10.07.2010

THE Myth, Part I -- Before Korea: Sleeping with Asian men is hilarious.

i grew up in seoul and i'm half korean and i've only ever dated white girls. i've been away for a very long time. is it unusual to find white girls interested in korean guys... in korea? i have no idea. do you? wish i could meet some such women...

Well, you've played right into my hands with that one. This showed up at some point during the night, and went right along with what I'd already started writing in pieces about the dating blog phenomenon in Korea. Which was supposed to be in response to this question:

Do you know... if there are a male perspective (aka a male's view on dating Korean women) blog? These are fun to read, but at the same time... I can't help thinking.. "Man if there was only a good female version..." Thanks ^^

The short answer to the first question is 'yes' -- yes, there are. And yes I do know of them. Many, many, many of them. The short answer to the second question is 'yes' -- but I'm not going to link you to them. For reasons I'll get into in more detail in a following post.

First I want to deal with the first question. Or rather, the notorious myth that may have spurred it on, and Why I Think The Kboy Bloggers Were Revolutionary. Okay? Okay.

Let's go back into the annals of INP history for this one. You all know I have trouble writing about anything at all in theory. I need to use my personal experience to make things make sense to myself, a lot of the time. And this is going to take me a minute, because, honestly it's been a long road. Almost as if I'm desperate to contradict myself, I hope I can explain what the dating bloggers meant to me when I found them, and why I think what they did was important, by letting you all see my own personal experience. I'm going to break it up into parts because I'm not actually trying to kill you with boredom. Although some collateral damage may be inevitable.

So first, then.

Before Korea: Sleeping with Asian men is hilarious.




Setting: Fall of 2007, New York City.

INP has just had the crushing realization that her life actually belongs to her, and she can take it and put it wherever on this globe she has a mind to. At the moment, the most prominent option seems to be Korea. She is sort of iffy about the whole thing, because INP is sort of iffy about every new commitment that occurs to her, even if she's already decided to make it. But she makes it. INP now begins to inform her nearest-and-dearest of her decision. INP is not necessarily known for her love life, being that relationships don't come that naturally to her. But she is fairly well known for her, shall we say, appreciation for the opposite sex. INP's N&D have one resounding question for her about her new plans, other than, "What the hell are you doing?" That question is....

"What are you going to do about the men?"

INP contemplated this. She hadn't thought of it as much of an issue. INP wasn't that bothered about Korean men, one way or another, to be honest. She knew that there was a fairly well populated community of foreign men in Korea, which included many from the UK, which was the only real category INP was very concerned with at the time -- she liked the accents. Either way, INP figured she would just get there and figure everything out. There are attractive men all over the world, she reasoned (save for possibly her hometown, a place for which she still holds a grudge against the local 'culture') -- she would work it out.

But several people in INP's inner circle surprised her in their reactions. INP was not an idiot -- she was aware of the stereotypes surrounding Asian men in American culture. She was probably, if she was completely honest, a holder of one or two in her own mind at times. But INP at no point believed that the mere thought of her in bed with an Asian man should send anyone she knew and called one of her own into fits of hysterical laughter. That was a bit much for her to handle. She was disappointed and -- again, if she's honest -- a little bit shamed.

INP's friends' issue was this: INP had been known to prefer a certain type of man. INP, herself, was a certain type of woman, and pretty much matched well with this type of man. INP liked scruffy and masculine, rough around the edges. Most of INP's N&D found her taste in men to be nothing short of scary. INP's friends had certain ideas about what Korean men, unequivocally, would or could be. The idea of INP walking down the street holding hands with one of these 'ideas' was a bit too much for her friends' to handle.

INP understood where the idea was coming from. But she had been teaching Korean university students in New York for nearly two years and had found more than one of them to be at least somewhat attractive. She had also already become aware of Gong Yoo and Lee Byeonghun -- two actors who INP thought were surely above reproach on even an international level, living, breathing proof that Asian men, even measured against Western ideals about masculinity could be masculine, attractive, and crushingly sexy. But even among INP's 'enlightened' friends, this was apparently hilarious. INP just stopped talking about it. Which is not something INP was known for doing, at all ever -- especially when challenged. And is still something to this day of which INP is not proud.

Then INP started to frequent a little place called Dave's ESL Cafe. As most people end up doing at one point or another in their time preparing to come to Korea to teach English. Suddenly, INP was bombarded with one overarching message. The message was this: Western women do not find Korean men attractive. Korean men do not find Western women attractive. As Western men in Korea are all completely consumed with Korean women (given how unattractive Western women are in comparison), and all that leaves Western women with are girly pansy-assed Korean men (who none of them find attractive, and who, mutually, don't find Western women attractive), then Western women in Korea can expect to spend their year with their sexual congress 'out of session'.

