It’s a popular opinion abroad that we Jamaicans are an aggressive, cold set of people but it’s quite the contrary. The truth is, we’re soft. Especially when it comes to the affairs of the heart. That’s one of the stimuli that triggers that aggression within all of us, and the evidence is right there in society. I’ve seen women brutally assault other women they suspect to be flirting with their husbands/partners; and they draw these conclusions from the simplest of gestures (eg: The suspect sending him a Please credit me $25) . And the same goes for some of these men as well, even though most are too overwhelmed with pride to fight for their women; there are others who will.
I believe this paranoia is attributed primarily to what I was saying earlier, that we’re soft. We put up these emotional shields and defenses to deceive the world, but in truth we’re no tougher than a pillow. So we tend to want to fight any person or thing that poses a threat to our hearts. This is why we can’t date either, because our emotions force our minds to put up a fight as well, through over-thinking things. We were probably the ones that pioneered over-thinking as a new relationship evil in this millennium. So as a result of this, of course we’re going to over-think this concept of ‘Dating’
I’ve asked 6 Jamaicans (22-30 yr old), 3 men and 3 women, what their interpretation of the term ‘Dating’ was, and the prevailing response was that it’s what two people do when ‘dem bout fi deh‘ or ‘dem deh aredi‘. So the presumption basically, is that I must like the person and have intentions to be in a relationship with said person if I claim to be dating that person.
I have to disagree with them on this one though, because from observation, that’s not really dating. From the research I’ve done in the US, Dating to the foreigners is almost a complete opposite. Dating to them is a social situation between two people with intentions of getting to know each other. There are no expectations had, scripts written or promises made to each other, and that’s why it’s so easy to date abroad. See for yourself: Try asking someone out for coffee abroad, and ask a Jamaican out for coffee here and note the difference in reactions. The Jamaican would more likely show some uncertainty in their response or might just say no, because to the Jamaican we have to be intimately involved to have a conversation over coffee. The Foreigner I can almost guarantee would welcome the idea with enthusiasm.
There is hope though. Ever since we’ve been introduced to the World via globalization there has been significant changes in certain conventions we deemed as unchangeable; Dating being one of them. I’m starting to see where more young people (14-21 yr old) are open to the culture of dating now. Less school kids are fighting each other over love affairs in the Bus Parks and movie theaters and restaurants are receiving more business from these young people as well. However, this is NOT to say ALL of them are like this, because we still have that set of the young still holding on to old conventions.
In my opinion, if you want a strong, healthy relationship with someone then dating definitely is the way to go. Dating does two things for a person: it teaches them about people and it teaches them about themselves. You’d be surprised at how much you learn about yourself when you engage in dating. If you decide on dating though, please note the following:
1) Dating is not a whole night of ‘daggering’ at the dance, club or party.
3) And for God’s sake, don’t over-think it. The more you over-think it is the more strain to your heart emotionally. Just Chill.