When traveling and living abroad, it is important to be aware of each country's traditions and customs. Rules governing personal relationships are no less important when attempting to understand a society. In Mexico, the culture of dating is a fascinating blend of traditional norms and outside influence.
Mexican dating rules differ depending on location. American influence has relaxed dating life in many of the larger cities, and younger people are acquiring a more liberal attitude toward relationships between men and women. Nevertheless, people in rural areas tend to be more conservative and often keep to traditional dating customs.
Traditional gender roles still prevail in varying degrees. Mexican men may hold on to the concept of male machismo, or being "macho," while women are often taught to play up their femininity in the hope of attracting a potential mate. Many men and women still believe the man should be the dominant partner in a relationship.
It is still common to find men shouting flirtatious comments at passing women, though this is by no means entirely representative of Mexican flirting. In general, Mexicans prefer modesty, and bragging about one's own perceived virtues is not thought to be attractive. In addition, Mexicans put a great deal of value in appearance. A well-dressed man or woman is always appreciated.
It's important to note that in Mexico, the concept of personal space is more relaxed than in some other countries. A man and woman may kiss one another on each cheek as a greeting or stand quite close together while chatting without any serious intent.
On a Date
For the most part, the man asks for the first date, though this has been changing in recent years. In general, Mexicans like to dress up for their dates, which typically consist of going to the movies or a restaurant. The man usually pays the bill, and the woman may be offended if she is asked to pay her half. To make a good impression, a man will do little things like open the door for his girlfriend or buy her presents.
Terms of Endearment
Mexicans tend to be romantic and may come off as strikingly sentimental compared to their Anglo counterparts. They are more inclined to shower one another with mushy terms of endearment on a constant basis. Public displays of affection are not particularly looked down upon, and it's common to see a couple kissing and hugging in pubic.
While Mexicans are more free with their affection, a sexual relationship often does not ensue unless the couple has made a lasting commitment to one another.
Sophie Levant is a freelance writer based in Michigan. Having attended Michigan State University, her interests include history classical music, travel, and the German language. Her work has been published at eHow and Travels.