INP may have been a lot of things, but stupid definitely wasn't one. It didn't take her long to realize that, oddly enough, all of these posts were coming from Western men. INP tried to find some input from Western women, but there was none to be found. Anytime a Western woman tried to say anything at all on this site, in fact, it seemed she was immediately shouted down for being, oddly enough, 'fat'. Which seemed to be an applicable comment no matter what information the woman had or hadn't provided about herself, and in nearly every situation, no matter what was being discussed.

INP started to feel very worried about her impending time in the ROK. She had read dozens of warnings (from Western men) about how horribly sexist Korean men were. And yet, INP was getting the sinking feeling that the Western men in Korea may not be much better. And the worst thing of all was that she couldn't find any input at all coming from any women. She wasn't sure she had realized exactly what she might be getting herself into. But that was something she would just have to accept.

Then, INP came to Korea. And on the ground, she finally found the women.

24 comments:

Jayme said...

Interesting read- looking forward to the next entry

Burndog said...

Interesting.

I didn't expect to date here either. When I was at Uni I found the Korean girls to be too prissy and shy and a whole load of other stereotyped things. I like strong, angry, somewhat hostile women (which is generally how Australian women are). I had also assumed that Korean women liked their men to be kind of soft, and well groomed, and thin, and a bit...feminine. I'm none of those things. The girl I was seeing before I left Australia was constantly joking about me meeting a Korean girl...and so were my mates. It seemed the most ludicrous idea. But...getting here...I guess...it was a matter of realising how little I knew about EVERYTHING and then extending that naturally to the people here...and then naturally women. I was lucky...I met a nice girl on my first subway trip into Seoul...and then my current girlfriend just eight months in.

I've never really thought of them as Korean though...just like I guess at home I never thought of my girlfriends as Australian. I guess. I've become your most loopy, rambling, nonsensical commentor...and I hate/love it.

Anonymous said...

this is great; we have acheived the ideal post-racial society.

Tiffani said...

I'm SOOOO happy you're writing this. Don't worry in the least about boring us...stories and ideas like this are what I love most about your blog <3

Anonymous said...

Drop the "INP." Go with "I." Please?

I'm no Picasso said...

Jayme -- Thank you.

Burndog -- Nothing nonsensical about any of that. It's basically spot on with what I have experienced. It seems a lot of people are deadset on categorizing their SOs as "Korean" and it's just.... I don't know. The whole thing has basically been a shitstorm I haven't been able to understand since the day I arrived. I've never seen so many people make so much hubbub about anything in my entire life.

And weirdly enough, now things have shifted in another completely different, bizarre direction. I feel like the entire world has been turned upside down since I arrived two years ago. Which is why....

Anon -- ... this post was written in the third person. Which I have already dropped in the next post, which is already queued up and ready to go. No worries! It couldn't go on forever....

I'm no Picasso said...

Tiffani -- I'm always worried about boring people. Which is why I'm mostly silent in person. Here, at least, I figure people can exit out of me. I'd be mortified to carry on this way to someone's face, and have them politely sit through it. Although it is always nice to have anonymous posters stop by and take the time to point out that what I write is boring. It never fails to fill me with a sense of awe at howful things must be for them to willfully endure it, when I'd be none the wiser if they just went along on their way.

I'm no Picasso said...

Howful, by the way, is a new contraction I've just come up with for "how awful". It was an idea borne of a day spent doing entirely too much blogging, combined with reading over English midterm exams for grammar and spelling mistakes. Ingenious, I think.

Chris in South Korea said...

I like 'howful'. Keep it. Also: try using the word 'wayguk' as a verb: "Let's wayguk the subway!" as one example.

I'm not surprised that people tried shouting you down - and not at all surprised that it didn't work.

Looking forward to the second part.

Burndog said...

Once...I had a guy who I had literally met an hour before (a friend of a friend) ask me (in front of my girlfriend, one Korean-American and two Koreans), "how did you get a Korean girlfriend? I have wanted one for a little while but can't work out how to get one."

He emailed me a few weeks after asking why I rejected his Facebook friend request.

Fucktard.

Marilyn said...

Burndog- after reading your last post, I said out loud, "Burndog, you're one of the good ones." Keep on truckin'. =)

INP - I'm curious - why do you think it is that many Western men were (are?) convinced that Koreans aren't interested in Western women? Apologies if you were going to go into that in another part!

