13 November 2018Last updated


What men really think about dating

Our Valentine’s gift to you – inside knowledge from behind enemy lines. In a bid to get some useful, real relationship and dating advice for you in this, the month of love, we spent an evening with five men and asked them to tell it like it is

Louisa Wilkins
8 Feb 2015 | 12:10 pm
  • Men and dating.

    Source:Shutterstock Image 1 of 2
  • What men really think about dating.

    Source:Shutterstock Image 2 of 2

Men are from Mars and women are from Venus, according to one relationship expert. While we are pretty sure we are all from planet Earth, there certainly seem to be some communication issues between men and women, making those initial bonding rituals harder than either side really wants them to be.

This month, instead of speaking to the experts to get their wisdom and practical tips, we decided to go straight to the source. We scouted around and found five men between the ages of 31 and 43, all with a good, strong dating experience and relationship history, then asked for their perspective on the weird and wonderful world of dating.

Here’s what we found out…

Pre-date warm-up

Is it OK for a woman to initiate a date?

“If a girl asks for your number first then happy days. It takes the pressure off and it’s definitely not a turn off at all.”

“I like it when a girl shows she has confidence by asking me out. Why should it always be left to us to initiate it?”

Whatsapp is a big part of courtship these days. What are the unspoken rules from a man’s point of view?

“Really long, grammatically correct Whatsapp messages can be off-putting as it means she is spending too much time thinking about it. Also, when it says she’s typing for ages, then it stops, then she’s typing again. If you’re spending 10 minutes to compose a message then it’s not really you.”

“I don’t like long lols. I’m more of a smiley-facer.”

“I like a lol.”

“If I Whatsapp her first and she doesn’t respond for a few hours, but I see she’s been online and there are those two ticks by the message, I’ll think she is playing games and that will put me off.”

“The problem with Whatsapp is that some people have very different Whatsapp and real-life personas. Verbal communication is only 10 per cent of the connection. The rest is eye contact, chemistry, etc… Until you’ve spent time together, face to face, not in a group 
setting, you don’t know if you even like each other.”

How long should we wait to set up a date?

“In my mind, if you haven’t met up within a few days, it’s pretty much game over. I don’t want to get into massive conversations over Tinder, or BBM, or Whatsapp or Facebook.”

“Yeah... these ways of communication are not normal. They are technological constructs. Get to the point and meet in person.”

“No matter what you think in your mind about falling in love with someone’s personality, if you don’t meet face to face, neither of you will ever know.”

“I prefer to skip the long Whatsapp conversations… A lot of people spend their lives in virtual reality.”

The actual date

What is your idea of a good date?

“Coffee is such a safe first date. I just want to meet her and get a sense of what she’s like when she is being normal.”

“Having dinner the first time you meet could end up being a waste of time and money. At least coffee is over quickly if you need it to be.”

Do you like dinner dates?

“Sometimes I think a woman just wants to get dressed up, be treated nicely and bought a nice dinner.”

“I think the concept of ‘courting’ a girl is unacceptable. If you are expected to pay for an expensive meal the first time you meet, I think it sends the wrong message… it is like you are buying her time and attention.”

“If a girl is really pushing for dinner on a first date I will think she is more after the meal than getting to know me.”

What are your first date deal-breakers?

“On the first date I always think it’s down to me to mess it up, or not. As long as she seems half normal and isn’t wearing rags, it’s up to me to woo her and show her that I have character enough for her to want to go on a second date.”

“I don’t agree with that… If I go on a first date and she is not interesting or entertaining me, I won’t want to see her again.”

“If she’s trying to work out how much I earn, or how wealthy I am, that puts me off.”

“I can’t stand women being late for a date. Or, when they get there, being indecisive.”

“Wearing too much make-up is off-putting for me.”

“I know it sounds sexist, but I don’t like it when a girl orders a pint of lager.”

“Not sharing the bill.”

“Paranoia... not just at first-date stage, but all the way through a relationship. If a woman is paranoid and doesn’t trust me, eventually it will drive a wedge between us.”

What seals the deal for you on a first date?

“So much of it is non-verbal communication… body language, scent and stuff.”

“Good conversation and a good sense of humour.”

“If she can take a joke, or a sarcastic remark without it turning into an issue, or an awkward silence.”

“Yeah... Having a good sense of humour takes a girl from a six to an eight.”

Post-date follow up

Who should get in touch first?

“I would expect the girl to get in touch first after our first proper date. In my experience, if I have to text first afterwards, it’s not going to work.”

“There are no rules. It should just be normal. The normal thing to do after you’ve had a good evening with some is to say ‘Hey, what’s up?’”

