By now you’ve probably heard about the recently released book Date-onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game by Jon Birger. It’s created quite a stir among women everywhere because for once someone legitimately said, “It’s not you, it’s them” and had evidence to back it up!
Birger — who was wondering why many of his amazing female friends were single and couldn’t seem to find a man — ran the economic stats and discovered that women aren’t necessarily doing anything wrong in the dating game. It’s just that single, college-educated women completely outnumber men of the same status. So, in spite of all these books telling women to do this or do that to get the guy (rules schmules), the reality is actually just that the equal partner pool is pretty shallow, especially in — but not limited to — big cities.
Finally! My stellar, gorgeous, successful friends and I were thrilled (though simultaneously depressed) to know that the reason we’re all single is that the odds are literally stacked against us. The actual frustrating part, though, was Birger’s advice as to what to do about it such as move to Silicon Valley or Des Moines where men outnumber women, date plumbers and firemen or less educated guys, or go to a college that is heavy in the math and sciences. Augh! None of these seemed really feasible or attractive to us. But after chatting about it, it seems there may be another possibility that isn’t being discussed… date internationally.
“Dating without borders” is becoming a more attractive option for many reasons. To clarify, this doesn’t mean that the guy has to actually still live in another country, but for some reason, it seems that dating foreign men may be another answer to the “male deficit” that Birger writes about… at least for educated, together women over the age of 30.
So how did we come to this conclusion? Well, in a recent conversation with many of my single female friends and several who are actually in relationships (all of whom are in the 30-55 female demographic), a common thread started to surface… most of us were dating or had dated someone from outside the United States. Personally, my best two dates this year were with a man who was in town from Israel and another from Mexico. In the past, I’ve also dated Italian, French Canadian, Australian and once thought I was going to marry a German. One of my friends — a powerful music industry executive — just married a Canadian. Another — who is a doctor — is in a relationship with a Frenchman (yes, they spent the summer lolling around Paris). A third friend is going out with a hot young Romanian guy. And that’s just the beginning of the stories.
So why are these multicultural pairings possibly working? It seems likely there are several reasons. To begin with, regardless of educational levels and college degrees, the differences in customs and sometimes languages make American women and foreign men instantly more interesting to each other. It’s mind expanding to date someone with a different perspective and upbringing than your own. There is an educational component and you are constantly learning; this is appealing to educated women who are typically looking to grow and better themselves.
“It’s wonderful — and a big plus — to have so much to share, compare and learn,” says Jill J., a dance educator who has also worked in fashion and is marrying an Irishman in Northern Ireland after previously having been married to an Italian. “In my experience, other cultures highly respect and regard women. They have manners, and don’t sexualize women just to impress. They are cultured. And you will travel.”
Speaking of which, that’s also a perk. Not only can you meet men while traveling, but you might get to continue to travel if you click. Take Kristen B. for example, a talented writer in NYC who was really frustrated with the NYC dating scene so she went on two trips alone this year… and instantly found herself a hot property in another land. “Men everywhere would walk up to me, make eye contact, say ‘Hello beautiful’ and ask if I wanted to get a drink or listen to some music. It wasn’t a case of ‘Will it happen?’ but ‘When will it happen and who will I want it to be with?’ I had my choice from a wide array of very attractive men.” She had wonderful vacation trysts on both her trips this year, is still in touch with the men she “selected,” and intends to visit them again. This was in contrast to her dating experiences in the city where Kristen found that “most men my age, in their 40s, were married, gay, confirmed commitment-phobics or looking for women in their 20s.”
Which is another point, many foreign men seem to like mature women. In fact, they applaud them and find them sexy… and still sexual. “I’m still attractive, still womanly, and I still deserve passion… I just don’t get it from American men,” says Kristen. “I’m done with American guys — but they were done with me first, so I’m sure they won’t mind.”
Another reason multicultural dating might work? Foreign men don’t seem as intimidated by successful females and in many cases, they’re actually impressed by it. The cosmopolitan woman seems like a catch to a man raised beyond U.S. borders (whereas American men raised in this era take for granted that most women will be educated and have careers). Take Cara K. for example who is a successful Broadway actress currently dating a Turkish man she met online (which along with dating apps is where a lot of women are meeting foreign men by the way). “There is a very definitive difference between him and all of the other American boyfriends I’ve had. He is and has always been a true gentleman. He never played the typical games I endured in the past. He was honest from the start and was not afraid to let me know he enjoyed my company. I am one lucky girl.” Oh, and remember that travel thing? Yeah, her beau’s family has a lake house in Bodrum she’s also gotten to enjoy. Foreign partners = World adventures.
So, while there may not be stats on how dating cross-culturally might minimize the man deficit for more mature, successful, educated women, it seems the proof is in the anecdotes. You can bet the next time a sexy stranger with an accent waltzes into my world, I will definitely say “Willkommen,” “Bonjour,” “Hola,” “Ciao” or maybe just “Yes, please.”