turn-off if their date had nothing at all to drink.

-  Alcohol etiquette: When it comes to drinking alcohol on a date, 43% of singles said they order a drink "most of the time" while 40% said they would only order a drink if their date ordered one as well.

Types of Foodies [or lack thereof]

-  Close-minded carnivores: Meat-eaters appear to be less liberal than vegetarians with regards to choosing a dating partner. The study found 30% of meat-eaters would not date a vegetarian versus only 4% of vegetarians who stated they would not date a meat-eater.

-  Culinary degree necessary?: 19% of singles said they would stop dating someone who couldn't cook or refused to cook.

-  Fearless foodies: Adventurous eaters trump knowledgeable foodies in Love Bites. 66% of singles are turned off if a date lacks desire to try certain types of food and 35% of singles would be turned off by a date's lack of food knowledge.

The Date

-  Dinner Date Still a “Do”: More than 90% of single males still think a traditional dinner date is the perfect atmosphere for a first or second date. 

-  Dining Don’ts: Uncovering the biggest turn-offs in dating, 67% of singles don’t want their date ordering for them; 62% are turned off if their date asks to split the check; and 56% are turned off by a date who is picky when ordering.

-  Appetizing Acts: In looking at what turns singles on, 70% appreciate a date that is knowledgeable about food and wine pairings, and 56% said they enjoy it when their date offers a bite of his/her food.

-  Wait staff flirting: 87% of singles said it was a turn-off if their date flirted with the wait staff versus a mere 4% who said it was a turn-on.

Sexy Food

-  Savories over Sex?: If forced to choose, 39% of single women would rather give up sex than their favorite food for a year, while only 16% of single men would give up sex for their most favored meal.

-  Chocolate takes the cake: Of those who answered they'd rather give up sex than their favorite food, 26% said chocolate was the number one food to trump sex, followed by 25% who would rather choose a juicy steak.

For more survey results, visit www.blog.match.com/love-bites or www.TODAY.com/Food.

Methodology
The survey was hosted at TODAY.com and Match.com for one week from April 19 – April 26, 2012. A total of 4,000 singles, with the majority (92%) between the ages of 25-70, participated in the survey.

About TODAY.com:

TODAY.com is the digital home for America's No. 1 morning program. TODAY.com is the first stop for consumers interested in news, advice and lifestyle information of all kinds. In addition to interviews and tips from NBC's TODAY, the site offers a behind-the-scenes blog and regular expert columns on everything from food and fashion to parenting and relationships. TODAY.com also offers original web-only reporting and interactive features to help make sense of the latest news and trends. The TODAY app is available on Xbox and the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.  TODAY.com. Don't miss a moment.

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Media Contacts
Gina Stikes
TODAY.com
212.664.7403
gina.stikes@msnbc.com

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