How We Date: Here, There and Everywhere

16 May, 2015

If you are in Uganda, what quality could most hurt your chances for getting a date? As a tourist in Myanmar, what is the worst way to meet someone?

To answer these questions and many more, VOA talked to an international dating culture reporter.

Matthew Stein is a Canadian reporter in Uganda. He also publishes the website The site uses humor and romance to spread knowledge about different cultures. Mr. Stein says it also discusses issues that people may not think about.

"If I were to publish a story about Ugandan politics - that would only appeal to so many people. But, if I use dating, which is a more universal subject, I think more people will watch and, in the process, they'll be exposed to other issues in that country that they wouldn't normally see in a two-minute news report."

Some video reports ask strangers questions about dating. For example, in "Sexbushed," Mr. Stein asks people in Uganda the following question.

How We Date: Here, There and Everywhere
Reporter Matthew Stein of in Kampala, Uganda last month. (Steve Terrill/VOA)

"What would make somebody unacceptable, unacceptable, for a first date in Uganda? A: if they are poor. B: if they are ugly, or C: if they are a smoker?"

It appears Ugandan singles do not like smokers. "C" was the most popular answer.

Other video reports cover more serious subjects, such as abuse toward gay and transgender people, and women's rights in East Africa.

Mr. Stein has filmed Dating Cultures videos in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. He first called the website, Erotic Routes. The creators changed the name because they worried it would prevent users from sharing information. Mr. Stein says talking about sex is considered offensive in many countries he works in.

He says he hopes the less serious content of his reports will help reduce fears of subjects linked to sex.

"I think it's a very important thing to talk about. In countries where people are not able to talk about sex and their sex life, there's a whole bunch of problems that manifest themselves, from STDs to teenage pregnancies."

Mr. Stein says the website also seeks to support cross-cultural dating. The reports and videos help prepare future daters by teaching them about special customs or unusual dating rules in different countries.

"Easy and wonderful" is how Mr. Stein describes cross-cultural dating. He says, "You just have to be a little friendly and outgoing."

I'm Caty Weaver.

Heather Murdock reported this story from Kampala, Uganda. Ashley Thompson adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.


Words in This Story

date v. to do an activity with someone you might have a romantic relationship with

romance n. the feeling of being in love

erotic adj. relating to sex

manifestv. to show (something) clearly

STD (sexually transmitted disease) – n. a disease caused by infections that are passed from one person to another during sexual contact

cross-cultural – adj. relating to or involving two or more different cultures or countries