Men and women are shifting gender roles in yet another aspect of modern life, according to a new survey by It’s Just Lunch. When the specialty dating service asked more than 4300 singles a series of questions regarding how they view dating issues related to work, there were two unexpected responses by each gender.
The most surprising were the answers to “How often do you cancel on a date due to work related issues?” The first choice answer for 50% of the men was “I always make time for dates.” Only 36% of the women selected this answer. The number one choice for women (41%) was “Work and dating hold near equal importance in my life and I make time for both.”
Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman, a psychologist who specializes in single career women and the author of When Mars Women Date isn’t surprised that women are more likely to reschedule a date. She says “Women still feel they have to work harder to succeed in corporate America.”
Another unexpected difference between the sexes showed up in the answers to a question about business talk: “Do you enjoy talking about business and work-related topics during dates, or prefer to shift the conversation to other topics, issues or current events?” The top answer for women (45%) was “I talk about business to kick start a conversation, but enjoy talking about other things, too.” Only 30% of the men selected this choice.
The number one choice for males (55%) was “I think business discussion is interesting from time to time, but prefer to discuss other things.” 11% of men and 7% of women were of the opinion that “When my work day is over, I want to forget about it and talk about anything but business and my job.” “Men tend to compartmentalize things, so most prefer to leave business talk at the office, especially on a date,” says Frank Partnoy, author of WAIT: The Art and Science of Delay. “Women tend to mix business and pleasure a bit more.”
Some of the answers that differed by sex showed that a sizable portion of the population has some interest in old-fashioned gender roles. When asked “When looking for a partner, do you prefer the “9-5″ kind of working professional? Or the flexible “works from coffee shops” type?” the top answer for both men (41%) and women (40%) was “Doesn’t matter to me as long as they have a job!” But the second choice for women (25%) was “I like when partners can work anytime, but think the office environment requires a certain level of professionalism that I appreciate,” was only picked by 17% of men. Men’s second choice, with 18% (and picked by 14% of women), was “9-5, I enjoy partners with predictable schedules.” In fourth place for both genders (12% of men and 14% of women) was “I dig the ‘work from anywhere’ types, but prefer if they stick to normal hours.”
One other interesting note was that almost twice as many men (11%) as women (6%) picked the answer with the least constraints, “I prefer the ‘work from anywhere at any time’ type.”
A previous It’s Just Lunch survey showed that women were more concerned about their date’s money, career, and education than men were. Irene LaCota, It’s Just Lunch spokesperson, says that, “Some women’s predilection for a more professional office environment goes hand in hand with their preference that the men they date have a reasonably high social status.”
A significant number of men were more conservative than women when it comes to a partner who travels. When asked “Does the amount that a partner travels for business affect your willingness to pursue a relationship?” both genders selected the same first place answer, “I am busy myself, so if a partner is gone for a week at a time, I am okay with that!” But significantly more women (34%) chose that than men (28%). The second place answer, “No, a partner on frequent business related trips does not bother me,” was almost even for both men (27%) and women (26%). The fact that 4% more women (27%) than men (23%) chose the third place answer, “I am busy, but expect a potential partner to be local more often than traveling” is a bit of a red herring when it comes to travel expectation differences between the genders until you look at the fourth place answer, which has a 10% differential. “Yes, I prefer potential partners to be more accessible,” is the choice of 23% of the male respondents but was selected by only 13% of the women.
“It looks like a portion of the male population still clings to the idea that women should always be home for them,” says LaCota. “It’s likely that there are just as many women who prefer jobs where they get to stay in town.”
The It’s Just Lunch Professional Side Of Dating survey also yielded other interesting insights, including:
- Women prefer to date a business executive; men prefer a medical professional.
- More women prefer to not date someone who works in their own office.
- Women are less likely to date a client.
- The ideal first date for business people of both genders is a drink after work.
- Both men and women would prefer to date someone who works in a different industry.
It’s Just Lunch (www.itsjustlunch.com) is a personalized dating service for busy professionals. The company has coordinated over two million dates for clients since opening in 1991. IJL minimizes the stress and maximizes the efficiency of dating by sending people on casual, no-pressure dates over lunch, brunch or drinks after work. IJL’s team of dating specialists, not a computer, perform the matchmaking. The company services over 150 cities in the US, Canada and internationally.