|Couple taking a walk down the Royal Canal in Dublin|
As far as I can see, the difference in dating doesn’t lie in the men themselves – for every time I’ve heard someone say how crap Irish men are I’ve heard someone else say that they’re the best guys in the world to date. I know Irish guys who are/would-make great partners and others who are better off playing the field. Same with American guys I know. The real difference is in the Dating Dance. Actually, I think Irish author Marian Keyes puts it best in her book Angels:
“(In Ireland) it’s all very casual and drifty…But although no one ever says anything about exclusiveness or non-exclusiveness, he’s definitely your boyfriend. So if you discovered the man you’d been sharing fireside nights and videos with for the last few months having a nice dinner with (another) woman, you’d be perfectly within your rights to pour a glass of wine over him…But not in New York. You’d think, “There’s one of the men I’ve been seeing nonexclusively having dinner with a woman he’s also seeing nonexclusively. How civilized we all are.”
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That’s pretty much hits the nail on the head. While the scene feels more casual in Dublin, it’s actually less so than in New York because exclusivity comes faster and, generally, without much of a Conversation.
Keyes also points out that the New York way is actually kind of maddening since you feel pressure to act much more nonchalant about things than you might feel. Sure, there's a hook-up culture in both places, and there are certainly those in Ireland who go by the more New York-y standard of "Well, we never said we weren't seeing other people" but for the most part, it seems like a certain level of intimacy - both physically and emotionally - brings a couple to the Next Level in Ireland.
I will touch on one stereotype that I think is somewhat true, which is that Irish guys aren’t necessarily as forthcoming as American ones when it comes to romance and dating. But I think the reason for this may be that Irish women tend to be pretty direct, so the men think they don’t have to be. I see Irish women go up and chat to guys in the bar all the time with no reservations (often to my boyfriend - I swear, as soon as I leave for the restroom or to get drinks he gets swarmed). So American Ladies, take a lesson from Irish Ladies this Valentine’s Day (or any day, really – in fact, tonight! I dare you!) and if you see a guy you like, approach him! Sure, what’s the harm? And if you approach an Irish guy he might well be used to it!
PS Also, while I'm sort of on the subject, go read Marian Keyes' books. Woman is a legend.