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The Single Files

For souls who lack the will (or the stomach) to cruise the No. 6 train, blind dates are a popular alternative: 43 percent of our sample have embarked on one. Fifty-two percent of them described the results as “a good experience”; 42 percent called it a bad one.

In addition, 7 percent of New Yorkers have placed a personal ad, though men are four times more likely to have done so than women. Overall, 10 percent of all respondents have answered a personal ad, but older singles are the most reliable devotees of the classifieds. Twenty-one percent of men in their thirties have answered them, compared with just 6 percent of younger males; 4 percent of young females have answered the call, as have 8 percent of older women.

Despite the proliferation of Internet services, few respondents said they met potential partners online, perhaps because the Web is more conducive to highly specialized erotic encounters (“Married foot fetishist seeks chubby ballerina,” read one memorable recent posting) than to long-lasting relationships.

The Right Stuff

What do New Yorkers look for in a prospective partner? Well, uh, personality, of course, which rated highest among single men and women of all ages. It comes as no surprise that for a significant majority of women, a man’s profession (82 percent), his attire (66 percent), and his income (58 percent) are big priorities, while men place more emphasis on a woman’s looks (65 percent) and her body (65 percent).

Perhaps more notable is how few respondents said race and religion are important factors; in fact, race and ethnicity ranked near the bottom of our list, mentioned as important by only about a third. In fact, by an almost two-to-one margin, New Yorkers are more concerned with a potential date’s attire than with his or her religion or race.

This is borne out by the fact that 71 percent of single New Yorkers surveyed said they have dated someone outside their race; 71 percent have also dated someone outside their religion.

The Rules

Once you’ve managed to land a likely prospect and set up a date, there is a whole new set of concerns. Where do you go? Restaurants (58 percent) and movies (44 percent) are the activities of choice, with clubs (17 percent) and bars (13 percent) the closest competitors.

In this post-Steinem, post-Roiphe era, who pays for dates? Seventy-one percent said the man; a pathetic 2 percent said the woman; 15 percent alternate the fiscal duties. Our survey also provided some answers to the age-old question of when exactly two people who’ve recently met should begin to have sex. Though 45 percent of single New Yorkers surveyed admitted to occasionally having sex on the first date, few believe that it is appropriate to do so. To be sure, men are more in favor of a quick resolution than women, but the gap between the sexes on this issue is not substantial.

At least, not until the second date. That’s because 43 percent of male respondents believe that sex should occur somewhere between the first and third date, while only 16 percent of women agree. The majority of women (51 percent) believe couples should wait between four and ten dates before engaging in sex. After a long, sexless month, however, many men and women seem to grow frustrated. Forty-two percent of men and 37 percent of women said they would break up a relationship if it hadn’t been consummated within 30 days. Even Con Ed gives you a longer grace period.

Mild Kingdom

New Yorkers are supposed to be braggarts, but they’re surprisingly modest when it comes to talking about the frequency with which they’re having sex.

Single New Yorkers of all races in all five boroughs reported having roughly the same amount of sex, though Staten Island residents seem to be a smidgen behind everybody else. (Too much time on the ferry?)

The largest percentage of the singles we surveyed, 38 percent, claimed to be having sex only one to four times per month. Twenty-five percent of New Yorkers have sex five to fourteen times a month, and 16 percent have sex more than fifteen times a month. Six percent of respondents claimed they’ve never had sex.