I'm no Picasso said...

Marilyn -- The long and the short answer to that is, because they want to be. And because too many Western women have allowed them to go on thinking it. Which will indeed be covered in the next part.^^

Anonymous said...

Do you only hang out with newbies? I made friends with an American woman who had a Korean husband a few months after arriving. I've met a number of others since. Maybe if you stopped hanging out with the 22-25-year-old crowd you'd get that "woman's" perspective on Korean guys you need so much.

palladin said...

Well I can kind of answer that question. Because people like to stereotype and apply things to entire groups of people rather then considering everyone on a per-person basis. Its the mentally lazy method.

Although to lend support to the argument, my own experience has been that 4.5/5 of my close buddies (whom all are Korean men) believe that foreign white women are "fat". The .5 is the one that while saying their "fat" likes to date white girls, most of whom are rather buxom and healthy looking. The east Asian idea of a healthy weight is sum what different then the western idea of a healthy weight. I guess some Western males made an incorrect assumption that Korean males would not be attracted to a western female due to that difference. Of course they were incorrect because people make relationship partner choices based on a myriad of things, not just the weight / body structure of the other person.

I'm no Picasso said...

Anonymous -- I'm not really sure how to respond to that, other than to assume you have some kind of learning disability or something. I thought it was pretty obvious that this was written in the past tense about the time before I even arrived in Korea? Thanks for the advice, though?

palladin -- What a joy (and surprise!) that you've showed back up to comment on how Korean men WILL date Western women EVEN THOUGH the whopping five Korean men you know (who, given your general attitude toward women, especially Korean women, and the fact that they find you acceptable as a 'buddy', must be really excellent examples) think that they're fat. Slow day on Dave's, was it?

Sidney said...

just going to comment here before reading the next post(s) that i'm also very interested in what you have to say about all of this. you're a very well spoken (written?) woman and i really don't think i've ever disagreed with the things of yours i have read.

anyway! not boring at all, i look forward to it~

palladin said...

INP I've been lurking your blog for ages haha. Marlyin asked a question, the exact same I've asked others. I attempted to share the responses I got and my own attempts to figure out why foreign guys are so wrong. Of course you never even listed to what I posted, instead preferring the immediate attack and incorrect assumptions.

As for overweight and western women, that's not an opinion that is a fact.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/25/worlds-highest-obesity-ra_n_738110.html#s144649

http://www.oecd.org/document/20/0,3343,en_2649_33929_46038740_1_1_1_1,00.html

OECD 2010 report, most overweight countries. Reported as percentage of adult population.

#1 Mexico 69.5%
#2 USA 68%
#3 New Zealand 62.6%
#4 Australia 61.4%
#5 UK 61.4#
#6 Ireland 61%
#7 Iceland 60.2%
#8 Canada 60%

South Korea is approx 30% with a 5 to 1 bias towards lower economic women (poorer or less educated).

That is only overweight not obesity. Obesity is defined as being so overweight that it is negatively affecting ones health and significantly shortening ones life expectancy.

OECD 2010 Obesity statistics,
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/hea_obe-health-obesity

#1 US 30.6%
#2 Mexico 24.2%
#3 United Kingdom 23%
#4 Slovakia 22.4%
#5 Greece 21.9%
#6 Australia 21.7%
#7 Hungary 18.8%
#8 Luxembourg: 18.4%
#9 Czech Republic 14.8%
#10 Canada 14.3%
#28 South Korea 3.2%

So if you lined up 100 Adult American women. 68 of them would be fat. 30 of them would be so fat it was damaging their health. If you lined up 100 Adult Canadian women. 60 of them would be fat. 14~15 of them would be so fat it was damaging their health. If you lined up 100 Adult Korean women. 30 of them would be fat. 3~4 of them would be so fat it was damaging their health.

If a human male who had spent their entire life under the assumption that "normal" was 30% or less fat rate and 3.2% or less obesity rate was suddenly exposed to a group of people had a 200% higher fat rate and a 950% higher obesity rate, wouldn't they think something was not right? Singe a majority can be defined as anything over 51%, the 68% US and 60% Canadian rates would say the majority of Americans and Canadians were fat. Considering Americans and Canadians make up the majority of English teachers in South Korea you could interpolate to make the claim that the majority of female English teachers are fat.

What is funny is that when I took my GF home to meet my parents / family she made the exact observation. That Americans were fat, and that American women seemed to be fat. My GF considers herself "fat" for a Korean even when I tell her she's absolutely fine. My Korean buddies say the exact same thing, every Korean guy whom I've ever had a drink with or otherwise engaged in an open social atmosphere seems to share the same set observations. I am merely sharing those observations.

