What is the gold standard when it comes to looking for an ideal partner? Naturally, both men and women place importance on different aspects, and according to independent market research firm Milieu Insight, the results only serve to confirm what we already know.
The poll from 2019 asked over 3,000 respondents in Singapore over 16 years old about the qualities they look for in an ideal partner. Here are some findings:
Personal hygiene and grooming a priority
Personal hygiene is the top-scoring quality both genders prioritise, scoring 85% and 90% for men and women respectively. Also 70% of respondents reported smelling good as one of their most desired attributes in a partner. Who knew being clean and smelling good are such desirable traits?
Another trait that both women and men look out for in their ideal partners? Body hair! A whopping 90% of men prefer no body hair in women, and interestingly, 73% of women prefer men with no body hair. Perhaps it’s the influence of Asian dramas…
Moral values valued
Personality traits like being kind (79%) and honest (71%) were also scored highly – who doesn’t like someone who’s that saintly? Another trait people score highly for is the love of children (70%), proving that most Singaporeans seek partners with long-term goals in mind.
Men go for the physical
The survey also found that men desire their partners to be beautiful (70%), placing more importance on a woman’s physical appearance than her intelligence (56%). Men also want their ideal woman to be a good kisser (48%) and be good in bed (50%).
Women, however, ranked men with intelligence higher (61%) than those with looks (54%), and other skills like being a good kisser (38%) and being good in bed (33%) take a back seat.
Women go for financial stability
Women tend to prioritise qualities like financial status (70%), occupation (61%), career stability (55%) in men, signifying that they prefer some sort of economic security. Curiously, women rank intelligence (61%) lower than financial status when it comes to their preference in men.
Men don’t really care for the financial status (47%) of their ideal woman; they also don’t mind if women have a job or not, with the occupation (37%) and career stability (25%) of a woman ranked quite low.
These findings play into the common stereotype of men looking to provide for partners who are attractive, while women tend to look for the best and most stable providers.
Perhaps this is why women tend to prefer male partners who are 2-5 years older (58%) compared to men – 56% of whom prefer women to be around the same age as them.
What does this say?
These results only highlight the prevailing internalised gender norms in Singaporean society, perpetuating the stereotype that you have to be rich (if you’re a guy) or that you have to be beautiful (if you have a woman) in order to score an ideal mate.
How long will it take before these preferences even tilt in the opposite direction, and we seek companionship of someone we get along with intellectually or emotionally rather than someone with beauty or financial status? As we continue to make steps towards gender equality, only time will tell.