How do you date when living abroad and you don't know how the game is played?
“Hallo liebe Leute ,
What's your recommendation for a first date with a German girl?
Do you pay or it's just against feminism ?
Where you take a girl?
I'm going out with this girl that I really like and I don't want to make it wired at all, it's kind of one life chance.
A guy dates the girl of his dreams. He’s insecure, he’s aiming to be perfect: “it’s kind of a one life chance” and he doesn’t want to miss it. The dating game is hard enough, even when you know the ‘rules', so no surprise that this guy is asking for advices. Knowing some of the cultural differences – who is supposed to pay for the date, who makes the first move, kissing on a first date, how soon to call after a date – may help you avoid awkward situations, or at least stop you from getting hurt or hurting someone else unintentionally.
So, let’s have a look to the advices given by a group of international expats living in Berlin, to our anxious guy:
Who should pay?
The general advice
In most European countries, the man may offer to pay the bill but he wouldn't automatically be offended if the woman suggested splitting the bill, or paying for the drinks or some other aspect of the ‘date', such as cinema or theatre tickets. After the first date, most people would probably expect to “go Dutch” - translated for Italians: “pagare alla romana” or for Spanish Latin Americans “pagar a la americana” Urban Dictionary docet
“You should pay her drink on the first dates. That's always very kind but also let her pay when she say that she want to. Show her that your gentle side. Women still want to see a gentleman. And actually I am a feminist that's why I said he should let HER pay her own stuff if she want. And it's nothing wrong about paying on the 2-3 dates a little drink for her.“
“If you are a real gentleman and you feel the end of the date is there you excuse yourself and go to "the toilet". You go to toilet and on your way back you also pay. Then when you guys leave and the "paying situation" comes up you can say "don't worry I got it" and you leave! “
“I am all for equality as well but....yes, I would also expect a guy who has asked me out on a date to pay for dinner or if you're just going for drinks for the first couple. I would then offer to pay for the next one. Honestly I can't imagine any girl feeling weird or having a sense that you're sexist or thinking that by having a dinner paid for during a date would see that as a threat to her feminism. “
“Having the guy pay the bill ("so he can be gentleman") is sexual discrimination in my opinion. Men and women are equal and both should pay their bills. That said, if wants to have a decent chance to give a good impression - pay the bill - but do not insist.”
“I would feel creeped out if a man paid for me on the first date. Would make me feel like I have to jump into bed with him too.”
“Don't do this. It may work other places, but it's not OK in German culture. Basically what you are doing is: "I made the decision that I will pay the bill." She may be OK with you paying the bill, but not OK that you did this without consulting her.”
“I feel like it's just common curtesy that the person (male or female) who asked for the first date pays, unless the other person wants to pay their share...”
“If we are equal we should have equal pay - in fact that is NOT the case. I am willing to pay every man's bill if I earn that 25% more . On a different note - usually In Germany it's quite equal and in my opinion it's usually 70/30 - as a woman you offer to pay and are refused the offer so sometimes you still do. Men pay 70% and women 30. For instance you pay the restaurant and they pay the coffee/cake/drinks after. “
“Not every act of kindness is sexism. “
“Just ask her "Is it okay if i pay for our drinks? / our dinner?" would sound totally okay for me.”
“Why would it be strange to ask her? It seems obvious that he is not from here and not familiar with how to do things and don't want to make it wrong. Opening up about concerns would be the most honest and direct path to a good persons heart.”
“Say 'There can be a lot of cultural difference around who pays in this situation. I would like to pay for both of us I would Like to invite you, for me it's a nice thing to do. But i don't want to do that if it makes you uncomfortable. Will you feel ok if I invite you or would you feel more comfortable if we split the bill?' Communicate. Give her a genuine choice, take the opportunity to share how you feel and learn from her how she thinks and feels. Create an opportunity where you can really listen to what she thinks about it rather than guessing what she thinks.”
"If you listened to her during the date, by paying time you'll have a pretty good idea what kind of person she is in that regard. Also, it's not about pleasing someone's expectations, it's about finding someone with whom you're compatible. You shouldn't have to "choose your act".
The strategic gentleman
"If you are a real gentleman and you feel the end of the date is there you excuse yourself and go to "the toilet". You go to toilet and on your way back you also pay. Then when you guys leave and the "paying situation" comes up you can say "don't worry I got it" and you leave! "
The planner (ready for a second date!)
"You reach your pockets to pay first. If she insists that she'd want to pay, tell her that you're taking care of this round and she can buy you the next. Both the parties are happy. If its the whole date, you gonna pay for; ask her to take care of the second date expenses! so for sure you're landing another date! "
The best advice
“Be yourself and do not try to mimic other cultures. Probably she gonna appreciate you truly you and not fake you. Simply be kindly and respect her. That's all. “
Where to go on a first date?
The general advice
In Germany and in the rest of Europe, people don't tend to go on "dates" with complete strangers, as you might in the US, but instead often they get to date someone who's already in their circle or the friend of a friend, and then it "just happens" and they decide to go out together alone. So, getting to know someone romantically is far more casual: walks in the afternoon/evening which may be followed by an informal drink at a café or a bite to eat at lunchtime, or meeting up in a group with friends is not uncommon. After a series of informal meetings – walks, dinner, cinema, theatre – the "two friends" might start being seen as a "couple". It's like friends-turned-lovers...but be careful! It's easy to get friendzoned if your behaviour is too much just like a friend-friend!
"In the winters stay indoors, stay warm. I'd take a girl to a bowling alley first, and then for a couple of drinks later. Or go bouldering and food and drinks later. Whatever works! Ask what might be interesting for her."
"As long as it's not raining, going for a walk is nice as it is very relaxing, you can get "warmed up" and lose your nervousness - that goes for both you and her. Of course you can ask her beforehand if a walk and then dinner is fine for her or if there's anything particular she might want to do and that you're open to suggestions. For dinner chose a cozy place that fits your budget. I would ask before the date though what type of food she likes and if there's a favorite place she might want to go to. Relax, be yourself and enjoy the moment without worrying too much if there will be a second date or not. If she likes you, there will be. "
The art lover
"Good places for a first date is anywhere you can talk. Art exibitions are cool if you're both into art. Don't go and watch a movie. Don't invite her to a fancy restaurant on the first date. Don't make her feel obliged afterwards. Don't try to "buy" her with stuff. How's about a picnic with lots of blankets? Just be original, have fun, talk to her."
The favorite place
"Is there a restaurant where you often go? A place where the waiter already knows you? Bringing her there would mean to show her a piece of your life, it's more than just getting some food. If there is a place you always wanted to try but never did, you can ask her if it's okay to just go there and try. Tell why you would like to try this place and that you cannot promise perfect quality - that would be something like a mini adventure. Or if you know her favorite food/dish, search and ask for the best place in town to ear that special dish. That would show her that you listened and care for her taste. You could also combine those, saying I have 2 (or 3) ideas, which would you choose? "
The best advice!
"Bro, first of all do not think that its a life time chance. I am sure about that. Be yourself (not a pleaser) and have fun. It is more important. Go to a place where you guys can talk easily,may be a comparatively peaceful bar. Visit the place in advance or go to a place you have already visited. No cinema and no dinner. Chill, tease(not in a creepy way) and enjoy."
Well, you can respect all the dating game rules but how the dating, and hopefully the relationship will develop, depends on who you both are and the chemistry between you. If you like each other, you'll probably find a way to make it work, regardless of any cultural variations.
Any additional advices on how to manage the first date as an expat? Funny stories? Share them in the comments ;-)