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We have all heard the old-school adage, "Never talk about politics, sex, religion, or money when you are in polite company or among strangers," and I think most people (when they aren't on Facebook) adhere to this tradition of etiquette.

With arguably the most divisive presidential election in the history of America just days away, those who are heading out for first and second dates this week might be considering posting a sign on their forehead that says, "Discuss politics at your own risk."

But a recent survey indicates that sticking to safe topics is becoming the less popular choice for singles out on a first date. According to the survey, 80 percent of the 5,500 American singles surveyed said that politics, religion, and money were all fair game on a first date and that talking about politics increases your chances of a second date by 91 percent.

The rationale here, according to scientific adviser Dr. Helen Fisher, is that talking about any political issue showcases your smarts.'s survey revealed that coming across as "in the know" and intelligent is of high importance among daters. In fact, 35 percent of singles reported that they will not go out with someone who “doesn’t have any opinion on key political issues.”   

According to the same survey, 79 percent of singles don’t have a problem dating someone from a different political party, and only 6 percent of dating singles felt it necessary that their partner have the same political beliefs. So you might be on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but chances are your date is not going to care that much.

Dr. Fisher also says that a "look-and-see"—meaning a date that lasts forty-five minutes to an hour—is the ideal scenario for a first date. All you need is a second to identify whether this person fits the criteria of your love map, or template for sexual attraction, and one drink is plenty of time for all that.

If you do want to date someone who shares your political beliefs—which to be honest, most of the women I know do—a lively discussion about the political climate today may help you decide if this is the guy for you.

At the end of the day, I think we all gain something by allowing ourselves to be a little more authentic with the people we meet. A first date doesn’t have to be an interrogation, as Dr. Fisher explains. We already pick up everything we need to know about basic attraction in the first few seconds, so what’s the harm in throwing out a question that both lets your date know you are thoughtful and intelligent and identifies potential key areas of compatibility?

Photo Credit: Greg Finck