10.09.2010

THE Myth, Part III: In which I'm no Picasso grows a pair.

Cont. from THE Myth, Part I -- Before Korea: Sleeping with Asian men is hilarious.
And THE Myth, Part II: The women, before.

Around the eighth or ninth month in the country, my constant companion and Siamese twin Mags decided he just couldn't hack it anymore. He had been my security blanket, my task to stay occupied with, my fallback on a bad day, my source of infinite cheering up through laughter -- even if out of desperation. He had shielded me from what was a growing contingency of asshole-ic, misogynistic and alcoholic Western men who traipsed around our local areas in tribes of dysfunction, dousing me over with eyefuls of completely unprovoked venom.

I'm not exaggerating there, by the way. I would say about 20% of the foreign men we met out in our local area accepted me as I would expect to be accepted to a new social situation back in the outside world. About 30% simply ignored me. 20% came at me in a "friendly" (in their minds) manner which I found instead to be rather aggressive, disrespectful and generally unacceptable. And about another 30% looked at me as though by simply being present, I was somehow personally offending them.

It's important to clarify that this was one particular moment in one particular environment in Korea. The atmosphere, even in this one small area, has repeatedly and drastically shifted over the course of my two years here. It was a bad luck moment, with a lot of nasty people who happened to be Western men having found each other and banded together in one place to goad each other on in their bad behavior. Sort of like how Dave's is certainly not a representation of the entire Korean male expat community, neither was this group of people. Other places in Korea (particularly Seoul) were not nearly as bad as this area was. Things are much better now. And I have no feelings of resentment toward male expats in general (although, at the time, I was wary of any I met in this area, I will admit). But at the moment when I first arrived, this was the way that things were. It's an honest account of my experience, as a woman whose closest friends were also male expats. I didn't notice it as much when I had Mags by my side. I'm sure if Mags has been a female, we would've noticed it twice over. But as it was, I was accompanied by one of their 'own' and mostly left alone as a result.

But then the night came where we had to meet in his neighborhood one last time for galbi at the first restaurant we ever figured out how to order in, and say goodbye in the drizzling rain at the subway station. I was now alone.

And something weird began to happen -- Korean men started approaching me.


They had approached me and Mags before, but always in a friendly context. Mags and I were very easily mistaken in the area as a couple, given that we were never seen one without the other. Suddenly I started showing up places on my own, or with various other male friends. And suddenly, I could hardly sit on a barstool alone long enough for my friend to duck into the bathroom without being approached.

Because I'm stunning and gorgeous and every man in the world is dying to fuck me. A shining example of femininity and grace and beauty and, most importantly, svelteness in a sea of otherwise dowdy, bitter, downtrodden, FAT, ugly, frumpy FEMINISTS.

No. Not that at all, actually.

Here is the place where a nastier contingency of the readership, both male and female will go one of two ways: 1. They will assume that I am "more attractive" than the "majority" of foreign women in Korea, and therefore an exception out of whom an argument cannot be made. The other, probably bigger faction will opt for: 2. Believing that I am actually a hideous example of all of the stereotypes about American women in Korea, and shrug all of this off onto the line that Korean men sexualize Western women and will sleep with them no matter what they look like.

I'm going to ask something of you people that may be novel, strange and difficult to manage. I'm going to ask you to not reduce your thinking to the level of, is this female author attractive or not, and therefore how much weight should we give her accounting of her own experience? I'm going to ask you to just try to set that aside, and deal with the point that I am actually making, which is that, for whatever reason, and in direct contradiction to the myth we are dealing with, Korean men were approaching me, a Western woman. That is the point. That is the only point.

I will never, as long as I live, forget my first date with a Korean guy. Because of the date? No. Because of the guy? No. Because of the absolute classicness of what ensued when I had the balls to walk into the local foreigner bar with a Korean guy for the first time. And how many realizations I had on that night alone about the nature of what had been confusing the fuck out of me for literally months.

The guy was not run-of-the-mill by anyone's standards. But he was, physically, absolutely stunning by my own. About six feet tall, with a thin build -- covered in tattoos and sporting a bit of facial hair. Dressed in all black with worn jeans and a leather jacket. Big black combat boots. Sharp eyes. I describe him not to impress you (I don't expect anyone to ever be as impressed as I was with myself that night), but to point out that there was nothing even remotely stereotypically "Korean men are gay" about the way that he looked. He was definitely not a flower boy. There would never be a teddy bear on his sweater. He was a tough looking guy, by anyone's standards, including a Westerner's.

