Dating in America Means

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Dating in America Means

What Does Dating Mean?

A talk I had with an Austrian couple was one of the most memorable moments of my six-month journey around Western Europe. The lady of the duo inquired, “How long have you been together?” after only a few minutes of meeting in an Irish pub “So, is dating a Hollywood construct? Is it true that Americans go on… dates? What exactly is a ‘date?'”

What struck me the most was that many languages lack a name for what we call “dating” in North America, and that few cultures around the world actually “date.”

So, what does dating entail? And how do other people get to know each other before making a commitment, having casual sex, or doing something else? These were the most important problems that my friends at home had, so I set out to find solutions.

To begin, I needed to think of a way to express what I do for a living. I call myself a dating columnist in North America. It’s simple; almost everyone understands what it implies, and if they’re still unsure, I tell them, “Do you remember Carrie from Sex in the City? I’m similar to her, but she worked for the Post and I worked for the New York Times.” People nod and then ask me their most pressing dating questions.

A dating columnist, on the other hand, does not exist in France. Despite the fact that I’ve been a semi-fluent French speaker since my youth, most French, Belgian, and Swiss people I encountered were bewildered when I tried to explain what I performed. “On sort ensemble” (loosely translated: “we go out together”) is something you’d say in Quebec, but no one said anything similar in France. “I give dating advice to couples,” worked for a while, but most people didn’t comprehend how or why I had a career. This perplexed me because I receive thousands of emails each week from people asking how to persuade a guy to contact them back, whether a woman is interested, or whether they should split up. I am able to

So What is a Date?

A date, like art, in (most of) North America comprises of intention. You’re on a date if your goal is to get to know the other person in preparation for a prospective love relationship. Dating is the process of getting to know someone. Hooking up, friends with benefits, casual dating, and a slew of additional options are now available. None of these, however, are “dating.” There’s no wooing, and there’s no way to tell if you’re romantically or long-term compatible. You’re just bumping the naughty bits, which is why we North Americans have so many different labels for what is essentially a sexual connection with no strings connected.

In North America, there is an absurd amount of social pressure to have sex, for men to have “more” partners, and for women to emotionally detach and make it “acceptable.” Almost everyone in their mid-20s to mid-30s I met in Europe had had one, maybe two, long-term relationships and possibly one casual one-night affair. In North America, everyone I know? I’m not sure how many I’ve lost track of.

So, let’s call dating what it is: a technique to get to know a complete stranger in order to determine if they are a long-term romantic partner. It’s not an excuse to “try out the product” or “wait and see how I feel in six months.” It’s basically just a strategy for getting to know someone before physically bonding with them, and it’s a very smart one at that.

Not that I have anything against folks who want to have casual sex because it’s a healthy way to release sexual energy and connect. I’m only arguing that we should call dating what it is, and everything else, well, whatever it is.

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