Love for JH.

So last night I did end up eventually getting bored with myself and called JH to see where she was and what she was up to. I ended up taking the bus at 9 o'clock into Hongdae to meet her and the young business owner from the Christmas party a couple of weeks ago. The two of them met while doing volunteer work in the UK, so not only do they both have incredible English, but they're both really good people, as you can imagine.

The business owner, JW, apologized profusely, as soon as we got situated in a new little cafe/bar that JH's friend just opened, about being so completely "wasted" at our last meeting. I like how he uses the word "wasted" even though it's such an obviously American thing to say, and everything else JW and JH say is so obviously English. It was good to get a chance to talk to him, even though I definitely got the feeling he was vibing on JH (which she confirmed later) and like I was interrupting his intentions a bit. He talked more about his company and I got to understand that the job he gives to young men is provided for boys who he says, "cannot exist in the normal school system". Basically, he wants to give them a chance to do something productive, which they can feel proud of. Which everyone knows is right up my alley.

He started to explain this after he asked what I do with my free time, and I told him about the boys at the center, which led to a great conversation about the education systems in our respective countries and what can be done about kids who just don't fit in. He said he had realized, recently, that giving the boys a creative outlet through their work and chance to earn their own bread and be proud of themselves was good, but that it wasn't enough -- that they needed to have the chance to continue their education -- that was the most important thing. I told him I thought he had hit the nail right on the head, because ultimately the biggest problem you run into with boys like that is a deeply ingrained sense of believing that that they are stupid, because that's what they've been told all their lives. That giving them the chance to make something of themselves was one thing, but addressing the underlying problem of, "I can't learn anything" is another thing altogether. I told him that if he ever gets the education side of things up and running, to give me a call if he needs a native speaking teacher, because I would love to help out, and my background in teaching actually starts with students who don't have a traditional way of learning.

It kind of explains why those boys were so goosey at the Christmas party -- no doubt they don't have much confidence speaking English. But I can fix that -- that's my specialty.

Because it was our first time meeting after NYE, other than a short phone conversation yesterday, JH and I ended up turning the conversation to the three guys we met that night, and exchanging the details of who had contacted whom, and to say what. JW got visibly agitated at that point, and decided he would go home and let us "have girl talk time".

One thing I can say about JH -- she really seems to enchant the fellas. Not in the traditional sense of just, gosh she's beautiful and cute, but in the sense that she doesn't put up with their crap. We kind of took those three boys a bit by storm, being that they were a bit younger and obviously used to dealing with girls even younger than they were. That we spent most of the evening scoffing and rolling our eyes to each other anytime any of them would come out with a line seemed to throw everything a bit off balance. But they put up with it and seemed to have a really good time, and so did we. We have tentative plans in the future to all meet for Mexican food and also to go to a musical together (don't ask). We'll see if that pans out.

JH and I are progressing nicely. On NYE she shyly mentioned something about having slept with a guy she was telling me about, and I thought it best to go ahead and make a point out of that right then and there. I told her she didn't have to be shy with me about such things, that she could be completely honest and herself, because I neither judge, nor have room to judge, on such matters. She explained that she had a hard time not feeling guilty about things like that, and was eager to stay on the subject when I told her she had absolutely no reason to. Regret, maybe. Who among us hasn't felt some regret when it comes to things with the opposite sex? But guilt? Absolutely not. I told her she must work really hard on changing her thinking from "a man does this, it's okay/a woman does this, it's not okay" because that's all just a bunch of bullshit.

But I just don't want them to think that I'm a slut.

Fuck what they think, darling. What they think is not more important than what you think. And if they are going to judge you differently than they judge themselves when you both did the same thing, then they are small, stupid and childish to begin with. And not worth a second thought.

I know it can be hard to face a community of boys, which is basically all we have to work with here, when you know they discuss things amongst themselves in typical boys' club style. But the only way to deal with it is to hold your fucking head up high and not give them one single second to think they have the right to make any judgments whatsoever about you or your decisions. They are absolutely beneath such things, and that's simply the end of it. Fuck 'em.