We sat in a quiet back corner talking and sipping our drinks. We had been there for about fifteen minutes when, suddenly, out of fucking nowhere, some Western man I had never even seen before came reeling in my direction. He literally wedged himself directly between me and my date, with his back to my date.

"Oh look at this.... like.... cool rocker chick. Sitting back here alone and sipping on a beer and being cool and shit!"

"Excuse me?" I couldn't believe this was happening. "I'm not alone--"

"So, are you like really into music? I bet you're really into music. You're like really cool and aloof back here in the corner wearing your leather jacket and shit." He was still speaking to me -- I also had a bomber jacket on, although it was not leather. This also, by the way, would fall into that category I mentioned before of "friendly" approaches which I found felt more like attacks.

This continued all. night. long. One after another of the foreign men who had never bothered to even look me in the eye before that night suddenly felt the need to make their way over and say something fucking asinine while completely ignoring the fact that there was another human being sitting next to me, with whom I was trying to have a conversation.

And it wasn't just one time. A date would go to the bathroom, and a Western man I was completely unacquainted with would sidle over from the other side of the room and inform me that my date's outfit was "gay" (t shirt and jeans?), his hair was "stupid" (combed and washed?), and that I would obviously have a better time that night if I were to go home with him instead.

I'm not joking. I'm not exaggerating. You're going to think that I am, unless you're a foreign woman who's also been out with Korean guys, but I'm not. Was it ALL of this EVERY time I was out with a Korean guy? No. Was it EVERY Western guy? Certainly not. Was it at least some of this most of the times I was out with a Korean guy? Yes. Making it home for the evening without encountering at least one patronizing comment was the rare exception. A lot of men will brush this off and dismiss it as impossible. But it's the truth.

As soon as I recovered from my initial shock about this kind of behavior, I realized what was behind it. A community of men who had previously viewed me as a kind of annoying buzzing sound in the room (which nobody could really do anything about, so everybody just had to live with) were now striding up to me in bars to offer me a 'chance' to be with them. Or were finding smaller, more cowardly ways to make passive aggressive comments and generally interrupt my business, which they had previously had literally no interest in whatsoever.

And it wasn't just about me being with a guy -- I had been all over the place with Mags and Smalltown and various other Western men. Nobody ever interrupted or criticized that. It was that I was with a Korean guy. As soon as I felt I had given just consideration to the behavior, I began routinely and outright condemning it.

Again, I will repeat, lest things here go the direction of "Chatting With Dummies", that this was not every Western guy. It was a handful of poor examples of humanity who happened to fall into that category and had a way of making themselves known. My guy friends were always nothing but pleasant, and there were plenty enough of others around who had no allegiance toward me whatsoever who were content to act like normal human beings and, given that they didn't even know me, not even glance twice at the situation. But there were enough of these scumbags around that something managed to happen or be said nearly every single time.

I may not be the image of beauty and grace. I may not be talented or crushingly intelligent or particularly driven. But if there is one quality of mine that I have full faith in, in this world, it's my ability to put a motherfucker in his place.

I had had enough. I had had enough of people telling me (however indirectly and by category) that nobody wanted me, that nobody would give me the time of day, that there was no place for me, that they pitied me, really. I had had enough of watching women joke and laugh and jeer right along their Western male counterparts, condemning themselves to a 'miserable' experience, all to be sure they weren't outcast from what little community they had.

I had had enough of listening to men tell me what my experience in Korea was and would be, and why. And then, when I turned around and proved them wrong -- not even for the sake of proving them wrong, but just as incidence in the conducting of my own personal pursuit of happiness -- having them jump all over that shit as well. Even the nice guys I knew from around would occasionally manage to be patronizing, with comments like, "Good for you!" and, "Oh, really? You like Korean guys? Well... that's cool." As though them sitting around and endlessly discussing how much they wanted to date Korean girls happened on a completely different planet from me dating Korean guys.

Another interesting thing started to happen. Popular opinion among this pack of scumbags, in the face of direct contradiction, had suddenly shifted from "Western women have to be celibate in Korea because no one will touch them har har!" to "Oh, that? Over there? Yeah. Korean men just like to use Western women for sex." Funny, that. I had gone from being completely un-sexable to only useful for my sexuality. That, obviously, has never happened to women before, and was a completely befuddling, case-specific example of stunningly cerebral analysis on the part of these men.

