Okay. Everyone knows that one’s wedding day is what most, if not all women dream of and look forward to. Here in American Samoa, weddings are very much celebrated.
Of course families from both sides will have to go through the usual faalavelave in preparation for the big day. Usually, the bride’s family will do the most. After all, women are well treated in the culture and are beloved among their families. But the wedding day is the final step in courting and dating. So how does one even get to step 1? More importantly, what usually goes through the minds of the women here before they even get to step 1? You see, step 1 is when the girl says yes to the guy and a relationship begins.
These are just some of the common questions a Samoan girl would consider (including side notes for those currently living in American Samoa) before saying yes or no to a guy – as seen through the experience of others and of myself, a simple SUGA from American Samoa!
1.Does He Go To Church?
According to Google and Wikipedia, American Samoa is 98.3% Christian. The motto of the territory is ‘Samoa, Muamua Le Atua’ (Samoa, Let God Be First). We were taught and raised to fear the Lord. Finally, more than half of our lives are spent in church and doing church-related things. Obviously, God is a huge deal here. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise if this is one of the biggest questions, if not the first question, a girl would ask when approached by a guy (that’s if she didn’t already know the guy).
For some girls, the answer to the question will not affect her answer for the guy. She just might want to know. But for others, it really does matter if the guy goes to church or not. Because eventually, her family will know about her relationship with the guy. More importantly, if they decide to take it to the final step and tie the knot, then for sure she’ll have to introduce the guy to her family. Here’s why this is a bit scary:
Most parents here go to church and expects their children to do the same (even after they’re gone). If the girl brings a guy over to meet her parents and they find out that he doesn’t go to church?
Note: Most of the awful dating trends that are occurring off island (like gaslighting, love bombing, friends-with-benefits, etc.) don’t often happen here. Keywords: ‘don’t’ AND ‘often’. When two people come together and form a relationship here, most of the time it’s for the long run. So there’s no escaping the whole meeting-the-family thing here really!
2.What Village Is He From?
Yes, American Samoa is divided into villages. One of the things you’ll notice after at least a week or a month here in American Samoa is that people have pride in their villages which they show every chance they can get. It’s either on the clothing they wear (especially t-shirts and ie lavalavas) or stickers on their cars that will have their village’s name or mascot. So you can bet that one of the first questions a girl will consider is where the guy’s from.
American Samoa is made up of seven islands. The biggest island is known as Tutuila, which is where you arrive to when you enter American Samoa. According to a census conducted in 2016, American Samoa has a population of about 54,000 people and 95% of them live in Tutuila (including me). That’s about 51,000 in Tutuila! Tutuila has more than 20 villages and it is likely that one is related to another person of the same village or neighboring villages. Even with a population of a little over fifty thousand people, you’d be surprised how often you might stumble across someone you might be related to. Most people here know what villages their parents and grandparents are from and I’ve often seen women avoid dating into those villages (ESPECIALLY the village she lives in!).
Note: Good luck asking out a girl from your village, fellas. Chances are? She’ll deny you because you’re probably related.
3.What Family Is He From?
This has got to be the biggest question that I hear almost everytime a girl gets asked out by a guy. Actually, it is one of the biggest questions anyone will ask when trying to find out about somebody. This question ties greatly with the village and church questions. A girl will often ask this question to avoid incest, which is highly frowned upon. Unlike most questions, however, this question will not be solved by a simple family name(s); for both the father and mother’s sides.
If a guy reveals his family name(s) or the girl finds out from someone else, there are certain times the girl isn’t sure about whether or not she’s related to the guy. This is when she goes into full FBI mode to find out for certain if they’re related or not. This is where the elders of the family or those who are more knowledgeable in the family history come into play; where all of a sudden Aunty Pakeka and Uncle Fa’ipula, although you might not like them, will get a visit from you because they’re the only ones who know your family tree and history. Once Pakeka and Fa’ipula give the green light, you’re good to go.
Note: Ladies? No matter how much you find the guy attractive, please ask this question at the beginning anyways. If you find out you’re not related then congratulations. But if you are related? That’s on you but do know your relationship will most likely get shunned if you still want to push forward with things. But if you decide not to pursue since you’re related, don’t be so sad. Look on the bright side – you’d save a lot of complications that might arise (including getting the beating of your life from your parents) when faalavelaves occur or when the two families meet. Can you imagine finding out at the day of your wedding that you are related? Super yikes!
