Dating Manners Across Different Cultures
1. United States of America
“Are we dating or just hooking up?”
American dating culture is of course very diverse based on which part of the USA you live in and while certain parts tend to be more conservative in general American dating culture tends to be a lot more casual. Most Americans meet in bars, clubs, dating apps and are not necessarily with the intent to get serious asap but more for fun. So the couple will go out a few times (a bigger percentage of first dates don’t follow the traditional approach of who invites is the one that pays and the couple tends to go dutch - meaning split the bill). Is perfectly normal for women to initiate the dates, they are very open-minded and marriage is not always the end goal of dating even if the word love is quite often used very early, from within the first dates. Having sex is not directly related to dating someone and until the conversation of being exclusive happens, the situation can get a bit confusing for most in regards to “are we dating or just hooking up”. Moving in with someone without the prospect of marriage is very common and accepted in American culture. Even if in some countries parents involvement is higher, in American culture the family influence, especially for the beginning of the relationship, is zero to minimal. Public displays of affection (PDAs) are also accepted. Kissing and hugging in public is a common sight when couples meet each other.
“We couldn’t talk about PDAs and not bring up Brazil. It’s nearly impossible to travel to Brazil and avoid witnessing some passionate kissing action. ”
Brazilians enjoy showing affection and kissing on first dates is normal. Relationships are happening on a much faster pace. Dancing, touching is more, personal space is less and as opposed to the USA, you don’t even need to date before making your relationship official… is “official” from the start. Men from Brazil, similar to most Latin-American countries have the pressure of being considered “a macho” so if one wouldn’t go pursue a woman they like, their male friends would make sure that they regret it so expects a lot of flirting walking through the roads of Brazil especially during Carnival. Brazil has no stigma connected to online dating apps like in other cultures. Hook-ups are normal, especially during Carnival. If your date is late or asks you out with a very spontaneous last-minute call don’t be annoyed as the dating culture tends to be much more laid back here. But at the same time more traditional as the man is more likely to insist on taking the bill in Latin American cultures.
3. United Kingdom
For those of you who dream of Prince Charming coming from a British background, that perfect gentleman swooping you off with his chivalry…. I am sorry but the dating culture in the UK is actually much more similar to the USA casual dating culture as the norm so the British gentlemen are on the way to extinction.
Most first dates take place in a pub and generally involve drinking…sometimes a lot of drinking. Casual sex on the first date is not the rarest occurrence but is also not the norm.
Parents involvement in the dating life of their children tends to be even less than in most American families.
In India, arranged marriages are definitely not a thing of the past and the modern twist to that are the dating apps. There are many dating apps strictly designed for the Indian dating scene but here is the catch…the dating apps are for parents to match their children. Once a match happens based on multiple considerations of finance, religion, casts… is followed by calculations of the birth dates of the two potential partners matching, auspicious dates, numerology, family compatibility before a first date (which sometimes happens during your wedding day). Dating in Indian is an entire science and a community effort. You are definitely not left alone and things are not left to chance.
Dating culture is generally always with the idea of marriage in mind and Indian culture has definitely never warmed up to the idea of casual dating.
Despite Indian men being very good at bargaining, once they date they tend to be extremely generous with their women and take a very traditional role of protector and provider of the home. In Indian dating culture, there is this concept that women have to always be wooed and pampered.
