Relationships

Kazakh dating 101: Flowers, chocolate, and courtship

9 Mins read

The high dating standards in Kazakhstan include enormous flowers, sweet gifts, and a long, deep cultural history of Central Asia.

Imagine receiving a bouquet of 101 red roses, or a huge heart-shaped box full of strawberries covered in chocolate, with a note saying “Just to see the beautiful smile on your face.”

Well, for a girl in Kazakhstan, that would be typical when having a suitor.

The gifts at the beginning of the talking stage are considered to be a norm in Kazakhstan. Moreover, if the guy doesn’t send flowers from the start, Kazakh girls would treat it as a sign that he is not serious about her.

Meanwhile, the Western part of the world might call it ‘love-bombing’, a term signifying the action of someone showering you with affection in order to manipulate you.

When it comes to the flowers, the size of the bouquet doesn’t really matter. However, Kazakh people are known for being generous, so if they do something, they will try doing it on the largest scale possible.

For example, the newest TikTok trend of showing off flower bouquets was taken over by Kazakh girls. Almost every single video from that trend was going viral, because Kazakh girls decided to showcase the lavish flowers sent by their boyfriends.

This video, in particular, where the girl received a huge bouquet of hydrangeas has reached 24 million views and 4.5 million likes. The comment section was shocked by the size of the bouquet.

Most of them kept wondering, what are the standards they have in Kazakhstan for these girls to receive such big gifts?

To answer that question, it is necessary to dig deeper into the origins of Kazakh culture to find the roots of their dating behaviour.

Extending from the Caspian Sea in the west from the Altai Mountains and at its eastern border with Russia and China, lies Kazakhstan. The country that was officially formed in 1465 but has existed since the sixth century BCE.

The unique history of coming from Saka warriors, living the life of nomads, becoming a part of the Soviet Union and, in the end, gaining independence has shaped the Kazakh culture that it is now. It is a mix of old traditions that were passed from one generation to another, Islamic beliefs combined with Tengrinism, and a Russian post-Soviet mentality.

Though Kazakh culture has been changing with time, the deep-rooted values of dating have stayed the same. To get the attention of a Kazakh woman, you have to earn it by showing your intentions and proving them with your actions.

“There’s one guy trying to win me over,” says Ayeka, a 21-year-old Kazakh girl who has experience of having proper Kazakh relationships.

“He sent me flowers with a note saying, ‘Nice to meet you, my name is…” I was sure it was a mistake because it was the name of the guy from my former school, whom I had never even talked to,” Ayeka explains.

The guy was certain that she would not respond to any of his messages from an unknown number. That is why he decided to approach her boldly by sending her flowers right away.

“Why boldly? Because he has been sending me flowers or chocolate-covered strawberries every single day since then,” continues Ayeka.

“I ran out of vases, and I got nauseous from the strawberries. But, he was clear about his intentions from the beginning and it convinced me to give him a chance”

Though it might seem like flowers and dinners at nice restaurants are a necessity in order to date a Kazakh girl, the number one thing that they expect from a guy is to have chivalry.

The girls anticipate the gestures of opening doors for them, helping to take off or put on their jackets, pulling out their chairs, and carrying heavy bags for them. They believe a guy should be a gentleman in every aspect.

There are also bonus points for young men who pay attention to small details. Instead of flowers, the guy could also gift his girlfriend something that she could easily incorporate into her daily routine.

For Ayeka, the day doesn’t start without a cup of coffee, especially when she has to go to her corporate 9 to 5 job. Her boyfriend, at that time, was sending a morning delivery with fresh coffee and sweet treats every single day.

The strawberries in chocolate are often delivered to Kazakh girls [Kamila Sukhanova]

“I never asked this for myself, but I believe every girl should experience this kind of treatment,” she says.

In the UK, the quality of gifts is judged by the length of the relationship. This type of system doesn’t work in Kazakhstan. If it’s a birthday, Women’s National Day, New Year’s, or another special occasion, men are more likely to go all out for the perfect gift.

Expensive gifts from boys seemed unattainable in Ayeka’s eyes, but as soon as she allowed herself to receive such gestures and started to go out with her partner, that quickly changed.

“For our three-month mark of the relationship, he ordered the Cartier Love bracelet with an engraving on it. Can you imagine? Though it might be a bit early for someone to accept such gifts, I was happy as the history behind the bracelet, ‘to be cuffed by the love of your partner’, was very romantic to me,” says Ayeka.

One time, the same guy forgot to send flowers for their anniversary. Special dates and anniversaries are treated seriously by most couples in Kazakhstan, so Ayeka was slightly disappointed. However, she didn’t show it and just casually mentioned it the next day.

To make up for it, the guy purchased a year-long subscription from the flower company to ensure that every month on the same date, she would receive a beautiful bouquet.

“Even though we’ve parted ways, I will continue receiving flowers for the next 10 months, since everything has already been prepaid,” she admits.

After Ayeka mentioned liking Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh on TikTok, she received a bouquet through that company with the same colour palette as the famous painting.

“I’ve had significant experiences in relationships, and each one unfolded differently. In some, I begged for dinner at restaurants once a week, while in others, I was surprised with new dates and gifts every day without asking,” continues Ayeka.

It could be difficult for girls who are used to getting princess treatment from guys in Kazakhstan to adapt to the dating world abroad. Being misunderstood because of cultural differences is one of the reasons that prevent girls from developing strong relationships with non-Kazakh guys.

The high standards in dating come from the standards that girls had to maintain their appearance in the first place. From childhood, Kazakh girls are raised by their parents to be always well-maintained.

Every day, you have to style your hair perfectly, do your makeup, get freshly done manicures, use fragrances, wear neat clothes and look as put together as possible.

