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Thread: The Concept of "Dating"

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    The Concept of "Dating"

    I'm curious about the cultural differences about this concept. I've often read it's an American vs. European concept.

    Dating explained by Wikipedia:

    Dating is a stage of romantic or sexual relationships in humans whereby two or more people meet socially, possibly as friends or with the aim of each assessing the other's suitability as a prospective partner in a more committed intimate relationship or marriage. It can be a form of courtship consisting of social activities done by the couple. The protocols and practices of dating, and the terms used to describe it, vary considerably from country to country and over time. While the term has several meanings, the most frequent usage refers to two or more people exploring whether they are romantically or sexually compatible by participating in dates with the other. With the use of modern technology, people can date via telephone or computer or meet in person.

    This term may also refer to two or more people who have already decided they share romantic or sexual feelings toward each other. These people will have dates on a regular basis, and they may or may not be having sexual relations. This period of courtship is sometimes seen as a precursor to engagement or marriage. Some cultures require people to wait until a certain age to begin dating, which has been a source of controversy.
    So a few question:

    Does the concept exist in your country, and how do you call it?

    Are people usually dating to find a future spouse, or do some people date casually, without strings attached?

    Is dating considered mostly going out for dinner and a movie, or is it also going on a midday picknick or a museum trip?

    When you are dating someone, are you expected to be exclusive towards them and them towards you?

    Is dating a modern concept and has it encouraged people to be more picky, make ideal partner lists and test waters excessively before making a decision like marriage and family?

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    Come to think of it, I don't think this word exists in our dictionary. You are either friends, or partners/boyfriend and girlfriend. It's mostly an American concept, especially the part about going to a bar buying someone a drink and "chatting someone up". A stranger to ask a woman out seems almost creepy, and I think that's right. Men also don't whistle at attractive women. We want to know something about the person we go out with, and make that decision after we already know something about them. Not make the decision on first sight in a bar. People usually get to know each other in a normal or casual situation - through work, studies,mutual friends, etc. so a situation they are going to be in anyway, they don't go out of their ways to "test the waters". If they eventually become friendly and very close with each other, and if there's more, they become boyfriend and girlfriend.
    Another thing is, women here don't get impressed by men with fancy cars or expensive restaurants other things they show in the movies. If we go out as friends, the man isn't expected to pay for everything. You can go out with more than one male friend, usually people go out in groups of friends, but if you start liking someone more and become his girlfriend, then obviously you are loyal to them.
    A problem is feminism. Men have become less traditional and more skeptical towards women because of it. So sometimes women are expected to make the big step and show men they're interested. But of course also by the time they already know each other through friends. It's also common and socially acceptable for women to call their male interest and not expect him to always be the one to call.
    I met my partner through mutual friends, we were friends and then became a couple.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Siebenbürgerin View Post
    So a few question:
    straight answers, I hope at least from my perspective.

    Does the concept exist in your country, and how do you call it?
    Of course it does, I currently live in the US and it is still called dating.

    Are people usually dating to find a future spouse, or do some people date casually, without strings attached?
    Both, but after all you must consider basic instincts and all that other fuzzy stuff that we call attraction and love.

    Is dating considered mostly going out for dinner and a movie, or is it also going on a midday picknick or a museum trip?
    I would consider both a date if the intention is romance, however if you are just going as friends than it is not a date it is just going as friends. I have such a friend here and we go hiking sometimes together, it is not dating, but lately she has been dating some guy and been spending her free time with him, as she should because I'm not attracted to her in a romantic way.

    When you are dating someone, are you expected to be exclusive towards them and them towards you?
    We call that "going steady" or "being exclusive" and it is usually a mutual thing that couples agree on through conversation between each other.

    Then of course there is the dreadful term we call "main squeeze" which means you could be dating several people, but you spend most of your dating time with your "main squeeze". It is a disgusting a vulgar term and I don't think I have ever used it referring to a woman I was dating, but then again I can only remember dating one girl at a time, but I doubt I would have used the term.

    Is dating a modern concept and has it encouraged people to be more picky, make ideal partner lists and test waters excessively before making a decision like marriage and family?
    I don't think it too modern of a concept. I think it helps get couples together and maybe at a earlier more fertile age. I once watched a video on YouTube about German courtships put out by two young girls from Hamburg area I think. Basically I got the idea that in Germany they don't date like we do it seemed all very complicated, I left a comment in the comment section that stated " Now I know why German birth rates are so low" I was trying to be funny. I cannot find the video again as I wanted to use it for a thread here. If I knew how to search all my YouTube comments I would find it maybe.