I can tell she's still a bit nervous to be completely honest with me, but I think she'll trust me with time. That has been one of the things I've been missing the most here in Korea. I can meet plenty enough girls, but not one among them so far has seemed to be the kind I can talk completely honestly with and not have some sort of judgment enter the picture. Smalltown and I had a big discussion about this one night back when I was lamenting the lack of the fairer sex in my life here, and he said, I don't understand why you have so many problems making friends with girls, but you've got guy friends coming out of your ears.

I thought about it for a long time and ended up explaining that, to me, believe it or not, girl friends are extremely important. I love my guy friends and couldn't live without them, but a girl friend is something different -- something more serious, somehow, at times. I feel nervous when I'm with a group of new girls, careful of what I say and do and how they will think of me. When I'm with a group of new guys, I could give two fucks either way -- they can take me or leave me, as they will. I said I also felt like girls are more discerning when it comes to friendship. Guys generally don't give a fuck what their buddies are up to -- smoking, drinking, whoring around, cussing... whatever. They usually have the attitude of, if what you're doing doesn't affect me, then more power to you. Whereas girls tend to be more concerned about the things that their friends are up to. Which can be hard for a girl like me. I often feel like I can't just relax and be myself.

Times that by a thousand, and you've got the situation with girl friends here in the ROK.

I guess this is a really long-winded way of saying that I'm finally going to make it to a host bar. Which anyone who has been reading this blog for any amount of time knows has been a goal of mine for a long time. There's one just one floor down from the new bar that opened in Bupyeong, and after JH made a joke about just going there on NYE, I informed her that I was really curious about that kind of thing, but hadn't had a chance to go, because you can't go alone. And you certainly can't go with a guy. She said she'd been dying to try it as well, but none of her other girl friends were the type who would be up for it. So now, we're going.

Power duo. We're going to make so much trouble. I love it.


Anonymous said...

"I guess this is a really long-winded way of saying that I'm finally going to make it to a host bar."

haha i love it. I've always wanted to go to one (but can't cause I'm in the states). Report back in detail!

I'm no Picasso said...

I certainly will, madame.

Gary said...

She sounds proper cool. What's a host bar?

I'm no Picasso said...

It's where you go and pay a pretty price for the company of a pretty boy.

Hooking Up in Hanguk said...

Awesome job on trying to change your friend's perceptions and getting her to open up. I'm assuming she's Korean? It really is frustrating how they all grow up thinking about gender in such strict terms. "Girls can't talk about sex, but guys can" or whatever. Yuck.

I also have the same problem as you, where I end up with lots of guy friends and not many girl ones. But I value my close girlfriend relationships much more. Having someone who can really understand you and who you can share everything with is really invaluable. But for some reason it's always harder to find girls I get along with.

I've also been dying to go to a host bar or a model bar. Go, go, go, and tell me what it's like! :)

I'm no Picasso said...

The thing is, it's not really that different from the environment I came up in. So I can understand her hesitance. And I explained that to her. But some of us just aren't built to go along with that nonsense. It's always really lucky when we manage to find each other.

That's why girl friends are so hard for girls like us, I think. Sometimes we can be even harsher on each other than men can, because we're coping with our own judgments of ourselves and can put that off on other girls as well.

I'll definitely be doing a full report on the host bar experience. I might even make a thing out of it and see how many I can hit, now that I have a partner in crime. We lady bloggers (those of us who are still single) should get together and take a host bar by storm some night in Seoul. They wouldn't know what hit them.

Hooking Up in Hanguk said...

"That's why girl friends are so hard for girls like us, I think. Sometimes we can be even harsher on each other than men can, because we're coping with our own judgments of ourselves and can put that off on other girls as well."

Very true and well said. I guess I had never thought about it that way.

And taking over a host bar is actually a really awesome idea. I can't wait to be back in Korea, ahhh!