Every year, thousands of Americans leave the US to live abroad. Many are families, but many others are single men and women. The easiest time to move thousands of miles away, of course, is when you're young and still unencumbered by children and spouses (and mortgages).
Of course, that means dating becomes pretty complicated when you’re living abroad, where many of the customs and expectations are a little different. Even if you’re not living abroad, you may encounter 'foreigners' who catch your eye, but you aren’t sure about how to proceed.
We asked George Eves of Expat Info Desk, a comprehensive online information resource for expats worldwide, for some Valentine’s Day dating tips from around the world. Here are eight:
- Japan -- Don't be surprised if your Japanese male date mentions his salary more than once during the first date. It's his way of showing that he can care for his date. Also, always be exactly on time. Being late on a date is considered extremely rude and you're unlikely to see your date again.
- Australia -- It isn't unusual for women to ask men out and pay for the date too. And men have no problem to ask a woman out via text messaging.
- China -- Single men and women tend to live with their parents until they get married. So don't resist his invitation to meet with his parents very quickly after your first date: this will inevitably happen if you want to visit the place where he lives. Also Valentine's Day is observed religiously, so be ready for flowers, chocolate boxes in the shape of hearts, romantic restaurants, etc. ...
- Middle East/Islamic Nations -- Remember that in most countries of the Middle East, sex is illegal before marriage, and touching, cuddling, and kissing are better done at home than in public. Though expat women may benefit from more freedom than local women, discretion should remain your motto when it comes to dating in these countries.
- France -- Dates are quite informal and rarely organized as official dates with an exact date, location, and a clear message that "this is a date." Most of the time, people meet as part of a group. Also, kissing is serious: there is no prescribed time frame, but when you kiss a man on the lips, it means that you intend him to be your boyfriend.
- Italy -- For most Italian men, their mother is sacred, so avoid criticizing her. Also, don't take any flirting comment as an invitation to date: it's common practice on the street but also at work to receive "insisting" compliments that would sometimes be considered as sexual harassment elsewhere, such as the US. This doesn't mean that the man has any intention to invite you on a date.
- Germany -- Avoid saying things just to be nice if you don't mean it. German men take quite literally what you tell them. And don't ask a question (about your weight, your new outfit, your friends, etc.) if you're not ready to hear the truth. Finally avoid small talk; most German men will consider you superficial.
- Russia -- This is the country of male chivalry (at least during dates ...), so expect doors to be held and dates to be paid for. Tip: don't even try to open your wallet if you don't want to offend him. And don't fear that he's expecting something in return; this is (most of the time) not the case. In return, never take the word "casual" too seriously: As a woman, you will be expected to wear makeup, high heels, and feminine outfits more or less 24/7.
So now if you single ladies travel, you will know how to date!
Do you know of any interesting dating customs?
Image via ToastyKen/Flickr