These last couple of weeks I began to sum up a lot of basic cultural differences
between the US and Germany in my mind (most of the time even all of Europe, because with all my European friends I never noticed differences in the these topics as much as with the Americans -might be that I just never lived in their countries for a long period of time, but even visiting or just talking to people should show this).
And even thought about what would happen if an American would go to a German therapist.
Unless you have serious problems -bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, victim of a crime or traumatic events etc, there are many people seeing a therapist for stress related issues, simple family issues, love issues etc
Today I want to concentrate on 'love issues' (Americans seem to love the word 'issues', instead of saying "man, i fucked up, I'm sorry" they probably say "dude, i got issues" which sort of feels like 'it's-not-my-fault-because-I've-got-issues-and-got-no-money-for-therapy-so-you-have-to-feel-sorry-for-me-and-can-the-anger').
In Germany you don't really have 'dates'.
Date as in all official and serious - boy gets dressed up and meets the parents and takes the girl to a restaurant etc.
There's also no 'dating around'.
You're either a couple or you are not. Yes or No.
If you have a date with that girl, you no way in hell date another at the same time unless you are a 'player' asshole and usually get kicked to the curb the minute the girl finds out.
If you're a teenager you hang out with friends, meet their friends, meet new people at birthday parties or public parties (yes, there are parties for teenagers as well, just as there are parties for grown-ups, the only difference is the alcohol contend -and don't forget in Germany you're allowed to drink beer when you're 16+).
Maybe you exchange phone numbers and start texting, maybe you just meet up with a bunch of people in the city, hang in parks...and baaam! you have a boy/girlfriend.
It kinda works the same for grown-ups unless you do the weird online-dating thing, then of course you have a 'date'/'appointment' to meet the person for the first time etc.
And most of those online dates or other more random 'dates' you have in a coffee shop.
Even if you have 5 coffee dates it doesn't mean that the other person only 'wants to be friends', it just means it's convenient, casual and you can actually talk about things and be relaxed and leave whenever you want.
I think I had about 8 'coffee dates' with one of my first boyfriends and we were a couple for 18months afterwards.
Another boyfriend I met when I just broke it off with another and he walked me home just because he was nice and wanted to be sure I was safe.
It took about 5 more 'accidental meet ups and hangouts' until we though it would be cool to be a couple and actually kissed.
The seriousness of a 'date' is not measured in what it costs.
-In many situations you even split the bill and no German girl expects the guy to pay for everything.
Of course it's nice if you get free drinks or the guy you're going with pays for club admission etc, but every girl has money on her and expects to pay for herself, 'free' is just a nice addition/gift.
There's a cheapo Rock bar in the area and they offer 1€ shots for happy hour?
There's a street festival with yummy food and live music?
Hell yeah, let's go. Awesome date.
You want to go to the movie theater and watch the new Marvel movie?
Great, let's meet in front of the theater. -You already bought the tickets? I'll get the popcorn.
Dates are not supposed to feel like employment interviews for the job as each other's partner.
There's no check list you have to pass. Hey, I want to get pregnant in the next 6months, do you like babies? Really???
I looked through thousands of 'tips to make the first date a success' online, from Mens Health (4pm deadline?) over AskMen (check the meaning behind flowers before you buy her bouquet, women know this -meaning...flower...what?! The last guy who brought me flowers to a date was almost 20years my senior and flowers seem just as old-fashioned, unless you're looking for a Stepford wife, but you should recognize her by her apron and your slippers in her hand) to Cosmopolitan (now that's the most stupid...fzg#! -what his beverage says about his dating MO ? What his texts really mean ?)
There are some weird 'dating rules' here that I've never heard of outside a RomCom -and expected them to be as fake as the movie itself for comedic reference.
