I am thankful for dating. As a woman, I consider it a symbol of my freedom to choose the person with whom I would like to spend my time, be it years or a few hours.
In reminding us that we are not compatible with everyone, dating is a celebration of our individuality. My grandmother was never allowed that kind of liberty. She married a man she had seen only a couple of times and who asked for her hand when she was barely fifteen. It is true that she loved my grandfather, as do many people who enter arranged marriages or marriages with people they hardly know, but I am nonetheless relieved that I get to judge for myself, and that I can either like or dislike the men I meet.
Dates, even bad dates, are a sign of social progress. That being said, I believe dating is one of the most curious rituals we observe on a regular basis. Of course, it is never as straightforward as that. Because we do not want it to feel like an audition and because we shy away from intensity, we try to combine it with other activities: I often wondered why that was, in light of the fact that we are or like to consider ourselves to be a country of extroverts.
But our extroversion is combined with a general mistrust of strangers. This could be related to crime. It could be related to a disastrous urbanization process that damaged our sense of community. I believe it might also be related to the size of the country and the tightness of our social networks: This appears to have changed recently with the emergence of Tinder.
I have been surprised to learn that many of my Costa Rican friends have joined the app in the last couple of years. It would seem that in this, as in other aspects, Costa Ricans are performing an act of cultural leapfrogging: I wonder if our incursions into online dating mean that we are heading towards some form of standardization — if cultural and social norms governing our romantic and sexual interactions will eventually converge with those of other Western cultures.
While it should be obvious by now that I am not an expert on dating, in any language, I have nonetheless learned a thing or two about romantic idiosyncrasies. Even with some level of convergence, dating in Costa Rica and the United States is a game with slightly different rules. Some of the differences are idiomatic. It is true that dating can sometimes feel like pulling teeth, but it is still a little weird to use the same term for getting a cocktail and a root canal.
This nominal casualness extends beyond our verbiage: People go out, but there is nothing like the first date, second date, third date expectations that are commonplace in the United States. We also have an idiomatic joker card, which English speakers lack: There are likewise differences in the way we physically interact with each other that release some of the tension of the first encounters. Since we normally kiss, hug and compliment the way others look, even when we are not trying to pursue someone romantically, it is less strange to do so when you are actually out on a date.
Traditions like meeting the parents also lack the meaning they carry in the U. Costa Ricans live with their parents way past the age they should. This ease is countered by other kinds of constraints. We also continue to struggle with the effects of machismo, which seriously hamper the construction of healthy relationships.
But I believe we are improving, and not just because of Tinder. I think we are exhibiting a more open-minded approach to meeting people and going out with strangers. Happy Big Date Day, folks. Tell someone you love them. Read previous Please Send Coffee!