Dating in Gozo

Dating. The movies make it look easy. It’s not. Especially in a small place like Gozo.

In this blog post, I intend to create some discussion on dating in Gozo; something which most locals don’t talk about. You must keep in mind that these observations below are simply my own observations and may be slightly generalized. Therefore, feel free to express your own thoughts in the feedback section.

Gozo’s dating scene mainly runs on social events. Feasts, Grotta, Horatio’s, Ritz. You name it. And this is how people meet and subtlety get to “know” each other to the point of being comfortable to text each other. And this is the natural way to get to know someone by being friends at first and getting to know each other in social settings. You’re probably thinking, oh this seems normal, but in Gozo it doesn’t work as easy as you’d think. It takes ages to actually get comfortable with someone you’d be interested in. Why? Because people are too scared to make a move. Men are not so forward or approachable and women expect men to do all the work.

However with the pandemic, there are no social events which makes dating way harder. And here’s where exceptions come in. With no social events how would you be able to put yourself out there? Social media is the only way during a pandemic.

And this leads us to how texting works in the Gozitan dating scene. When you are initially getting to know someone via text only, it takes a long process to actually getting to physically going out with someone.

Now let’s put texting into context. Context is everything. Being in a society like Gozo, again, there are exceptions. Most people might not have spoken to each other however kind of “know” who that person is by seeing each other at social events. This still isn’t the best method to start texting someone because the reality is that your interest in that person stems from only physical appearance.

There are two judgements which most people make when it comes to texting someone for the first time that you haven’t properly met in person:

  • If men text women via social media, they’re either seen as creepy or desperate.
  • When women do make the first move by texting men, suddenly the former are seen as being desperate or slutty.

Unfortunately, it’s the societal expectations implemented into the mind’s people in Gozo which have set these judgements. In countries abroad, it’s completely acceptable to ask someone for their number and eventually ask them out. And if it doesn’t work out, life moves on. However in Gozo, a lot of pressure is put around this single action – texting someone for the first time.

We also must take note of conversations via text. Sometimes, people take forever to respond back during a conversation. Actually, that’s not a conversation. It’s more like a few texts back and forth. This only leads to the other person thinking that you’re not interested enough and don’t want to put effort in something as simple as texting. If you can’t text at that particular moment in time, just let that person know you’re busy. Don’t waste anyone’s time.

The point is that if you want to show someone you’re into them, the best way is to respond back immediately. It shows interest and effort being put. There’s nothing wrong with texting back immediately. That’s not desperation. It’s just being natural with someone else.

Sometimes, people tend to play hard to get when they’re texting. Honestly, this tactic is so ridiculous. If you’re into someone, don’t be afraid to show it. Playing hard to get only discourages the other person from thinking that maybe you’re into them too.

Here’s another thing to keep in mind. You have no idea how happy it makes a woman when the man texts first! It really does! The thing is, women think that if they text first, by wanting to initiate conversation, they would be perceived by men as being too forward as a woman. “Too forward” is what the patriarchy makes both men and women think. There’s nothing wrong with a strong woman that knows what she wants and aims to get it!

On the other hand there are some women that expect too much from men. They expect men to always text first. Facepalm. The point is that texting should be easy-going therefore it doesn’t matter who texts first. Just start the conversation and get it rolling. Men should not have to be the forward ones. Some men are shy or not confident enough which is OK. Therefore, women should not be afraid to put themselves out there.

Some people may think that you can get to know someone solely through text. If you’re interested in the person, you need to physically meet the person to get that person’s vibe. Texting is not actually getting to know someone because texting is not the natural way to get to know someone. Duh.

My best friend and I were discussing this topic and something she said really struck me: “it’s socially-acceptable to screw someone in bathroom at Grotta but going out on a date with someone is seen as a marriage proposal”. And she’s so right! This leads us to discuss the date.

There’s nothing wrong with going out on a date with someone. Going out on a date with someone doesn’t mean that you’re going to end up in a relationship with that person – it only means you’re interested and want to test the waters. Again, if it doesn’t work out, everyone goes their separate way and no time was wasted.

We need to clarify a few things here. There’s nothing wrong with women initiating a conversation with men. There’s nothing wrong with women asking out a man. There’s nothing wrong with men being shy to text or ask out a woman. We need to understand that all of these stereotypes only lead to miscommunication and toxic masculinity. We need to level the playing field for both genders by being more socially acceptable. These judgments when it comes to texting and dating need to stop. And most importantly, it’s just dating so why make up certain expectations out of something so simple?

It’s not easy to change people’s perception with just one simple blog post. But maybe, just maybe, this blog post will make people think. Texting and dating is not as hard as you’d think. It requires effort but it should not be perceived to be a stressful situation.

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