The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fantasy folk, magic moment
- GenX votes: the who, what, where of a walk in wonderland

A dream date in a dream setting not far from home, with no full stops. Choose who you want to, pick the not-so-faraway place you've been eyeing, ride the dreamboat you've been dying to, do exactly what your heart desires'

An opinion poll for Metro on Sunday, conducted by Mode, reveals that young Calcuttans are perfectly capable of scripting their theme for a dream date with both care and dare, mixing practical pursuits with a spirit of adventure.

Go with globalisation or the cable boom, but dating as a concept has taken roots in the minds of our young and restless. If you thought the Calcuttan remains a frog in the well, don't. For once the viewless wings of a poll come into play, the choice set of partners is not restricted to boyfriends and girlfriends. Instead, it soars beyond boundaries and picks popular personalities, both local and global, actors and politicians, sporting icons and academic gurus.

According to the survey ' conducted among 205 young adults, in the age group of 18 to 25 ' only 19.6 per cent of male respondents instinctively associate their girl friends with a dream date.

If you've raised one eyebrow, quick, raise the other. For, just 12.6 per cent of women top-of-the-mind respondents want to be escorted by their boyfriends on that perfect date.

Probe further, give them a choice of celebrities on their arms, ask them again whose company would make the date the best in their lives and get a glimpse of a generation struck on stars.

For men, girlfriends lose further ground to the Ashs and J.Los, slipping to 17.6 per cent on the preference scale. Slightly more women stand by their men after squaring them off against the Tom Cruises and Shah Rukh Khans ' the boyfriends' stock in an aided questionnaire rises to around 15 per cent!

Sup with celebs

If there is one thing the opinion poll 'conducted across some leading college and university campuses ' clearly throws up, it is that celebrities and role models rule life beyond reality.

If the young Calcutta man wants belly-button-baring Madonna for a quiet boat ride down the Hooghly or Maria Sharapova by his side for dinner at a city restaurant, the young Calcutta woman refuses to limit herself to the local, sifting her way through Sean Connery and Shah Rukh Khan.

Taking a break from the mind-boggling diversity of the suitable man or woman, let's delve into democracy and announce the winners by numbers.

For a dream date, the top three choices for men are Aishwarya Rai, Preity Zinta and Jennifer Lopez. The top date draws for women are Tom Cruise, Sachin Tendulkar and Amitabh Bachchan.

If the opinion poll highlights the star-stuck quotient, it also throws into sharp profile the difference in tastes and preferences between she and he.

For him, 'looks, personality and sex appeal' are the three most important attributes. So, the list of longing ranges from Cameron Diaz to Sonia Gandhi and Halle Berry to Anna Kournikova.

But for women, the priorities are 'personality, talent and charisma', in that order. So, finance minister P. Chidambaram and economist Amartya Sen make a somewhat surprise entry on popularity charts, brushing erudite shoulders with hunks like Brad Pitt and John Abraham.

Speak and splurge

What's dating without a memorable outing' The respondents were asked to mention their preferred destinations in and around the city. The straitjacketed answers ' from a boat ride on the Hooghly to time spent on the Maidan to a night in at a disco ' highlight how horribly bereft of choices young lovebirds in town are.

Words are still all we have to take hearts away, as a dangling conversation with the dream date emerges as the top answer for both men (34 per cent) and women (71 per cent) when asked to list their plan of action. Topics of discussion stretch from romantic tales to career prospects.

There's a crown for consumerism, too, with a long drive in luxury sedans (Mercedes Benz and Ferrari being the wheels of wish) ending with a dinner date at a star hotel.

And the budget' With P. Chidambaram making just a guest appearance, splurge is the smart card. Around 50 per cent of respondents would be carrying Rs 5,000 or more for the dream date. And around 11 per cent would prefer plastic to avoid any ceiling on spending.

Sweet dreams, after all, are made of these.

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