The Kiwi dating scene

BY GREER MCDONALD
Last updated 10:06 29/04/2009

- Rant starts -

I went on a date.

Well, not really a date, but more of a first meeting between myself and a stranger who I met on online dating before I chucked in the towel.

Over coffee, we began the process of swapping life stories, discussing our upbringings, choice in careers, thoughts on the role the weather plays on the collective psyche. Yep, pretty serious stuff.So, should we change our Facebook status?

We broke the rules of things not to talk about when meeting someone for the first time, namely: ex-partners, money, and thoughts on casual sex.

Seriously, short of debating religion and politics, we pretty much nailed everything taboo that two people could ever discuss.

One of the major things we talked about was our thoughts on the Kiwi dating scene, or lack thereof.

My new friend, from Canada, explained to me how blown away he was at then New Zealand relationship style - which basically involves two people drunkenly meeting, kissing, going home together, waking up and BOOM! You're in a relationship.

(I don't believe he actually used the term "BOOM!" - I just added that for effect).

When I lived in Hamilton, it was very much the way. The expectation was if you "hooked up" with someone, then you were therefore seeing them exclusively and your parents had the green light to begin wedding preparations.

Here in Wellington, there seems to be someone for everyone too... Most people I know are happily coupled up.

In New Zealand, he said, there was no scene for singles. New York, Wellington is not. (Therefore Carrie Bradshaw, I am also not. I can but try).

I hadn't thought about that before but I think he was right.

People don't date anymore.

Sure, they think they go on dates. After meeting on Courtenay Place on a Saturday night, they may catch a movie on Wednesday, but by the following weekend - it's full steam ahead to relationshipville (i.e. the change of Facebook relationship status - the ultimate relationship barometer of Gen Y), despite barely knowing this person.

But they're not dates - they're box-ticking exercises done because, well, that's the way we do things in these parts. But it doesn't mean that it is right.

To me, dating is what smart women (and men) do.

Why and how on earth could or would you get in to a relationship with someone who days, maybe even hours before, you didn't know?

New Zealand seems to treat singledom in a very odd way. Not only is it a failure, it's a situation to be avoided at all costs because, socially, it's not the done thing.

I want to start a revolution, and give happy singles a voice. Who's with me?

Do you think there's a dating scene, or the culture is to settle down asap because everyone else is? If so, what on earth is the hurry?

You have to nab them before someone else does? I don't get it - at all.

- Rant ends -

Got a dating issue you want Greer 2.0 to tackle? Email greer2.0@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter or Facebook

- The Dominion Post

229 comments
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paul   #1   10:21 am Apr 29 2009

If he had said BOOM! He would have been a definite keeper. Just just can't buy that kind of cool.

kater   #2   10:27 am Apr 29 2009

Am so with you on this. I've been on a few dates with someone over the last couple of weeks and people seem to be assuming that we are now 'an item'. Yet, to us, we're not there yet. Yes we are enjoying spending time together but neither of us is at the point of considering the other one their boy/girlfriend - and it's cool!

It has taken a bit of readjustment as we realise that it is ok to just date and not be in a full-on relationship from the word go. Not saying I wouldn't like it to go there (sorry for double negative) but what's the rush? OK, we have added each other on facebook but that was really just so we could perv at each other's profiles - no status changes have taken place.

A dating culture would be a nice thing in NZ, it's hard enough meeting people without the pressure that if you ask someone out on a date you're now going together. At the moment, hardly anyone would bowl up to someone who caught their eye and ask them out as that person would probably look at them like they were some kind of freak, yet life is full of these incidental meetings and we're missing out by feeling like it's not ok to ask out a complete stranger just cause we like the look of them.

hmmm, I could probably rant on about this myself all day but shall leave it there...for now.

CMT   #3   10:41 am Apr 29 2009

Greer, you're so right! NZers don't have dating rituals/rules. I've noticed guys don't even want to say the word "date" any more - are they worried it could be taken too seriously? I've had the "we should meet for a drink after work" thing a few times, which is pretty casual and fine with me but I get the feeling we're all drifting, rudderless, in a sea of confusion.

