One hobby for women shows up in both guys’ top and bottom rankings.

It’s often said that everyone needs a hobby, but the flipside is that one person’s source of joy can be something that someone else doesn’t need, or want, in their life at all. That’s an issue that becomes especially important in romantic relationships, since a hobby is both the a reflection of a person’s interests and passions, and also a predictor of how they’re likely to spend their limited amounts of time and money.

Japanese online dating portal Matching App University recently polled its users to see what sort of hobbies make a person more, or less, attractive as a potential dating partner, compiling a set of top five lists from response from 215 people (122 men and 93 women) aged 18 to 40. Let’s take a look at the results.

● Hobbies that women find attractive for a man to have
1. “Gourmet” and tabearuki (chosen by 33 percent of women)
2. Cooking (29 percent)
3. Watching movies (28 percent)
4. Travel (23.7 percent)
5. Listening to music (22.6 percent)

▼ If this is your point of view, you just might be on a date with a statistically attractive guy

Starting with attractive hobbies for guys to have, there’s a little linguistic unpacking to do for the top pick, which in Japanese was a combination of gurume and tabearuki. Coming from the French/English “gourmet,” gurume doesn’t have quite as fancy and expensive connotation as “gourmet,” but it still implies extensive knowledge about regional-specialty cuisine, hidden-gem restaurants, and the like. The term tabearuki is made up of the Japanese words for “eat” and “walk,” and refers to strolling around a neighborhood and sampling its best eating options, whether cafe-hopping or hitting up a series of street stalls selling unique or locally characteristic foods.

● Hobbies that men find attractive for a woman to have
1. Cooking (chosen by 36.1 percent of men)
2. Watching movies (31.1 percent)
3. Video games (23 percent)
4. Manga (18 percent)
5. Liking animals (17.2 percent)

The survey’s male respondents seem to be looking a little ahead in the relationship, with more of a focus on cozy, at-home activities than out-and-about date candidates. Going to the movies looks like a mutually pleasing option for both guys and gals, though, and while “liking animals” is a little vague as far as hobbies go, with Japan’s wide assortment of cat and other animal-themed cafes, zoos, and aquariums, it presents a number of potential date ideas too.

● Hobbies that women find unattractive for a man to have
1. Pachinko/slot machines (76.3 percent)
2. Mahjong (53.8 percent)
3. Drinking/alcohol (22.6 percent)
4. Video games (14 percent)
5. Paintball/airsoft (12.9 percent)

If you’re wondering why the top two responses here aren’t lumped together as just “gambling,” it’s because, technically, pachinko, slot machines, and mahjong aren’t classified as gambling, since that would be illegal under Japanese regulations. Instead, Japan’s countless pachinko/slot machine parlors give winners commemorative decorative prizes (which, it just so happens, a mysterious window in a building wall around the corner will pay cash for), and mahjong parlors are ostensibly just places for like-minded enthusiasts of the game itself to gather and play (if those players decide, among themselves, to give the game’s big winner some money when they’re done, that’s not the parlor’s fault at all, the wink-wink logic goes). Of course, pachinko and mahjong are, in practice, gambling, so between the financial risks and seedy gray legality it’s not shocking that both were seen as red flags.

Moving down the list, though Japan is pretty accepting of alcoholic consumption, many of the female survey respondents don’t see it as a plus for a guy once it reaches full-blown hobby status. Semantics might be in play here, since just “alcohol” can sound like it’s putting the primary emphasis on simply getting drunk, instead of an appreciation for the qualities and culture of a specific type of drink, like, say, if one’s hobby were “wine.” General “drinking” can also be a very time-and-money-consuming hobby in Japan, since it often involves groups of friends going to multiple pubs in the same night, sometimes spending hours at each one, Drinking as a guy’s hobby probably also picked up a few no-thank-you votes since some guys’ drinking takes place at hostess bars, which aren’t the sort of place most women want their boyfriends hanging out at.

Video games showing here probably won’t make the guys who voted for it as an attractive hobby for a woman happy. Finally, paintball and airsoft, are both definitely niche hobbies in Japan, ones that involve buying a lot of specialized equipment and long trips out to specialized venues, meaning there’s a lot of time and expense for something most people have no interest in, plus at least one female survey respondent was of the sentiment that “I’m a pacifist, so I can’t accept that hobby.”

● Hobbies that men find unattractive for a woman to have
1. Drinking/alcohol (32.8 percent)
2. Cosmetics (26.2 percent)
3. Fashion, shopping (20.5 percent)
4. Video games (13.9 percent)
5. Scuba diving/marine sports (13.1 percent)

With pachinko and mahjong being predominantly male hobbies, drinking is at the top of the unattractive-to-guys list, and with a slightly higher rate of response than in the unattractive-to-women list, perhaps bolstered by guys fearful of having to pay for a girl’s high-priced date-oriented cocktails.

Cosmetics might seem a little surprising, seeing as how makeup is considered an important part of the female grooming process in Japan. Cosmetics reaching full-on hobby status might conjure up images of someone using a lot of product, though, while more natural-looking makeup tends to be considered the more attractive style in Japan. Likewise, fashion and shopping seems a bit of a headscratcher for a country in which a well-sorted outfit is almost always appreciated, but odds are the survey’s male participants have images of dates that are just hours-long treks through clothing stores and standing around awkwardly alone as she tries things on.

Scuba and marine sports (paddleboarding, surfing, etc.) is probably a similar situation to paint ball on the unattractive-to-women list, in that it’s a costly, often travel-requiring hobby that a lot of people have no personal interest in. Maybe the most interesting part of the results though, is how playing video games managed to end up on both the most-attractive-to-men and the least-attractive-to-men lists, showing that while gaming has become a much more common hobby for both men and women in recent years, it’s still not universally loved.

All that said, the same hobby showing up in both the top and bottom five rankings really does show that ultimately, the important thing is whether or not two individual people can share, or at least accept, each other’s interests. Still, if you’re playing the percentages, it might be a good idea to focus on your non-boozy hobbies if you want to make a positive first impression.

Source: PR Times via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso (1, 2, 3, 4)
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