I started getting back in these guys' faces, calling them on their shit each and every time they pulled a stunt like this. Lucky for me, they weren't half as tough as they thought they were, and once I had recovered from the shock of having this kind of thing occur at all and started standing up for myself and demanding respectful treatment in a public area, these guys would quickly crumble into a stuttering, red-faced retreat.

Their attempts to badger me into backing down and being ashamed of myself weren't working -- in fact, they were backfiring. It was easy enough for me to point out, loudly and to their own audience, that the Korean man I was with that night may in fact be "gay", but, if you don't mind, I think I'll just stick with him, rather than jumping ship to you. You're not really my type. And, if you don't mind me pointing it out, I've also noticed that you continue to be here week after week with your same all male group of friends -- I've yet to see you on a single date with any girl, Korean or otherwise. Which I'm sure has nothing whatsoever to do with your attitude and manner of conducting yourself toward women. So I realize that you're concerned about my well-being, and the mistake I'm making by being out with a Korean guy, but if you don't mind, the situation seems to indicate to me that I might just know more about what I'm doing than you do.

I just wasn't going to cooperate, the way other women had been, by assuming a martyred role and going along with their myth. And so I started to get a bit of a reputation. This was not the first time I had ever had to learn to survive as a woman in a testosterone-driven environment. And the only way I've ever found of doing it, or at least the quickest and easiest, is to make a name for yourself, own it proudly and then get in the face of anyone who dares to fuck with you about it. So suddenly, I had become That Girl Who Dates Korean Guys.

It wasn't what I set out to be. I never put a cap on my interest in Western men. I never had "yellow fever". But it couldn't just be what it was, which was that I was dating men who happened to be Korean. It had to be categorized. I had to be categorized. It had to be 'my thing' in order for it to be acceptable. No, no -- Western women still don't like Korean men, and Korean men still don't like Western women. INP is just into them, and they're just into her.

And, at the time, that was better than the alternative. People backed the fuck off and left me to mind my own business, for the most part. I had no way of knowing that around that same time, some other Western women had started doing the same thing. But in a much more public manner.

43 comments:

MikejGrey said...

Plz post pic? A/S/L?
R U Hot?

Seriously though, it's always sort of troubled me that you had to be either on the "yellow fever" side of things sexualizing Koreans or on the "I don't find Asians attractive side." Fucking attractive people are attractive people anywhere.

And I would never want to be a female ex-pat in Korea. Ever.

But then again life collapsed and I left after nine months. Don't even get me started on the terms "K-Boy" and K-Girl." Another annoying, childish way of fetishizing the pooples. The reverberating masses. And I sort of want a shiny suit.

And I'm not going to this college block party. Stop playing roller coster of love and let me write my terrible story in pieces... uh.. peace.

Tiffani said...

INP - I really like your insight on how people relegated dating Korean guys to being your thing. I've never thought about that before, but I've experienced it a lot. Veganism. BDSM. Feminism. People would attack it at first, and then it would just be a 'Tiffani' thing, that they could lightly mock because it posed no real threat of altering the outside world. Sigh.

Mike - I can see where you're coming from with the Kboy/Kgirl thing. I don't know, though...I don't usually feel like I'm objectifying guys when I call them Kboys; I'm usually just using it to differentiate between them and Western guys. A shorthand, if you will, instead of a means of categorizing people solely by their nationality. Gotta admit, your comment stung a little. Not sure if I'm in the right or not though.

I'm no Picasso said...

Mags -- If only more men were like you. I'm serious. Anytime I would feel like I was just somehow being a pansy about the various things I would encounter here, you were right there to be like, "Damn. Glad I'm not you." Which made it easier to endure.

Don't go to the party. Never go to the parties. They never end well. Work on that brilliant sounding story instead.

Tiffani -- I'm having a hard time lately with people taking matters of disagreement as personal attacks. That's Mike's opinion, something that he feels. It doesn't mean that you don't get to disagree with him. You think it's fine, he doesn't. There's no reason for you to feel stung!

That having been said, I tend to side more with Mike on these kinds of things. I don't really get what is going on with all the 'kboy' blogs that have popped up all over the place, and I find A LOT of what's written in them to be really condescending toward Korean men, frankly. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, and with some of that shit, I just switch around the gendered pronouns and imagine them being written about Korean women, and I cringe.

