The highs and lows of getting ready for a date

woman getting ready for a date

Picture the scene: the person you’ve been messaging back and forth for the last few days is as captivated as you and you’re both eager to meet. It’s official; you’ve got a date on lockdown. But how do you go about getting ready for it? Do you have a specific routine or is it more of a slapdash approach?

Getting ready for a date: the results

When it comes to dating someone new, you want to have your date preparation routine on point. But what does that entail? Does a beauty regime take center stage or do some new threads fit the bill for a confidence boost? What do people like about getting ready for a date, and what do they despise the most? With so many question marks looming, EliteSingles investigated the lowdown of date preparation. And the results aren’t at all what we expected. Read on for our in-depth analysis. Surveying more than 1900 singles, EliteSingles discovered some surprising date prep secrets from both men and women.

The perks and pitfalls of scrubbing up

Arguably the most pressing question in our survey centers on whether or not singles actually enjoy getting ready for a date. Well, it turns out that men like a little spruce too! As it happens, the overwhelming majority of both men (78%) and women (85%) perceive getting ready for a date as something positive on the whole.

So what’s so good about getting ready for a date? Although they both enjoy it, men and women have very different ideas when it comes to what they like most about date prep. Just over half of the male respondents (51%) admitted they enjoy date preparation as it ramps up the anticipation, compared to only a third of women. Conversely, prepping for a first date made 43% of women feel more attractive. Only 15% of men shared the same sentiment. Interestingly, a quarter of men gained confidence from scrubbing up, whilst 8% of both genders enjoyed the “me time” factor that comes with it.

That said, for 1-in-5 men and 15% of women date prep is more irksome than awesome. Of those who admitted they weren’t overly enamored with the process, 57% of both men and women stated that they find it stressful. The next most prominent gripe shared by 24% of participants was that it’s too time-consuming. The less romantic at heart dismissed it, with 14% saying that getting ready for date feels too much like a chore.

Handbags and gladrags

One of the most obvious aspects associated with getting ready for a date is picking a knockout outfit. But is it smart or casual that wins the famous style head-to-head? It turns out dressing up is still the suit of hearts. More than half of the single women surveyed (51%) think smart is sexy, but 65% of men said casual is cool.

It seems sensible to meet in the middle ground: ladies take a step back and dress down a little, and men, step up and smarten up. Nevertheless, looking good remains a priority; 31% of men said that they would actually buy a new outfit for a date, with a similar 37% of ladies agreeing they like to dress to impress with a brand new outfit. Surprisingly, 30% of men would plan their outfit before the day of the date, with 52% of women also not leaving it to chance and putting thought into their look before their date.

No expense spared?

Men and women are fairly agreed about the amount of money they’d spend getting ready for a date. 28% of women and 39% of men would be willing to splash out $50-100 on their date preparations. Surprisingly, women were a bit thriftier than men, with only 4% willing to spend more than $150 on getting ready for a first date. Conversely, one in 5 men (23%) would spend over $100 on date prep, compared to just 15% of women. Hey big spender – it seems that the beauty and the beast gender stereotype is no longer valid when it comes to date preening and primping!

Freshen up

So, what do we all get up to when getting ready for a date night? We got a glimpse into the other side of the mirror. Men head over to the barber, with 55% penciling in a trip to the hairdresser before a big date. And looking sharp apparently includes a good shave, with 85% saying they would trim their beard or have a wet shave in preparation. Silky skin is a surprise inclusion with more than a quarter of men (27%) saying they’d go for a facial or lather on the moisturiser. Not to be outdone, picture perfect makeup (85%), a manicure (50%) and a session at the hair salon (41%) were voted as women’s top three date grooming rituals.

Men put their best foot forward to catch their date’s eye, with almost half of the single men surveyed (49%) saying that they undergo date prep routines and rituals because they want their date to find them attractive. Only 23% of women agree, with the ladies doing it for themselves. 78% of women undertake their date prep because it boosts their confidence.

Getting your mind in the game

Men and women chime on one thing however – how to get their mind in the game. The majority of men (41%) and women (38%) take a final look in the mirror before stepping out the door to be mentally prepared and for 25% of men and women the sound of love comes in the form of their favorite playlist, their top of the pops when it comes to date prep.

Date expectations

With all the time and effort that goes into being a dashing and dazzling date, it’s not just a one way street. So what do all the single ladies and bashful bachelors think of their counterparts? Men (45%) and women (57%) agree that their date’s presentation means quite a lot to them, with 10% of men thinking it’s vital and 17% women agreeing. However, beauty is not only skin deep. Men (84%) and women (68%) concur that a majority of them would not be offended if they found out their date did not put in the same amount of time and effort into getting ready for their date, agreeing that if they find each other attractive, what they both did to prepare is irrelevant.

Best be aware though, 35% of women consider being under-dressed as their biggest first date faux pas. Interestingly, 25% of men share the opposite view, stating that being overdressed is their biggest bug bear. That said, the majority of men (36%) felt that overdoing the perfume is their biggest turn-off. It’s all about moderation and balance – don’t overdo it in your eagerness to impress.

And in the modern world of technology, it seems that a high percentage of the single population do sneak a peek beforehand. Women are more likely to check their date’s social media profiles before the date-75% to be exact, compared to 59% of men. But 25% of women and 41% of men think it kills off the mystery.

The final countdown

In today’s time-scarce society, how many of your minutes would you be willing to be put into getting ready? Well, the majority of men and women take 30 minutes to an hour getting ready for a date, 54% and 46% respectively. Contrary to the “quick spruce” stereotype, 1 in 5 men would spend between 1 to 2 hours preening themselves for a date, and 39% of women would do the same. At the end of the day, if you’re a show pony or a love boat, everyone seems to enjoy a good shine and polish. Remember, the overwhelming majority of both men (78%) and women (85%) enjoy the process of getting ready for a date.

So there you have it – the next time you’re getting spick and span for a big date, you know what to prioritise (and what to avoid!). Remember to make an effort with your personal l presentation, finding the smart casual balance, spend time on your grooming and pruning but just don’t overdo the fragrance. If you’re still unsure and in need of some advice, why not check out our first date tips and questions to give you that extra boost…


Survey statistics from EliteSingles’ ‘Dating Prep’ survey, 2017. Sample size: 1910 singles.

About the author: EliteSingles Editor

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