    My big question is in Continental Europe does the man pay for the "date" as they do in the US and England or do they "go Dutch" as we call it here and each pays for ones own food, drinks, movie or whatever?
    Life is like a fire hydrant- sometimes you help people put out their fires, but most of the time you just get peed on by every dog in the neighborhood.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blod og Jord View Post
    Another thing is, women here don't get impressed by men with fancy cars or expensive restaurants other things they show in the movies.
    I might be wrong because I'm not a woman, but when men have those things around here we call that "little man" syndrome. Also men around here drive 4X4 trucks and some men lift these trucks up very high. I have heard woman say more than once " the higher the truck, the smaller the ____". Some of the women around here are very rough to be nice, I know more than a few that chew tobacco and spit like men, wear boots, drive trucks, and even get in bar fights like men do.

    Here is an example of some of the girls around here, it is so funny because it is true

    Redneck Woman (Reality Remix)


    hm, and why am I alone again, like I need a reminder.
    Life is like a fire hydrant- sometimes you help people put out their fires, but most of the time you just get peed on by every dog in the neighborhood.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpearBrave View Post
    My big question is in Continental Europe does the man pay for the "date" as they do in the US and England or do they "go Dutch" as we call it here and each pays for ones own food, drinks, movie or whatever?
    Usually each pays for their own consumption, or we agree to alternate: I pay for dinner today, you pay next time, or I pay for dinner, you pay for the movie, or some coffee later. Like Blod og Jord said, the man isn't expected to pay especially with young men, if a woman expects them to pay, she will probably embarrass herself...

    My former boyfriend used to insist paying for everything, but he is traditional and chivalrous. He does the same however whenever he invites someone - the concept of inviting means he is the one who pays.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpearBrave View Post
    My big question is in Continental Europe does the man pay for the "date" as they do in the US and England or do they "go Dutch" as we call it here and each pays for ones own food, drinks, movie or whatever?
    It depends what stage of the relationship people are in and what generation they're part of. Usually the older men, the gentlemen and more traditional men offer to pay, while the younger generations split the bill. If it's a relationship, marriage or cohabitation they usually have common funds.

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    I think dating is a foreign and strange concept, and it could be a waste of time if you know nothing about the person.

    The more normal and natural way is to let a relationship progress. Acquaintances > friendship > relationship > marriage. That's the common sense way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blod og Jord View Post
    Come to think of it, I don't think this word exists in our dictionary.
    I think the word 'stevnemøte / stevnemøde / stefnumót' is a pretty close Scandinavian equivalent. It does sound quite formal and strict, though, and makes me picture a political convergence of some sorts, or a reunion party of old, retired biathlon enthusiasts, rather than a romantic and playful occurrence between two aspiring lovers.
    A nation is an organic thing, historically defined.
    A wave of passionate energy which unites past, present and future generations

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    Quote Originally Posted by Siebenbürgerin View Post
    Does the concept exist in your country, and how do you call it?
    Dating or rather “Jemanden daten/Auf ein Date gehen” has become pretty much the generic term for that in Germany also.

    It has mostly superseded native words for similar concepts, like Verabredung, although that’s more a generic term for a meeting, without a further clarification it refers to a date, “sich mit jemandem treffen”, though that actually only means “to meet someone”, too, Rendez-vous, originally not a German term either obviously and the, now quite archaic, Stelldichein.

    Are people usually dating to find a future spouse, or do some people date casually, without strings attached?
    It’s more common to look for a proper relationship when dating but the latter occurs, too.
    Casual dating is mostly done in clubs or via certain apps, like Tinder, though.

    Before dating, it should be clear to both parties what they look for, so that it’s not a waste of time for either but that’s not always the case, unfortunately.

    Is dating considered mostly going out for dinner and a movie, or is it also going on a midday picknick or a museum trip?
    It’s both or also anything else more “special”, like going to play mini golf if the wheather allows, which seems somewhat common here, too.
    But in the beginning it’s more usual to simply go out for dinner on a first date, then to a movie on the second etc.

    When you are dating someone, are you expected to be exclusive towards them and them towards you?
    I would say it’s generally rather expected and certainly would expect it myself but it probably depends on whom you ask.
    Other people might date several people at a time and pick the “best” from among them after a while.

