Monday, January 22, 2007

My Scottish friend, Tim, confirmed what i have known for some time now: that Scottish people don't date. Or rather, they don't "date" in the way that you and i (fellow Torontonians) are familiar with. Over here, it seems that young men and women meet through friends, work, or in a bar/club and after meeting and consuming alcohol, the newly acquainted individuals go back to someones flat and shag. Afterwards, it is decided whether or not they are a couple or just a sad pathetic fumble in the dark.

Back in Toronto, men and women - again - meet through friends, work, or in a bar/club but that's where a lot of the similarities end. Perhaps it's an old puritan tradition that "Toronto the Good" hasn't quite gotten rid of, but folks tend to opt out for the more traditional route of "courting". That is, two individuals meet; exchange numbers/emails; one individual waits for a designated amount of days before calling/emailing the other; individuals meet for dinner and have lengthy flirtatious in depth discussions about life and themselves. Generally there is a 3 to 6 date policy before sleeping with someone - depending on how skanky you are/how much you like the person/etc. Obviously there are exceptions to the dating game. After a few dates (and possible make out session), people in Toronto have that dreaded serious talk: the are-we-a-mutually-exclusive-couple-or-should-we-call-it-quits-so-i-can-make out-with-some-other-hot-lawyer-now!?

As such, because of the widely accepted practice of courting, men in Toronto seem more apt at making the first move. Generally, if you are out somewhere and making hot bedroom eyes with a dude, he is more than likely to attempt and strike up a conversation and hopefully ask you out.

Sadly, not so in Glasgow.

The men over here are hopeless at making the first move; i don't know if it's some weird cultural thing that hearkens back to the middle ages, but dudes over here seem completely oblivious. And i don't care how many times someone says that Scottish men are just shy because i'm shy too. No one actively seeks rejection and heartbreak but alas, it's a side effect of dating.

Oddly, there also seems to be a Culture of Seriousness that surrounds a "traditional date" over here. Although most young people have very few concerns about shagging a near-stranger, a lot of Scottish men break into a cold sweat if you ask them out for a coffee. It's almost as if you're asking them to practically set a wedding date.

This Culture of Seriousness extends into other aspects of Scottish life too. For example, this past Saturday my English friend and i went to a club in the West end. Although we dressed up, a lot of the other girls were completely styled to the nines with the latest fashions from Top Shop. My friend and i - although sober - went totally NUTS on the dance floor and *gasp* had fun. We did not take ourselves seriously at all while it seemed like everyone else was.

i'm not complaining nor am i making any judgements on either culture; i'm just trying to understand British men (ugh) and assimilate to the Scottish ways - without turning into a slag. i'm not the only North American woman to come to this conclusion either.

p.s. i've linked to this Leah McLaren article about British men before and even though she received a lot of harsh criticism for it, i think she is generally right.

(Fine print: don't worry, Mom. You raised a good - and smart- daughter! Bastards have to buy me dinner first!!!)


Anonymous said...


That is so funny. And True!w

Whats the big deal with shagging someone you dont know! its better than someone you do know UG!

So when you see dates and stuff in americian / Canadian films, THATS REAL! I always thought it was just made up!

Oh my!

Jennifer said...

Why bother shagging some meathead you just met in a club when, in the end, i could probably get off much better with a carton of Phish food and myself?! At least that way i don't run the risk of some nasty rash or worse!

Gotta love my publicly funded education; scare tactics in Sex Ed!!

Anonymous said...

you have more chance of getting killed by taling ur trousers off than you have through shagingw

miss hell said...

thanks for this post, i am mad about a scottish man and he is sending me mixed signals! i am also a north american woman and don´t understand their ways! too make the first move or not...

Jennifer said...

Miss Hell - just do it. What do you have to lose?

Flippin' Yank said...

RFLMAO! Funny how Ulsterman are the same.

Thanks for commenting on my blog it was getting pretty lonely. Understandable since Belfast is sort of an enigma to most people and it isn't exactly a dream destination LOL!

Anonymous said...

I am currently a 30 year old single woman in Toronto and that is TOTAL crap. Men in Toronto are only looking for a random hookup or a booty call option. I have not met one man between the ages of 25-36 in the past 3 years here who is actually interested in dating someone.
It's frustrating!

Jennifer said...

Well, I don't know, anonymous. Maybe it's just you? But yes, I had similiar experiences in Toronto too but there was more of a dating culture in Toronto, at least.

Anonymous said...

