Woo an Icelander in an Italian restaurant if you want a long marriage

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Remember that phrase?

Given the battering the truth has taken in the era of fake news and omnipresent PR, receiving information via numbers rather than opinions is a relief.

In that spirit, we offer the following: “Indian cuisine on a first date is most likely to end in divorce, with 67 per cent of participants now separated or divorced.

“Italian cuisine takes top spot as the cuisine most likely to lead to a happy marriage, with a 78 per cent success rate.

“American cuisine on a first date is likely to lead to divorce after just four years.”

This ‘vital’ research comes to you from British online marketplace OnBuy.com, which says it was inspired by the reopening of UK restaurants, following the pandemic lockdown, to ask: “Can cuisine choice on a first date influence the future success of the relationship?”

(We suspect that the research arose from idle water cooler conversation, or Zoom banter, but we don’t mind.)

Read more: The search for love in lockdown

OnBuy.com surveyed 5364 people who had been married and asked them to state what type of restaurant they went to on their first date and their current marital status.

The results send a clear message: keep the food simple if you want a good first impression that leads to an expensive ceremony and legally binding documents.

Spicy Indian and greasy American food led to connections that lasted, on average, just 15 months and four years respectively. Indian first meals led to a break-up for 67 per cent of couples, while American food guaranteed the end of 59 per cent of supposedly blissful unions.

A carbohydrate-rich diet might kill you before your time but indulge it on a first date and your chances of lasting romance are highest: 78 per cent of those who chose pasta-rich Italian for their first date are still happily married, with unions lasting, on average, 16 years.

Those who ate French food on their first date fared next best, with 65 per cent remaining in happy marriages, and couples staying together for 15 years and three months on average.

Read more: Love and laughter

The global divorce rate has risen from 12 per cent in 1960 to 44 per cent in 2017, an increase of 251.8 per cent. Perhaps those hunting a matrimonial partner should skip a meal on the first date.

Iceland experiences the least cheating by partners, at just 9 per cent, with the US topping that list at 71 per cent. Iceland also features highly in the World Happiness Report (WHR), ranking fourth.

And the northerly nation has also topped the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index for seven years in a row.

So, should we be heading to the home of the Vikings to seek a happy marriage?

Nine reports on the independence of Icelandic women, who exude a “palpable confidence”, said to be a legacy from raising families alone while Viking men left to explore the oceans.

“You can always get through things on your own,” said Saga Líf Friðriksdóttir, a 27-year-old tour guide who lives in Reykjavik. “Marriage happiness is a small bonus and a piece of paper, it’s nothing to aim for or anything people think about when they are younger.”

Okay, so, that first meal will have to be a cracker . . .

Nine’s Jane Searle has a hint: if you’re a bloke, go easy on the flattery.

“You don’t win girls with compliments here,” says Spaniard Antonio Pérez, who has lived in Reykjavik for a decade since first moving to work as a geologist. “They often name women after volcanos, and the ones called Katla (Iceland’s largest volcano) are usually pretty hot,” he says. “The women here are really strong.”

Iceland is also pragmatic about divorce, seeing it as a “logical end to relationships”.

For all that, Iceland’s divorce rate is 36 per cent, behind Australia’s 43 per cent and nowhere near world divorce leader Luxembourg’s 87 per cent.

So, what would we eat on that life-defining first meal in Iceland?

A comprehensive google of Icelandic cuisine lands on skyr, a yoghurt made from pasteurised skim milk and a bacteria culture, and pylsur, a hot dog recommended by alleged philanderer Bill Clinton. Next? Lamb, ice cream and dried fish.

Hmmmmm . . . Maybe go to Iceland and find an Italian restaurant.

And you’re in luck! In the capital, Reykjavik, there’s a Caruso, a Primo Ristorante and a Rossopomodoro.

Buon appetito!

Do you remember the first meal you shared with your partner? Or the first meal you shared with a date that went nowhere?

Read more: Pie recipe favourites from around the world

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Written by Will Brodie



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