We all use certain words or phrases sometimes, but I don't think it was the exact phrase that he was getting at, more so than the idea of "kboys" and "kgirls" and how certain foreigners can belittle Korean men and women quite easily through their perceived images represented by these terms.

Jasmin said...

Hi there :-)

A commenter on my blog linked this post in a comment thread (I've been talking about a similar issue, actually), and I came over to read and found it very interesting. I thought it was particularly insightful when you noted that these guys weren't outright pursuing you, per se, but trying to entice you with an opportunity to be their groupie. So either way you slice it, their "offer" was fundamentally disrespectful.

MikejGrey said...

-Liz. I didn't go to the party. I've got six pages of a slow moving story though. I was reading about the embalming process though. I hope my uh.. ten minutes of wikapedia time fake it enough.

And I didn't go to the party. They raffled off ghostbuster dvds or something.

Looking at the ex-pat situation in Korea in all of its glory both with the westerners there and dealing with Korean culture really would have made me loose my mind sooner. I mean, the stares while smoking a cigarette were just the tip of the iceberg. Again, really really glad I wasn't a woman on top of dealing with everything else. Although that would have been a bit of a game changer regarding my situation. Wakka wakka!

-Tiffani. I didn't mean to attack anyone. It's just sort of a pet peeve of mine, and always bothered me while I was in Korea. Anyone who did it. It just reminded me of another way of referring to someone as "the other" just just a cuter babyish sort of way. Which is some ways is worse. I dunno. I'm a grumpy guy and it's just a pet peeve. It wasn't aimed towards anyone in particular. Plus it's just an opinion. A matter of debate. Something you argue about with friends over a beer. But not Korean beer because I hate Korean beer.

Anonymous said...

The last few post on your blog were a good read. A point of view I would honestly never experience or know about since I'm neither an English teacher nor a woman living in Korea. Also because I'm not friends with enough english teachers to know how they really act.

I am however a White male in his mid 20's married to Korean women. So my perspective is completely different than an English teacher's. I like to think That i'm one of the good guys but To me, its unfortunate that English male foreigners get the reputation they have in the point of view of Koreans and other women foreigners. and i HATE it. The reason I hate it so much is because since I'm white and a foreigner in Korea I get automatically put into the category of being one of those "bad white English teachers" way before a female English teacher gets to know me. I also get put into the "asian fetish" category automatically because I'm white and married to a korean women.

I read daveesl quite often. Mostly for a good laugh or when i want to waste time. And as I've stated before, i dont have many foreigner friends in korea not because i avoid them but mostly because I dont work with other foreigners nor do i hang out at foreigner spots. I knew how foreigners acted like on DAVEesl but never would i have thought they acted the same way in real life. I've met a bunch randomly while visiting tourist spots with my wife and the Stuff coming out of their mouth was completely ridiculous. Pretty much what you would read on DAVES. That shocked me honestly. Just from those kind of experience i can totally understand why female english teachers talk the way they do about male english teachers. Makes sense, I honestly hope that the majority of english teachers arent like this though. I'm just glad I have my wife and korean friends and family in law to keep me sane.

I have to say though, my encounters with female english teachers havent been very pleasant. But again I havent met very many. Out of the 7 I have met and had the chance to meet, 6 of them treated me like utter crap initially. I can assume its because i they thought I was a loser english teacher , one of those retards from daveesl and some dude who went around trying to get laid. As the conversation would develop they would eventually find out that I wasnt any of those and I eventually became good friends with 4 of them. Its really too bad they all had the same reaction just by looking at me ( being white and being with a korean girl).

Anyways REALLY unfortunate people look at thigns the way they do now both male and female english teachers. I hope it doesn't get worst. Somethings gotta change!

wevegotseoul said...

Your date scene, with minor adjustments describes my life in Taiwan - same shit, same annoyances, strong reason for me to move on -- not that I'm saying you should, just that I couldn't handle the bullshit offered by the expat men anymore.

Now, being married to a Korean man has it's own plethora of shocking experiences to be had with people - from "Why did you marry a Korean; to get your F2 visa?" to "Why would you marry a Korean? Is he rich?". What really kills me, is that, that category of prickish men, the ones that have now gotten married, STILL treat me like I'm beneath them even when it's quite clear that I want nothing from them and, if in a public setting, am only looking for an interesting conversation. The flip side being, once they find out I'm married, and not looking for a quick fuck....I've had men actually turn around and stop talking to me... to move on to the next woman in the room.

