The honest answer to this question in my opinion is YES… BUT it depends on where you’re looking and the kind of person you’re looking for.
It’s Just Like Any Other Western City To Date In Vietnam’s Urban Areas
For some elements of the population, notably urban centres, the Vietnamese dating culture is not so different from any Western liberal country.
When it comes to arranging marriages for their children, parents play less of a role in metropolitan Vietnam than they do in countries like India and China.
In contrast, urban Vietnamese people commonly engage in the same wooing practices as their Western counterparts. Things like Tinder, uncomfortable couples trying to romance one other in cafes, and raunchy nightclubs full of alcohol and short skirts are all part of this culture.
The term “Netflix and chill” has even made its way into the lexicon of young Vietnamese people.
Some say this is because Vietnamese youngsters typically stay at home with their parents until marriage (and sometimes even after!).
Traditional Gender Roles in Vietnam versus “Progressive” Western Culture
The Western world has undergone drastic transformation in the past decade, which may be the single most noticeable contrast between dating customs in Vietnam and the West.
As an illustration, think about the rising number of cowardly man-boys who are scared to “make a move,” or of women who “fight the patriarchy” by rejecting conventional beauty standards.
Even though this seismic shift is felt in Vietnam as well, it is commonly accepted that women prefer masculine and chivalrous men, while men prefer feminine and submissive women.
As an actionable insight, note that it is the male who is supposed to lead in romantic situations, and his degree-of-interest is advertised by his assertiveness in doing so. If he doesn’t make an effort to pursue Vietnamese women, she may become annoyed, perplexed, or even angry.
A Vietnamese woman, for instance, is expected to decline a date with a potential suitor at least three times before she finally agrees to go out with him, and that’s if she likes him.
If you’re reading this from the West, you might picture a poisonous dating culture and grotesque stereotypes of masculinity and feminism.
What To Discuss On A Date In Vietnam
If you accept the premise that gender roles in Vietnam fall somewhere in the between of the conventional and the progressive, then you won’t have any trouble knowing what to talk about with a Vietnamese courtee: whatever is hip and boastful in your home country.
These two points of difference in communication could exist:
Family is very significant in Vietnamese dating culture. In a normal first date, the two of you might talk at length about your respective families and professions. What is their social standing, in particular.
Unlike the “working class” pretenses of North Americans and Scandinavians, where boasting about one’s socioeconomic position or fortune is a severe social faux pas, this is not frowned upon in South Asia.
The Vietnamese tend to be more open and braggadocious about their professional and financial objectives. It’s okay to talk openly about wanting to get rich and provide a comfortable life for yourself and your loved ones.
The Role Of Social Standing In Vietnamese Culture
Ideas of social standing are culturally relative and might be different from one country to the next. For Westerners, a high-status indicator can be working in the hip start-up industry or taking yoga classes at an Indian ashram.
In Vietnam, the aforementioned are also indicators of social standing. However, there are additional status indicators that may be mysterious to Westerners. Your date may be babbling on and on about something you have no interest in. They are probably trying to convey a sense of superiority in a way that is lost on you.
In Dating, Are Vietnamese Families Open To People From Other Countries
In some parts of Asia, relationships between people of different races or from different nations are viewed with suspicion. However, marriages and relationships between people of different nationalities are frequent in Vietnam.
It’s no secret that the United States, Canada, Australia, and other countries have a sizable Vietnamese expat community that dates back to the 1970s and ’80s. International couples now feel more at ease thanks to these longstanding ties.
Families in some cities, such as Hanoi, may have at least one member who either reside overseas or are married to a foreigner.
This contrasts with some nations like South Korea, where it is not uncommon to experience unpleasant looks from strangers for being in an international or interracial partnership.
Foreigners in Vietnam often experience the reverse problem, that of being treated like a novelty date or “walking ATM” rather than meeting resistance to international or multiracial partnerships.
They may start to feel like a tool or an item. There is some basis for such concern. But, in our view, these anxieties are less of an issue in Vietnam than other non-Western nations.
You will have to use your own intuition to feel-out each circumstance on its own terms. On the other hand, a visitor may misinterpret local dating customs if they are unfamiliar with the norm that males should foot the bill for most of the date’s expenses.
Your date’s love intentions could be genuine, or they could be an attempt to take advantage of you. A criterion for certainty does not exist. Your best bet is to network with other expats to gain perspective on your situation.
Vietnamese dating culture is often depicted in the following scene: a young woman in short shorts clings to the back of a young male on a scooter. In Hanoi or Saigon, that picture would need to be multiplied by a factor of 100. It’s a daily reminder of the vibrancy and energy of Vietnam’s young population and its rapid economic development.