Dating The _____ Way: Dating Customs Around the World

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Birds do it. Bees do it. Even educated fleas do it. But the way they do it in different countries is very, very different. Here’s a glimpse into what it’s like to find Mr. or Mrs. Right in one of these five countries with distinctive dating practices.

Country: South Korea

south koreaDating Difference: Korean men tend to be pretty forward when they like someone. It’s typical for him to call a woman the first day he meets her and send endless text messages. Since most Koreans are well into their university years when they start dating, there are love hotels where they can go to get some privacy, reports the blog EatYourKimchi.com.

Biggest Shocker: The ways things work in courtship and the actual relationship are almost polar opposite. Chris Walker-Bush, an Australian who spent time teaching English in Korea, writes on his blog Aussie on the Road that it’s common to see Korean men carry around their girlfriend’s purse while out shopping, but that’s not likely to continue into marriage. While the man may be a bit docile and accommodating to the woman while dating, the woman slips into a traditional subservient role once the deal is closed.

Country: China

china flagDating Difference: China is a country of extremes, with modern cities surrounded by the old, rural ways of life. And the dating space also shows these competing interests. Women in China are now more educated, but very traditional Chinese men may still want women “beneath them,” who are less educated and more subservient, reports a story on ChinaDaily.com. Still, it’s not all in favour of the men – a Chinese guy will still try to treat his woman to meals and outings.

Biggest Shocker: For those too busy to look for a date in some Chinese cities, they can get handwritten ads clipped up in public areas like parks – by their grandparents. Yes, Chinese elders help out their younger family members by looking for love for them.

Country: Iran

iran flagDating Difference: The Islamic country is at a crossroads when it comes to dating customs. Women still cover their faces and the genders cannot mix freely in public. Yet a form of online dating has emerged in the country, as reported in a February 2009 Al Jazeera article, and a concept of temporary marriage has taken hold as a stand-in for relationships. Nearly 60 percent of the population here is younger than 30, and the new mindset is that it’s smart to sample the goods before buying.

Biggest Shocker: Some may appreciate the cut-and-dry nature of online dating in Iran. The agency is operated by clerics and there’s not much time to “see where things go.” Those who use the service get three meetings, two of which are supervised. If the couples mesh, they get a third meeting, after which they have one of two choices: marry or never meet again.

Country: France

Dating Difference: The French seem to have perfected the art of “non-dating” dating. You meet people and date in groups, not one-on-one.

“As a general rule, dating in France barely exists,” says Lindsey T., an American who lives in Paris and is married to a Frenchman. “From the moment you express interest in one another and kiss, it can be assumed you’re in a relationship.”

Girls who complain about the fade-away will be happy to know that it doesn’t happen much in France. Men and women will clearly state their interest and disinterest. Men also rarely play hard to get.

“I think if you don’t want to be boyfriend-girlfriend and the French guy is into you, the normal hints — putting off plans, vague texts — might not get the message across,” says Leonora E., who lived and dated in Paris for a year.

Biggest Shocker: Even though this is the land of fast hook-ups and romance, many French still frown upon women pursing men, as highlighted in the article “French Women Don’t Date” on France Today. This means even if you’re just trying to be friendly, a Frenchman might take it as an invitation to get in your pants.

Country: Australia

Dating Difference: The “no worries” mindset that applies to many things in the Land Down Under has extended to dating. There’s less focus on “defining” your relationship status. For anyone who hates courtship via text, stay out of Oz — nearly half of Aussie men say it’s OK to ask a woman out this way, according to a survey in the Courier Mail.

“Australian men are more laid back when it comes to dating,” says Kate, an American living in Sydney. “They don’t seem to pressure women into decisions or situations like American men do.”

Biggest Shocker: Despite the laid-back approach, some Aussie men think you shouldn’t leave the house without a full face of makeup. It’s pretty surprising given the amount of fresh-faced surfer girls strutting around Australia’s coastal cities and towns.

“I’ve found that dating Australian boys, or Sydney men in particular, they are used to more high-maintenance girls,” says Caroline E., a Georgia native who spent 10 months living and dating in Sydney. “They’re used to their ladies getting dolled up just to go to the grocery store and I’m just not like that.”

What do you think of these dating customs – keen to try or happy to be dating in the US of A?