September 6, 2010 9:34 AM Subscribe
Tell me about flirting, dating and relationship customs in Saudi Arabia. I can't tell if I'm in over my head or just having some cultural miscommunication.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I've met someone. We have not been on a date, but have talked often at my place of work (where we met) and online/via text over the last few weeks. He is from Saudi Arabia, and is in the U.S. pursuing a graduate degree. It seemed to me that we were certainly headed towards a date - our conversations seemed flirty, he was very complimentary, etc etc. Now, though, he's seemingly jumped 10 steps ahead - talking to his family about me, saying he got me a gift, suggesting travel. I can imagine two scenarios - one where things like a "first date gift" are customary, but unknown to me, so I've placed more weight on that than is warranted, and another where my fairly innocuous acceptance of his attentions has more weight in his eyes than it should.
I understand that if he was still in Saudi Arabia, there would be a completely different set of rules at play. I'm curious to know about dating between Americans and Saudis (or perhaps any Middle Eastern country, if the differences are negligible) while in the U.S. - anything that could help me decide whether things are already off the rails. He also gives every appearance of being quite wealthy, so maybe some of the confusion (travel, for example) is more class-based than culture-based. I do really like him, and would like to date him, but am not prepared to jump straight to serious.
Possibly relevant details - we're both adults (30+), he also did his undergraduate study in the U.S., he's a practicing Muslim and seems to come from a fairly traditional family (14 siblings, for example). Neither of us have ever been married.
I get that "talk to him, not AskMe" is a valid notion, but since we haven't even been on a date, that feels a little awkward. I'm assuming someone out there has been in a similar position, and I'd love to hear your experiences. Anonymous because coworkers read Metafilter, and I'd rather not have this scrutinized at work, throwaway email email@example.com if you have questions.