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FYI Guy

Seattle Times news librarian Gene Balk crunches the numbers

February 13, 2013 at 7:30 AM

In Seattle, does true romance start with a one-night stand?

(Photo: Nafflicious/Wikimedia)

According to a recent Harris poll, 19 percent of Americans would rather have a root canal than be single on Valentine’s Day.  That’s a little hard to believe.  It’s true, though, that this holiday — silly as it may be — does make some single people feel painfully aware of their singleness. But take heart (no pun intended): you might be single, but you’re hardly alone. There are more than 100 million unmarried adults in the United States, including 1.3 million right here in the Seattle-Tacoma metro area.

Right now is, in fact, the perfect time to celebrate singletons.  Feb. 14 isn’t just Valentine’s Day — it’s also Singles Awareness Day.  At least according to Wikipedia.  So in the spirit of the day, let’s delve into some new data on Seattle-area singles.

The online dating service Match.com recently released the findings from their Singles in America study.  This survey of more than 6,000 people (not selected from Match.com’s membership base) is “the largest and most comprehensive national study to investigate dating habits, behaviors, interests, and lifestyles of this large segment of the population,” according to the company.  I asked the Match.com folks if they could break out the data on Seattle-area singles, and they obliged.

So how do Seattle singles stack up to their peers across the country?  Turns out, in most regards, they are pretty similar.  For example, the things Seattle singles value most in a potential partner are, in order of importance: being treated with respect; being able to trust and confide in that person; good communication skills; and a sense of humor.  Those are the Top 4 “must haves” for singles across the nation, too.

The data also show that here in the Seattle area, like everywhere else, the first things most singles will notice about you are your grammar and your teeth; 61 percent in Seattle responded to each as a first impression deal-breaker, about the same as the national average. And 24 percent of Seattle singles will consider having sex on a first date.  That’s also right in line with the national average.

But there are some significant differences too. Compared with singles around the country, Seattleites are 45 percent less likely to care about their partner having the same religious beliefs, and 50 percent less likely to care about their partner having the same racial or ethnic background. Perhaps those two findings are not surprising, given the secular and progressive nature of this region.

But how about this?  The data show that folks in Seattle are 33 percent more likely than average to have had a one-night stand turn into a relationship. Is this a “Seattle thing” that I’m just unaware of?  Coffee, rain — and falling in love with your one-night stand? Do folks here not understand how one-night stands are supposed to work? Clearly this calls for a poll. Let’s conduct a survey of our own, and see how our numbers match up with Match.com’s; I can’t think of a more romantic Valentine’s Day question.

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0 Comments | More in Market Research | Topics: dating, Seattle, sex

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