Something happens to some of the people that come here. Something that let's their brains think that their behaviour is acceptable because they think, I don't know, that they're in colonial British times... taming the 'natives'... (make sense?).

Anyway. Great blog. I'm not sure if I've commented before or not. Sorry to read about your local neighborhood perv, but I've got to say I was thoroughly impressed with your reaction AND very happy that nothing else arose from it -- ohh, bad WGS, bad, not my intention ... more coffee...

palladin said...

My situation is much like anons, I'm just not at the marriage stage yet. In a serious relationship though. Mid 20's white guy working as a systems engineer I rarely hang out with foreigners. The only foreigners I know are the ones at work and their all 40~50+ married. Almost all of my socialization is with the local population with my best friends being a group of five Korean dudes I hang out with. Great times and get to see and experience a country as it really is.

Originally I tried talking to and socializing with foreigner girls whom fall into one of three categories. First being GI Janes, and hells no for my own personal reasons. Second being the exchange students, their really really cool but most only stay a single semester so hardly get time to build friendships. Third being the English teachers whom who would treat me like garbage immediately upon contact. They assume your a soldier (I prefer my hair short), an English teacher, or lying.

So yeah I quickly just decided to hang out with Koreans. This was a few years ago and not much has changed in that regard.

I'm no Picasso said...

Anon -- The next entry, which I'm almost finished with, is going to deal with the 'good guys' -- not to worry. It's not all bad, all the time.

And it's unfortunate that so many people in the foreign community in Korea judge each other so harshly based on stereotypes and categories. I know that I don't like it when a whole room full of men give me the cold shoulder, because they assume I'm going to behave in any number of manners, based on what their 'idea' of foreign women in Korea are, and it's not anymore okay for women to do it to men. We could go back and forth forever about who "started" it, but the facts are, it's not healthy and it's not productive. I, personally, have noticed a dramatic improvement in these kinds of situations in the last couple of years. I hope you have/will as well.

We've got Seoul -- There is a bizarre thing that happens with some foreigners in Korea where I think they get so isolated and detached from reality that they stop judging their own behavior from any kind of reasonable standpoint. That was definitely what was going on with this particular group of me. They worked hagwons, where they had very little interaction with Koreans, spent all of their time with only each other -- no women, foreign or Korean. They lost the plot and began to think that the little conversations they held amongst themselves constituted the only version of reality. There was no balancing of perspective whatsoever. It was like Lord of the Flies.

Palladin -- Maybe it wasn't your haircut. Maybe you just happened to mention something about how you know how to handle Korean women, or how foreign women are fat within the first few minutes of having encountered them and out of nowhere, as you have in this blog. That might have something to do with women avoiding you. Or no, yeah, it's probably just your hair.

Gomushin Girl said...

Ok, is it not the least bit ironic that foreign dudes are already showing up to complain about how non-Korean women don't treat 'em right? Because the important thing to note here is that ya'll have it real tough and we are partially responsible for it, not about the dating experiences of foreign women.

I'll tell you why we don't automatically assume you're "one of the good guys" - because you're not, automatically. You do not get a free pass into the friendly zone just because you show up and we share an ethnicity or nationality. Prove it by showing that you're an interesting, good human being and NOT one of the jerks that INP just described.

And now back to the main point:

Thank you, thank you, thank you INP for distilling so many of my own experiences here (and frankly, back home, where not dating exclusively within your race is so freakishly weird that there must be a deep-seated psychological problem, right?)
Ladies, take it from a fat foreign feminist - if you're game, there are people out there who are also game. Find each other.

Anonymous said...

Gomushin Girl

Hey, Same Anon guy as above...

I didn't come here to complain. I just came here to give a different point of view. And from my point of view ( as a non english teacher. like palladin) It seems like theres something going on inbetween male and female english teachers to treat each other badly on the spot without even knowing each other. I just wish it would stop regardless of who's fault it is and who started what.

As an outsider it puts me right in the middle of this conflict and whenever i try to start some random conversation with a female english teacher for the most part I get automatically treated like shit. Theres some white on white hate going on in korea and its ridiculous. YOu dont treat strangers like that where i come from.

Look, I'm sorry if you got treated like crap by some ( or a few or a bunch) of white english teachers. INP has some very good points about foreigners in bars. I have to take her word or it because I've never been to a foreigner bar and I'm not a white female who brings korean boyfriends to bars. I honestly wouldnt know...

