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On dates in foreign lands, who pays?

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor  May 11, 2012 10:52 AM

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Birds do it, bees do it. But the rules about who pays for dates vary from country to country, according to Matador Nights.

GERMANY

Here the volume on the whole courting thing gets turned down; flirting is more subtle. A meaningful but casual glance (more James Marsden than Michael Cera), and then if a woman is interested what follows may involve a short exchange about, say, German politics. After that, if the man does the asking, it's understood that he's paying for the date.

FRANCE

Qu'est-ce que c'est dating? It seems that they don't really do it here. The French are chill. Instead there might be a dinner party (bring wine but NOT food) and perhaps later a private stroll or an agreement to meet at a bar or museum. Straying from the code is just not done. If you ever do get to something resembling a date, on the first one he pays and she will likely grab the tab for the second. Splitting the bill? Gauche.

TURKEY

Turkey is a Muslim country but not as buttoned-down (in such lands when we're talking buttoned-down we mean like the basic black, head-and-face-covering chador) as some. Dating is done here, and going out for ice cream is a popular ice breaker. Who pays? Turkey may be more modern than its peers but it ain't no Woodstock. Don't forget your wallet.

MEXICO

Apparently women here swear by telanovelas and expect dating to be as steamy as an episode of "Abismo de PasiĆ³n'' ("Abyss of Passion''). So, dress up and practice your most passionate gaze in the mirror. Flowers are never a bad idea. And plan to pay. Ever see a soap opera where the guy didn't?


AUSTRALIA

No wonder so many students flock here for a semester abroad. Lots of beaches and lots of beer (and let's get this straight from the get-go: Foster's is decidely not Australian for beer). It's totally acceptable for Aussie girls to make the plans and do the asking -- although it's not unheard of for guys to do so too. And forward-thinking young women are OK with grabbing the check -- but not forever.

SPAIN

It's cool for either side to make the first move. Note that these folks are demonstrative so touching while talking doesn't necessarily mean the same thing it does here. Where to go? All the regular stuff: tapas, dinner, drinks. And the man pays. Remember, these guys invented machismo.

JAPAN

Group dates are big. Seating is organized boy-girl. Drinking and party games are typically part of the program. At the end of the night, girls pony up a little and boys split the rest. If you did well, you could receive a phone number as a lovely parting gift.

BRAZIL

Things can move fast: First stage of a relationship is called a ficart, and is essentially a one-night deal, which may include a little of this and that or all of the above; ficante is what happens if you decide to see each other again; next comes paquera, which is a regular gig but not boyfriend/girlfriend land (that bit is called namorado). Complex, yes. Paying, however, is not. Yes, amigo that's your cue.


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