“I’d probably message her first just out of politeness.”

“If a girl is deliberately playing hard to get it’s really obvious and off-putting.”

“There are too many games being played… Girls and guys are both waiting for the message. If you don’t hear from a girl the day after a date, you think she doesn’t like you.”

“Yeah… and if I message her and she doesn’t respond, I’d take that as a sign she didn’t want to see me again. I never message twice.”

If we are looking for a serious relationship, should we just come right out and tell him?

“No, I think that would be a bit weird. You tend to get a sense if a girl is just looking to party, or if she’s looking to settle down, by what she talks about, how she behaves, her age…”

“I would find that sort of full disclosure extremely off-putting, although it does depend on culture and age to some extent.”

“I don’t like the sense of there being an agenda that you, as the guy, have to fit into.”

“I’d say 70 per cent of women are looking for Prince Charming. If you as the man are not looking to settle down at the moment, you just have to let her know somehow that you are not The One.”

“I have been on dates before where I went there thinking I wasn’t looking for a relationship, but then when I met the girl I changed my mind.”

Whack job warning signs

Relationships can send even the coolest, calmest, most collected of chicks into a crazy zone. How do you recognise the warning signs?

“When women say they don’t want a relationship, but really they do… It’s so obvious if a woman is looking to settle down. Lying about it seems to make them go crazy.”

“If a woman intimates that she’s really interested, and then backs away for no apparent reason, that’s not mysterious or ‘hard to get’; it’s just annoying.”

“A girl once looked through my phone on our second date ‘for a laugh’. When I went to look through hers she got really annoyed. It made me think she was one of those paranoid types.”

“One girl I met started sending naked pictures of herself almost straight away. As much as I don’t mind that, you know that’s probably not the girl you’re going to marry.”

“Some girls can get really clingy and invasive… allow him to have his personal space.

Women in Dubai

What do you think about women in Dubai?

“There’s a general consensus among men that women come to Dubai in order to find and marry a rich man.”

“There’s a culture in Dubai of people who are jaded by bad relationships. They have been burnt once and think all men are the same, and so they’re just after a guy’s money, or just a one-night thing.”

“With most women, you can tell pretty quickly if they are hurt, or broken.”

What guys really want in a woman

We asked our bachelors for a wish list of the ideal woman. And what they said may surprise you…

  • Good conversation.
  • You are able to spend time together without actually doing anything.
  • Enjoying silence together.
  • Can go to the movies, and go to the beach and just hang out.
  • Someone who can be a really good buddy as well as a partner.
  • A woman who can educate me.
  • Someone who will push me to be the best version of myself.
  • A girl I can admire and look up to.
  • Someone you can have a drink and a laugh with.
  • Someone who you enjoy spending time with so much that just to hang out doing nothing is the coolest thing.
  • Being curious and ambitious, and interested in learning about new things.
  • Taking care of herself.

The ultimate date night no-no

There is a fine line between classy and embarrassing…

“I saw a different side to her”

”There was this lovely girl who I had a crush on. I saw her out one night and she had had so much to drink, her ugly side came out… she was propositioning random men. That took her from a nine to a negative two.”

“Haven’t you grown out of that behaviour yet...”

“I really don’t like it when women curse too much, or let guys feel her up when she is dancing. When you’re younger that might be fine. But as an adult it’s just embarrassing for everyone around.”

“Keep some self-respect when you’re partying”

“However hot the girl is, if she drinks so much that she’s vomiting, or worse, you know that girl could never be your wife, or even your girlfriend.”

“Look after yourself”

“If a girl doesn’t take care of herself in terms of fitness and quitting bad habits like smoking by the time she is 30, or 35, she’s going to go downhill quickly. If she is partying all the time, it shows she isn’t looking after herself at all.”

Tinder dos and don’ts

Although Tinder is only partially available at the moment, there are still lessons to be learnt from the men’s views on the dating app


“Don’t airbrush your pictures, or put heavy filters or disguise what you look like. It just sets the guy up to be disappointed if you do meet.”

“Don’t use confusing pictures of you and friends – we’ll just quickly scan and assume you are the least good-looking one.”

“Don’t use pictures of you and your children, or boyfriend.”

“Don’t assume that just because you’ve had a ‘match’ with a guy it means anything. Many of us will like all of the girls within radius, and only check out their profile once we get a match.”


“Do have a clear idea of why you’re on Tinder. It can be confusing for guys to work out a girl’s intentions or expectations.”

“Do suggest moving on to Whatsapp as soon as you know you’re interested.”

“Do get to the point. If you like the sound of someone, then meet up as soon as possible.”

Louisa Wilkins

By Louisa Wilkins