As a young, single British guy crossing the Atlantic for a career in the United States, I was extremely curious about the dating life that was in store.After all, I'd watched my fellow countrymen in film and literature charm the hell out of beautiful American women.After all, as she put it, "dancers don't make a lot of money." I wasn't the guy that could spoon feed her, so it ended.But surely not all American girls thought British men had an endless supply of money?They weren't all obsessed with fame and fortune, were they?Was American culture really as shallow as my friends had warned? She was a down-to-earth Midwesterner with ambitions in New York City theater.I’m not arguing for overly traditional gender roles, where men stick to a strict book of chivalry and delicate women are passive participants who simply receive affections and follow the lead of their male counterparts. The hardest, strongest thing is to be authentic and vulnerable. Simple, sweet “just because” gestures with no ulterior motive other than to make their partner smile (like bringing flowers home on a Friday) are dying out. A relationship is a selfless investment, in a volatile market, and with dubious returns.
Be honest, both with yourself and with the people you’re dating.A few days ago, as an American friend of mine was telling me all about her new boyfriend and how he had asked her out with flowers, I realized how different courtship and dating is for teens in France and the US. Americans go on formal dates; we keep things secret. The word “date” has no equivalent in French, and it’s simply because we don’t go on them.Americans only say “I love you” after months of dating. You might wonder how people get to know each other then.Well, we usually go out in groups and meet within this social group. If you are already friends with the guy, you just spend more time together, get a coffee after school or share a meal at your apartment, and flirt a little bit.If you just met at a party, well, you kiss, and things evolve naturally.Still, when I met my first girlfriend in 2007, a ballerina who had recently moved from San Francisco, I was immediately taken aback by an overarching obsession with status and money.