3 Great Things About Dating a Foreigner

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3 Great Things About Dating a ForeignerI am dating a foreigner. An Englishman to be exact. Let me tell you how it came about: I was living in New York, and he was visiting New York for work. While here, he came to see a show in which I was performing. I’ve got a kind of non-career as a two-bit comedian, and he was at this one show, and approached me afterward and said, “I work on a radio show. You’re funny. We should have you on as a guest.” Two days later, I was on as a guest. Two days after that, we went out for coffee and talked about a lot of things. We talked about: 1. How the sunny side of the street causes headaches, 2. How chronic lateness is indicative of self-absorption, 3. How ninety-percent of dog owners are indescribably annoying.

In other words, we connected. And now we’re long-distance dating.

This dating-a-foreigner situation happens a lot. You’re abroad for work or play, you’re somehow more charming, more winning, more open by having had your horizons expanded, and so you meet someone. Of course you finally meet someone when you’re not even in your own city. Why can’t I meet someone at home??? you complain. Why does nothing ever go my way???

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Well, I’m here to tell you that while the process of dating a foreigner does present challenges, there are also the upshots. And, oh! Why, look! Here they are now!


You can use jet-lag as an excuse for everything

I don’t know about you, but as I get older I have, like, zero appetite for doing much of anything. Someone asks to go out after nine o’clock, taking a road trip, wake up early to see a sunrise or whatever, and I’m always, like, “Nooooooooooo. Just let me sleeeeeeeeep. Just let me lie on my couch and watch T.VEEEEEEEEEEEE.”

I don’t ever really say that, of course: “Just let me sleep. Just let me lie on the couch and watch TV.” It’s more what I wish I could say, and this leaves me in constant need of an excuse. Well, jet-lag fits that bill perfectly! Most foreign countries in the world force it out of you, and it’s the perfect thing to reference when you just want an evening at home.


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You learn a new language

So you’re either in a country where they speak a foreign language or you’re not. If they speak a foreign language – Portuguese, let’s say – how cool will you be, if suddenly you’re throwing all these Portuguese-isms around? Everyone’ll be all, like, “Oh my god, so-and-so! You’re so worldly! It’s so sexy how you just ordered French fries by saying, ‘Por favor, posso ter uma ordem de batatas fritas?”
If, conversely, you’re in my position, one in which your foreign boyfriend speaks English, you lose the opportunity to hone your foreign-language skills, yes, but you do get the chance to work on perfecting various accents: English, Irish, Scottish, Australian, South African. You can “accidentally” adopt non-American phrases. “I’m just heading to the loo!” or “That’s ace, mate!” Or “I’ll have my sandwich take-away, please. Oh! And would you do me the favor of wrapping it in AL-loo-minium?” When your friends raise their eyebrows, apologize, but in a sophisticated way. Be, all, like, “Bloodly hell. I’m speaking in the English fashion again, aren’t I? Dearie, me. I’ve just spent so much time there.”

You become familiar with a city other than your own

It’s terribly embarrassing, looking like a tourist. Think about it: The feeling of the unwieldy map, the disappointment of the cheesy neighborhood your guidebook said was uber-chic.
Well, with frequent visits to a city, you learn the ins and outs, the places to be and not be. Just imagine how sophisticated you’ll feel when some friend eventually posts to Facebook, “I’m going to Lisbon! Recommendations on everything welcome!” and you’re the one that pipes in with the impossibly wonderful, frequented-only-by-locals tapas bar recommendation? It’ll be a proud moment. I promise.

Sara Barron is the author of People Are Unappealing and the forthcoming Eating While Peeing: and other adventures.