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The act of meeting someone and deciding that you'd really like to fill them with or be filled by their babies is something everyone on Earth is familiar with. In fact, it might be the most fundamental sensation the universe knows: It's what doesn't separate us from the animals.

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"Gurl, I'm gonna crawl out of the surf and fertilize the clutch of eggs you laid in the sand so hard."

But it turns out that this universal impulse of "sticking it to each other" has been wrapped up in all sorts of cultural baggage and ceremony, which can vary significantly depending on which part of the world you're trying to do your sticking in. And to illustrate how weird we can make this really basic thing, allow me to now, with great seriousness and solemnity and just the bare minimum of mocking other cultures, present some of the oddest dating problems (and solutions) from around the world.

6
In Iceland, They Keep Accidentally Laying Their Cousins

Iceland is known for two things: having terrible spelling, and being really difficult to drive to. These two factors have greatly discouraged people throughout history from moving there, which has resulted in a present-day population that is small and closely related to one another. Which isn't a very good setup for dating; it's not uncommon for an Icelander, after a night of drinking fftirz down at the local GhhjkkSdottr, to meet another Icelander who appears to be interested in being on or under them that is also technically and legally their cousin.

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"I just realized what it is I like about you. You look like me!"

Which is why an Icelander had to come up with the Cousin Alarm, an app for smartphones. When two young Icelanders meet in a bar, they can bump their phones together, echoing potential bumps to come, and let the app tell them via alarm if they're closely related.

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The alarm can be set to play a hillbilly banjo riff or a longer hillbilly banjo riff.

5
In Indian "Dating," Private Detectives Are Pretty Heavily Involved

Arranged marriages are still very much the done thing in India, with potentially up to 90 percent of all marriages originating this way. If you're unfamiliar with the concept, perhaps because your family's simply given up on you, it basically involves your family scouring the local community looking for a suitable match for you. Famously, romance has almost nothing to do with this, and other than a basic effort to match up boys with girls, the actual interests of the couple have nothing to do with anything. It's more like a business transaction than anything else, as the respective families look to align their various religious, business, and political interests.

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This is basically a stockholder meeting.

And, just like in the business world, one of the most important aspects of "courtship" in India is for both parties to do their own due diligence, which essentially means that they do their own research on how many goats the other guy actually owns and precisely how "fly" their daughter actually is. Which is how private detectives came to become an integral part of the Indian dating scene.

Frankly, it makes our Western efforts at due diligence look pretty half-assed.

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(thinking) "Karen. Kathryn. Katelyn. Kathy. Jeffy. Jeff. No! Not Jeff! That's your name, asshole. Crap crap crap crap crap crap! Crap? Crapryn!"

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4
In India (Again), Roaming Cults Threaten to Forcibly Marry Any Unwed Couples They Find

I'll try not to pick on India too much here. (Big, big fan of the bhajis, guys. Also the number zero. Nice one; works great.) But once I read about this, it was too crazy not to include.

Sri Ram Sena is a particularly hard-line (and slightly assholish) Hindu sect that just hate, hate, hates the idea of women behaving immorally, by doing things like "talking to a man" or "being in public." In 2009, members of this group were caught on video attacking girls at pubs for the crime of being girls at pubs.

Now, despite the fact that India is a pretty conservative country that is struggling to adjust to a world where women think and do things, this is still pretty far outside acceptable behavior. It's an attitude that appears to be based on this group's own unique interpretation of various Hindu texts, and also possibly because of the sinful thoughts that women and their shapes inspire in men.

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"Hey, are those ass pants? Because I can see myself in them. Wait, let me explain ..."

Anyways, a few weeks after their little pub attack, like as kind of an encore, the leaders of the group threatened to go around on Valentine's Day and marry unwed couples they caught in the streets. To be fair, this does appear to have just been a threat and not an actual thing that happened, although that may have just been because 140 members of the sect were taken into "protective custody" the day before Valentine's to prevent that from happening.

So there you go. Private detectives, insane cults, and drive-by marriages. Harlequin romances in India must be insane.

3
In China, There Are Way Too Many Men

Thirty-five years ago, in an effort to control the growth of its famously confusing phone books, China instituted a one-child policy among all its citizens. Along with a culture that vastly preferred male children, this led to a shocking spike in gender-selective abortion and infanticide, which has ultimately resulted in a present-day population that has vastly more men than women. Which has some pretty obvious impacts on the dating world; experts predict that 40 to 50 million men in China won't be able to get married. Ever.

