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There is even a dating site dedicated to proposing ideas for first dates, ranging from “how about we make grilled cheese sandwiches for breakfast” to “how about we run six miles uphill at 5 a.m.” For years, Costa Ricans have shunned the use of dating sites.

I often wondered why that was, in light of the fact that we are (or like to consider ourselves to be) a country of extroverts.

While it should be obvious by now that I am not an expert on dating, in any language, I have nonetheless learned a thing or two about romantic idiosyncrasies.

Even with some level of convergence, dating in Costa Rica and the United States is a game with slightly different rules. The word for “date” in Spanish () is the same word you would use for a medical appointment.

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But our extroversion is combined with a general mistrust of strangers. It could be related to a disastrous urbanization process that damaged our sense of community.

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Here is a rite where two people, who typically don’t know each other, attempt to provide and obtain information relevant to mating while conversing in a public place. Because we do not want it to feel like an audition and because we shy away from intensity, we try to combine it with other activities: eating, drinking or going to a movie.It would seem that in this, as in other aspects, Costa Ricans are performing an act of cultural leapfrogging: skipping dating sites and going straight into dating apps, the way that we skipped over the early days of social media and landed squarely on Facebook.I wonder if our incursions into online dating mean that we are heading towards some form of standardization – if cultural and social norms governing our romantic and sexual interactions will eventually converge with those of other Western cultures.We also have an idiomatic joker card, which English speakers lack: “” (“I love you”).There are likewise differences in the way we physically interact with each other that release some of the tension of the first encounters.