You know I think this is a growing epidemic - here in Ohio (USA) the only men that approach a woman are either a. looking for a one night stand or b. creepy white panel van driving psychos.
I used to think it was just the US but apparently its the world.

boxin-helena said...

i dont know much about dating , but I can tell you this is about the last palce on earth where your likely to find " love "

I am scottish guy and there is a seriousness ( its called taking yoursel serioulsly , and self importance ) that means you either end up with Posh / becks types ( usually very shallow ) or the others that would prob band anything i.e. esp when drunk.

I find msot socts men and people in generally coarse , uncultured , emotionally and sometimse mentally challanged.

There are no romatics , poets , men of character like youd find in stories or very few.

If you want my advice I'D stick with Canadians or some other country.

I usually get on well with most folk , but not with my own country man - and Im not alone either .

Erin Macdonald said...

This is spot on. I moved to Glasgow from Colorado 1 year ago and have never been so frustrated with the dating situation. It was never difficult for me in Colorado.

I feel like printing this out and handing it around in leaflets to everyone here when they don't understand my frustration.

Thank you for confirming this!

Anonymous said...

so.....I'm going to settle in 2 month in Edinburgh...& I think I'm in the s--t because i'm quite shy & it's difficult for me here (from france)

Hannah said...

I'd like to point out there's nothing wrong with shagging someone you just met if you want to shag them. The idea of having a "rule" about having to wait a certain number of dates seems bloody absurd - if you both want the sex, then have the sex. I'd much rather do things this way. And every single one of my friends who're in long-term relationships started those relationships with casual sex together, it's not some kind of recipe for loneliness.

Anonymous said...

"It's almost as if you're asking them to practically set a wedding date."

In my experience this sentiment really is part of the problem. I'm a fairly recently divorced, 30 something, English man entering the daunting world of dating again and finding that a lot of women want nothing short of an up-front guarantee of eventual marriage. They say things like "I'm in my 30s now, I have my kids to think about/am running out of time to have kids. I can't be messing around with things that aren't leading anywhere..." to which I might reply "I was just asking if you wanted to get a drink, love, I'm not proposing!" the reply to that is alarmingly often some sort of sanctimonious, Jeremy-Kylesque life advice along the lines of "Come back to me when you know what you want out of life..." After a while you look at a seemingly nice lady, think to your self "Am I ready to marry this person right now?" and the answer is always "Hell no!" because you don't even know them, so you don't even approach. Anyway, surely planning out a life together with a girl you haven't even talked to yet is the behaviour of a crazy stalker! Since I was last on the scene things seemed to have degenerated into a sort of relationship cold war, one side demanding sex before commitment, the other demanding commitment before sex and both sides unwilling to budge an inch and just see where things lead. How anyone ever hooks-up in this environment is quite a mystery.

Anonymous said...

Well i dont know it all!! But i am merely commenting from my experience, and my apologies if i offend...
I am currently dating a scottish man and have met his scottish friends etc. He is early 30s i am mid 20s. There was tension with us for ages (obviously liked one another), im a very forward and up front girl so i made the first move!
I even asked him a few weeks in: 'if i hadnt given you my number, would you have hit on me?' he said prob not-im quite shy!!
Although he is a lovely and adorable man my observation is: they dont jump into relationships easy, they really ARE quite shy, amazing lovers (had to add this, very affectionate in the bedroom!!), do not give compliments or praise easily-thats for sure!!! You can catch them at cute moments when they are absolutly lovely, are friendly and respectfull, but not very emotional or show emotion easy. They have firey tempers (haha) and can be quite selfish, and EXTREMELY MANLY!!! Pride themselves on being 'blokes'. Theyre funny :) and always good to have a laugh with and very cheeky :) The LOVE a drink & are quite proud countrymen also-love their home country!

Unknown said...

I'm just coming upon your blog as my mom, daughter and I are thinking of moving to Stirling, Scotland. I'm 31 and divorced from Colorado, it's been pretty much a dry spell for the last few years (mostly by choice) because I've found that the "men" here are nothing but assholes who have no respect for women. I appreciate all the information I have read. While some of it might be hard to get used to, it makes sense and I'm lucky that I'm a outgoing women who has never had a problem approaching a man.

I think the only problem I might have is the casual sex thing as I had made the choice to no longer do that since honestly I got so little out of it, I mean really how enjoyable is sex when you don't really know the other person and what they like, plus drunk sex is just no fun anymore (got over the novelty of that in my mid-20's).

I will however say I'm not opposed to a manly man or one who needs his own space as that is definitely something I look for and to have one who is repestful and knows how to be a passionate love, sign me up lol. Getting used to the drinking, that might be difficult, thought I can hold me own anyday, thank you Irish/Scotish/German ancestors 😊.

Thanks again for all the advice.

Anonymous said...

All you are lucky so... Nowadays men are so lazy,or stingy even for a cup of coffee or some drink that prefer yo bring you for online sex only.