- Wait three days until you call/Don't be the first to make contact after the date ? By that time a German girl already decided you're an asshole and don't call because she didn't have sex with you right away
- Wait with sex until the 3rd date? If you want to have sex, have sex, if you want to wait until you feel you can trust the other person, do that. My first boyfriends had to wait a couple of months(!) until I was ready and they were OK to wait. My husband was supposed to be a One-Night-Stand -couldn't get rid of him :P
- Accept no last minute invitations because it looks desperate? Desperate on him for thinking of you or desperate on you for seizing the occasion because you're interested and it shows?
- Analyze the crap out of everything he said or did ? -and do it with your girlfriends? Sometimes a hammer is just a hammer and if you're not sure -how about asking him? Plus no matter how well your or his English/German is, sometimes you mean different things in using the same phrase, words etc, there can already be total misunderstandings between Aussies and Americans. So instead of fuelling your paranoia in any way, just open your mouth!
- Only date 'your type' ? And you probably found your type via survey on match.com??? Are there really women only dating brown haired guys/this height/briefs over boxer shorts? And you're in no way prejudiced and always open-minded as you always say? But if he chose OldNavy over Lacoste shirts it must mean that he's poor instead of realising it's the same quality, so why pay a fortune for the name? And complaining about guys only dating blonds/girls with big boobs/in high heels...all good guys are taken? How about dating outside your type?
- Keep your dates short to make him want more? The guy probably thinks you're too busy or not interested if you cut it off after an hour. I would.
- "Ain't Nothin' Open After Midnight 'Cept Legs" In Europe clubs stay open til early morning, you're basically a kid or a loser if you show up before midnight. And what are 24h diners for?
- Going back to her place for coffee means sex Or just that, an invitation for coffee and talking some more
- Eating an extremely healthy meal while out on a date shows your guy you take care of yourself Or he thinks 'not another anorexic, boring nitpicker'
- Arrive late Your parents never taught you the basics -take a shower, brush your teeth, never break promises and be on time? How rude...
- Update your knowledge of current politics/music/news for the date If you're just not interested in that kind of stuff, it seems pretty unfair to 'play the part' for your date and then later on disappoint the guy cause he thought you were someone you are not. Be yourself. Just don't burp, fart and spray your food over the table or get wasted, there's not only dates who don't like that. But that counts as common sense anywhere but the US it seems because it has to be mentioned in every 'dating tips for men' I found.
- No Saturday night date cause it looks like you had nothing to do So if you're so busy, are you sure you even have time for a boyfriend? If you want to meet some friends already, why not offer to take him with you? If it was me, I'd rather blow you off on a night I decided to stay in by myself than on a night I already wanted to go out. And Friday, Saturday...if I want to meet you, I meet you, and Saturday is one of the only nights almost everyone is able to go out besides people with alternate shifts
- If he brings his ex up too early it means he's not over her And if you spent the last years (or even lived with) with a boyfriend and you broke up, man, you have so much to talk about daily life and vacations and stuff without that person you broke up with...silent date, I guess, or talk about your favourite TV shows.
- You are a hussy for kissing the guy on first date/if you go out to an elaborate date with dinner etc and he pays, it's 'nice' to kiss as a thankyou 1. You can't have both 2. Personally I don't sell myself in any way, if I kiss you, I kiss you because I want to and not as a payback for anything -and expecting that is disgusting and I don't want to see you again anyway
- After a year of dating you can expect a marriage proposal My sister and brother-in-law were together for 10 years and had two kids until they thought, "OK, taxes, retirement and shit, let's get married real quick" . I don't know a single couple outside their 60s who weren't at least 2-10y together until they got married or even just moved in together. Many people don't get married at all.
(glamour.com, womansday.com, msn.com, menshealth.com, askmen.com ...)
Now for the therapy session.
You come in crying you'll never find a good guy.
- No guy to pass your checklist? I'd think that over again.
- They didn't call you after 3 days? Maybe they thought you weren't interested.
- But he did/didn't do this, said that, was sooo mean to you? Communication goes two ways.
-You played games (wear this, say only that, no this on that # date, carefully selected txt msgs, wait xyz until zyx) and he played back?
->Boohoo, here's a tissue, now get out.