I think it’s revealing that while in English we have different words for the various roles one plays leading up to marriage – boyfriend/girlfriend, fiancee, and then bride/groom – in Spanish, they have one word for all those stages: novio. Here in Mexico then, it seems to be that when you start dating someone, you’re already just one step away from marriage. So for people like myself who are terrified by the concept of marriage, it’s a deal you’re a little hesitant to get involved in. It’s also a system that doesn’t really lend itself to casual dating, which is what you’re generally looking for when you’re in a place where you’re not sure you’ll be staying for too long.
It’s interesting to me how Mexican dating seems to work that way, in that the business of romance needs to be conducted out in public rather than behind closed doors. You walk around the plazas of any Mexican town or city and you’ll see young couples everywhere, extremities intertwined, smooching and groping for all to see. It’s o.k., apparently, to put on a show for the community. But to take it indoors would be a big no-no. And because romantic affairs are carried on out in the open, you don’t just get to see the passion, you see the pain as well. It’s not uncommon to pass by a couple sitting stiffly side-by-side on a bench, eyes red from tears from a recent spat. But then you might walk past 10 minutes later and they’ll be making out like crazy.
I don’t think there’s a big difference in dating habits for older couples, either. For as long as a woman remains unmarried, she’s responsible to the rules of her parents, and rules for daughters are often quite strict. I remember a situation where a group of professors at UTM were planning to go out to a disco. One of the teachers, a 38 year-old single woman, felt obliged to call her parents back in Puebla first to ask them if it was o.k.
I’ve heard that the pick-up scene is alive and well in the clubs here. But I guess I’m not really into that. So I guess what I'm saying is you probably shouldn’t expect to read much more dating news on this page for a while.