Thursday, November 22, 2012

My Guide to Dating Scottish Men

*Not a true representation of "Scottish Love"

I get a surprising amount of emails from women - mainly American and Canadian - about dating Scottish men: e.g. what's the difference between a Scottish vs. North American dude; what does it mean when a Scottish guy asks them out for a drink with all his friends and so on and so forth. Most of the time I respond because they're just looking for advice/ perspective and as everyone knows, I have publicly lamented about dating in this country so I am more than happy to pass on what I have learned, if anything.

Nevertheless, I thought I should try and attempt to offer up my advice once and for all - albeit, at the risk of repeating myself.

Please note, however, that I am approaching the dangerous and controversial territory of dating in Scotland, from a North American perspective, and you may run the risk of being misinterpreted as "too forth right".

Firstly, I won't question why it is a Scottish man in particular that you want to date because hey, I get it: you saw Gerard Butler in a film once and dug his accent and assume that all Scottish men are that rugged and handsome. [Side note: I saw Gerard Butler walking down Byres Road a couple weekends ago with this current-model girlfriend, and although my heart was a flutter at the idea of Gerard Butler, in reality it was a bit of a let down as he looked pretty hung-over].

As a Canadian dating in Scotland, I initially found it quite difficult as there isn't the same culture/ tradition of dating as there is in North America. Back in Toronto, it wasn't considered strange/ too forward for a guy to approach you and either: (a) just start talking to you SOBER and/or (b) offer to buy you a drink. The same cannot be said about Scottish men, I'm afraid. Which brings me to my first point:

1. Scottish People Speak in Code: This takes some getting used to. For example, it's not really polite to directly ask someone what they do for a living. Sure, that is the second thing we ask each other in North America, right after "What's your name?" but not so in the UK. So instead, you need to find these sort of details out in a roundabout way. You will need to carry out a careful conversation and only when it is hinted at, may you ask someone what they do or openly try to guess. The same can be said about asking someone if they're single/ married. Sure, you may be used to being directly asked this by a dude in Canada but over here? Not so much.

You see, here in the UK/ Scotland, there is a lot more happening than what would appear on the surface. For example, in a busy bar, rather than a barman/woman openly asking who is next (although sometimes they do), there is a subtle social interaction taking place. Without uttering any words, the server will know who is to be served next, just by making eye contact with thirsty patrons at the bar. If the server incorrectly eyes someone who is not next in line for a pint, they will usually shake their head and point at who should be next - if they're a decent human, anyway. Obviously if you're a patron at a busy pub in the UK, you can't wave your hands or make a point of being FORTH RIGHT and saying that you're next; SORRY, that's just the rules, Yanks. What can I say, they like rigid social codes over here.

So, if you happen to find a Scottish lad who you like and you think may like you, I would say this: HANG IN THERE, GIRL. Eventually all will become clear (hopefully).

The thing to remember about guys - Canadian, American, Scottish or otherwise - is that they tend to show you how they feel. Sure, they may not literally tell you but on the other hand, if they're making an effort to see or arrange to see you: what's that telling you? Which brings me to my second point:

2. Scottish guys - on the surface- have limited emotions. Look, I don't make the rules, just the observations, ok? But in my experience, there seems to be a more old-fashioned approach to how men are perceived and portrayed in the UK than in Canada. In Glasgow, at least, people talk about the "hardness"of the cities inhabitants; it's not called a Glasgow Kiss for nothing and Glaswegian men are allowed to show limited emotions: anger (usually when their football team loses), elation (usually when their football team wins) and general day-to-day being at peace with the world. That's it.

Now, obviously this is a sweeping generalisation and not true of all Scottish men. Indeed, I would say that it's rapidly changing for the better. However, I still think there is some hang over from the "olden times" when it was generally encouraged for men to be the "strong and stoic" type. Clearly I don't approve of such encouragement because I think it's important to remember that men are a lot more complicated and dare I say it, delicate than we let them be.

So, remember: there is a person beyond that limited Man Box exterior.

3. (a) You might need to go to the pub more: Look, we'll probably never even come close to what our Scottish cousins can partake in, booze wise, but you might as well start trying: if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right? Sadly, this is where a lot of the action is. In Canada, we usually go to other people's houses to get shit-faced but over here, people go to a pub in order to pay twice as much to shout over loud music. The one thing, however, that you won't get at a lot of Canadian house parties is one thing that the Brits/ Scots excel at: playful banter.

