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Dating internationally – definitions and insights

BI Crema
Postato il: 05/09/17
Tempo di lettura: 7 minuti, 56 secondi


This post has been inspired by a student who, while discussing his Sunday routine,  said: I always have dinner with a girl on Sunday evenings. Obviously, as I can never miss the opportunity for a joke I asked him back: A different girl every Sunday?


What followed was a struggle over the definition of dating as the aforementioned student is seeing someone but casually - how do you say this in English?

Well, culturally speaking, in Britain casual dating is not something that happens every Sunday mostly because you don’t want to spend your time with someone who’s not serious about you, do you? But regardless the way I see it, I’ve noticed how people tend to be clueless when it comes to defining their relationship status in English, so hopefully this is going to be helpful. Maybe five years from now you will be trying to date a Brit, why not starting to understand the differences between dating life in the UK and dating life in Italy? Let’s start with some definitions:

 In your twenties

As in most parts of the world, in Britain the twenties are characterised by hanging out with friends, go clubbing, having guys or girls hitting on you, chasing and being chased, asking and being asked out and in some unfortunate cases also leading or being led on. This is a normal process of self awareness and no one will ever judge you over how many people you’ve fallen for, made out – or hooked up – with. Dating life is quite lively and hardly ever serious – while in Italy people tend to take commitment very seriously even in their early twenties. Anyhow, the most common relationship definition you may find among the twenty-year-olds is, obviously, The Booty Call.

Booty call /bu:ti kͻ:l/

“A late night summon – often made via telephone – to arrange clandestine sexual liaisons on an ad hoc basis” – Urban Dictionary

A booty call relationship generally indicates a sexual partner with whom you meet after a night out with your friends in case no one else caught your eye. Booty calls are made by both men and women and do not require any type of commitment: you’ll never go to the pub with your booty call having drinks. Actually you’ll never go anywhere with your booty call during the day. A booty call doesn’t meet your friends, doesn’t have to know what’s going on in your life and the booty call relationship generally ends as soon as somebody else steps in.

Nowadays booty calls are not necessarily made via phone call, more and more often texting is the most immediate way of communication. But while you text your friends, you will definitely do some sexting with your booty call.

Sexting  /sekstiŋ/

The act of text messaging someone in the hopes of having a sexual encounter with them later; initially casual, transitioning into highly suggestive and even sexually explicit – Urban Dictionary

Neologism composed by “sex” + “texting” is often use to indicate flirtatious conversations in which the people involved often swap pictures of intimate nature.

Ghosting /ɡəʊstiŋ/

The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone  […] This is done in hopes the ghostee will just ‘get the hint’ and leave the subject alone […] Urban Dictionary

Allegedly, this is how Charlize Theron got rid of Sean Penn but as is not an indicator of maturity, this sort of behaviour should be common only among 20-year-olds.

Cultural issues:

In Britain if someone is ghosting you, ignores your text messages, replies after hours or days it generally means one thing: that person is not into you. Not even a little.

In Italy on the other hand I’ve experienced how people simply don’t understand ghosting and Italian ladies – and lately also Italian guys – use something similar as an incentive for the chase. If you’re trying to date internationally keep this in mind: in other cultures ghosting is a turn off and should be done only if your intentions are to get rid of that person. So ladies bear in mind: a British guy won’t even try to be your friend if you ghost him. And guys, a British girl can’t be bothered with silly power establishment mind games.

In your thirties

The thirties is the so-called twilight zone of dating life where people struggle with both their identities and expectations. According to an individual stage of maturity and self awareness which is going to lead unavoidably to the point where you just want to settle down for good the relationships you might find, starting from the late thirties are:

No strings attached /nəʊ strıŋz ə'tæʧt/

Being in a relationship with someone while still dating other people – Urban Dictionary

This kind of relationship, common among thirty-year-olds generally involves a certain degree of intimacy, friendship and spending time together besides having sex. In other words, people involved in this kind of relationship give each other BF/GF benefits without being in an exclusive relationship in order to keep their options opened. This type of relationship is common both among Italians and Brits but with a significant difference.

Cultural issues

In Britain keeping things casual is something which has been thoroughly discussed at the beginning of the dating process and both partners are currently looking for other options.

In Italy keeping things casual generally means only ONE THING: the guy doesn’t want to be in a committed relationship – or doesn’t want to be in a committed relationship with that lady. On the other hand, the lady generally struggles to win the guy over forgetting the fact that she is the one having more dating options than he’ll ever have. 

Exclusive relationship /ık'sklu:sıv rı'leıʃᵊnʃıp/

After a certain period of time, roughly from 2 to 4 months after you started dating a certain person you either stop seeing that person or you move towards “I’m not seeing nor I’m interested in seeing anyone else” type of relationship.

Cultural issues

In Britain after the “are we or aren’t we?” talk things tend to move quite quickly towards moving in together – generally within a year– and having children. Marriage in most cases is off the table. So if you are interested in marrying a British guy or a British lady bear in mind that they will be reluctant at first. You will need to work hard to convince them. And their reluctance is never an indicator of their love as well as the absence of PDA – unless drunk – is not an indicator of lack of interest. In Britain marriage is no longer what it used to be and commitment does not require a surname change.

In Italy on the other hand, the BF/GF exclusive type of relationship can go on for years without anyone taking a step further. Generally, this happens because people tend to live with their parents longer than they do in Britain and moving in with your partner in most cases happens after getting married. Being in an exclusive relationship like this could be quite unnerving for a Brit, mainly a British lady who wants, above all, to become a mother.

So, have you ever dated or would you like to date internationally? We’d like to hear about it so don’t forget to comment and share your experiences.





Hang out -phrasal verb-  spend a lot of time in a place or with someone.

Go clubbing (noun) to go out dancing in clubs

Hit on (someone)  - phrasal verb - to show someone in a direct way that you are attracted to him or her

To chase – verb – to try very hard to persuade someone to have a relationship with you

Lead (somebody) on - phrasal verb - to persuade someone to believe something that is untrue

Fall for (someone) – phrasal verb - to be attracted to someone and start to love that person

Make out with (someone) – phrasal verb – to kiss / snog

Hook up with (someone) – phrasal verb –  to begin a sexual relationship

To catch someone’s eye – idiom –  attract someone’s attention

Ghostee – noun neologism – the person to whom the ghosting is being done to

To get rid of (someone) – phrasal verb –  (dating) to dump someone

To be into someone – idiom – be interested in someone

Turn off – nounsomething you dislike, find unappealing, not exciting. Antonym Turn on – noun – something you find interesting, exciting.

To bear (something) in mind – idiom – to remember an important piece of information when making a decision

Can’t be bothered – idiom – be unwilling to make the effort needed to do something

To settle down – phrasal verb – (informal use in dating) be in a committed relationship and start a family.

For good – adverb – permanently

BF/GF – acronym – boyfriend / girlfriend

(Something is) off the table – idiom –

PDA – acronym – Public Display of Affection


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