I recently received a message from a reader. “Shallow Man, I’ve been dating a Dutch girl for 18 months now, my family likes her and I’m thinking of asking her to become my wife, I know that a lot of Dutch people just live together and don’t marry, but in my culture marriage is normal. Can you write about this?” As always, the Shallow Man is keen to fulfill the wishes of his readers, however, I’ve dated a few wonderful Dutch Antelopes in my time but, like an Amsterdammer stepping over the ever present amount of dog poo all over the pavements here, have successfully avoided getting married. So I’ve reached out to a couple of married friends and am pleased to provide a rather subjective piece called the five differences between the Dutch girl you date and the Dutch girl you marry.
This post might upset some.. and as a result I’m rounded up by a group of angry Amsterdam Zuid based Dutch wives and am forced to not only attend a boot camp, followed by a game of hockey and am then taken in one of their Range Rovers (used to take their only child to the kinderopvang) to drink coffee with them afterwards and forced to listen to endless conversations about how stressful their lives are; I’ll face my tormentors and will shout “hou op met jullie gezeik, jullie zijn gewoon verwend en lui.” The things I do for my readers!
Some things will definitely change if you marry your Dutch girlfriend. Here are the five most common ones.
You met your partner at work. She’s a corporate tiger, a career girl, she knows what she wants and she’s going all the way to the top, well at least middle management. This is one of the things that attracted you to her in the first place. Once you put a ring on her finger, all of this will change. She’ll go from being a corporate tiger to being an eetcafe princess. She’ll complain that work is too stressful and insist on going to boot camp, Zumba and keeping cafes in business. This is even before she’s had her first child.
2. Personal grooming
Being Dutch, outside of the office she dressed for comfort. Some might say that she was too lazy to make an effort with her appearance, but I wouldn’t dream of saying such a thing. This didn’t bother you too much, because as the Shallow Man once said a Lamborghini with a bad paint job is still a stunning car.
Once you get married even the little effort she once made to look just like every other Dutch girl about town will go out of the window. Out of nowhere she’ll start wearing cardigans that no self respecting moth would ever dream of laying eggs in. She’ll whip out a Philips electric razor and do horrifying things to her hair. What little makeup she possesed will start gathering cobwebs. She’ll wear birkenstocks when she goes out shopping and start buying her lingerie at Wibra. Ironically, she’ll still spend a lot of time telling you what you should be wearing and going shopping with you and choosing clothes as if you’re just about to go to school for the first time and need to look smart.
Whereas before she ignored your gaming habits, occasionally making sarcastic remarks about grown boys and their toys, now that you’re married she doesn’t want it IN THE HOUSE (which you’re paying most of the mortgage for). You have to start lying to her and telling her that you’re going out for beer with the boys, when in fact you’re going over to the apartment of a Shallow Man who has a Playstation and gives you the much needed opportunity to let off some steam playing Pro-evolution soccer or UFC unlimited.
4. Spare time
When you were dating, things were pretty relaxed socially. You had your own social circles and of course your joint ones. Now you’re married with children. You work all week and in spite of her working part time and leaving the kids in a nursery, (which you pay for), at weekends she will demand that you look after the kids as she has them all week. Free time? You’re free when she says so.
The calendar on the toilet wall is a legal contract signed with your blood; god forbid if you fail to notice a borrel with Minke, Ida and Anouk and their boyfriends as you did one time, something that she’ll never let you forget. In fact, when you die (sooner rather than later) she’ll have engraved on your tombstone, “here lies a father, husband and a man who forgot that I’d arranged an evening with Anouk and her boyfriend and went out to play computer games with his friends instead“, LAME!
To make sure that this never happens again, she’ll send you reminders via Whatsapp, Facebook, email and call you five times on the day of the event just to make sure that you don’t forget.
When dating a Dutch woman, she’ll speak admiringly about how hard you work and will be charming and polite to you in public. Once you’re married the family dog will be treated with more respect than you. In fact there’ll be times when you’re not sure if she’s addressing you or the dog, so abrupt is her manner of speaking. When forcibly dragged to the drie dwaze dagen sale at De Bijenkorf, at wifepoint, your face will turn red as she shouts “I SAID THE SKINNY JEANS, DO THOSE LOOK LIKE SKINNY JEANS TO YOU?” Sadly, you’ll get used to this and five years from now will think it’s completely normal to be shouted at and bossed around like a pre-politically correct revisionist version of Zwarte Piet.
In order of priority in your wife’s life with one being highest and six being lowest you’ll fit in as below.
1. Her dog/children
4. Boot camp
In spite of the above, the Shallow Man sees many happily married men all over Amsterdam, counting down the days to when they can have peace and quiet and some quality time alone in a coffin.
No undertakers were hurt during the writing of this post.
Till next time, don’t shoot the exceptionally well dressed messenger.
This article is previously published on Amsterdam Shallow Man.
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