Nothing like a few wrong myths to ruin a perfectly good date

Dating news review: week ended 31 August 2012:

Seems there’s nothing but bad news for people who like old folk wisdom when it comes to dating this week, as more than a few old tales have gotten turned on their head recently.

First up, it looks like gentlemen may prefer blondes, but not by that much to be really statistically significant. New research into the old relationship myth conducted by a dating website found that the difference between men who choose blondes over brunettes was a paltry 3 per cent – so yes, this marginally means the myth is true, but barely so and not really to the point where there are shedloads of forlorn brunettes sitting at home and crying into their perfectly coiffed hair every night. None more so than Kate Middleton, who recently revealed her hair and skincare secret (aka rosehip oil).

But I digress…

In actuality, the biggest revelation from the survey had nothing to do with hair color at all – 27 per cent of men said they prefer women with an overall attractive figure, with ‘curvy’ women being the most sought-after. Seems that Marilyn Monroe would have been popular with today’s lads no matter her hair colour!

Next we found out this week that not everyone is looking to start a sordid office affair with you if they sign an email with an X. New research indicates that more often than not receiving an email that’s been ‘sealed with a kiss’ is nothing more than a desire to appear friendly, believe it or not, – some even sign emails to their bosses with little X’s – though there was a strong minority that still interpreted a long line of kisses as a flirtatious come-on.

The research study pointed out that this friendly connotation begins and ends in the UK, as other English-speaking countries are much less familiar when it comes to an innocuous kiss. Our “slightly” Puritanical cousins across the pond in America would be absolutely mortified to receive a missive dripping in X’s, as the accepted custom in the US is to only include such terms of endearment with your closest of loved ones and family members.

It’s a bit odd to think that our ebullient, sometimes even overwhelmingly loud former colonists are so scared of a bit of harmless affection in an email. Let that be a lesson to you if you’ve ever got to correspond to a work colleague across the Atlantic: unless you want to confuse them and make them incredibly uncomfortable, leave off the X’s.

Unless you fancy their accent over Skype. In that case, go ahead and flirt away – but don’t expect long-distance dating to be easy!

Does office romance start by accident through an email?

If you’ve ended up dating someone from the office because he or she ended an email or text with flirtatious little X, you’re not alone, according to a recent survey.

In fact, more than half of office romances have started with an X at the end of an otherwise innocuous little X, according to the online dating site that conducted the research study. But is it wise to always assume that someone’s coming on to you that way?

There actually is a chance that a colleague at work is simply being friendly when they end an email or a text with such a punctuation. Sealing your message with a kiss is oftentimes used as a way to indicate a desire for intimacy, but it’s not always sexually motivated, believe it or not – sometimes it’s just a way to promote a casual friendship in an office environment.

In the employment world where you can get binned for violating sexual harassment rules, you need to be careful you’re not slapping little X’s all over an email to someone who’s going to take offence at what they see as an unwanted sexual advance. You could end up in quite a bit of trouble – or at best end up in a rather embarrassing situation – so it’s better to keep things a bit more professional in official correspondence, regardless of whether or not you fancy the other person.

And you need to be very careful when you’re addressing people from other cultures in an email or text as well, especially since the majority of Brits are relatively relaxed about putting an X in an email. You can confuse or embarrass an American colleague quite easily by sealing your email with a kiss, as our cousins from across the pond usually reserve such displays of affection in an email to a family member or loved one!

Looking for that first kiss? Not on the first date.

Hope you’re not looking for a kiss goodnight on the first date, as new research says you’re out of luck until at least the second – you’ll just have to wait!

Love at first sight seems to have faded into myth and legend, at least in the current dating community; it takes an average of 14 dates for a profession of love, the new study revealed. The elapsed time is around seven weeks of dating, with an average of two dates a week.

This is all well and good, but let’s get down to the interesting bits, shall we? It turns out that most new couples have sex after two weeks of dating – roughly four dates, which is about a week before you do the introduction to friends thing and about four weeks before you bite the bullet and bring your new girlfriend or boyfriend round to meet mum and dad.

So what does the data tell us, really, besides that we’re more willing to have sex with someone than we are to introduce them to our friends? Well, it seems that romance is dead, or at least it’s become completely predictable.

There are always instances of two people getting together in a whirlwind romance, tying the knot after only knowing each other for six months and living happily ever after. Of course, there’s just as many stories of people getting divorced another six months of married life not being all it’s cracked up to be, so maybe the whole ‘slow and steady’ approach to dating is a better one after all?

Revenge: a dish best served by a dating website profile?

Apparently they do things a bit different in the regions: one parish council chairman grew so incensed with a rival that he signed her up to a dating website against her will!

Councillor Marilyn Ray had been a thorn in the side of Douglas Staples, since the two had changed roles for chairman. Staples had been inundated by Freedom of Information requests from the 65 year old Ray, even though she was just a villager at that time, winding up the man so much that he signed her up to a dating site to flood her e-mail address with would be sexagenarian suitors.

The council chairman’s scheme came unraveled recently, leading to a restraining order following an harassment charge. He’s also now facing £700 in legal costs and court fees for his behaviour.

Of course, Mrs Ray wasn’t exactly a pleasant person to Mr Staples, as they had a falling out after she inundated him with more than 70 complaints over a period of five years. Then, after her retirement, she was a constant fixture at meetings as a villager, taking copious notes and lodging more complaints until Mr Staples decided to sign her up for some online dating – perhaps under the incorrect thought that finding a little love might calm her down and get her out of his hair, but it looks like that plan backfired.

Listen, lords and ladies: only sign yourself up for dating sites, not your nearest and dearest friends and enemies. It just doesn’t work very well as a revenge technique, especially after you get dragged before the magistrate and are publicly shown to be about as mature as a 12 year old boy.

Social media in Russia more anti-social than anything else

Many people have used social media sites as way to start and develop new relationships, but one Russian site has alienated anyone looking for a same-sex relationship.

Social networking is more than just posting silly cat pictures on one another’s news feeds or getting into pointless fights over trivial matters, as many people use it to keep in touch with their loved ones or develop new relationships with prospective partners. Facebook is a favourite for many, and there have been tales of love developing online between two people that have led to a happily-ever-after ending.

However, the leading social networking site in Russia has cut the legs out from under a large number of people looking to simply live their lives by limiting relationship status options to opposite-sex pairings. Gay rights activists have been up in arms at the discriminatory practice, which is technically within the letter of Russian law but still disheartening to not be able to openly acknowledge your relationship preference on a social media site with as many as 120 million active accounts, according to some reports.

The site, VKontatke, has been held up as “the Russian Facebook” on more than one occasion because of how popular it is in the Eastern bloc. However, unlike Facebook, which offers options for same-sex relationships and even marriages, the Russian analogue has been clinging to an outdated way of thinking – especially since there are so many members of the LGBT community actively support VKontatke for their social networking needs.

The Russian landscape has been hostile to gays and lesbians for quite some time, both online and offline. The Moscow Pride Parade held earlier this year featured several disruptive violent incidents that led to arrests being made, and a general feeling of unease permeates the LGBT community, making it hard to openly date and seek relationships out of fear of reprisal.