What is dating like for members of Generation Z?

Gabriel Choo

What is dating like for members of Generation Z, the cohort just entering adulthood? What happens during their first dates? Is it still the same as for the previous generation?

Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore spoke to several young couples to find out more about how they met and their pet names for each other.

Gideon Pang and Tabitha Ng. (Photo: Gabriel Choo/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

Gideon Pang, 22 and Tabitha Ng, 21 (university students)

Q1. How did you guys meet?

Tabitha: We met in church back when we were still in secondary school but nothing really happened until 2015 when we both happened to be in Korea. He texted me about it and until today, he tells me he never intended to have that conversation.

Gideon: At that time there was still MSN, so she asked for my email through Facebook message and that’s how we got to know each other better.

Tabitha: But we never went out one-on-one (at first) as we usually met a particular group of friends. It was only many years later that he finally asked me out. I guess the only “signal” was that he would try to initiate having meals together.

Gideon: It was during a period where I found myself increasingly thinking of her as someone I would want to be in a relationship with. I saw her good qualities (such as being caring), which were things I looked for in a partner.

Q2. What happened on your first date?

Tabitha: Hmm I can’t really remember but it has to be somewhere in the vicinity of UTown (NUS university town).

Gideon: Yea, it was probably in school. And I think I paid for the meal haha, I was trying to be a gentleman. It wasn’t really expensive anyway, probably around $20.

Q3. What names do you call each other?

Tabitha: Haha, actually we just call each other by our short-form names most of the time (Gid/Tabi). I once told him that I dislike “baby/babe” and I would never date someone who calls me that, so it becomes a joke to call each other that haha.

Gideon: Yea, I prefer calling her “Tabi” because its more specific. “Dear” sounds too general and to be honest, I am embarrassed to say that in public. But sometimes in private, I do call her “babe” or “baby” just to annoy her cause she hates it, haha.

Victor Foo and Sherry Lim. (Photo: Gabriel Choo/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

Victor Foo, 19 and Sherry Lim, 19 (polytechnic students)

Q1. How did you guys meet?

Sherry: Both of us are dancers, and we met while we were having a group dance at Changi Airport.

Victor: Our mutual friend asked her to join us that night, and I “slid into her DM (short for direct message)” after talking awhile in our group chat haha

Sherry: His friends were teasing him because apparently he thought I was cute and they asked him to message me personally and not be a coward, haha.

Victor: We then started talking and it was kind of mutual so it wasn’t one person asking another person out, but more of a mutual wanting to get to know each other better. But she did ask me out first because I was too shy!

Q2. What happened on your first date?

Victor: If I recall correctly, we went to Downtown East to watch a horror movie and had a nice dinner afterwards. We even got to walk around Pasir Ris Park and somehow detoured to Changi City Point. We spent about $40 in total, but we paid for it individually.

Sherry: Yea, I wouldn’t expect the guy to pay on the first date as I find it burdensome for a guy to do so especially if he’s a student. The first date was important because it really showed me who he was as a potential boyfriend.

Q3. What names do you call each other?

Victor: I call her either “babe” (typed as “beb”) or “bao” because both of our faces are quite round haha.

Joel Ang and Annie Loo. (Photo: Gabriel Choo/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

Joel Ang, 23 and Annie Loo, 23 (university students)

Q1. How did you guys meet?

Annie: We are both Pharmacy students from NUS and we kinda only knew each other’s names but we never really spoke to each other. Last year, my friend and I signed up for a singing competition and we needed a guitarist so we invited him to join our group as he was known to be “handsome Joel” who knows how to play the guitar, haha.

Joel: Yea, for me, I only knew her as the pharmacy queen of our batch, but we never spoke until our first rehearsal. She usually sits in front during lectures while I sit at the back and our lab groups rarely coincide. When it seemed almost impossible for us to ever cross paths, a love bridge was formed at the right time.

We also started off going for badminton games, which is common among pharmacy students. It was through these that our love grew and we ended up talking daily. We would study together, play guitar together and just enjoy being in each other’s presence.

Annie: We got to share about our lives with each other and I remember one day before the start of school term, he sent me a lengthy message to cheer me up for the next half of the semester and after that, he confessed!

Q2. What happened on your first date?

Annie: We went for lunch together at a Mexican restaurant in Holland Village after school and we had desserts at an Acai Cafe. We paid for our own meals as I don’t agree with social expectations that a guy should be the one paying on the first date! I value fairness and equality in a relationship more than being a “financial burden” to your partner.

Joel: During our first date, I cheekily asked if I could measure her pulse. We laughed and she agreed to let me “measure her pulse” and that was when I first held her hand. It was then that she told me that she’s ready to be in a relationship with me and I felt an unspeakable joy.

Q3. What names do you call each other?

Joel: Many names haha, like “bunnie”, “puuu puuu” and “bao bao”.

Annie: Haha yea, he also calls me “beloved”, “wifey”, and “BB”. For me, I call him “hubby'”, “puuu puuu” and “dearest”.

Brian Teo and Isabella Chua. (Photo: Gabriel Choo/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

Brian Teo, 21 (full- time national serviceman) and Isabella Chua, 19 (polytechnic student)

Q1. How did you guys meet?

Brian: We met at church and were in the same cell group but we started out as “hi and bye” friends with occasional conversations. We only got close because we needed help in our respective school projects.

Isabella: Yeah, I had a project where I had to create a short film, and I was looking desperately for a male lead. And even though he was having exams, Brian actually agreed to help me. We grew closer through production and he was very encouraging and nice. He also took the effort to come all the way to my area to help me.

Q2. What happened on your first date?

Isabella: Brian asked me out to watch a movie followed by a dinner at Takashimaya. It was a good time as we huddled under my cardigan and his jacket because we’re both scared of the cold.

Brian: But for dinner we went Dutch as at that time we were still close friends who had feelings for each other. The date was more of a hang-out session beyond the usual meetings.

Isabella: But it just felt more and more right as we interacted and spent more time with each other. We established that we’ll wait for 3 months before entering into a relationship.

Q3. What names do you call each other?

Isabella: It’s quite embarrassing actually, I call him names like “babe”, “baby boi”, “booty baby”, “cutie baby”, and “love”.

Brian: Haha, mine are more direct like “oi”, “eh’, “Isabella”, and “baby girl”, but I roll my eyes saying this because it is super cringe-worthy.

Daing Haziq and Debbie May. (Photo: Gabriel Choo/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

Daing Haziq, 19 and Debbie May, 19 (polytechnic students)

Q1. How did you guys meet?

Daing: We were actually from the same kindergarten but we didn’t interact with each other as I was a quiet and shy person back then. We became Facebook friends in 2011 and it took me quite some time to notice her.

Debbie: He asked me out because he was interested in me, I’m assuming, and I said yes because I was interested in getting to know him more. I was quite excited and shy at the same time but the awkwardness went away and I soon felt comfortable with him.

Q2. What happened on your first date?

Daing: I asked her out on a date to the National Museum as I find movie dates too cliché. We also played Fifa at St Games for awhile, before going for a meal. Both of us later paid for our own expenses individually.

Debbie: Yea, and after that we hung out quite a lot but as for formal dates, we’ve only been on two. I don’t really see the need for super formal dates, as I’m fine with anything as long as we spend time together.

Daing: Till this day, I find our first date meaningful as we started to know each other better as I prefer to have conversations in real life as compared to communications online.

Q3. What names do you call each other?

Daing: Something I call the “3 B’s” – “B”, “babe” and “baby”.

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