Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dating in Korea: Taking the Lid Off the Kimchi Pot

As I said before in my post about the beginnings of my dating experiences here in Korea; I started out being pretty much exclusively attracted to westerners. I was constantly running into the wall of their Yellow Fever (I realize that this is a pretty racist term, but it gets SUPER tiring typing "desire to date only Koreans" over and over again). I was becoming increasingly more and more frustrated. My gripe sessions with my gal-pals were almost entirely devoted to resentful feelings towards western guys constantly turning down western girls. We said they were being racist when, in actuality, we were also being racist. It was a really negative time. I continued to flirt with western guys, but to little avail.
Me, every time I saw an OK looking western guy I'd been flirting with out with a super hot Korean girl the next week
The logical solution to this "I'm super sad and sing" conundrum would probably be to open up my field and start flirting with the literally MILLIONS of Korean men all around me, but... I didn't... at least not right away.
Why? I'll tell you why...
So, honesty time, most of my experience being flirted with/ flirting with Korean guys up to this point in the story had been club related, mostly in Hongdae (the club hot spot for young Koreans), and had not given me a good first impression. Korean guys in clubs have a very annoying habit when it comes to western girls. If they see a waygookin having a good old time on the dance floor and really not caring about anything, they have a tendency to... woo. As in literally stand around you going "WWWOOOOOOO!!!!" at everything you do.
You're having a super fun time at the club only to turn around and see this...
And he normally has one or two friends with him who are doing the same thing. It also doesn't help that most Koreans in clubs are pre-military service. There's really something to be said for those mandatory months in the Korean military. They go in as scrawny boy-babies and come out as sculpted, mature men.
YAY! We're super sexy now!
I had given my number to one or two guys, but really hadn't seen anyone I was interested in, so I was pleased as punch to continue spending my weeknights home alone, eating an entire Pizza Maru by myself, and raging against western guys and their super fine, sweet Korean girlfriends.
But then... it happened... out of nowhere I saw a Korean man... and I WANTED HIM. I was out at a bar with a large group of my friends (if you must know it was Beer Monster in Anam, a location I thoroughly recommend). I had resigned myself over to being single for a while when he appeared. He was approximately 6'7" (201cm for hose of you who aren't American) and I wanted to CLIMB HIM LIKE A TREE! The soju had been flowing that night, my friends, so I had just enough liquid courage in me to approach him.

I really want to set one thing straight before continuing. Korean men are NOT SHORT! Most Korean guys are the same height as your average American man with a good number sprouting up higher. I'd say that the height distribution of the Koreans my age is about the same as Americans my age. I've always had a weak spot for a super tall guy and this guy was, indeed, super tall.

We were dating for a few weeks but it didn't work out. He was busy because he was currently in his military service (there's a branch of service where they don't have to live on base) and he was also a little on the immature side. He was super fun to be with and we're still friends. However, this man had, as I like to say, "ripped the lid off the kimchi pot". I was in full on Korean Madness mode. I couldn't stop myself from checking out every guy I saw and, just as quickly, western men became less appealing to me. 
Are you kidding me?
This is just not fair.
How are western guys supposed to compete with that?!
They even look good with man purses!
I hate to break it to you guys, and I love to inform you, ladies; KOREAN MEN, POST-MILITARY, HAVE AMAZING BODIES AND ARE SUPER RUGGED AND MATURE! The waygookin community in Korea has a bad reputation for attracting guys and girls who are here because they are treating Korea as their own Never-Never Land. The space between college and the real world (or college and more college) where you don't really have to grow up. This means a lot of waygook guys are very immature and it's only a matter of time before the waygook ladies stop trying to make these guys into men and turn to the throngs of Korean capital "M" Men all around them. It also doesn't hurt that 20 and 30-something Korean men have IMPECCABLE fashion sense and can out-dress your typical waygookin any time, any place.
Korean Men: Born attractive, built into sexy
But, ladies, you need to be careful. This is going to sound even more racist than anything I've written so far, but if the first thing a Korean guy asks you is "are you Russian?" this guy is only looking for ONE THING.
And no, sad puppy, it isn't something appropriate for your ears.
Russian women have a bit of a reputation in Korea for being... well... to put it bluntly... prostitutes. I AM NOT SAYING THAT ALL RUSSIAN WOMEN IN KOREA ARE PROSTITUTES!!! Far from it! I've met many very lovely Russian women here who are just 110% normal, awesome chicks. HOWEVER, the Korean stereotype of Russian women is that they are prostitutes or that they are super easy. Somehow my red hair has led quite a few Korean guys to think I might either be a party girl, or Russian, or a Russian party girl.
Not a prostitute, just damn SEXY!
So, where do you find a non-booty-trollin', non-wooo-in, mature Korean guy in these parts? My advice is the either mingle in non-sexually driven atmospheres or go to one of the more upscale locales in Seoul. There are a lot of very fancy bars in Itaewon (BEHIND HAMILTON HOTEL, NOWHERE ELSE), Gangnam, and the more business-oriented areas of Seoul like Jogno or Yeouido. If you are a fancy lady looking for a fancy man, go to a fancy place and don't put up with bullshit. For me, however, it was best to find potential dates at places where finding dates is not the goal. I've said it before, I'll say it again: EXPLORE YOUR HOBBIES IN SEOUL. I met SeungHyun in a mixed expat and Korean choir. Language exchanges might be ok, but the age level of guys who attend these is a little on the younger side, and many times they're just there looking to flirt with western women. Just be careful, ladies!


  1. Sounds spot-on! Btw, I am Russian (well, Russian-American now), but not at all offended. Wondering about the Russian women's reputation there, though. Perhaps it is because Russia is in close geographical proximity, at least its far-eastern part, which also happens to be on the relatively poor side. So it might be easy for the Russian ladies in difficult financial situations, shall we put it, to get to Korea, then? Have no idea. Moving to Korea in April, so will scope it out then, I guess.

    1. Yeah, I have been researching on this topic for one of the subjects of my master and the thing is that after the collapse of the Soviet Union many women moved to neighbouring countries and unfortunately, because they did not have many choices, they ended up working as prostitutes. In Korea there are a few thousands of Russian women working as prostitutes right now, but still this combined stereotype of A) "Russian women being prostitutes" and B) "white girls with blond hair being Russian because there are no other nationalities to think of" is getting old and it is quite racist. If I was a Russian woman in Korea I would probably shoot the next Korean guy who asked me that question. Like seriously, it is so unfair!