(Note: LROL is for Little Reminders of Love.)
LROL: At what age do people typically begin to go on dates?
Heidi: I think this varies by person. In my super small hometown, people had “boyfriends” and “girlfriends” in 5th grade, but didn’t actually go on legitimate dates til 7th, 8th, or 9th grade. Even then the dates tended to be in groups or supervised by parents. Real, one on one dates begin around sophomore year, or 15ish.
LROL: Who asks whom on a date, normally?
Heidi: Again, it depends on the person. So far I’ve mostly seen a 50/50 split on who asks who – some girls just have more courage than others, some guy are just more shy.
LROL: What is a typical first date like?Heidi: Well, I’ve only lived in really small towns that are about half an hour away from the big cities. In my experience, the first date is usually some place local in case either person wants to leave early – it’s also cheaper than paying for gas! Usually it’s dinner, with a movie or bowling or something cheap (read: free!) since it’s mostly college students around here.
LROL: What is culturally “expected” of you and your date?Heidi: Ah, this is where Americans love to blur the lines! Personally, I think it’s expected to end with no more than a good kiss at the most, but definitely some form of contact – holding hands, a good night hug, something. However, I have some friends that believe that you shouldn’t touch at all, and other friends who think it is perfectly acceptable to sleep with someone on the first date. I think it all depends on the American sub-culture you were raised with.
LROL: Who decides what the date will be?Heidi: Usually whoever does the asking. Sometimes the asker will only have enough courage to ask and then makes the other person pick the activity, but that’s rare.
LROL: Who pays?Heidi: The guy should, but as most of my friends and I are still in college, it’s pretty normal to go dutch on a date.
LROL: What are the post-date norms?Heidi: There are so many different “norms”! Typically, though, as I have pointed out to several of my girlfriends, the guy waits at least 24 hours to make contact, and even then it’s more likely to be a text than a call. People don’t call each other anymore unless they have been dating a long time.
LROL: What would you change about the dating culture of where you live?Heidi: Hmmmm…. I definitely think it would be nice to even out the ratio here – There are 4 women to every man on my campus! But mostly I wish guys didn’t expect so much. Since the ratio is so off, most guys figure if a girl doesn’t immediately want to hop into bed, they can just find another one who will.
LROL: What do you like about the dating culture of where you live?Heidi: I like that the dating culture is not rigid at all. The rules change with every relationship, and there is no set process.LROL: What was your best date?Heidi: Mini golf! My second boyfriend knew that my dad had strict rules about us dating – I was only allowed on group dates until my dad said otherwise – so he planned a fun day with his best friend and I. There was a new glow-in-the-dark mini golf course at the mall in town, and I seriously laughed the entire time. We were just goofing off and having a blast without any pressure of a one on one date.LROL: And your worst?
Heidi: A date to the dining hall on campus. We were both freshmen in college, and he said he was going to surprise me for not helping me with my philosophy the night before. His surprise was that he got me my favorite flowers – after he had our mutual friend blatently ask me what they were. It was awkward – he had already gotten his food and grabbed a table, leaving me to go through the lines alone. After I sat down, the conversation was very lopsided and kinda boring – he mostly talked about his hometown and I was too nervous to say anything. At the end, he walked me back to my dorm, and then left without so much as a hug or a hand hold!
LROL: Anything you’d like to add that I forgot to ask?Heidi: …
Thanks so much, Heidi — Mini golf is always a solid choice. ; )