Field Notes: Dating on Both Sides of the Pond
- April 21, 2016
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No matter where you’re from or how much experience you have, dating is a funny thing. First dates can be awkward, confusing, and downright bad. But no matter how uncomfortable we might be, we take a chance on first dates time and time again in hopes that we’ll find the one. After all, being in love is la vie en rose in its finest form.
As French expatriates, we’re here to say that dating an American and dating a Frenchman are completely different experiences. Here, we’ve analyzed some of our most acute observations. Which side of the Atlantic best suits your dating preferences?
American vs. French
Observation 1: The Dating Game
Americans emphasize dating process, the French, not so much. In the U.S., there are a series of dates that allow two people to get to know each other in a controlled way. In France, second, third, fourth dates are not a part of the relationship vocabulary. You meet, you fall for each other, and the romance begins.
Observation 2: Defining Moments
In the U.S., being asked on a second or third date is an encouraging sign that the relationship is progressing nicely. That being said, it can take months to seal the deal and become exclusive. On French soil, a kiss is a defining moment. With one kiss, you can go from two people with a mutual flirtation to two people giving a full-blown relationship a shot.
Observation 3: Exclusivity
A surprising difference between the two dating scenes is that Americans show more hesitancy to declare monogamy in their relationships. It isn’t unusual to see young American guys juggling several women at once, playing “the game” with varying degrees of skill. The French on the other hand, aren’t interested in pursuing more than one person at a time, so they are more keen on becoming exclusive quickly.
Observation 4: Romance
Americans men can be quite gallant, from holding doors to picking up the dinner tab, but as you might have guessed – true romance is not their forte. We’ll tell you firsthand that Frenchmen have a special, heart-fluttering knack for surprise flowers, walks along the Seine and sparking intellectual conversations about your favorite poet. The rumors are true. Le sigh.
Observation 5: Sex
American men interested in a serious relationship will most likely delay sex until a series of dates has been completed. In France, sexual chemistry is prioritized. Do you have chemistry together? Better to find out sooner than later!
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Illustration: Garance Doré