4. Does He Have a Job?
American Samoa is a territory of the United States, which means its type of government sets it apart from Western Samoa or ‘Upolu’. As of 2016, the minimum wage here is about $4.60 to $5.99 per hour. This puts it as the lowest minimum wage in all of the United States’ territories. American Samoa has one major export: Tuna. The tuna canneries in Atu’u employs a great amount of the working population of the island. There are also other private companies that have proven to be worthy competitors of the government in terms of employing its citizens. If you work for the American Samoa Government and/or the Federal Government, your pay will be a little better. Even better than that is when you have a degree to back up your credentials or years of experience to make up for lack of degree or in addition to your degree(s). Then there’s the land and the ocean that most Samoans live off of. Anything that brings in any type of income legally is a job by my definition. With all that being said, it shouldn’t be hard to find a guy with a job then, right?
Believe it or not, sometimes it’s a little hard nowadays to find someone with a job, no matter how seemingly qualified they are. There are many factors that play into why this is the way it is. One is that here in American Samoa, most of the time you get a job based on WHO you know and not WHAT you know. Another reason is that some people have to stay at home to care for their elderly. But the worst reason for a man not to have a job is because he doesn’t want to have one or is too tired to look. But why does he need to have a job? Well, most mindset here for women that I often hear is that if the guy doesn’t have a job, he cannot take care of anyone. So how will he even take care of a family? What if things get serious and they start a family?
Note: Ok fellas, get to job hunting if you are interested in a SUGA from American Samoa. American Samoa women are independent and strong. But there are certain times where we also need others’ help, like our men. Show her that you can hold the fort down when she can’t. Show her that you can provide for her. If you got her, she got you as well. 50/50 fellas… 50/50.
5.How Is His Education?
Ah, the Education level of a guy. This can make him either more attractive or less. Right ladies? Education is a very important thing in American Samoa. It shapes the ideal life path that parents want their children to follow. Attend school, get good grades, get a scholarship, go off island to attend a college and/or University, and then get a degree. The aim is always getting a degree. People with degrees have a better chance of getting good-paying jobs than those without. The better the pay, the more one can help out financially (especially in a faalavelave-driven culture). But this is just one reason why women prefer men with an education. There are two other reasons why this is preferable among women.
One is because people here seem to correlate the ability and drive to get a good education with the valuing of having good self care and decision making abilities. The second is that some women, especially those with good education themselves, like to find their equal in a man. Someone who can carry a good, classy, and intelligent conversation. Education maketh a man here in American Samoa… or at least it is to most.
Note: Fellas, know your ABCs. Ladies, there’s nothing wrong with wanting a man with good grammar. Set your standards high and never settle… ever.
6.What Does He Look Like?
Alright now before you go on and say that looks don’t matter, sit back down and rethink this life all over again. Part of the ugly truth about relationships and attraction is that looks DO matter. As much as some people deny it, you are initially drawn to somebody because of how they look when you first meet them (or after they undergo extensive or slight extreme makeovers). The eyes are the first things that are satisfied before the entire body, the heart, the mind, and the soul follow. I don’t mean to sound shallow or blunt but… poof. If a girl here gets approached by a guy, that’s the first thing she notices. Men do it, too, and for sure in almost all parts of the civilized world. Why do you think ‘good girls like bad boys?’ (Is that how that saying goes?). If someone approaches the girl on behalf of a guy that is interested, that is most likely one of the first things she’d ask.
‘How or what does he look like?’
I’m sure you’ve done it before and I’m sure you’ve heard or seen other women do it too – and I think it is totally fine! We all have preferences and an idea of what we want in an ideal partner and honestly, I don’t think we really have much control over who we become attracted to. Also, to get to that Step 1? There’s gotta be some type of attraction, right?
Note: Let me see… Oh yes. Fellas, if you find out that the girl isn’t ‘feelin’ you because of your looks, don’t worry. All hope is not lost. There are other things that sometimes make up for it. Like persistence and humor. In all my years of living and seeing others go through relationships, I find the female species to be the least shallow ones 😉
7.What Is He Like?
Admit it, you’d want to know what kind of person is interested in you. Well, the women here are the same. A man’s behaviour, hobbies, and interests are some of the things a woman would wonder about when asked out by a guy. Does he have anger issues? Does he flirt a lot? Does he play sports? Love movies?
These are some of the questions a woman would ask to find out about a guy who’s interested. She’ll try to find out as much as possible about a guy before diving into a relationship with him. After all, who would want to go blindly into a relationship? (Blind dates don’t count because it rarely happens here). Also, sometimes finding out that a guy has the same interests as you would make him more attractive to you. Others might find that their interests in opposite things are attractive as well.
Note: Ladies, there’s no such thing as a stupid question. Ask away. Either to him or to others about him. You’d be surprised how much you can find out about a person just by asking (regardless of whether or not they’re telling the truth).
And there you have it, folks. My take on what I think are the biggest questions asked by women here about man or guy interested in them. I’m sure there are other questions women would ask but I think these should do it… for now. American Samoa is a beautiful place filled with beautiful people; and there are two things you can do to believe that. Either take my word for it OR come on down and see for yourself. Happy hunting!