Nude dates at malls like Walmart, Target and Best Buy are increasingly popular, according to a new study by marketing firm Nielsen.
But as a blind date in the future, you might find yourself more likely to see a stranger dressed as a dog, say, than a man dressed as an angel, said Nielsen executive vice president for marketing and research Brad Dacus.
“This isn’t a new trend, but we’re seeing it in a different context,” Dacus said.
“If you’re a gay man, it’s a lot harder for you to go out and date somebody who looks like a dog than a gay guy who looks very much like a man.
It’s a much harder match.”
A number of retailers and restaurants, including Best Buy and Target, have begun offering “Dogs at Walmart” discounts, where shoppers can pay for two meals at a store.
The discounts are meant to encourage customers to visit the chain’s stores for meals, and to give them a better chance at meeting someone who is willing to date.
Dacus said the studies that he oversaw in the past are not conclusive, but the results have helped to convince retailers and restaurant owners that they need to think about how to attract a different kind of customer, especially as the economy struggles.
“If we want to attract more women, we have to start by finding more people who look like men and not just women,” Dicus said.
“We have to make it more inclusive, and I think this study is a really big part of that.”
But the trend isn’t limited to men.
A new study found that while the majority of men prefer to date a woman with long hair, more than half of men don’t have a “best date” of the week.
And while the percentage of gay men dating a woman who looks a lot like a woman has dropped dramatically in the last decade, the study found only 4 percent of gay women date a man who looks more like a male.
Still, Dacus cautions that the studies don’t mean that gay men and women should stop dating, and he’s not sure why.
As a gay male who’s seen his dating profile dwindle, Dacus says he believes that gay dating should remain a viable option, but it’s not as easy as it used to be.
If a gay woman dates a man, she might think that she’s being more “open” and more willing to share her preferences, he said.
But the gay male, who has seen a lot of men, may find that he has to “make it work” if he wants to meet someone.
In the meantime, he encourages couples to “do a little more research and find out who you want to date first, and then you’re all set.”
The Associated Press