Joe Joseph, our sage for the 21st century, solves readers’ ethical dilemmasby Joe Joseph / January 26, 2011 / Leave a comment
Published in February 2011 issue of Prospect Magazine
Is it wrong to date more than one person?
I’m an American living in London. I’ve started seeing a lovely British woman for dinners, drinks and sex. But there’s a woman in my office who I’d also like to invite for dinner. In New York, it’s OK to date more than one person before a formal commitment is made. In London it seems to be less so. As a visiting New Yorker, must I adopt a when-in-Rome rule?
Brits and Americans do many things differently and it’s not always easy to predict the potential cultural flashpoints. We say potato, you say potato; we say tomato, you say tomato—on paper it’s hard to see why there should be any cultural conflict here, but say the words out loud, in the two different accents, and you can see how they squeezed a whole song out of it. So try looking at it this way. A dinner date is like a job interview with food, with each party weighing up whether to proceed to the next round. By getting a reputation for juggling several women simultaneously, you are at risk of being eliminated by many potential partners at the “thanks for sending us your CV but we have no vacancies at present” stage. British women can regard a man who pursues a vigorous diet of try-before-you-buy dating as somewhere between an indecisive chancer and a glutton who hasn’t yet learned the size of his own stomach. Carry on the way you’re going and you may well be able to enjoy dinner with both your dates. Just don’t count on dessert.