Bring on the singles revolution, complete with proper dating!

Esprit   #4   10:55 am Apr 29 2009

Aah, the Kiwi 'dating' scheme! Note the use of inverted commas.

I've long since held the belief that Kiwis, in general, don't know how to date. In the traditional Americanised sense that I subscribe to, dating is a vastly different animal to what it is here in NZ.

I date on and off and at times may date more than one person at once, but don't generally get "physical" with anyone until such a time as I feel it's time to be dating more exclusively. To my mind, the kiwi psyche is to date with a mind to scoring and then score with a view to relationships. That is of course unless you're trying your hand at being a player.

To me, dating is just getting to know someone, hanging out and having a good time, perhaps a little flirtation and the like. Dating may lead to a relationship but they're certainly not hand-in-glove like a lot of people seem to think they are in NZ.

Dave   #5   10:58 am Apr 29 2009

Yup, definitely with you on that Greer. The idea that you're with someone from the word go is off. I mean, if you don't like someone after the first couple of weeks, or decide that they're nice, but it isn't going to go any further, then what? You have to break up? Seems a little silly. Much better I think to get to know people, decide if you like them and want it to go further and then go from there. No rush. I dont think there has to be the definitive "now youre in a relationship, now youre not" that people seem to look for.

Well, maybe the now you're not, always helps if thats clear.

LB   #6   11:33 am Apr 29 2009

Hear hear.

SS   #7   11:45 am Apr 29 2009

You say: "Why and how on earth could or would you get in to a relationship with someone who days, maybe even hours before, you didn't know?"

My question is: Why and how on earth could or would you have sex with someone who days, maybe even hours before, you didn't know? Yuk!

Geoff   #8   12:02 pm Apr 29 2009

I don't believe that I've ever been on anything that could be considered to be a "date" until after a relationship has already begun.

However, using technology (email, MSN, text/phone etc) to get to know someone well enough to consider a relationship is something I tend to do. Especially since I'm not the going out on the town type.

Mel   #9   12:15 pm Apr 29 2009

From what I have seen of the "singles scene", I agree Greer (and I even did some research at uni on the topic - now THAT was eye opening for a "single and not looking, but open to the possibility" kinda gal)

Because of that knowledge, and a will to do things differently, I think my lovely man and I did the dating thing quite well.

We met through a "sports group", so we had something in common. He caught my eye at a weekend event, so I asked him out for coffee, completely socially, simply to see if the catching of my eye would lead to any sparks. We then went for drinks and nibbles the next week. A couple of weeks later after some texts and emails, and another couple of casual meetings, I asked him to be an exclusive couple to see how that went. For about a month we continued relating the same as when we went for our first couple of dates - casually meeting up after work for drinks, a couple of Friday night movies just to see how being exclusive sat with us both - before deciding that yeah, we felt like a couple and finally getting around to getting physical, which also built up gradually.

So, from meet to sleep with was at least a 6-8 week process. From meet to exclusive was at least 4 of that. In all honesty, if things hadnt gone well on the first couple of dates, (or even in the first couple of weeks from going exclusive) I think we still could have socialised as friends from there on in as there was no pressure - rather more a gradual checking each other out for potential and moving from there.

But then, I think I'm one of the lucky few who get to start a relationship like that!!

China   #10   12:15 pm Apr 29 2009

@ Espirit, totally agree that the dating culutre here in NZ is very different to America and I also agree with other comments about meeting someone, hooking up (rather quickly)then all of sudden being a relationship with them. I haven't really thought about this before, but that could be because I've only been single for around 6 months.

My question is - where do you meet other singles?! I've noticed myself checking for wedding rings before I start getting too involved in conversations with people. I think that's strange - is it? And please tell me where in Welly you can meet nice normal single people that would like to 'date'!


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