The points I bring up are totally out of context. My main point was just if 2 strangers on the street bump into each other ( one male , one female) and male is lost of needs help with something ( or vice versa) female/ male should treat each other with respect enough to kindly help each other out without any chip on their shoulders. I dont understand why i would need to prove that "i'm a good guy" just to get a civilized answer. The whole point is just to be nice to each other on an initial basis.I never assume some stranger white girl I randomly ask a question to on the street should treat me like I'm a "good guy". BUT I also don't expect to get cold stares , rude answers and mumbles behind my back as I walk away but close enough to hear " what a pervert, I bet he's never had a white girlfriend" when I'm out with my wife. I just expect to get treated in a non biased way... I just really wish the situation wasn't the way it is .That's all. And all i can do to try to improve this situation is to treat the foreign women I do meet / try to talk to in a non biased equal way i would like to be treated like...

INP has it right , foreigners BOTH MALES and FEMALES seem to loose a sense of reality when they leave their home countries and come to korea.

Can't we all just get along

Gomushin Girl said...

@ Anon: What I'm saying is that instead of concentrating on the matter at hand, aka the dating experiences of non-Korean women in Korea, some people are trying to move the topic to "How awful is it that people treat me, a foreign man (and NOT an English teacher! 'cause I'm too cool for that) badly when I'm with my Korean wife/girlfriend, and occasionally don't treat me with the respect and kindness I think I deserve in public!"
I'm not saying that these things aren't bad - people shouldn't assume that all foreign guys out with Korean chicks are crazy yellow fever perverts and by and large we should all be courteous and kind to random people we meet on the street if they're not trying to stalk us or expose themselves or otherwise really freakin' creepy.
But -
It *is* supercalafragalisticixbyannoyingaladocious when a conversation about foreign women and Korean men has to turn back into the ever-present conversation about foreign men ant their troubles. Because believe me, we've heard it. We've heard it on Dave's, we've heard it in the bars, we've heard it from our coworkers, and we've heard it from our good friends who have to put up with all kinds of crap. We sympathize, really.
But for one second can the menfolk stop commenting on a post not about them to make it about them? Really? Please?

I'm no Picasso said...

Anon, Gomushin Girl does have a point which I held back from commenting on before, which is that.... it's really frustrating that the whole point of me making these posts is to point out something that men largely want to pretend doesn't exist, something that women get shouted at when they try to express it. I can't tell you how many times I've had men get ENRAGED when I bring this up, not even about them, but just in general trying to talk about my experience, and have them shout something to the effect of "Foreign men don't care who foreign women date! Korean men can have you! That never happened! You're full of it!"

Whereas we DO hear almost NONSTOP about how persecuted foreign men with Korean women are. Nonstop. Everywhere. All the time. That's fully recognized. But also, not what we're talking about.

It's frustrating when men can't just hear about a woman's experience without either getting defensive or immediately pointing out that women do it too. We know women do it too. That's not really the point that I'm making. And, while I don't think it was your intention at all, it is frustrating to feel like every single conversation any woman starts about herself or other women has to come back around to being about men.

Anonymous said...

Gomushin Girl ,

You dont have to get all defensive about whatever I say. and if you reread my post. I'm in no way trying to bring things back to foreign males. I was trying to be neutral.... My posts are about how Both FEMALE and male seem to be treating each other badly based on stereotypes ( which include the whole dating issue between non korean females trying to date koreans.) AS i stated i cant relate because I'm a female but I definitely dont agree with how come foreign males treat females...

In the end ITs not about ME GETTING treated badly. I JUST hate that Everyone gets treated badly ( wether you're a female with a korean boyfriend , male with korean girl friend ect..).. We shouldnt be treating each other this way and I just think its ridiculous that the situation is coming down to this. I hate it that foreign women get treated like shit by their male counter parts because they have korean boyfriends. Its ridiculous a white male would treat any female the way you both have experienced it. It definitely shouldnt be that way at all......

Personally people can date who they please. I never judge and i think everyone should mind their own business on the matter Female and male.

believe me, I dont think im cooler than anyone because I'm not an english teacher. You have stop assuming things soo much. I just state that im not an english teacher to give a different point of view. The reason I'm not an english teacher is because I'm not qualified to be an english teacher , I've no interest to teach because I'm pursuing my own career goals and I dont have a university degree meaning I cant legally do it. I have nothing but respect towards teachers ( the good ones =p) ITs just not something meant for me. Is that hard to beleive? I know you've probably heard it a million times on DAVES how people think english teachers are losers ect.. BUt i really dont care about that stuff.. I'm as neutral as it comes... People Assume too much and its got to stop....

