Women prefer good manners to good looks in men

26 September, 2007

Good manners, rather than good looks, matter most to women when choosing a man.

A survey by etiquette authority Debrett’s found that 63% of British women cited manners as the most important factor in their choice of a partner. Only 5% plumped for good looks, while 29% favored intelligence.

Eight in 10 of those questioned thought men needed help with their manners and 87% rejected the notion that “having good manners is old-fashioned”.

The poll found that when men are asked to consider how women might choose a partner, they also placed good manners above looks or intelligence. And, half of men and women thought that men are confused about manners nowadays.

In all, 70% of both sexes believed men’s manners are getting worse. Half of women said they had experienced bad manners recently, either socially (52%) or in the workplace (23%).

The survey of 1,000 adults follows the recent launch of Debrett’s guide titled Manners for Men. According to its editor Jo Bryant, “the survey findings surprised us by showing just how important manners are today.”

Jo Bryant said the guide – which gives men a series of dating tips – can help men “improve their manners and succeed in the tricky business of modern chivalry.”

She added: “Debrett’s knows that manners are still relevant, but the survey findings surprised us by showing how important manners are in Britain today. Only 5% of women said good looks were a factor in looking for a dream guy. That’s astonishing and shows that good manners do grease the wheels of a relationship. You don’t have to mind your Ps and Qs all the time, but small gestures do add up.”

Debrett’s advice includes standard warnings on avoiding clichéd chat-up lines and ensuring they arrive early for first dates.

It also sheds light on how to handle tricky post-feminist issues such as holding doors open. (It’s okay to do so but don't make a show of it by announcing ‘ladies first.’)

The Top Ten dating tips for men that the guide Manners for Men give are:

1. Sound like a man with a plan – when asking for a date, come straight to the point.

2. Take charge – arrange where and when. Choose a venue where you will be comfortable.

3. Timing is all. There is nothing nerdy about turning up early for a date.

4. Don’t look like you’ve spent all day fretting about your appearance.

5. Make conversation personal, but not confessional.

6. Give her your full attention. Don’t answer your mobile phone or send texts during the date.

7. Avoid food you can’t control, like spaghetti, and never comment on her table manners.

8. It is polite to kiss your companion goodbye.

9. At the beginning, the person who issues the invitation pays. If you are invited by a woman, you could offer to pay, but concede if she says “no” and means it. “Going Dutch” is never an option.

10. Call the day after a first date if you want a second one.

Manners For Men also outlines the best ways to ask for a date, behave on the big night, and then continue any romance. It covers:

The approach

Sending over a drink with a note is passé – the direct approach is better.

Preparing for the date

Wear smart, clean clothes but avoid prominent designer logos (you will look like an advertisement), leather trousers (you will look like a hairdresser) and T-shirts with amusing slogans (you will look like a nerd).

The date

Turn up early but if you are going to be unavoidably late, call ahead and let her know. Picking up the bill for dinner is still generally the man’s responsibility – particularly if he has asked for the date.

Out and about

It’s okay to hold open a door for a woman, but don’t make a song and dance out of it. You don’t have to open the car door for her, but if you do it will be appreciated. Women should enter revolving doors first but let her ‘drive’ the door at her own speed. Never share the compartment – you’ll appear creepy.

Taking it further

If you want to see her again, call her the day after the first date. If you’re really keen, call her when you get home and thank her for a lovely evening.





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