The secret to scoring a second date? Sushi and politics

Getting up the nerve to ask someone out on a first date can be tough. But how do you create an experience that leads to a second date and potentially a lifelong romance?

Dating pic

Going for sushi ups your chances of a second date by 170 percent, according to the latest Singles in America study.

According to this year’s Singles in America study from, sushi, political discourse and an after-dinner drink can help singles score that second date.

“First dates can be tricky, balancing expectations and nerves. But it turns out that second dates can also be quite influential, as you get to learn more about someone and try to decide if you might be a match,” said Justin Garcia, assistant professor of gender studies and research scientist at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and co-author of the Singles in America study.

According to the study, which surveyed more than 5,500 singles on topics such as politics, sex, exes and securing a second date, most singles — 60 percent — prefer an evening date. When it comes to days of the week, 39 percent of singles prefer a Saturday night date, compared to 34 percent who prefer going out on a Friday night.

We’ve always been told to avoid political discussions at the dinner table. But when it comes to first-date conversation, talking about politics can actually increase a person’s chance of securing a second date by 91 percent. In fact, 25 percent of singles said “not being registered to vote” is an instant deal-breaker, and 35 percent will not consider dating someone who “does not have an opinion on key political issues.”

Additionally, 80 percent of those surveyed think politics, money and religion are fair game to talk about on a first date, and 41 percent of women want their date to know about the economy. However, less than 25 percent of men and women cared about discussing sports, and only 14 percent of singles are up for talking about an ex.

“We often assume politics is an off-limits conversation topic for dates, but it turns out, especially in today’s political climate, many singles want to discuss the political circus on TV every night,” Garcia said.

Justin Garcia

Justin Garcia, research scientist at the Kinsey Institute at IU.

During all that conversation, what you eat and drink on a first date can also make a difference. Going for sushi ups your chances of a second date by 170 percent, and cocktails boosts those odds by 137 percent. An expensive restaurant can secure a second date by 50 percent, and after-dinner drinks up your chances of a second date by 59 percent.

Don’t worry if you don’t feel fireworks the first time around. According to the survey, 59 percent of men and women do not expect to feel chemistry until the second date, and over a third of singles don’t expect passion to erupt until the third date or later. Of those surveyed, 53 percent said they will go on a second date with someone for whom they do not yet feel any romantic chemistry because half of singles believe a person will “grow” on them.

“We know from previous Singles in America studies that many single Americans can develop strong feelings of attraction, and even love, for someone that they weren’t initially interested in,” Garcia said. “It’s important to get to know someone and see if there is chemistry, and our data suggest there are certain choices surrounding second dates that can help facilitate that process.”

So how can you tell if the date might lead to something more? Half of singles think that a “good” first date ends with a kiss.

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