Dating advice for an expat lady

During the Shallow Man’s days as a corporate hamster, running endlessly on the same wheel, the geniuses that led my organisation in Amsterdam, felt that it would be a good idea to arrange a course on intercultural communications. So called “experts” in this subject, were hired at great expense to tell us the bloody obvious. For example if a Japanese person gives you a business card, you need to spend twenty minutes reading it from back to front, while simultaneously making appreciative noises as if you are looking at a friends new born baby.

The main “expert” in question was a Dutch lady in her late twenties or early thirties, that had a BA, MBA, Masters, thus, very little practical real-world experience as she’d spent most of her life studying. When I asked her if she’d ever lived outside of the Netherlands, she turned a bright kind of red, not too dissimilar from the jeans often worn by a certain type of Dutch male. So this intercultural expert, had no actual practical knowledge, and like a christian thrown to the lions, was expected to tell a group of people, from over thirty countries, most of whom were already on their second expat assignments, about intercultural relations. Which brings me to the subject of today’s post.

I recently received a message from a loyal reader asking me why when she dates Dutch men, that she never gets past the second date. My advice on this matter might upset some people, and if as a result, I’m captured by a group of angry Dutch men and am forced to watch the toppers in concert followed by spending an evening with Linda de Mol, I will stare at my tormentors and  in the words of a great poet shout “laat me met rust man! zeg me niet wat ik moet doen man! The things I do for my readers!

De Toppers 2

Used by many governments to torture prisoners, the toppers

Dear agony uncle Shallow Man

Dear Shallow Man, I recently read your book the Shallow Man Guide to Dating the Dutch, and wondered if you could help me understand a problem I’ve been facing when dating Dutch guys. Firstly, a little about me. I’m an American girl from Minnesota. I have a good job (I’m on assignment here as Lawyer) am pretty attractive (or so I’m told) and am new to the Amsterdam dating scene.

When I first moved here, I was working sixty hour weeks, so had no time for dating. I’ve now got my work life balance in check and now that I’m on the prowl, I’ve been lucky to have avoided the Dutch men who tally a rekening like they’ve just learned how to count. Every Dutch man I’ve dated has been a perfect gentleman and has paid the bill on the first date. Furthermore,  I can categorically state that I have not seen one pair of red pants or a single brown shoe. Nor a single Lion King hairstyle. So so far, so good.

The consistent issue I’ve had is making it to date number three. The general pattern is a good first date, some texts and plans for the second date, a great second date, some more texts, and then nothing. I am fine with being blunt, so I will ask for a third date, and he will not respond. He will have disappeared with such finality that if it was a real friend, I would worry that something tragic happened.

To be honest, dating again after almost three years (I was in a long-term relationship) has made me realize that I might be a little bit of a dinosaur in today’s world. Who knew that texting would become so vital to forming a bond between human beings? That periods, commas, and emoticons would convey so much meaning. And I admit that I’m an American dating in a Dutch world, so I don’t know about certain cultural norms. Heaven knows that my seemingly innocuous smiley face could have meant, “I am imagining boiling your bunny while smiling innocently,” in Dutch terms. Or a winking emoticon means “let’s get married as soon as possible.” But that aside, I am truly baffled at the 180 degree turns Dutch men have consistently made after the second date. Dutch men, you have stumped me. I am stumped!

But that doesn’t mean I’m planning to give up on dating in Amsterdam. After all, it just takes one guy to be the right guy and I have hopes he’s out there. So Shallow Man, what am I doing wrong?

Dating advice from the Shallow Man

Dear reader, just like Willem Alexander, I have no real qualifications for my current job.  However, as it doesn’t stop him performing his duties, then I will continue my adopted role as an expat relationship counsellor. Having read your tale of woe, the answer to your problems just jumped out and shouted at me as loud as a group of Dutch ladies having coffee. Yes, it’s really quite simple, you obviously failed to have sex on the second date.

Taking dating advice from the Shallow Man will avoid tears

If only I’d had sex on the second date

Dutch men dateonomics

My suspicions were aroused when you said that on each date you’ve been on with a Dutch male, that they’ve paid the bill. This, based on the feedback I’ve received from many other women, Dutch and expat alike, is quite unusual. Jan van Strakke Broek , a famous Dutch economist developed the date, ROI formula. Which equates to one date with bill paid is a reasonable investment if the ROI turns out to be a second date. If the second date occurs, the bill is paid by the male and no sex occurs as a result then the ROI is negative thus leading to the following options.

  1. Invest further in the hope of sex, but risk an increase in losses
  2. End the relationship after the second date thus eliminating any further losses and reinvest elsewhere. (If he was alive today he’d have suggested using tinder)

I’m afraid my dear, that you are a victim of Dutch dateonomics. The men you’ve dated simply do not see you as a good financial investment and are worried about their ROI. If you were taking an inburgering exam, you’d have failed on the question “on which date with a Dutch person  should you have sex?”  The answer is always, the second date, or if using tinder, ideally the first.

The religion of Dutch men

The religion of Dutch men

So the problem is not you, you’re just a victim of economics.

I hope this makes you feel better and that next time you’ll either open the gates to the kingdom earlier, or you’ll wait for a guy that has the good sense and patience to play the long game. I’ve seen your photo and I would say that you’d be well worth the wait.

No Dutch economists were hurt during the writing of this post.