September 9, 2011

American Dating versus International Courtship

The other night I went to dinner with a couple of new friends, both of which are successful, beautiful women who've lived all over the world. One was French, married, and works as an international television producer. The other is American, single, beautiful, and happens to be a brilliant scientist who does work with NASA studying the possibility of life on Mars and such. In the midst of our fancy conversation, we turned the topic to dating.

"American dating is so strange," says Frenchie.
The scientist nods in agreement.
"How so?" I ask.

Frenchie then discusses the steps that Americans take in dating.

"In France, things are much more simple," she explains with hints of her gorgeous accent. "You meet someone at a party and there's no sense of trying to figure out if you're going to be with that person. You're just meeting them and maybe you'll be friends. Then maybe you go for coffee. Just coffee. And that doesn't mean you're with that person. Maybe you're just friends. No pressure. And then maybe you'll meet again and see where things happen."
"It's organic," I suggest.
"Yes, very," she says. "And there's just a friendship that develops. And eventually there is the kiss."
The scientist and I exchange a look, both seeming to want more information.
"That kiss," Frenchie says, "is so important. Once you kiss, that's the beginning. That means you're together. That's when things really start to happen and the relationship is established."

This led us to the comparison of American dating.
Frenchie mentioned how American men would ask her to meet for dinner and she - assuming that the meetup was simply a meetup - would immediately have an uncomfortable feeling when she arrived at a restaurant with low lighting and romantic music in the background. "They looked at me and thought I was the kind of person they'd want for a girlfriend, but how would they know that before they'd even gotten to know me?"

Her analysis has gotten me thinking about American dating and then tendency for many of us (at least it was for me) to be in such a mode of "searching" for someone that we miss the opportunity of really getting to know someone before deciding whether they're a perfect fit for us.
Could we learn something from the French? I mean, they did teach us how to kiss, right? Maybe they could teach us a little something about love and dating too.

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