3(b). Scottish people love and appreciate a good chinwag/ banter. There are many things I love about Scotland and Scottish people (humour, landscape, friendliness) but the one thing that really makes me fall for this country is their sheer delight at a good chat/ rant session. Whereas we Canadians are a lot more utilitarian when it comes to words, the Scots are playful and cheeky. If you want to date a Scottish dude, be prepared for some verbal jousting; these people can talk rings around us.

4. Scottish people don't really date: I said it before and let me elaborate more: Scottish people don't have the dating culture that we do in North America; they don't even like to say the word, "date". The word and idea makes people uneasy - perhaps it is, once again, too forth right and too straight-forward (I KNOW, RIGHT?!) Scottish people wouldn't think too much about sleeping with a near stranger they met in a club, but asking for their number and to take them out for a meal? No.

This isn't a judgement on a nation - just a mere lifeline for confused North American ladies.

5. Get used to having the "piss" taken out of you: So you find yourself on a NON-DATE/ JUST HANGING OUT WITH a Scottish dude but he seems to continually make fun of you. Don't be offended rather, chin up, doll, this means he likes you!


Timorous Beastie said...

Much of this rings true to me but reminds me that years of living abroad have turned me into a foreigner. I'd prefer to go to someone's house than the pub and I'd blunder into the "are you married?" type questions right away. oh and I expect men to express themselves articulately. Hey, maybe I should move to Canada?

Anonymous said...

Hey, not to sound rude or anything, but you still haven't posted for December and it's nearly Christmas! :O

-The Awkward New Reader

Anonymous said...

o: Funnily enough my boyfriend is of Scottish descent and we actually love teasing and mocking each other. He must have picked this up from his dad's side of the family (that or its an inherent quality to Scots :P )

Anonymous said...

my boyfriends from dunfermline and so much of this is true about him!When we first started dating/ talking he would insult me and i took it offensive at fist so i insulted back but i guess he found that cute and he later ensured me that he was just playing around like Scotts do.. so just call him a daft shit fer brains every now and learn a few Scottish words and he'll love you forever.. trust me aken it gets easier

Anonymous said...

I want a Scottish man Rarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr ♥ xxx

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just moved to Aberdeen and I love your articles! I have no problem with witty banter instead of overt declarations love BUT the question remains: what to do if you're not comfortable sleeping with the guy you like before ever having even been taken on a date? Is that what all guys expect, and is there no middle ground?

dina afifi said...

My friend recommended this dating for travelers website called At first I thought the idea is a little bit bizarre but I gave it a try and it was worth it.

nada elkelany said...

I've joined this site because mainly because I wanted to organize a cool trip. But it was awesome when I found that you can actually find a travel mate. There are plenty of handsome men out there. It really helps if you're not looking for something serious.

Anonymous said...

This tips are actually true for most of nothern Europe, at least the part about not asking someone straight forward if they are single or not, about the social rules and about the dating part. That is also why many northern Europeans sometimes find the Americans too loud and to straigh forward.

Anonymous said...

This is just raceist I can't believe that you would make statements 100% accurately correct. I would be offended if it wasn't true.
-cheeky Scotsman

Anonymous said...

ha,ha,ha,veri nice and very correct.

Anonymous said...

Oh hah sounds like the love of my life, Canadian men can be way to sensitive when poking fun. I'm moving to London then possibly Edinburgh or Cardiff in 6 months cant wait to try out the dating.

Molly said...

Love this! I'm dating a Scottish guy at the moment, and all of this rings so true. Especially about avoiding the word 'date', the witty banter and the insults! Excellent advice here.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this! I've been talking to a guy from Glasgow & I am learning a lot but still in that process of LEARNING haha so I appreciate the info, I'm American so it's been interesting to say the least! Thanks again!! :)

Sandra Munoz said...

Sheeeeesh I "chilled out" with A Scottish guy a couple of times and things were going well then today I asked him out on a date and there was like a "cold moment"... and he did not even say yes or no... I wish I had read this sooner!! I'll apply the Silent treatment and see if he misses me :/ that Scott is hot and caring and knows about Tantra. Hope I did not fuck it up before it even started.

Anonymous said...

Cheeky Scotsman, you're messed up. Wanna go on a date?


I live in Canada and my boyfriend is still in Scotland and we will be together soon. This gave me the idea to create an international dating site so people who want to date lets say a Scottish men can go to, you are most welcome to join, joining is free