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"Wait. What?"

One of the saddest aspects of it is that it's hitting poor dudes harder than anyone else. Although we all cherish notions of romance and love at first sight, in general people will always tend to choose the most attractive partner available to them, with one of those factors being financial stability. And women in China are absolutely leveraging their scarcity to "marry up" -- one bachelorette on a TV dating show has famously said, "I would rather cry in a BMW than smile on the back of my boyfriend's bicycle." So for the poor guy who can't afford to own or even really look at a BMW, a bleak, lonely future seems all but inevitable.

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Which is probably worse than the bleak, companioned future the rest of us have in front of us.

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2
In Japan, the Men Eat Grass

Meanwhile, in Japan ...

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... they have kind of the opposite problem. I mean, they have enough men, on a strictly numerical basis at least, but their men are each bringing a lot less Man to the table. In recent years, Japan has noticed that a large number of young men seem to be completely uninterested in sex. Because the Japanese word for "sex" means essentially "hunger for the flesh," these men have been nicknamed "herbivores."

There aren't really anything more than theories about where these guys came from; the best I've seen suggests that the amount of pressure the Japanese place on their young may be backfiring in strange ways. Failures and setbacks are considered insurmountable obstacles, and being met not with resilience, but withdrawal. A young man who experiences some form of romantic rejection doesn't nut up and try again, but simply stops trying.

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(thinking) "I don't need this. I've got pillows I can fuck."

Oh yeah, that's a thing, too. It's part of the moe subculture and basically refers to Japanese men who fall in love and form romantic relationships with body pillows, or video games, or whatever other inanimate object meets their fancy.


Sure, why not.

This is more than a weird sex thing; it's a weird every thing. These guys take these pillows on dates, and picnics, and anywhere else you or I might take an awful smelly human woman. And they're not afraid of commitment either; here's a guy who married a character on his Nintendo DS.

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Which makes your clumsy efforts to put your pee-pee in your NES look pretty tame.

This is slightly distressing for a few reasons, only some of which have to do with the fact that most of the girls printed on these body pillows are supposed to be about 12 years old. The men who do this often speak of how tainted real world relationships are by money and capitalism. To a man they almost all say how much more "pure" loving a 2D figure is. And of course loving an inanimate object is pure! You're never going to offend a figurine's feelings, or have to spend Thanksgiving holding in farts at your Game Boy's parents' place, or get in an argument with your pillow about the fucking dishwasher.


"No, I was not looking at that toaster oven's ass! And that's my personal catalog. STOP CONTROLLING ME."

Everything's always perfect when the object of your ardor doesn't fucking speak back.

1
In Singapore, the Government Will Help You Get Laid

Singapore has an extremely low birthrate, something like half the rate needed to maintain the population. In part this is because of the relative wealth of Singaporeans, and the fact that wealthy, educated people around the world, in general, have fewer children than everyone else. The Singapore government, meanwhile, displaying a weakness for eugenics so rarely expressed publicly these days, seems to be very interested in convincing smart, wealthy people to start producing genetically desirable babies.

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Who they imagine will also be smart and wealthy.

And so they created the Social Development Unit, a government agency whose sole purpose is helping young, professional Singaporeans to get their swerve on.

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"... conditions of this grant are that you will make a good-faith effort to get over-the-pants action by no later than September 18 and ..."

Which is how the Singapore government became the country's biggest matchmaker. Tea dances, moonlight cruises, sock hops probably; all organized by the Social Development Unit, the only government body in history that has also published tips on the best places to have sex in cars.

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"No. Like ... you both have to be in the back seat. Good try though. Very good try!" -Singaporean government

These efforts, to put it mildly, have been spectacularly unsuccessful, in a stunning reversal of everything you might have thought about government effectiveness. The birthrate has continued to drop, and over the past 30 years, only 30,000 couples or so have gotten married via these state efforts. A thousand marriages a year (from a population of 5.3 million people) isn't that great; the United States gets about that percentage of couples meeting in DMV lineups.

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"Excuse me, ma'am? Are those ass pants?"




Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and desperately wants to hear you relate the tale of how you almost got to second base with a relative. Fill him in on Facebook or Twitter and make him reconsider that.

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