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One of my biggest takeaways while exploring Western Europe for six months was a conversation I had with an Austrian couple. Within a few minutes of meeting in an Irish pub, the lady of the couple asked, "So, is dating a construct of Hollywood? Do Americans really go on. dates? What is a date , exactly?"
I learned a lot while in Ireland (and France, Belgium) about romance and relationships, and you can read all about my adventures elsewhere (see: What Does Shifting Mean in Irish Slang, and Dating in Ireland).
What struck me the most was that there isn t a word in many languages for what North Americans call "dating", and that, in fact, few cultures around the world actually "date".