One of my biggest takeaways while exploring Western Europe for six months was a conversation I had with an Austrian couple. Within a few minutes of meeting in an Irish pub, the lady of the couple asked, "So, is dating a construct of Hollywood? Do Americans really go on What struck me the most was that there isn't a word in many languages for what North Americans call "dating," and that, in fact, few cultures around the world actually "date. So what does it mean, to date? And how do other people get to know one another before committing, having casual sex, or something else? These were the most pressing questions my friends back home wanted to know, so I went out in discovery of answers.