Similarly it has taken me a long time and much unfortunate confusion trying to figure out the dating culture of this entire thing. New country, new rules, new dating culture. Unfortunately having to learn the game, all over again. This makes for some horrifying new situations that I didn't expect myself in again.
Things like thinking a guy is flirting with me but not being 100% sure because the British tend to be really polite. Is he flirting with me or just being really nice? Is that niceness even genuine?
Such is the round and round conversation that is going on in my head all the time since I've arrived. Nice British guys, everywhere.
I'd been warned before I moved that London men, in particular, are very hard to date. Why you ask? Because there are lots of single, young men out there. There are also lots of single, young women out there. Lots to choose from and look at, everyone thinking that there will always be something better and that they are indeed, quite a catch. Such is the way of big cities apparently. Hong Kong P assures me that the dating game here in London will be similar to the games she had to deal with in New York.
I am slightly terrified: what does that mean? I am a country bumpkin when it comes to dealing with big city games. If I like someone then I'll try to be as straightforward as possible in being clear with my feelings.
...but I have noticed myself slipping away from this since I moved here. I've seen that people aren't straightforward, and in turn I've started to be less straightforward as well. There's a lot ado about face here and people really care about how they're perceived by other people. Although this is still not one of my main concerns, I am aware that people are thinking about it all the time and it makes me uncomfortable and quiet. This, unfortunately, works against me a lot of the time. The British, if anything, are conversationalists. And how do you flirt with someone? By talking to them. There are nonverbal ways to flirt, of course, but mostly, it's by talking with someone. The little conversations where things said are really other things being said, etc etc etc.
So being quiet doesn't help me. The additional problem is, even when I do get the courage to speak, it's usually the wrong thing to say. Not only is American humor not as well accepted here (British humor is dry and a bit weird...I've been exposed to it since childhood and I do find it funny but it'll still be awhile before I'm able to create it on my own) but there are constant "lost in translation" moments. Here is a fabulous example:
Them: Oh it had a really strange texture, like a more bready scone. But it was salty.
Me: Oh you mean like a biscuit?
Me of course thinking of the American version of a biscuit, which is a bready, savory dinner roll that is usually served with gravy. Unfortunately they were thinking of the British version of a biscuit which is basically a cookie (sweet, flat, usually served with tea). They like to think of American biscuits as "savory scones." I think of this as a fair though somewhat disgusting description of biscuits.
So the quest for a potential mate continues. I have a feeling the translation errors will be continual and there will be nothing to do about it except face my fate. I will be single for a very long time.