Episode 5 must be one of the most-discussed episodes to date. The episode has been discussed heatedly by netizens, and even featured on local newspapers.

The key reason?

One of the female contestants, when asked about her dating preferences criteria, mentioned that money is very important to her and money gives her a sense of security. She also stated that she would prefer that the guy earns at least $6000 a month. This has created an instant uproar. Netizens started slamming her for being materialistic. I even received calls from the press to ask me about my opinions on this issue, which I will share more later in this post.

From left to right: Sharon, Jia Xuan, Chen Wei, Vincent, Lance, Ben

There are some interesting lessons that I have picked up from this particular episode.

1. It pays to be gentlemanly. Out of the three guys – Vincent, Lance and Ben, Ben is the one who comes across as most gentlemanly and chivalrous. He would pull out the chairs for the ladies, ask them what they would prefer to drink etc. Guys, even though some might think chivalry is dead, from this show, it is obvious that old school charm does have a part to play. Ultimately, Ben was chosen as one of the two finalists, and eventually became the winner.

2. Do not become too comfortable too fast. Jia Xuan, one of the female contestants is a bubbly, outgoing and straightforward girl. She is very much what I would say is "what you see is what you get". In the initial getting to know you session, she ended up bringing up both her legs, and sat on the sofa as if she's lounging at home. It is good to be authentic and genuine, but we do need to keep certain decorum on a first date.

3. Women like men who take charge. During the rope-jumping segment, Vincent really stood out as he immediately took charge of the situation by allocating job scopes. This was very helpful in this segment, as it was being timed. Many a times, many groups will just stand around and wait for someone to take charge and end up wasting time. What was really remarkable was that he did it in a way that showed his decisive nature yet did not come across as ordering people around. 

4. Speak your mind to be noticed. One of the reasons Lance lost out was because he did not seem to have an opinion. Generally, he is more introverted and quiet compared to the other 2 guys in this episode. However, he should have capitalised on the Q&A session to chalk up some brownie points. However, during the Q&A session, on 2 separate occasions, he just said that he agreed with what Vincent has said, and offered little of his own thoughts and opinions. We do not need to have strong opinions on every single thing. But we do need to have our own opinions, and we need to share them so others get to know us better.

5. Always be prepared for a first date with a 'cheat sheet'. Both Vincent and Ben are comfortable conversing in crowds. They are funny, they are witty and they are popular. However, during the one-on-one date, they both seemed nervous and at times there were some awkward silences. The reason is probably they both liked Chen Wei and they wanted to make the best impression impossible (and not screw up!). As a result, they seemed more self-conscious than they usually are. In these circumstances, I would suggest that guys prepare some interesting icebreakers, openers or even topics that they can fall back on when their palms start to sweat.

6. Head vs. Heart. Based on the various scenes captured on TV, it is evident that both Chen Wei and Vincent are smittened with one another. The shy sidelong glances, their body language, the way they spoke about each other… I think many must be surprised when Chen Wei chose Ben over Vincent. She probably chose with her head and not with her heart as she rationalized that Vincent is out of her league. I am not saying that Chen Wei has made the wrong choice when she chose Ben. Because, it might well be the right decision. However, I think it is important that we have enough self-confidence to know what we want and work towards it. In love and relationships, there is no guarantee that if you work on it, you will get your desired results. However, if you do not even try, then you are going to fail for sure.

Personal Story: When I first got to know Jamie, the right thing to do was probably not to pursue the relationship. He was sending me all the signals that he was not ready to start a relationship since he was graduating in 3 months' time, and I still had another year to go. What that meant was we would end up in a long distance relationship when we do not even know each other too well. I am glad I followed my heart. We eventually got together, had a 2.5 years long distance relationship, and the rest they say is history. 🙂

7. Some things are better left unsaid (especially on a first date). Honestly, we all have our dating criteria and preferences. Men generally place a lot of importance on good looks and physical appearance. And women are generally looking for some one who is confident, carry themselves well and financially stable. We understand these biological attraction markers, and when we match at Lunch Actually, we would also look out for these criteria and match accordingly i.e. if the lady earns $75,000 per annum, we would not match her up with someone who earns $35,000 and below unless she has specifically mentioned she does not mind. The reason is, they probably come from very different backgrounds and circumstances and would usually not be very compatible (of course, there have been exceptions). However, for someone to spell it out so clearly how much they would like the guy to be earning, it is definitely a put-off for guys.

Some of our well-off guy clients have also mentioned that they do not want to be matched with ladies who have specified that they only want to date guys of a certain income range. The first question in their head will usually be, "Do you like me or do you like my money?"

Earning big bucks can definitely be a shared objective and common goal if money is important to you. However, to disqualify someone because he or she does not earn $6000 is not the best dating criteria in my opinion. 

Ultimately, the best matches are those where you share common values and common life goals. 

The contestants in Episode 5 are all young and good-looking. To watch this episode, click here for catch-up TV

Till my next episode commentary, happy dating! 🙂