Date Culture

Dating customs, intercultural dating, interracial dating, worldwide romance!

How do we Find Love? Dating Rituals across the Globe

26th January 2010

How does culture affect the way we date? Dating really can have a different meaning depending on where you are – whether it’s an organised and supervised meeting or a frivolous, wine-fuelled meal.

Dating means something different in every culture. Etiquette, expectations, pace and motivations vary hugely from place to place. The Western world, for example, would term the dating rituals of less liberal societies, such as India, Korea and Pakistan as old fashioned and out-dated. But we can only hope that the overall aim is the same: to find love, happiness and eventually a life-long partner.

In most cases, the differences are due to the extent of both religious faith and parental control, which considerably affect the ease around the customs of dating. Arranged marriages, as practiced in India, Pakistan, and parts of Africa mean that the choice of partner has already been made by the couple’s parents, and although some parents allow dating after a decision has been reached, it has a very different emphasis. The couple know that they will marry regardless. In Iran, dating is actually illegal. Families arrange supervised meetings between their marriageable youngsters. These ‘dates’ are yet again different.

America seems to be where the conventional and most widely agreed meaning of the ‘date’ originates. In this more relaxed society it is not surprising that dating customs are far removed from parental control and religious traditions. Many Hollywood movies depict ‘dates’ usually in restaurants or bars with an endless political dispute over who should pay. Dating seems to be a way to test a potential partner before commitment is made and to decide whether they are compatible. The television series Sex and the City often depicted dating as far removed from committed relationships, with lead Carrie dating several men at one time, with some dates even leading to one-night-stands.

In the UK, dating is different again. Asking someone on a date is very rare and people will tend to interact in groups and hide the fact that they like someone until they either summon enough courage, or get drunk enough, to admit it. After that, there are ‘dates’ but the emphasis again becomes different as a lot of the embarrassment of the situation has been diluted by that first moment of intoxication.

The recent rise in popularity of dating online (here’s one such story), however, could mean a reform for the dating culture especially in the UK. Here, instead of meeting people in clubs and bars, situations often fuelled by alcohol; people who are looking to find love and are interested in commitment can find each other without having to wade through the mass of unworthy philanderers. Because nowadays, we really don’t have the time to look!

So, even though dating varies widely across the globe, online dating could be changing the overall emphasis, particularly in Western culture. Finding love could become far easier in every corner of the world…

Comments are closed.