The truth is I have never been asked out on a date in my life. Not ever. Don’t feel too bad. It’s just not a question that existed in our Dutch vocabulary ten years ago - when I was datable.
When I tell this to New Yorkers they ask me; ‘Then how DID you guys ever manage to hook up?’ Well, we engaged in what I would call initiating co-responsable get-togethers. The following is a short example of how the above would be executed at a party - between two potential lovers. Person one mentions a movie. Person two says he or she hasn’t seen that movie yet. And suggests;
‘We really should go see it before it leaves town.’ Subtle opportunity presents itself. Leave it to us Dutch to deal with that.
‘How about we check it out on Sunday, let’s say, the first performance?’ Now scoring the goal is easy;
‘Sounds like a plan! See you there’, will set the stage. In those days movies only played in one location at the time. That was helpful. All you had to do is get on your bike on Sunday. No pressure. Not a word exchanged about the definition of the encounter. Who is dating who? Are two friends just getting together? Who knows? You each pay your own way so who CARES??!!
Gracefully declining without inflicting refusal trauma was painless too;
‘Sorry. I need to take my grandmother to church on Sundays.’
Taking the hint one would change the subject, and the next question could be;
‘What church does she belong to?’ Easy as pie. No harm done.
I know. Must sound like a dream come true to you American men out there. Here’s an interesting detail. My American boyfriend never asked me out on a date either. Not once. All he ever continued to suggest was; ‘Let’s go Dutch!!’
I blame the famous saying You can take the girl out of the culture, but you can’t take the culture out of the girl. Hey, I love him. But when the subject of his behaviour came up during the research for my documentary on dating, my American girlfriend Liz looked at me as if I were an alien. (I am. Legally!) To say that she was shocked and disgusted is an understatement. So my advice to you American guys (unless you’re dating a Dutch girl) is; ‘Don’t try the Go Dutch thing at home!‘
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