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How to Date in America

Lindsay: This is an All Ears English Podcast, Episode 13: Meeting Monday. And today our topic is “Dating in American Culture.” Gabby: Welcome to the All Ears English Podcast, where you’ll finally get real, native English conversation. Now here are your hosts, Lindsay McMahon, the ‘English Adventurer’ and Gabby Wallace, the ‘Language Angel’, coming to you from Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Lindsay: In today’s episode, you’ll learn how to date Americans or how to date American style with confidence.

Gabby: All right in today’s episode, we’re talking about dating in American culture.

And we’ve gotten some great questions about “Why do Americans do so and so?” So in this episode we want to address some of those questions and just talk about how dating in English and in American culture might be different from your home culture. So hopefully, you’ll, um, learn some new facts. Maybe some of the questions you’re afraid to ask, we will talk about today. And uh, hope it’ll be exciting and informative.

Lindsay: Yeah.

Gabby: So, what’s one thing you think is different about dating in the US?

Lindsay: Yeah. So, I think one thing that’s probably most definitely different is online dating. The emergence of online dating. Right? So… Gabby: It’s huge.

Lindsay: Yeah. It’s huge. It seems like it’s a – for me it seems like more of an urban thing. Um, what do you think about that?

Gabby: I think it’s more accepted in, in big cities, because, you know, there’s (there are) more people doing it, maybe big cities tend to be more progressive.

Lindsay: People are busier.

Gabby: Yeah. Absolutely. I think when you work long hours, um, it’s, it’s more difficult to meet someone in person.

Lindsay: For sure.

Gabby: And also in the city, people are just kind of less open; they’re more closed.

Like if you’re walking…

Lindsay: More guarded.

Gabby: More guarded. You’re walking down the street, people don’t say “Good morning. How are you?” like they do in a small town and it’s actually kind of frowned upon sometimes to just be like really open because you don’t know. I mean, cities are more dangerous.

Lindsay: Yeah.

Gabby: Anyway, I think that’s why people look to online dating because of time… Lindsay: Yeah.

Gabby: …and just the culture of the city.

Lindsay: And also, I would also say to add to that the fact that there are so many people, right – so in New York City, there are 8 million people so you need to actually – it sounds horrible – you need to start to filter out… Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: …certain people. So with online dating you’re able to specify what you’re looking for.

Gabby: And target what you’re looking for.

Lindsay: Filter out and target.

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: So it kind of works and so the view of online dating from an urban perspective is, in my opinion, totally accepted.

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: But if I were to talk to my friends, who maybe got married earlier or live outside of the city, I think it’s a little bit different.

Gabby: Right. And I think several years ago, people didn’t wanna (want to) say that they met online.

Lindsay: Yeah.

Gabby: It’s kind of – it was taboo…

Lindsay: Right.

Gabby: …but I think now it’s not really taboo for a lot of people. That’s how they meet and I, I know several people have gotten married… Lindsay: Yeah.

Gabby: …and, you know, had like great relationships from meeting someone online.

Lindsay: Why not? I mean it’s hard to meet the person that you’re really looking for, so if you can give yourself another opportunity, why not?

Gabby: Yeah. So and uh, making uh profile’s a great way to…

Lindsay: Practice your English.

Gabby: And uh exchanging messages with people. Again, fun way to practice English. Some really popular sites right now are OkCupid. I think that one’s – I mean it’s popular because it’s free and um, it’s easy to use. There’s (there are) other ones too like eHarmony, Match.com.

Lindsay: There’s a site called HowAboutWe where you can actually say what you wanna (want to) do, so it’s more about action, getting out and doing something with the person, rather than talking about who you are and what you like.

Gabby: Oh, very cool.

Lindsay: You invite them out. Let’s go walk across a bridge.

Gabby: Hiking.

Lindsay: Yeah. Let’s go for a hike and have dinner.

Gabby: Wow!

Lindsay: Yeah.

Gabby: That sounds like fun. I hadn’t heard about that one.

Lindsay: Mm-hm.

Gabby: Um, I know, there’s – I mean for every different kind of demographic, like, you know, if you are over 55, right, there is Seniors Meet, so. I mean there’s (there are) different kinds of – like there’s (there are) religious dating sites as well. Like if you are a Christian, Muslim, you know, whatever – if you feel strongly about a religion, you can find a site.

Lindsay: Definitely.

Gabby: I don’t know specific names, but like the most popular just for the general public, I think, are like OkCupid, eHarmony, Match.com.

Lindsay: Yeah. For sure. Interesting. And then as far as like the way that American people date – I mean generally, what I’ve seen is that people tend to, um, you know, go out with a few different people three or four times, then you might need tend to, you know, make a decision as to how serious you are about one person and…

Gabby: One of the – sorry. One of the biggest differences between dating in the US and dating in other cultures is dating several people at once.

Lindsay: Yeah.