Now cease with the personal attacks and slander. I never attacked you, if you disagree with my points then say so. But realize that I'm an engineer, I deal with facts, statistics and numbers.

I'm no Picasso said...

Palladin, if you're so rational and deal with facts, then deal with the fact that Korean men *are* attracted to Western women. Whether they think they are fat or not.

If you've got a beautiful, lovely girlfriend, then I don't understand what could possibly motivate you to spend so much time rustling up such lengthy arguments to support a point no one is even making about something that has nothing to do with you. It's a little bizarre. And seems to be, possibly, less related to "facts" and more related to emotions. And isn't it us women who are supposed to react emotionally to things?

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, the 'personal attack' he's making reference to is based on the fact that he once left a comment about how you have to "handle" Korean women. He's an all-around pleasant person with no baggage in regards to women whatsoever, I'm sure!

palladin said...

IDP,

And thus you've demonstrated your bias. At no point in time did I ~ever~ say Korean men find western women unattractive. In point I believe and have argued the exact opposite. Humans tend to find attraction in differences, especially when it comes to mate selection. Hence the "yellow fever" that is often attributed to white guys with Korean GFs.

I was answering a posters question about how "white foreigner guys" could believe that Korean men would be attracted to western women. The belief is too general and thus is extremely illogical. It is ignorant to say something such as "Korean men find white women attractive" or its opposite "Korean men find white women unattractive". I merely explored how someone could possible believe that.

Now if you would put down your glass of hateraid you might of noticed that earlier. As for the earlier comment, you took something out of context and ran with it and still refuse to understand what was said. Since then you've always treated my posts with acid and extreme disrespect. Its only out of respect for your own blog that I've ignored it.

palladin said...

Ok won't let me edit my post for grammar.

"I was answering a posters question about how "white foreigner guys" could believe that Korean men would be attracted to western women."

Should read as,

"I was answering a posters question about how "white foreigner guys" could believe that Korean men would not be attracted to western women."

I'm no Picasso said...

Palladin -- You continue to display your condescending, patronizing attitude. Which is, frankly, hilarious, given the power of intellect you've managed to display. It's not me who is failing to understand. You seem to have no idea what's going on, and constantly come at my posts with, "Har har! I agree! Here's this really dumbass, offensive comment that puts the fact that I've failed on any basic level of reading comprehension, and the fact that I have severe issues with a lack of proper socialization, on display for all to see!"

Thanks for taking it easy on me, though. It's really sweet of you to be gentle with me! I'm clearly in need of it.

Too bad this *isn't* Dave's. You can't contact a mod to have me banned now. :(

palladin said...

Umm INP, I don't visit daves. I visited that rat hole once and never went back. I'm not the evil spawn of Satan you see posted there so please stop treating me as such.

As for condescension, which one of us was the one to create stick men arguments and distort / prejudice the statements and beliefs of the other? You are very wrong. I tried to be cordial and respecting of your intellect under the belief that you might of misunderstood or misconceived my arguments. I reworded and restated them with emphasis on what my own personal feelings were. You discarded those and continued the personal attacks. You have gotten to the point where your not even reading what I write and instead making pejorative and scathing ad hominem attacks.

Maybe your just projecting your anger at the untold of white males, whose ignorance has pissed you off, towards me. That is unwarranted as I'm about as far from that category as possible. But please continue drinking the hateraid, it just makes you look worse and worse every time you attack my person.

I'm no Picasso said...

Pity. I liked your other comment where you insisted that I had to agree with you because you said I should, even if I didn't actually agree with you, and called me a "raging feminist" because I refused to better than this one. :(

You are exactly like the guys on Dave's. And you have a really hard time understanding that you don't get to control my opinions.

I'm not projecting anything onto you. There are loads of white men posting all over my blog who never have a problem with me. Why? Because they're not you. People like you like to try to make it about a category when women attack you, rather than accepting that these same women have relationships with all KINDS of men -- they just don't like *you*. Specifically.

No. I don't have any interest in understanding you. It's not my job. If not babysitting your emotions while you try to get your stammering together enough to stop spouting offensive nonsense left and right makes me a "raging feminist", then so be it. Not all women are your mother. We don't all need to sit and hold your hand and comfort you while you try to be less of a confounding moron.

Roboseyo said...

sorry... did the guy who just posted a page-long comment explaining how fat western women were... then accuse INP, on her own blog comment board, of drinking hateraid?

just checking.