In our Chem 101 survey, single Charlotteans of all ages applied to be set up and sent on a blind date. When the 750+ responses began rolling in, the surprises started – and haven’t stopped.
We were thorough, careful and picky when it came to the final questionnaire. More than one person told us it was too time-consuming and detailed to fill out, but each question served its purpose to make it easier to sift through and match hopefuls.
One question we expected to help determine matches made in heaven versus those from hell: “Are politics a deal breaker?”
Instead, only 122 applicants – 15% – said yes.
The rest of the answers came in some form of no, maybe and “Only if our views are too different.”
Most applicants considered themselves walking the middle of the road or leaning left.
Political views and the impact they can have on relationships have been hot button topics for plenty of media outlets, such as NPR, Huffington Post and Bustle. Some of them have found that 47% of single millennials wouldn’t date someone with different views.
Charlotte seems to be a little more willing to create an environment in which political disagreements don’t need to tear a budding relationship apart.
Another applicant, at age 50, seems to have it figured out and summed it up easily: “Everyone has their different views, especially with the diverse culture we have here in Charlotte. The important thing is that people know how to share their views and respectfully listen to the views of others along with the reasons and experiences (for the purpose of learning) that led to their political opinion.”
On the other hand, there were a number of applicants vehemently opposed to the idea, saying that political views reflect relatively clearly someone’s core values. If they don’t share fundamental beliefs, the game is over before it’s begun.
“Political views are reflective of a person’s morals and values,” one said. “If those are too different, it won’t work.”
But again, responses that called political views deal breakers were few and far between.
So what were the most common deal breakers? Height and smoking.
While there were some applicants that asked if height actually mattered to people, 66% of people said that it was a deal breaker.
Here’s where it gets interesting: Almost all of those with height requirements came from women on the shorter side (5’4″ and below), with most singularly attracted to men 5’11” and above.
Most attributed this to the desire to be able to wear heels and still need to look up when speaking to or kissing their date, while others stated simply that they weren’t physically attracted to men shorter than themselves.
Men, too, were guilty of having a height bracket that they weren’t comfortable venturing out of, which typically ranged from 5′ even to 5’10” for many of the same reasons the women wanted taller men: There’s no desire to be shorter.
With the stereotypes we see every day in Hollywood, this wasn’t surprising. What was surprising was how few people were willing to make an exception and how deeply in the sand the line was drawn.
A few women went so far as to say that if their date was shorter than, say, 5’10”, they wouldn’t consider them while some men, even those who stand taller than the apparently coveted and worshipped 6′, wouldn’t consider women close to their height — but no shorter than 5’6″.
In almost every case, the applicant seemed apologetic for their choices and doubled back to explain their so-called “shallowness” (their words, not mine) and say that height didn’t have to be a deal breaker – as long as their match fell within a certain number of inches.
As I sifted through responses, I couldn’t hide my disbelief.
This is an element of dating that I believed was left behind in high school.
One applicant – out of the 44% who didn’t take height into consideration – summed it up nicely: “It’s about confidence. If it doesn’t bother them, it doesn’t bother me.”
“I’m not going to miss out on someone wonderful because of two inches,” said another.
In an unsurprising turn of events, an overwhelming majority of applicants said that smoking was a non-negotiable.
87% of those who filled out the application – keep in mind that each and every applicant answered the question – don’t smoke and over half would walk away from a possible significant other if smoking was a constant in their life.
This isn’t a surprising statistic, with the CDC showing a steady decrease in the consumption of cigarettes. By 2015, only 15.1% of adults 18 and over smoked regularly, which marks a 5.8% point drop since 2000.
Responses ranged from the casual “I’d prefer if he didn’t smoke,” to the just a little bit more intense, “[it’s] ignorant and unattractive,” to the vehement, “I would prefer for my man to not have a hole in his trachea from a laryngectomy.”
And if they’re trying to quit? That opens a different door, a few said.
“[If there’s] no intention of quitting, then yes, it’s a deal breaker,” a 23-year-old said. “My mom smoked and I’ve seen the kind of inconveniences and negative effects that smoking has on a relationship and family.”
Many cited losing relatives to smoking-related illnesses as the reason for its high spot on the ‘con’ list.
There is an exception to the rule, though, and that’s in a social situation when alcohol is involved, even if it increases the chance of smoking-related diseases.
What about vaping? Also a no-go, our survey found. But marijuana is a different story – as long as it’s not to excess and lifestyles aren’t impacted.
“Besides,” one applicant said. “Who smokes these days besides the crazy aunt?”