By Gaoli “Chamomile” Moua, Staff Writer and Copy Editor
Although globalization has carried Western ideas of dating further East, dating is still not to be taken lightly in traditional Asian cultures.
Asian-American parents are aware of prevalent “dinner and a movie” dates, but would rather have their children stick to traditional Asian dating practices.
“My dad says I can’t date until I get married,” University of Georgia alumna and client support manager Diana Chanthaboury said. Chanthaboury comes from a traditional Laotian home.
Dating is a family affair across Asian cultures.
Georgia State University alumna Wen “Selene” Guo said, “In Fujianese tradition, women are often introduced to eligible men through their parents’ mutual contacts and are expected to be married [between 22-24]. The parents of the eligible singles often [screen] the other person before deciding if they should start contacting one another.”
Relationships that lack the approval of elders often end because men and women are only supposed to date with the intent of marrying.
Whether dates occur with the blessing of parents or not, group or chaperoned dates are encouraged. Loyola University student and elementary education major Tiffany Yi said, “When a [Korean] girl goes on a date with a new guy, she almost always brings a close friend.”
Couples are expected to avoid public displays of affection, like holding hands, kissing or simply gazing lovingly into each others’ eyes. This is apparent in popular Asian dramas where the female counterpart often rejects affection (see “My Sassy Girl”).
“I remember my parents making remarks when my cousin was resting her head on her husband’s shoulder,” Guo said. “[My parents] think that they shouldn’t do that in public.”
Being seen in public together is often enough for a man and woman to be recognized as a couple.
Guo said her parents have mistaken many of the men in pictures with her as significant others.
The children of mixed ethnicities do not escape cultural dating rules.
Pamela “Heiress” Pettus, a financial planning major at UGA who is part Thai, isn’t very familiar with Thai traditions, but she has noticed that her older cousins in Thailand “don’t date around or anything in the way that we do here.”
Pettus’ mom is not particular with the men she chooses to date, though she reminds her to keep education top priority.
Photo credit: My Sassy Girl