1. Thou shalt never pronounce ‘poke’ like ‘pokey’.
This the greatest sin you could commit and for some, it’s unforgivable. Also, you shall never compare mainland hipster versions of poke with the real thing. Mentioning ‘chicken poke’ or some other abomination has the ability to end first dates. I’ve seen it happen, so consider yourself warned.
2. Thou shalt eventually understand the words coming out of her mouth.
Yes those are real words that she’s saying, and yes you’d better learn them if you want to be able to hold a conversation! Flip flops are ‘slippers’, soy sauce is ‘shoyu’, finished is ‘pau’, ‘ohana’ means family, and being done with work/happy hour is referred to as ‘pau hana’. In Hawai’i, Native Hawaiian and local Pidgin mix together with standard English, requiring non-locals to contemplate hiring an interpreter.
3. Thou shalt always support the University of Hawaii and/or any locals that make it big.
The only state school is University of Hawaii (or UH at its various locations) and is therefore the team you shall always be routing for if they’re playing, no exceptions! The Rock, Bruno Mars, Marcus Mariota (current QB with the Tennessee Titans), and the movie Moana are our pride and joy and shall always be respected. BONUS: If you didn’t already know the Moana soundtrack by heart, rest assured that you will now.
4. Thou shalt never judge her on how many bikinis she owns.
There is no such thing as too many bikinis. Conversational suggestions: tell her she looks great, maybe suggest a next possible color choice, or even get her that new one she has had her eye on (this would be serious boyfriend material). But in Hawai’i, there’s no limit on bikinis owned. End of discussion.
5. Thou shalt appreciate the traffic situations in other states (unless you’re from LA).
If you’re just visiting or new to the island, you might be surprised that we have some of the worst traffic in the nation. On the island of O’ahu, going on the H-1 any time after 4pm for someone is a sign of true love. And if she gets on the H-1 going westbound during rush hour for you, propose to her. Immediately.
6. Thou shalt discover the joys of Jawaiian music.
Even if you don’t like reggae, you will guaranteed hear some Jawaiian (Hawaiian style reggae) music and inadvertently catch yourself singing along to it. Especially if you’re on any beach in Hawai’i on the weekend when the locals set up their pop-up tents in the sand and barbecue for the day.
7. Thou shalt not confuse ‘being from Hawai’i’ with ‘being Hawaiian’.
Do not go around saying that you’re seeing a Hawaiian girl unless she’s said that she is Native Hawaiian. Hawai’i is an extremely diverse place with many different races and ethnicities. Referring to everyone from there as Hawaiian when they are not racially Native Hawaiian is incorrect and pushes aside the culture, history and importance of the original people of these islands.
8. Thou shalt always be ready for an adventure.
There is never a dull day in Hawai’i! From epic hikes to unreal surfing to chilling at the beach with a few beers watching the sunset, people in Hawai’i know how to live life to the fullest. She will always be down for something and you should be too!
9. Thou shalt not be outraged that the low 70’s is sweater weather.
When the temperatures dip below 75F, it’s chilly in Hawai’i and we will begin putting on our flannels and jeans. You might laugh now, but if you live here long enough you’ll find yourself doing it too. And then we’ll laugh at you for originally laughing at us.
10. Thou shalt learn the true meaning of aloha.
You might already know that aloha means both hello and goodbye, but dating a girl who lives in Hawai’i will teach you that it’s also a way of life. You’ll find yourself living with more love for the people around you (your ohana), having greater respect for the beauty of nature, learning to truly appreciate the present moment and just seeing more of the good in life!