This in turn confused me—I get thousands of emails every week with questions, wanting to know how to get a guy to call them back, whether or not a woman is interested, or if they should break up. In Paris, a man I considered to have dated a few weeks (he was adamant we were in a relationship), told me, "Either you're having casual sex, or you're in a relationship. My next question, "Well, then how did you know you wanted a relationship with me? "From the second I saw your picture online and sent you a message, we were in a relationship. We did, however, stroll hand-in-hand along a love lock bridge. In (most places in) North America, a date consists of intention, like art.
If your intention is to get to know the other person for a possible romantic partnership, you're on a date.
One of my biggest takeaways while exploring Western Europe for six months was a conversation I had with an Austrian couple. First, I had to come up with a way to describe what I do for a living.
Within a few minutes of meeting in an Irish pub, the lady of the couple asked, "So, is dating a construct of Hollywood? In North America, I say I'm a dating columnist.
"On sort ensemble" is something you'd say in Quebec (loosely translated: "we go out together"), but no one said anything of the sort in France. Yes, the guy really planned to have me serenaded, on our first date, along the Seine River.
"I give advice to people who go out together," kind of worked, but most people didn't understand how or why I had a job. I lost my credit card and was two hours late, so instead we met for wine and cheese. That relationship ended because the gent couldn't communicate clearly with me, and kissed another woman at a party repeatedly knowing that I'd never take him back if he did. I'm still grateful for the experience, because it showed me just what dating was, and wasn't.
I had been doing a lot of copy stand-style stop motion animation by myself, and I felt the need to scale up and spread my wings so to speak.
There's a ridiculous amount of social pressure in North America to have sex, for men to have "more" partners, and for women to detach emotionally and make it "okay." Almost everyone I met in Europe in their mid 20s to 30s had had one, maybe two, very long term partnerships, and perhaps one casual, one night stand. It's really a method, and a pretty intelligent one at that, to get to know someone before you bond physically with another person.
Not that I have an issue with people who want to have casual sex, and are consciously choosing it as a way to release sexual energy and truly connect.
It's easy, pretty much every knows what that means, and if for some reason they're confused, I say, "You know Carrie in Sex in the City?
I'm like her, but she wrote for the Post and I wrote for the Times." People nod, and then ask me whatever pressing dating questions they have.