As a traveler, you may have had the experience of dating someone from another country – someone with different customs and traditions. I’ll admit, I have. And the truth is it comes with many exciting perks fueled by the desire to discover the unknown as well as frequent misunderstandings.
Here are some observations and tales of my own and of my girlfriends, country by country.
I was once on a date with an Argentine guy. We went to a bar where we ran into some friends. When the tab came, there was a bit of a mix-up. And my date ended up paying for more than just the two of us. Later that week I asked him, how much he paid that night.
And he responsed by saying, “Don’t ever ask a man about money.”
His comment was so absurd and surprising to me, my immediate reaction was to laugh out loud. And I explained that in my country we are not so sexist about money. And to his credit, a few hours later he told me how much he paid.
A friend of mine lived in Japan for three years, teaching English. While there, she had a local boyfriend. And she discovered that an integral part of Japanese culture made it hard for her to have a real relationship with the guy.
Generally speaking, in younger crowds in Japan, if another person states anything of opinion you are obliged to respond positively. It is seen as a common courtesy. Specifically, you are to respond with an “ehhhhh”. Which is sort of like our “ohhhh.”
But for my friend having to respond positively to everything he said, whether she agreed with him or not, felt disingenuous.
She said that dating was most like, “Ehhhhh. Ok, when are we going to make-out?”
In Paris, the rules of dating are just plain different than in the US. First of all, the word, “date,” doesn’t exist in French – at least not in the sense that Americans mean it.
Generally speaking, in France if you make it to the one-on-one date you are already an exclusive item! Often times, people meet through friends and get to know each other in group-settings. But if a girl says yes to dinner alone – you are also saying that you want him as your boyfriend.
For a country with a reputation of promiscuity this came as quite the surprise! Oh and, multiple dates with different guys in one week is a no-no.
Most girlfriends of mine who have dated guys from Mexico find them to have a sweet vulnerability unlike men from other places. But they tend to jump in, head-first, getting serious rather quickly. And they often want to be part of every little corner of your life. One girlfriend of mine used to refer to her guy as a stage-5-clinger! Harsh, I know.
Oh the Italians! I am not sure there is ANY other nationality that knows how to make a girl feel swooned after. They fall in LOVE LOVE LOVE so quickly! And they are so good at saying all those things a girl wants to hear.
But before you finish that eye-roll, they are not always all-talk. Many really do worship their women. Maybe it’s something to do with how close the mother-son relationship is for many Italians.
What about you? Have you dated someone from another culture? What cultural differences did you encounter?
Please note, I am not trying to stereotype or generalize about all people of these nationalities – although I am sure it may have seemed that way. I mean this in good humor. All the views above are based on my narrow experience and those of my friends. So, please! Tell me about yours.