Anonymous said...

Im no picasso,

You're right!!!I dint mean to take anything away from your post. And i understand how frustrating it would be to hear males complain about it all the time.. I dint mean to come to your blog and turn it back towards the male point of view. Unfortunately you do have male readers ( like me =p).

Again, I'm sorry women have to go through the situation you describe! I didnt think before i posted a comment and absolutely didnt mean to come across as " women do it to". I was trying to be neutral and stating that both guys and girls shouldn't be judging each other based on ridiculous stereotypes..

palladin said...

Very interesting, INP writes serial post about bad experiences to vent / demonstrate something foreign girls experience while being in Korea. Anon any myself agree with her and express / share things we go through and experience as well. Gomushin gets defensive / exasperates on how we "men" shouldn't be changing the topic.

Look we're either equal or we're not, make up ya'lls mind already. Both men and women go through their own sets of difficulties and annoyances through out life, much of which is made more prominent / difficult when living in a foreign country. I'd suggest everyone respect each others life difficulties and stop getting hurt feelings. Hopefully we can discuss these things without it getting out of hand.


INP I suggest you read the reply on the previous post. Your very wrong with the assumptions you make towards me. And while normally I ignore people who do that, your intelligent enough that you should know better. Please stop taking an out of context comment and twisting it as such.

Gomushin Girl said...

I should probably just leave this for INP, since she's more than capeable of putting this kind of argument in its place (aka the dustbin), but . . .

Equality does not mean giving equal validity to all arguments at all times. Just because INP is discussing her experiences and her views of the way people treat non-Korean women who come here and date or are interested in Korean men does NOT mean that men are entitled to turn the conversation into one about how they're mistreated, too, in order to have "balance."


@Anon ~ I'm sure you're a cool dude and all, and didn't realize how annoyed many of us ladyfolk get when the conversation gets sidetracked this way.

@ palladin: You want to talk about your [BONERS]? Get your own blog and mansplain away.

palladin said...

I was referring to you criticizing then dismissing another posters comment. Then twisting it into some sort of retarded sexist situation. The dude was just commiserating with how screwed up people can act.

Anonymous said...

Gomushin Girl,

I'm not trying to get accepted by you or anyone. Or want you girls to think I'm a "cool dude".

Look, I can tell this is a touchy subject to you. Yet you still don't get my point. I've been agreeing with EVERYTHING Im no Picasso is saying about non koreans dating korean guys. AGAIN unfortunate that the situation is like that!

I find it VERY odd that both me and Palladin AGREE 100% with this dating situation and it is a crappy deal that you have to deal with this kind of stuff. I think the problem you're having is that I'm a male who responded to a non male problem / situation. I regret having put my anecdotes up there and having said I'm a male. I know you're used to having guys trying to get all the attention and belittling the women but by giving my point of view previously and you thinking I'm trying to divert/dismiss INP's points wasn't my intention at all and I'm sorry you took it that way. I'm afraid you're reading too much into this and putting me into the wrong catagory.

One of the ideas i was trying to get across was that as an Outsider to the English teacher world ( please dont assume this means I have no respect for english teachers because its quite the opposite. Is it really hard to believe what I'm a white guy in korea not teaching english yet I would still like to be friends with other girls and guys of my own race who teach english??? If i had a problem with english teachers i wouldnt want to be friends with them), There seems to be A LOT of HATE between MALE and female English teachers ( read carefully here WHICH INCLUDES THIS WHOLE DATING DEBATE BETWEEN NON KOREAN WOMEN DATING KOREANS AND EVERYTHING THAT IT ENTAILS!!!) Can we not agree that this HATE should stop? Its absolutely not OK in my eyes!

If you will how about we forget Im a "male" and you forget about the story I said about me and my wife. And imagine what I wrote was coming from a female. ALLLLL i was saying is that I AGREE WITH I'M no PICASSO ( about women dating korean guys!!!!) And that kinda of behavior from white guys should stop all together! ( and VICE VERSA)

I'm no Picasso said...

What a fucking mess.