Kazakh women put blood, sweat and tears into following the high beauty standards. It is not surprising that when it comes to dating, they expect to get the best treatment in return.

“I don’t remember the last time a guy asked me to split the bill. Any woman who goes on a date puts her energy, time and effort into coming up with a perfect outfit and doing her makeup, and every man should appreciate it,” says Alina, a 21-year-old girl from Kazakhstan who prefers to explore London’s dating pool.

The date night at the bar in London [Courtesy of Alina]

For Alina, it is important to stand by her standards and not lower them if the guy doesn’t meet her requirements. Men in the UK date very differently to those in Kazakhstan.

In the beginning, it all went well. The guy reached out first, showed interest, planned the date, asked what food she preferred, and as it was not their first time seeing each other, he picked her up in his car.

However, before the date started, the guy texted her that he was going to be late because of a “business meeting” and then picked her up 40 minutes late. They had a couple of drinks at the bar, and then he proceeded to invite her to a club, which made Alina finally end the date right there.

“The next date, he proposed going to an art exhibition and then having brunch afterwards. We talked during that week, but the night before the date, he said he needed to reschedule, and I decided that there was no point in rescheduling at all,” says Alina.

Often, the London guys come up with a million and one excuses to reschedule the next date, even though they were the ones to suggest it in the first place. Instead of being spoiled with flowers, girls get a taste of all types of excuses.

Girls from Kazakhstan prefer to be picked up for the dates [Courtesy of Alina]

After going on several dates with UK guys who come from different backgrounds, ages, and social statuses, Alina observed that most of them were driven by hookup culture. Nowadays, instead of committing to proper relationships, more and more young people prefer to just “have fun” and only have casual relationships.

Right there, we can spot the biggest difference between the UK and Kazakh cultures. Something that is the norm for one culture could be the deal breaker for another.

Before moving to London, Alina talked to one Kazakh guy for a month. He knew that she was not looking for a relationship, especially a long distance one, and he accepted it. Yet, it was Alina’s birthday coming up and the guy still wanted to show his affection towards her.

Alina said, “I did not expect anything from him, but he got a huge flower bouquet and a necklace for me. I knew this guy for 2 weeks at that point, so I was a bit shocked. He paid for all our dates and for taxis home, but we never got into a relationship or had intercourse.”

Due to traditions and strict cultural values, Kazakh people, most of the time, have serious intentions when dating. Therefore, for a Kazakh guy to buy you flowers, plan fancy dates and spoil you with expensive gifts is seen as an investment for the future that involves the two of you getting married.

It could sound like a sweet dream to many. However, it is important to keep in mind that some Kazakh guys are beyond traditional. They could request from you things that would contradict your personal boundaries.

For example, they could ask you not to go to a club or bar with your friends without him, not to wear attention-grabbing clothes, or not to post pictures in a swimsuit. Acting like the ‘man in charge’ could be a huge red flag for a lot of women.

“To the guys from the UK, gifting flowers and presents and taking care of girls is a relationship activity. It might be because women here are very independent and have the whole 50/50 thing everywhere.”

Alina

UK guys are more relaxed about such things in the relationship as cultural values are different to Kazakhstan’s. There is also no pressure coming from society regarding getting married.

The chill behaviour works in the opposite way as well. Some UK girls believe that guys are too laid back when it comes to dating. They feel there is not much of an effort to make the relationships work, which explains the recent wave of dating coaches on almost every social media platform.

The popular TikTok trend ‘Sprinkle Sprinkle’ has reached everyone on TikTok, changing the lives of many women. The ‘Sprinkle Sprinkle’ method appeared because of Leticia Padua, a dating coach known as SheraSeven, who went viral for her savage responses during her streams on YouTube.

SheraSeven coaches young women on how to live their best lives by raising their standards in men, ‘Sprinkle Sprinkle’-ing her sometimes controversial advice.

Though most of her speeches are focused on how to attract ‘the provider’, the guy who would take care of you, she helps women to level up, be confident, put themselves on pedestals and leave toxic relationships that no longer work for them.

@wangjenniferr Replying to @my beauty diary ♬ original sound – Jennifer Wang | @wangjenniferr

Jennifer Wang, for instance, talks about her experience of transitioning from the ’50/50′ to ‘Sprinkle Sprinkle’ girlfriend on her TikTok account. The social media creator shared with her followers how it was hard to split everything with her boyfriend in the beginning.

One of the main reasons for that was her pride, as she didn’t want to be seen as a shallow girlfriend. As soon as she realised that it was okay for her partner to take care of her, their relationship turned out to be even better.

The ‘Sprinkle Sprinkle’ mindset is similar to the standards of Kazakh women in terms of being a high-value woman or finding a good match for marriage.

But, even for Kazakh women, ‘Sprinkle Sprinkle’ helps to deal with men, especially with toxic ones who want to control every bit of their possible future wives’ lives.

“I honestly think that she is teaching a lot of useful information. She has that sane voice on social media full of delusions, what-ifs and overthinking. I think all women should listen to her as she says the right things on how to treat yourself and how to treat men,” says Alina.

The differences covered between Kazakh and UK guys are based on personal experiences of these girls. It would be wrong to put the label on who is better or worse as there are exceptions for everything.

After going through the ins and outs of the standard Kazakh courtship, it is essential to keep in mind that all the endless flower deliveries, boxes of strawberries in chocolate or expensive gifts would not predict a final ‘happy end’. Even with the most extravagant courting, there can be unhappy relationships.

At the end of the day, a high-standard relationship is accessible to everyone around the world. To make it work, it is important to have respect, compassion and love for your partner.

The high standards are there just make sure you do not waste time on someone who is not appreciating you enough.

Kazakh girls are proving here that ‘if he wanted to, he would’.


Featured image courtesy of Ayeka

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