LONDON Walk tall - it's the short cut to
success at speed-dating. In what is billed as the first study
of its kind, two academics found there is no short cut to true
They calculated that for every inch taller a man is than
his speed-dating rivals, the number of women who want to meet
him goes up by about five percent.
Reducing the magical chemistry of love at first sight to a
set of complicated equations, researchers Michele Belot and
Marco Francesconi analysed the choices made by 1,800 men and
1,800 women at 84 speed-dating events across Britain.
Each hopeful pays about 20 pounds and has just three
minutes to convince a possible partner of the opposite sex.
The conclusion of the University of Essex study was blunt
and to the point: "Women prefer men who are young and tall,
while men are more attracted to women who are young and thin."
"What we try to show is that there is a pattern in how
people choose each other," Belot told Reuters.
But she readily conceded that science does not have the
answer to all affairs of the heart.
"It is true we can explain quite a lot, but there is still
a part that is unexplained. That is where love will play a
role," she said.
But, in the unforgiving numbers game of love, age is
Each extra year, in comparison with others in the
speed-dating group, reduces a man's chance of finding a partner
by four percent. For women it is five percent.
And it is often all about the luck of the draw on the big
Should a man of average height turn up at the speed-dating
event, all is not lost.
If all his male rivals are short, then women may decide
that he does measure up after all.
"We also found that an overweight woman is 16 per cent less
likely to receive a proposal from men. Men, on the other hand
do not seem to be penalised for being overweight," Belot said.
The survey explodes the myth that blondes always have more
fun -- hair colour was not a major issue when speed-dating.
And when the big night was over, women were much pickier
than men, choosing only 2.6 men as possible future dates.
To add insult to injury, almost half of the women said they
did not want to see any of the men again.