Gabby: I mean, the only limit is your time. Right? You could be dating one, two, three, four, five. I don’t know. Or how much time you have, but, um, it’s, it’s very different whereas in other cultures, I get the impression that you date one person at a time.

Lindsay: Right.

Gabby: But in the US, as you said, I mean, we go on maybe three to five dates… Lindsay: Right. Right.

Gabby: …with different people at the same time.

Lindsay: Yeah. And it seems like the, just the culture, the action of like going on a date, seems like something that might be unique to American… Gabby: yeah.

Lindsay: …but maybe not just American culture, but I think a lot of cultures, other cultures might not do it. Right.

Gabby: Right.

Lindsay: Let’s go to a movie and have dinner. Let’s go have coffee as a first date.

Right.

Gabby: Right. Something short and like not, not a big commitment at first. Like maybe you get a drink, or, you know. Um, yeah, something short, like an hour or something.

Lindsay: Easy. Yeah.

Gabby: And then maybe your second date would be a little longer, like dinner or a movie or something like that. But generally after, what would you say like four dates, you would…

Lindsay: Yeah.

Gabby: …you would either continue with that person or kind of nicely let them go.

Lindsay: Yeah. Yeah. I love the expression ‘let them go.’ Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: Just you would probably think becoming sort of exclusive with that person maybe. Um, oh our parents’ generation used to call it ‘going steady,’ but we don’t really use that term anymore.

Gabby: Well and if you keep going out on dates with someone that you’re not interested in, we call that ‘stringing along.’ Lindsay: Yeah.

Gabby: Or ‘leading on.’

Lindsay: ‘Leading them on.’ Yeah, that’s a good one.

Gabby: And, and so I think in other cultures, there’s also this official moment where um, you know, maybe one person would ask, “Do you want to be my girlfriend?” or “Do you want to be my boyfriend?” Lindsay: Or perhaps, um, you know, it’s like an official kind of moment, whereas in the US it’s – I don’t feel like that happens as often. It could, but it’s sometimes um, implied, but it’s a little complicated, it’s a little messy.

Whaddya (what do you) think about that?

Gabby: Yeah. Maybe it’s just a personal thing, like maybe you would have a talk like “Okay, what’s the status of our relationship?”

Lindsay: Yeah, like “What’s happening with us? Like where’s the relationship going?” But you might not phrase it in that way, like “Do you wanna (want to) be my boyfriend?” Or you might not say it exactly.

Gabby: Right.

Lindsay: Yeah. Yeah.

Gabby: But being exclusive is a popular term and that just means that you’re not seeing other people and so you’re basically, uh, boyfriend, girlfriend. You know, you’re, you’re in a relationship, um, but it’s, it’s not – you may not ask uh, “Do you want to be my whatever?”

Lindsay: Right.

Gabby: So…

Lindsay: Yeah. Interesting. So we have a lot of strange, um, yeah, traditions and customs in terms of the way we, the way we date.

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: Um, anything else we wanted to mention to that end?

Gabby: Oh gosh! Well, one, one thing is like when you go out on a date, um, the, the idea of who is supposed to get the check or get the bill – I think that it’s changed in recent years. I mean usually, you know, like, like a man and a woman going out, the man would always pick up the tab, pick up the check, or the bill.

Lindsay: Yeah.

Gabby: And I think now the idea of ‘going Dutch’ is really popular.

Lindsay: Good one.

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: So what does that mean?

Gabby: Each person pays for their – well half and half or you pay for what you drank or ate.

Lindsay: Right. Yeah. Usually I like to go half and half rather than figuring out what everyone got ‘cause (because) it feels so… I don’t know…stiff Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: …to go through “Oh, you ordered this,” and I ordered – but yeah, ‘going Dutch’ is just splitting the bill.

Right. And now, I mean there’s uh – well women, obviously, are working, we’re independent, we can pay for our own, uh, our parts of the dinner or whatever. So I think um – it’s just kind of – that idea of being equal, um, so that’s – and not having any responsibility, you know, to pay for the other person or to feel indebted or anything.

Lindsay: Which is good.

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: You pay your own way. You don’t feel like you necessarily have to go out on another date with the person…

Gabby: Right.

Lindsay: …if you didn’t like them. So.

Gabby: But it depends. I mean people do things differently, but that’s just kind of a general trend, I think.

Lindsay: Yeah. Interesting stuff. All right. Great. Thanks for having a chat.

Gabby: Yeah. Thanks Lindsay. See ya’ (you)!

Lindsay: You listeners know that we’ve created this awesome podcast for you. But that’s not all. We’ve also created an e-book to help you get the most out of listening to every episode. And the best thing is it’s free. It’s free for you guys, our listeners. So to get the e-book for free, just come visit us at www.allearsenglish.com/free.

Gabby: Thanks for listening to the All Ears English Podcast. We’re here to help you learn English and you can help us by leaving a five star review on iTunes.

See you next time.

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