Valentine's Day: Dinner Dating Secrets Revealed

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Chivalry is alive but passion at the dinner table is a no-no, a survey by toptable.co.uk, the UK's leading online restaurant booking site reveals.

Our survey shows the great British public live up to their stereotype of being reserved and prudish in public when it comes to matters of the heart.

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, http://www.toptable.co.uk surveyed their diners to reveal some surprising secrets behind Britain's dinner dates.

Chivalry isn't dead in the dining room but over 90% of the great British public live up to their prudish stereotype and say overt displays of affection have no place at the dinner table.

A huge 80% of men and 89% of women say they would simply hold hands across the table while they wait for the bill (and a taxi home).

toptable's fascinating survey also discovered 85% of men agree that they should pay for dinner, flashing the cash even when they don't fancy their date after all. Girls beware -- they might be flexing plastic but 16% of men's romance cheques bounce, saying "I'll call" with no intention of getting in touch again.

Women might want equality in the workplace but at the dinner table it's a different story. A huge 72% of women think that a man should foot the dinner bill, with an incredible 50% admitting they "fake offer" to pay, hoping they'll be told to put their purse away.

Women shouldn't be worried that their man might be picking up more than the bill. A promising 85% of toptable men say they would ignore a flirty waitress. But 11% of girls wouldn't trust their date alone with her, spying from a safe distance on the way back from the loo.

But are the ladies on to something? A shocking 8% of men admitted they would get the waitresses' number while their date's back was turned.

Surprisingly, a generous 75% of toptable's male diners think the priciest dish on the menu is the way to a woman's heart. While just 2% of women choose the lobster, the rest are torn between the full fat option (66%), or keeping the diet in check with the healthy option (32%).

But while 66% of women think men love a girl with a healthy appetite, only a surprising 20% of men like to see their date enjoying the full three courses. On the bright side, this is good news for the 5% of women who won't order dessert for fear of piling on the weight, compared to the 34% who will just "have a bite" of their date's dessert (this practice annoys 4% of men).

When it comes to a tipple blokes aren't afraid to take charge either -- 44% are happy to choose a bottle of wine (the more expensive the better according to just over half the ladies).

"Dining in Britain may have come along leaps and bounds in the last ten years, but in a modern world of social networking and internet relationships, old fashioned values at the dinner table still apply," says Michelle Smith, editor of http://www.toptable.co.uk.

"Our survey shows the great British public live up to their stereotype of being reserved and prudish in public when it comes to matters of the heart."

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Tess Tucker
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