    Personally I find that disgusting though because you can hardly get to know someone properly or even remember much he said if you date other people at the same time, it shows a lack of interest and respect to the dating partner.

    Is dating a modern concept and has it encouraged people to be more picky, make ideal partner lists and test waters excessively before making a decision like marriage and family?
    As I see dating just as a generic concept to get to know a partner I don’t think it’s the root cause of that problem. It is rather increased mobility, increased opportunity and lack of societal/moral restrictions on behaviour, which is to blame for that.

    In the past, people already had much fewer opportunities to look for a partner because they were restricted to a certain group geographically and also socially.
    Nowadays, people move around far easier, often have to due to work, and have a vastly increased pool of people supposedly fit for a relationship, due to the internet and resulting online dating.

    In the past, there was also social regulation at play and even if you “merely” flirted around with several people in a short time span, you were already seen as quite immoral. So you had to be careful what you do and whom to meet.
    That isn’t the case anymore in our "liberal", say, anarchic and dull, societies.

    Due to these reasons, people now rarely give people a further chance, if it doesn’t seem to fit 110% on the first date. They think, that someone better will come around eventually anyway if they simply go on other dates.
    It’s looking for absolute perfection without having to work on a relationship, which is unrealistic or even utopian but they don’t realise it.

    See also my post in “Why are you single?”.

    Quote Originally Posted by SpearBrave View Post
    Basically I got the idea that in Germany they don't date like we do it seemed all very complicated, I left a comment in the comment section that stated " Now I know why German birth rates are so low" I was trying to be funny.
    I don’t think it’s very complicated or different from the US-way among people under 40 nowadays, to be honest. If anything it seems quite bland and casual.

    Perhaps that video was about traditional forms of dating? I’d be interested to see it, in any case.

    My big question is in Continental Europe does the man pay for the "date" as they do in the US and England or do they "go Dutch" as we call it here and each pays for ones own food, drinks, movie or whatever?
    Among the younger generation it’s more usual to split the bill. Which is, in a certain way, at least honest if people apply equality to both genders. Paying for dinner originates in a time, in which women didn’t earn (much) money themselves.

    I used to take it as natural that I pay the bill even on the first date, though, if I ask a woman out. It’s simply sort of a sign from me towards her, that I’m really interested and am ready to “sacrifice” something.
    But I’ve heard a few women, not ones I dated, state flat out, that they go on dates for a free meal and, if possible, “a nice evening” without having any intention to see the man again.

    As I only look for relationships and have no intention to be leeched from, I usually don’t pay her dinner, on the first date at least, anymore, unless I’m already sure that there will be another.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bärin View Post
    The more normal and natural way is to let a relationship progress. Acquaintances > friendship > relationship > marriage. That's the common sense way.
    To be honest, I’ve made the experience that prior friendship next to never leads to a relationship, even if we exclude the more extreme cases of “the friendzone”. In a friendship you’re already past the “point of no return”. At least it seems to be that way for women, perhaps less for men.

    Instead I’d say, the usual way is acquaintances, followed by either friendship or relationship.
    And the day they sold us out, Our hearts grew cold
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    The most common term for dating in Afrikaans would be "uitgaan" (going out), so depending on the setting and context, if you ask a couple "gaan julle uit?" you could either be asking them if they're in a romantic relationship with each other, or if they're literally just leaving the house. (Yes, yes, Chlodovech, us Afrikaners speak funny redneck Dutch.)

    The Anglos here will mostly use the same terms as the Americans, although I haven't heard an SA Anglo talk of being "exclusive". They'll say "official" when things get serious enough.

    Anglos and Afrikaners' dating behaviour and expectations are the same. When it comes to exclusivity I would also say it's "generally expected" when you're dating, but ultimately a bit of a gray area depending on the person and how the dates have been going and how it all started.

    The social expectation is that men pay, but it's just as strong a social expectation that women don't show they expect it, and offer to pay their part.

    My opinion on dates is that the expectation of men paying makes dates something to avoid, because it implies the man are paying for the woman's time, i.e. the woman's time is more important, which start things off on the wrong foot. It's an immediate "beta move". Rather ask the girl to come along doing something inexpensive, like hiking or rowing. If she doesn't believe she might enjoy just spending time with the guy in question, he won't be able to bribe her into believing it anyway.

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