Online Dating across Cultures

I’m a fan of online dating sites — not because I’m hideously ugly, or socially inept (thanks, James) but because it draws in otherwise disconnected people.

Therein lies a risk: if two people are so disconnected, then they will never get along, but I pointedly disagree: opposites attract. Unfortunately, those opposites otherwise rarely mix. I’m not a fan of hanging in bars alone or with the express purpose of finding a girl; I’d rather hang with friends, but then it’s a group where I’m a bit shy to show me striking out with girls, or a bit hesitant to introduce a new girl to before I know her to be a good person.

So I am a member of a dating site.

A girl from another culture asked me (in anonymous email, of course) what I can expect by dating someone from her country, and it’s a unique question. No one’s asked me that before.

In general, even though most women will indicate that they’re looking for a man of good character (described as stable, independent, funny, good-hearted, etc), different cultures express their desires differently: American women will describe their search for a fun guy to spend time with and get to know, with the chance of something more down the road, whereas Asian women tend to express a search for a husband from the outset. This small difference is not lost: recall that American men tend to shy form commitment at the very start, and a woman who talks of marriage on the first date is “moving too fast”. Clearly American women are savvy to this in their expression, but perhaps Asian men are a bit more courageous.

This is the first hint of the open-ended collection of little differences.

What can I expect from dating cross-culture: many many little differences, often a surprise, usually things to discuss and mutually understand. It doesn’t matter what culture she’s form: so long as it differs from mine, it’s going to be a bumpy, fun road.

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