Love hearts, tiny naked angels with wings and arrows, boxes of chocolates, roses – red ones, candle light (extra points if they’re vanilla scented!) are our average poignant representations of love and dating. Hardly strange, eh? Over the years capitalism has progressively drilled into us acceptable ideas of romance and what constitutes as ‘awww’.
Poetry, lingerie, love songs, French kisses, proposals on one knee and holding hands are some of the more accepted, encouraged and indoctrinated recipes for romantic dating. But lo and behold! my little love doves, what you know as romantic are only Hollywood constructs of courting and wooing. Let’s take a quick trip around the world to explore a few, um, fascinatingly unconventional (ancient and current) dating rituals to broaden your horizons and re-evaluate your aww measure.
CAMBODIA: Want sexual liberty? You should have been born here! Parents in the Kreung tribe are far from prudish; they make their daughters their very own love shack or “courting huts” where girls are encouraged to entertain men, as many of them as they wish to, until the find the ‘right guy’. If a girl fancies a boy, she calls him over and they can have all the sex they want away from prying eyes and ears in their stilted little playhouse.
Aw Scale: Um, no premarital sex stigma and your very own mini sex mansion is every hormonal teenagers dream. More yay! than aw.
IRAN: You’re probably aware of this, but it’s against the law for teens to date until they are of ‘marriageable age’, and their parents introduce them to a potential ‘life partner’. Recently however, a concept of ‘temporary marriage’ has surfaced as a euphemism for dating. Basically, it’s a way to ‘sample the goods’ before settling down and this is being rampantly explored through online dating sites.
Aw Scale: Kudos for getting progressive in a nation where women still wear a veil.
NEPAL: It’s called “night hunting” in Bhutan. Young men prowl around neighbourhoods searching for a prospective single woman’s bedroom window to creep into and convince said lady to get into bed with him. Sometimes it’s even a group effort; (omg, no!) single men lurk in a mob scouting (stalking, more like) single women’s houses. Once a house is narrowed down on, a man climbs into the bedroom (uninvited) and persuades the sleeping (and probably terrified) potential lady lover to let him sleep with her.
Aw Scale: Dude, no. Just no. This is so illegal in most countries.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Tribesmen in the jungles here will paint their bodies, wear feathered costumes and do native dances to seduce and impress their crushes. They’re called sing-sings and these close-to-nature folk sort of emulate the mating rituals of the birds-of-paradise in order to display, create and engage in a sensual exotic kaleidoscope of affection. Wild colourful body decor and bird like sexual innuendos for the win!
Aw Scale: Aw, erotic bird like tribal dance for rustic seduction, I’m in!
FRANCE: Fashionable unique and neat in almost every way, so is their dating. French youth meet and date in groups, the idea of one on one dating is pretty rare. So as soon as you’re interested in someone in that group of friends and kiss them, bam! it’s assumed the relationship has commenced. Furthermore, French men are known for their swooning, pampering, not playing-hard-to-get, and bold gestures of love. Oh, date me, monsieur!
Aw Scale: Oui, oui, très aww and très chilled out and french men, très Oo la la!
WALES: You know nothing about the art of Spooning fellas. “Spooning” in Welsh customs doesn’t mean ‘cuddling’, – since the 17th century, the Welsh lover presented his belle with an intricately hand crafted “lovespoon”, yes, literally a spoon! The spoon is a gesture of his lifelong providing for and feeding her. Welsh men spent hours fastidiously perfecting intricacies of their spoon to present her with perfection. If the romantic intention was mutual, she wore the spoon around her neck, if not, the spoon was returned (um, awk). The custom has long since faded but lovespoons are still gifted as tokens of admiration on special occasions.
Aw Scale: Awwww, that’s adorable! and highly convenient if you’re a foodie.
AUSTRIA: Women in this country (during the 19th century) took the phrase “food is the way to a man’s heart” a little too seriously; they lodged apple slices in their armpits during traditional dances. Yeah, no, it’s true. By the end of the evening, a women gave her (smelly sweat soaked) piece of fruit to the man she had the hots for. If the receiver of this (stinky soiled oxidised) apple slice fancied her back, he gobbled it right there. Thank goodness this tradition has diminished over the years.
Aw Scale: Ew scale? A little heavy on the pheromones, but whatever floats your boat.
Yeah so that concludes our little weird wild and wondrous dating across the globe. Which one do you aww the most? (Anything but the armpit apples, please).
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