Unspoken Rules: An Analysis of Dating on Both Sides of the Atlantic
Irish girls and American girls have contrasting views regarding sex and dating. However while both look at sex and dating in different ways, some similarities do exist. The main differences occur in dating, their views on relationships, and sex. The main similarities are sexual practices and what they find that makes men attractive.
When it comes to meeting men, Irish women adamantly refuse to approach men that they find attractive, no matter what. When I asked a group of Irish girls would they ever approach a guy that they found to be attractive, they burst out, “Hell no!” Their reasoning for this is that besides the general view of Irish girls, as well as their own view, of it being the guy’s responsibility and job to approach them, it would make them look desperate. I have found this in my own personal experiences as well in Ireland. On more than one occasion I have noticed a girl that was clearly sending signs that she was attracted to me such as consistent eye contact or smiling. However on each occasion it was left for me to initiate a conversation or ask her to dance. In contrast American girls usually would have no qualms over approaching a guy or a group of guys. Just the other night a few of my guy friends and I were at a club when a cute blonde American walked up and introduced herself to us. During the conversation one of my friends asked her if she came over because she knew we were Americans and she replied, “No I just saw some cute guys and I wanted to talk to you.”
Both Irish and American groups find similar characteristics in guys to be attractive. When asked to rank the most important features they look for in a guy from most important to least important, their answers were very similar. Irish girls said that they first look to see if they have nice eyes and smile, then they looked for a good personality, stressing that the guy needs to be funny. In third came body followed by clothing in last. American girls said that they first looked to see how nice his smile was, then looked for his personality also commenting on the need to have a sense of humor, and in last was body. The only difference was that the American girls said that clothing wasn’t particularly important to them.
Dating is another point of difference. Irish girls in general say that they don’t date someone unless they’re seeing them and the relationship is already established. Even so, they would rarely go on dates because everyone knows college students are broke so it is not expected. American girls usually date someone before they decide to get into a relationship with him. For example a girl might be taken out to dinner or to go see a movie after only meeting the guy. This is not saying that American girls must be taken out on a date before they will go out with a guy because most American students are also broke. However almost always American girls would go somewhere alone with the guy that can be considered a date before they start calling themselves boyfriend and girlfriend. Also Irish girls strongly feel that they should never have to pay on a date. This is not the way American girls think. On most dates I’ve been on with American girls, they almost always offer to pay especially if it’s the first date. On one occasion the girl actually insisted on paying. So even though American guys usually do pay for dates, American girls are almost always prepared to pay their way or at least willing to offer.
Romance generally goes hand in hand with dating, although there are plenty of romantic things besides dates. Irish girls' views on romance go along with their views on dating. When I asked Irish girls what they felt was the biggest difference between Irish girls and American girls when it came to sex and dating, they said that it was romance. They said that they felt that American girls needed romantic gestures and dates a lot more than they did. In my own experience I would have to agree. Although I don’t have much experience in dating Irish girls [read: none], I do know that American girls need romantic gestures. An example of this would be sending American girls thoughtful texts or messages or buying them flowers. The Irish girls I interviewed said that although those things would be nice, they don’t expect or need them.
Irish women and American women also have very different views of taking a guy home with them or going to back to his place. I found this to be very surprising. When I asked the Irish girls that I was interviewing what they would expect to happen if they took a guy home or went back to his place, they said, “A bit of kissing and a goodnight’s sleep if it’s the first night you met.” Although this was meant to be funny when I asked again they said they were serious. They felt that just because they were sleeping in the same bed, it didn’t mean that anything more was going to happen besides some kissing. I couldn’t believe it, in America it is almost an unspoken rule that if you go to a girl’s place or take her back to yours, then you would at least get some oral sex if not sex. When I told them this one of the girls said, “I think Irish girls take guys back all the time but not thinking anything of it whereas guys always think they’re gonna get somewhere but girls just wanna get a laugh.” This leads me to believe that although Irish girls and American girls may not be thinking along the same lines on this topic, Irish guys and American guys seem to have the same idea.
In terms of sex, Irish girls seem to be less concerned about contracting sexually transmitted diseases due to the fact that they say that it is common for guys not to use condoms during sex, especially if they are going out. Moreover it is very common for girls to take birth control pills only while they are in a relationship with someone. Then after they break up they stop taking the birth control. This is much different for American girls. Personally I have always been told to wear a condom, except for once. Also most of my American girl friends take birth control and stay on it. Also a lot of them say that they first started taking birth control pills not for contraceptive purposes but for other reasons such as regulating their period.
Both Irish girls and American girls practice the same types of sex for the most part. When asked whether it was normal for Irish girls to perform oral sex, the girls thought it was a no brainer and replied, “Obviously.” American girls regularly perform oral sex as well. When a guy performs oral sex on the girls it would almost be bad manners or wrong for the girl to not reciprocate the favor by performing oral sex on him. In terms of the amount and frequency of sex, it was also the same. The Irish girls said that if they were with someone then they would probably have sex about 4-5 times a week, which goes along with the general way it is in America. Both Irish and American girls found it difficult to put a number the amount of sex partners a girl has to have had in order to make her a slut. Both said that it depended more on the way she presented herself i.e. clothing, how “easy she was,” and how low her standards are.
Another difference in how Irish girls and American girls view sex is how American girls seem to be much comfortable to have casual sex with a guy friend than Irish girls are. This is also known as having “friends with benefits.” American girls said that they would have no problem with it and most have in fact had casual sex more than once with a close guy friend. Irish girls however said that they would never have sex with a guy friend for fear of one of them becoming too attached and ruining the friendship. Because of this, I believe that American girls view sex much more casually than Irish girls do. American girls are more comfortable with being able to separate sex from love. I personally have never had sex with a close friend but many of my friends in America have. In most cases it works out fine even though there may be a week or two of awkwardness after it ends. On one occasion it did ruin the friendship because the girl had had feelings for the guy before they started having sex.
While collecting information for writing this paper I discovered some very surprising differences in how Irish and American women view sex and dating. The most surprising was how completely differently Irish girls go on dates and how more much more casual American girls are towards sex with friends. It is amazing how two cultures can shape people’s views in such different ways.
There you have it. There are no sources for this paper other than those interviewed, but honestly, does the truth need citation? I hope this paper helps you as much as it helped me.