Dating culture: Russia vs. Europe
When you move to another country, you need to figure out many things: where to eat, what to eat, how to dress yourself, where can you buy basic things you are used to, how are your favourite hygienic pads called (no jokes here, it was quite an issue for me in Spain!).. And, most importantly, you need to understand how you can socialize – including finding a boyfriend.
Have you seen a Russian woman in Russia? She is wearing high heels, sexual clothes, complete makeup even if she just goes to a grocery store. The reason for that is that we have an open dating culture. This means, you can meet the guy of your dreams any day at any place – and he WILL ASK for your number.
For instance, you seat in a café in the evening with your girlfriends and see a nice guy in the corner drinking his latte. You give him a long look and smile – now he may send you a coffee or a dessert with his number on the napkin or may just come over and ask if he could join you.
If you are a nice looking one, you get many complements on the street – the same way it was earlier in Italy. Some guys may come to you with something very simple like “Does your mom look for a new son-in-law?” or “I am wondering, where does your beautiful skin color come from? Are you from the South?” or just “You look so wonderful today, may I hope for a cup of coffee with you?”.
When my grandmother was younger, young men could run to buy flowers on the street to present her and ask, whether they could accompany her to her house. TO HER HOUSE, I meant it, by no means INTO the house. We have a longer history of the open dating culture than you think.
At a birthday party, for instance, your girlfriends could invite a single guy as a potential match for you, and he would ask for your telephone number in order to invite you for a cup of coffee next week. This matching is, probably, the only thing we have in common with the European dating culture.
When I moved to Germany, I discovered that a guy in a bar or on the street may be just dying next to you wishing to ask for your phone number – but he will never do so. If you are not at the university with all the student associations, parties, grill parties etc. anymore, your chances to meet a guy “in life” will be reduced to the “friends of friends”. For some reasons – let’s call it nicely “overemancipation” – guys are afraid to talk to ladies on the streets. I asked some female friends about this, and got from “I have no idea, why!” to “But I am an independent woman!” You are independent, fine. You earn your money and you are able to bring 10 kg of your stuff from the supermarket to the fridge. Nevertheless, does your independence mean that you need to prohibit potential partners to ask you for a date?
At the same time, from my Russian friends in Russia, I often hear a cliché that European men are not gentlemen anymore: they don’t pay in a restaurant, don’t hold the door for you etc. No way! I have many friends and colleagues over 30, that help me with the coat, hold the doors and bring heavy things up. And I never had an issue that a guy wouldn’t pay the bill in a restaurant. The reason why they usually act differently is that they are afraid to hurt the egos of emancipated ladies. Once they discover that you are an independent, but also sweet and relaxed woman, it turns into a different story.
So, how do you meet a guy in Europe (Denmark, Germany and other countries with the closed dating culture)? There are few ways:
- Tinder and other dating apps. This is something very popular in Europe, but I hate even the thoughts that somebody “swipes” me away just because I look not sexy enough 😉
- Grill parties and birthdays. You can literally ask your friends in advance, which single guys will come to the party, and grant them more attention.
- International meetups. Clubs like Internations and MeetUps give a unique opportunity to meet another expat, who knows the value of traveling the world and may have same problems with the cultural integration as you do. Personal experience? Many guys have only for 3-5 years contracts, and they are not looking for anything long-term and serious.
- Dating websites. This is your magical wand in Germany and Denmark for sure. There are free and quite expensive websites – I went for the second category, as guys looking for something serious often have not so much time for the profile listings and are ready to invest money in the quality (matching tests, spam filters etc.).
In order to understand the dating culture better, I would talk a lot to your male as well as female friends. In Germany, for example, you are not “together” until he asks you “to be with him together”. This sounds hilarious for a Russian woman, but you may spent 3-5 months with each other, and only then he will ask you to “be together”..
..The reason for that is simple: in Europe, people live many years together before they get married. This living together is not like in Russia, “she is free until she is married”, but it will be respected by other people as a long-term relationship and a big promise to each other. Therefore, unless you are ready to spend the usual 5 to 7 years “together” without a ring on your finger, getting annoyed by your Russian family respecting the Russian 1-year-or-go tradition, explain your position from the very beginning.
I hope that you enjoyed the reading and are now prepared for your search for Mr. Right abroad.
Have a great week,