I would expect this to go without saying, but just in case it doesn't, these tips for dating American women are meant to be utilized by men who are not American. You may be a foreigner living in the USA, or she may be the foreigner living in your own country. In either case, this is meant to help bridge that cultural divide that so often pops up when you least expect it. We are not all the same (I hope that much is obvious, at least) but most of us do have certain qualities in common that strike people from other countries as unique, whether it be annoyingly or endearingly so. Read on for more advice from this American woman who has dated men from other nationalities, both in her own country and abroad!
And I almost forgot!
- Please don't be rude about our accents or our grammar. Just because it's not British English does not mean the way we speak is stupid. Unless you're dating a hillbilly, in which case, it probably is.
- Please don't be rude about the food we eat. Just because you've never heard of peanut butter does not mean it's disgusting. If you want to really debate which of us has nastier food, let's talk about those snails and frog's legs.
- Please don't blame us for shows like Jerry Springer when people in places like the UK clamor round the telly when it's on.
- Please don't hold a lack of a college education against us, if that happens to be our situation. It doesn't mean we were stupid -- it could simply mean we didn't have the fortune it costs to go to uni in the US, whereas it's often cheap or free in places like Europe.
- Please don't snub us for not having passports (if we don't), or not having traveled further than Canada or Mexico (if we haven't). Unlike Europe, where it's possible to drive across some countries in just a few hours, we have to actually get on a plane and pay a LOT of money to fly to another country. That, and we don't get an automatic 4 or 5 weeks of paid holiday like so many EU citizens do. In fact, many Americans have only ever been on holiday once or twice, and only for a few days!
1. Don't Slam Our Country.
This is perhaps one of the most annoying things I have to deal with as an expat American dating men in a country foreign to my own. We know our country is not perfect, and yours probably isn't either. You might think we have no clue what our government gets up to, but we actually just might. And, believe it or not, your American girlfriend did not send American troops into Iraq, and it's quite possible she had nothing to do with the NATO bombing of Belgrade (i.e. Clinton's involvement), or the US bombings in Libya, Yemen, Iran or elsewhere. So perhaps you'd be best off not lumping in her in with those who did. Just a suggestion, mind you.
That, and she probably had no previous knowledge of any secret, nefarious dealings between her government and enemies of your own country, either, so please do not try to hold her accountable for any bad experiences you may have had. Even if she's an expat living abroad who detests her government's policies, this doesn't mean she will take kindly to you bashing her homeland. If you must, take care to do it diplomatically and see where she stands first.
2. Be Direct
American women are a good deal more direct than women in some other countries. This can put some men on the defensive, and it can scare others. British men seem particularly ill at ease when an American woman asks a question that seems perfectly normal to her, but utterly invasive to him. By the same token, we're not usually offended by questions you want to ask of us. (Well, within reason!) We tend to ask a lot of things at the start of dating scenario, because we don't really see the point in dragging things out if we're simply not compatible in certain ways.
Other cultures are more laid back about this and tend to let things develop (or not) far more organically. This is pretty hard for some of us, because many of us *do* have that checklist so many foreign men complain about. The good news is, that checklist can be edited! If you want to get an edge on the situation, just be direct and tell her exactly how you feel about her, and make your intentions clear. We love that sort of thing.
3. Don't mock our ideals.
Yes, we're a bit more naïve in some ways than people from other countries. I am constantly being told I shouldn't go out of my way to help people who should be able to help themselves. This includes giving food or money to homeless people, crossing the street to help an elderly person carry bags into their building, or walking a tourist a few blocks out of my way to show them where a subway stop is because I know they will never find it on their own. A lot of people who grew up behind the Iron Curtain think this behavior is absurd. I don't, and yes I was raised this way, starting in daycare. Americans are (well, we were -- I dunno if this is still the case) raised to help whenever we can. We don't all do this, obviously, and some do it to a greater extent than others, but please do not mock us for having ideals. We realize the world is not a perfect place and one act of kindness isn't going to end world hunger. But most of us feel good about helping others, and until that's declared to be a crime, just deal with it!
4. Be Reliable and Self-Supporting
We've got plenty of gold diggers in the US, no point in denying that. But most of us are not like that. That's not to say a good number of us wouldn't be thrilled if tall, dark, handsome and rich Prince Charming proposed to us -- but the majority of American just want you to be someone they can depend on, and who can cover his own expenses. We also tend to loathe men who can't be relied upon, whether it be in terms of showing up on time, keeping a promise, etc. Many of us will break up with men who repeatedly show themselves to be unreliable. Amazingly (to me, anyway!) in the country I live in, and many nearby, it's pretty common for men to be flaky and even expect women to support them financially. I don't know how the local women tolerate it, but American women don't generally tolerate that sort of thing very well. Sure, some American women could be down with this sort of dynamic, but most will not be.
5. Be Strong
Many American women love a strong man. Unfortunately, many men misinterpret this word and think it means you've got suppress all emotion, never complain about anything, and basically just be perfect. No, no, no. American women love a strong man who can also show his sensitive side. You can even cry in front of us and we will not hold it against you. In fact, it would probably automatically endear you to us! (Unless we've just caught you cheating and you're begging us to take you back -- crying probably won't endear you to us in that sort of situation!) We might worry a bit if you sob through every Hallmark commercial, but generally speaking we're totally cool with you being human! I don't know why so many foreign men think we all want a man of steel.. it's just not true. Besides, Superman had a soft side and most of us found it highly endearing!