Dating as a social relationship
Social rules regarding dating vary considerably according to variables such as country, social class, religion, age, sexual orientation and gender. Behavior patterns are generally unwritten and constantly changing. There are considerable differences between social and personal values. Each culture has particular patterns which determine such choices as whether the man asks the woman out, where people might meet, whether kissing is acceptable on a first date, the substance of conversation, who should pay for meals or entertainment, or whether splitting expenses is allowed. Among the Karen people in Burma and Thailand, women are expected to write love poetry and give gifts to win over the man. Since dating can be a stressful situation, there is the possibility of humor to try to reduce tensions. For example, director Blake Edwards wanted to date singing star Julie Andrews, and he joked in parties about her persona by saying that her "endlessly cheerful governess" image from movies such as Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music gave her the image of possibly having "lilacs for pubic hair"; Andrews appreciated his humor, sent him lilacs, dated him and later married him, and the couple stayed together for 41 years.
There are numerous ways to meet potential dates, including blind dates, classified ads, dating websites, hobbies, holidays, office romance, social networking, speed dating, and others. A Pew study in 2005 examined Internet users in long-term relationships including marriage found many met by contacts at work or school. The survey found that 55% of relationship-seeking singles agreed that it was "difficult to meet people where they live." One writer suggested that meeting possible partners was easier in pedestrian-oriented cities such as Berlin or Barcelona rather than Los Angeles since there were more chances for face-to-face contact. Work is a common place to meet potential spouses, although there are some indications that the Internet is overtaking the workplace as an introduction venue. Some couples met because they lived in the same building and shared a common bathroom. Hobbies can be an informal way for people to meet. In Britain, one in five marry a co-worker; half of all workplace romances end within three months. In India, there are incidents of people meeting future spouses in the workplace. One drawback of office dating is that a bad date can lead to "workplace awkwardness".