Dating in France can be so casual that French do not even have a word for date….but rather a translation for “seeing someone” … Most first dates actually happen in groups. But French people also manage to avoid the dreaded talk in which a couple has to "define" the relationship — AKA the USA conversation where we decide if we are exclusive. For the French, the mere act of going on dates (or, rather, "seeing someone"), being affectionate generally means that you're committed to someone. French tend to be a lot more romantic in dating so if a French feels like this is serious and finds out you are seeing another in the same time the reaction can sometimes be disastrous. Love is a serious thing in France. 6. Russia
In general dating culture in Russia and across Eastern Europe is much more old-fashioned as gender roles remain quite clearly defined. On a date Russian men are expected to be highly courteous, holding doors, helping with coats, taking the bill and bringing flowers …always in odd numbers. It is thought that the woman completes the bouquet with her beauty, as opposed to an even number, that is only taken to the dead. Russian men tend to be very generous from the beginning and marriage and moral values are definitely engraved in the dating culture. There are no strict rules on how fast or slow the relationship leads to marriage. In response women are expected to be very loyal, very affectionate and supportive; also the physical aspect of a woman counts much more. Women put a lot more value on their aspect, on femininity. Do not be surprised if a Russian or Eastern European woman will start bringing up her cooking skills or qualities of a traditional wife in the conversation sometimes (again not all women nor all men will be the same…I personally have no cooking skills…the reason why my father believes I am still not married at 32) 7. JAPAN
Like many Asian cultures, dating isn’t taken lightly nor is it very high on people’s vision boards until late in life and even then relationships are quite strained under the pressure of society, financial stability, commitments, career, education. First dates in Japan are very different from the Western world where two people meet for a movie, or a coffee or dinner. First dates usually happen in a group meeting – or goukon. PDAs are frowned upon and the most you could expect from your Japanese partner at the end of a wonderful romantic date might be a stiff hug. Tokyo Psychoterapits Dr Ana Maloyan-Kishida explained that "Ways in which feelings, and love, in particular, are expressed in Japanese dating culture can lead to frustration. Foreigners expect more direct verbal expression and physical contact, whereas the Japanese partner may not feel comfortable with this kind of expression. Nonverbal communication, subtle signs are highly valued in Japan and if they are not noticed by the Western partner, frustration and resentment follow" However, the Japanese take dating very seriously and the point of dating is to get married. Many couples don’t even start their relationship until they say “I love you” – or kokuhaku (confession of love and/or interest)- so you are never left wondering for too long in Japanese dating culture. 8. China
Now, ladies, China might be the place to be if you are planning to get married. As of 2016, there has been a significant gender imbalance within the country and that was one of the reasons why the one child per family rule was cancelled. Since parents chose to keep only boy children slowly the demographics have started to look worrying. Because of this, actual “dating schools” for men have begun to form in China, according to the New York Times. The pressure of getting married in Chinese culture is higher than most other countries and marriage markets are common. This is where parents take their daughters’ pictures in order to find a spouse. If you reached the 30s you are actually considered as “leftover” in Chinese culture which creates a lot of pressure on the young people. Parents, therefore, are very involved in the dating scene. The younger generations are actually the first ones to even have a choice in whom their partner will so be patient. Certain aspects are still quite traditional and the man is usually the one who is traditionally supposed to make all decisions so you might find Chinese women not so comfortable with the question “what should we do for our first date?” While in the West the rule is to play it cool and not call for 1-3days, in China is common to text and call multiple times a day sometimes, even from the very beginning of the relationship. 9. Iceland
For those of you who don’t know, Iceland is a very small country and its geographical location has definitely kept the country isolated from major outside influences. So the chances of learning how true Vikings date are high when visiting Iceland. A first interesting fact is a fact that dating is not traditionally practised, nor the pressure of labelling a relationship. One night stands are common but here is why. Iceland is so small that the chances of bumping into someone you know or are related to are high, so as soon as you go out is official and then people will start commenting if they see you on five first dates a month with five different people. Iceland is so small that they developed an app called “islendigaapp” for “incest prevention” allowing users to bump their phones together and find out if they are related before hooking up. Also, the idea that a man should make the first move does not apply in Iceland where is common for women to also make the first move in approaching a man. Ok, guys now don’t all rush to Iceland.
Ok…I couldn’t leave this one out as UAE is referred to the Vegas of the Middle East. Now the UAE is special because of its cosmopolitan aspect. First of all traditionally and officially dating in UAE is not part of the culture and premarital sex is technically illegal in the region. But let’s not forget that foreigners represent more than 85% of the UAE’s population. Tourists, residents in a shorter or longer planned transit in their career and life makes this a melting pot of cultures and while meeting someone new is easy, dating is not easy. Society is very much bachelors’ oriented, dating happens most often in the mall and meeting someone happens most often on dating apps as residents find themselves too busy to sort through single and committed or tourists vs residents. So like Vegas, like Bali, like most places that are flooded with tourism, dating is not the fairytale portrayed in magazines and media but more like gambling and hoping for the best. So expect a lot of trust issues from both genders. If you would like me to continue the list of countries or talk about one in particular please leave me a comment here or on any of my social media pages attached and I hope you enjoyed reading this article. May love, fill your hearts regardless of language, religion, culture, race and any other society imposed boundaries. Always be kind,
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