Thai dating practices differ greatly from western dating. The first difference, often most difficult to grasp, starts with the length of time in which a guy and girl will hang out or date before becoming serious. In Thailand, they like to call the first stage looking at each other. We would call this courting or group dating. They just want to see how their personalities mesh. They want to move slow and cautious, not to let their emotions have the best of them. They want to get past the surface level before deciding on a more significant relationship, such as boyfriend and girlfriend. Once they are official, they will date for 2-5 years before marrying.
The other night we were talking with two single friends and hearing their thoughts on dating as they asked us how dating in the US differs. Keep in mind as this story unfolds, the guy and girl are both college graduates and young professionals in their early to mid 20’s.
We talked together about what a foreigner looks for in a girl or guy they would want to date and eventually marry. We talked about qualities that are admirable in a guy or girl for these friends of ours. We simply had a great time talking together.
However, at one point, we thought they were joking around when talking about how you know someone really likes you. You know, we all have those tests to see if that person really likes us for who we are. In the States, most people frown upon them once they have graduated high school, though. They said, you know when someone likes you for sure if they don’t run away when you fart or burp. If you are reading this and are not familiar with Thai culture, you will miss the fact they are more polite in public than any American by far. They never fart or burp in a public setting. If someone does, and I am not saying I have, they will tease you mercilessly.
Therefore, if you feel like someone likes you, and they have Thai culture in their background, you will know they really like you if they start farting and belching around you. On the other hand, you can test their affection by passing some gas inconspicuously, or after taking a big sip of Coke, letting the air out of your belly. You will know if they stick around, they are really interested in dating you. I don’t know if this would go over well in western culture. Usually, we wait until we are married to feel free to toot and burp.