American women search for mates in packs. We meet at someone’s cave to apply our war paint and plan our attack.
American Men have a similar method, getting together to discuss which of yesterday’s jeans are the least dirty then heading out to look for a group of women with pleasant smelling pheromones.
After 9 years in Rio de Janeiro, I find this behavior strange. Of course I never stopped to really think about it when I was playing the dating game. I suppose when the pheromones are calling, there isn’t much room for logic.
Things have changed now that I am sitting in the bleachers as opposed to running the field. Though what really got me thinking about it was this blog post. It is about the differences between the French and American dating methods.
“Groups mixing men and women are much more important in France, whereas in America, single sex groups seem to be more of a trend when it comes to socializing. Perhaps this explains how the French build their relationships inside of a group, and not directly on a one-on-one date.“
This was one of the first things I noticed when I went out with Mr Rant shortly after landing in Rio de Janeiro. While I have always had male friends, my closest circle was pretty much female based. That goes double when it came to dating. I always went out with a female entourage.
That isn’t the case in Rio de Janeiro. While Carioca women may apply war paint together and bust out a little pre-party with their women friends, the majority of nightlife gatherings includes both men and women. To add insult to injury, these groups seem to automatically supply new beef to the dating market. There is always a new friend or a cousin who wants to go out.
It is also socially acceptable to hook up with friends, stay friends, and for friends to hook up with friends that their friends have already hooked up with. Americans really do self-limit their dating options!
In the US we meet in a group, insist on meeting potential mates outside of our social circle, and anyone our friends have hooked up with in the past (or have a crush on) are off limits.
On top of it all, we meet a stranger at a bar while with out with our friends and are then expected to not feel awkward on a one on one date when we don’t even know each other in the first place.
To top it off, to be considered successful in the American dating scene you are expected to be having potentially awkward encounters with more than one stranger at a time!
“Dating someone in America is more casual than in France, like a ‘trial relationship’. It seems ok to date more than one person at the same time, as long as the relationship hasn’t been defined as exclusive. In France, once you kiss, unless agreed otherwise, you can pretty much call each other boyfriend/girlfriend already. French people will then expect their special one to be exclusive: no need to say it, it’s implied.”
Now this is one way where Brazilians do not agree with the French when it comes to dating. If every Carioca was in an exclusive relationship after a kiss, the last days of Carnaval would essentially turn into a jealous riot. Things would get ugly.
But when you focus solely on social relationships, Brazilians and the French have a method that is quite genius when you really think about it. It is much less stressful getting to know someone in a group setting than it is one on one. Trust me, at one point dating in the US was so painful that I considered giving it all up to collecting cats.
This couldn’t be a bigger difference in the way French and Americans have romantic relationships. The French don’t date. It is that simple, and the very reason that there is no French word for date or dating. The closest equivalent to “date” would be a rendez-vous, but unless you add that it is a rendez-vous galant (romantic encounter), which sounds way too old school, this word can mean anything from an appointment at the dentist to a casual get together with your friends.
This is so very true in Brazil! In American English we have phrases like “chicks before dicks” and “bros before hoes.” On the other hand, Brazil and France don’t even have a term similar to ours for dating. They “meet up” and we date. Is it just me or does that show a slightly more open mind when it comes to getting together with someone. It is almost as if it is not about the sex but more about hanging out.
Funny enough, I do believe statistics say that both the French and Brazilians are having more and higher quality sex than Americans. People, statistics don’t lie, only the people who quote them. And while that may be me, I must say that 20-something Cariocas seem both more confident when it comes to their sexuality and more comfortable in their relationships with the opposite sex.
So you tell me, does “dating” and/or “socializing” work better in a mixed group or in sexually determined teams?