Dating Swiss Men
Maybe you were swept off your feet during a visit to the Alps, where you met a Swiss man. It’s after all quite romantic with mountain tops, snow and mulled wine. Then again, maybe it was due to some after ski party that you stumbled across your guy. Or maybe you’ve met a Swiss guy who’s come to America. And even though someone already living in America might have picked up a few American dating traditions, the culture where you were brought up usually still runs pretty deep in your veins. So what’s it really like dating Swiss men? Read on to find out.
Dating Isn’t Really Dating
America has a strong tradition when it comes to dating. From the idea that men hold the doors to the idea that sex happens around date three, there are set guidelines. Funnily enough I lately read research that waiting four weeks to jump in the sack with someone greatly improves the chance of a lasting relationship. But I digress, the point is that in Switzerland it’s much more common to just hang out with someone. Get to know them. You might meet up in groups of friends, go for walks, or have a coffee. The important thing is spending time together as opposed to going on dates together.
Being introduced to someone’s friends is therefore seen as normal, not as “he likes me because I get to meet them.”
Now, I haven’t dated any Swiss men myself, but from what I hear it tends to be similar to the rest of Europe – you hang out for a few weeks and if you start having sex you become a couple. It doesn’t mean you are madly in love or intend to marry, it means you are testing the waters. In America it’s more likely you keep dating different people until you get “exclusive,” which is pretty serious.
So if you don’t want an exclusivity deal, you have to be open about that from get go, because in all likelihood, the guy expects it.
If on the other hand, it started with meeting in a club and going home together, that does not mean you are exclusive. If you start hanging out after that you might be a few weeks later though.
In some cultures it’s normal to be late. That’s not the case in Switzerland. The Swiss are, after all, the ones who are famous for making watches. Good watches. That means most of them take punctuality pretty seriously. So if you show up late, the guy you are dating will likely be offended. Here it’s better to be fifteen minutes early as opposed to fifteen minutes late.
In Switzerland cheese fondues and melted raclette cheese is popular, so talking about your diet might be a bit of a turn off. The Swiss are generally very active and healthy, so they don’t see a bit of cheese as a big deal.
The Swiss are surrounded by gorgeous alpine mountains and valleys, with rivers of fresh water flowing forth in spring. In other words: they are spoilt by gorgeous nature. And they tend to spend time in it.
If you date a Swiss man get prepared for hikes in the mountains as well as skiing in winter. You will want to keep fit to keep up with your man. Not least because, as rumor has it, they make a lot of gorgeous chocolate in Switzerland. That coupled with the cheese makes hikes and skiing perfect activities to balance it all out.
When you first meet a guy at a party or other social gathering, he will likely shake your hand. If you get to know him, it’s the three cheek kisses that applies. I was taught these by my grandparents who spent a lot of time in France. Basically, give a guy your right cheek (next to his right cheek), left cheek (next to his left cheek), right cheek and kiss the air next to his cheek.
Paying for Dates
In America it’s common for guys to offer to pay for dates. In Switzerland it varies. There’s much more of a mentality of sharing. Of it being fair to pay for yourself.
Of course, as with anything else it’s individual though. Some men might offer to foot the bill, others won’t. For politeness sake you should always offer to pay your share.
The Swiss men you meet might not at first come across as very open. Friendship is a big deal in Switzerland. If you become someone’s friend, it truly means you are their friend. The flakiness of America is far from the Swiss lifestyle. However, to an American the slightly reserved Swiss might, at first, come across as rude. They aren’t. They just don’t chat to anyone and everyone and if they open up to someone it usually means they actually want to be friends with them.
Similarly, they can come across as reserved when first dating. Of course some are more outgoing than others, just don’t expect them to be the typical American guy who comes up to you at a party and offers you a drink and start chatting.
By Maria Montgomery – Maria is a freelance writer, director and social entrepreneur. She’s also the spokesperson for The Little Angels Community Center and an avid blogger. You can find her somewhere between Cape Town, London and L.A., where you will most likely find her in the hills, looking out over the city she loves. @OhMyMontgomery