Palladin -- Suggest away. Look, it's not my personal job to re-educate you. You say fucked up things about women. You feel the need to try to sneak your arguments in under the guise of being somehow balanced and "logical", when to me, frankly, you seem quite incapable of basic logic. A prime example being that somehow quoting loads of stats about Western country obesity rates somehow backs up your original claim that Korean men *only just seem* to not be attracted to Western women because all 5 of your male Korean friends aren't, because Western women are fat. Then backing it up with paragraphs of nonsense, expecting me to somehow consider it logic, when you've failed to actually manage any considering that those stats also apply to MEN from Western countries. And how ludicrous would it be for me to turn around and go, "Oh um gee like I dunno like I just think maybe some people are confused because Western men are largely obese and Korean women are used to higher standards in regards to bodies, because Korean men keep their weight under control and go to the gym and get six packs, so Korean women expect better. That's why I think some people may believe that Korean women just aren't attracted to Western men."

That is basically stunningly retarded, is it not? And I think it's great that you 'respect' my blog, but I don't respect you. And I don't need to take condescending suggestions off of you about how to behave. I don't care whether you respect me or not -- your respect means nothing to me. I don't know how to be more clear about this. Sorry. Apparently, although you've learned your way around 'handling' Korean women, you apparently haven't quite got it down with Western women yet.

I'm no Picasso said...

Anon -- While I don't really agree with Gomushin Girl about you having to prove that you're a nice guy to me, because I do believe that it's wrong to come at someone -- anyone -- with an aggressive attitude before you've even heard anything come out of their mouth, I do still think that she makes a fair enough point about men needing to feel included and be acknowledged in absolutely every single conversation women start about their own experience. It never fails. And no, you don't understand it, because you haven't experienced it. Much as men generally don't understand what the "big deal" is about some guy shouting sexual innuendo at women on the street. Because you don't deal with it day in and day out. Imagine a world dominated by conversation by women, about women, with no consideration for men whatsoever most of the time. Imagine being constantly told that anything you have to add, or any objection you make to this is just "emotional" or "overreaction" because men have trouble with logic, and just react to everything with their feelings. Now imagine just once, trying to express your own experience in your own venue in your own way. Suddenly, women come tramping in to point out that women *also* have those struggles. It's not about one conversation, or one anecdote off of you. It's about a constant issue we deal with all of the time, sometimes from men who aren't so pleasant about it.

It's like when I get a little snappy with a guy who offers to buy me a drink at the bar. My guy friends jump on my ass about it, and no, he didn't mean any harm, and he was just trying to be nice. But when you've spent the entire evening just trying to relax and have conversation with your friends, and you've not even looked in any man's direction, and you've been constantly interrupted all night long by men who want to join you, and then sneered at when you politely decline, eventually you just get fucking fed up with it. Men have a legitimate hard time understanding how something that seems (and for intention's sake, is) innocent enough to them, and women's reactions to it. Because they don't experience it all the fucking time without end and with no respect for or control over the fact that you just want it to, just this once, just stop!

Anonymous said...

I'm no picasso,

When i said "i understand" It wasnt meant towards " i understand women" =p. I absolutely have no clue how it feels to be a women in korea and based on your well written anecdotes It gives me an inside peak at what you women have to deal with. What i do understand is the frustration of having something happen over and over and over and over again and being pissed off about it. No one should have to deal with that kind of harassement and women deserve and have the right to vent about it just as much ( or even more ) than the guys.

With that being said. Again my post wasn't meant to divert anything back to males. After reading your posted I just wanted to comment about how i find THe hate to be ridiculous in our expat community. ( which to me I dont think I went offtopic). By stating that I'm not siding with females or males but rather just expressing my observations/ideas.

Yes I'll never know what you and other women go through but still doesnt change the fact that regardless of me being male or not I THINK the expat community overall needs a dose of reality so to speak.

I'm definitely not above anyone in this situation and I'm not trying to seperate myself or trying to make myself look good. I think what you girls go through is ridiculous and shouldn't be happening. Can we fix this problem? Probably not =p.

To me its definitely an interesting subject to read about and I like your blog so if you'll let me I'll be sticking around and looking forward to your future posts.

Anyways I forgot to mention, that an other reason why im not an english teacher is because I'm not even an English Native speaker which might be why my posts arent 100% clear and to the point. You wouldnt want me to teach english in korea....

I'm no Picasso said...

Anon -- I don't think my comments are 100% clear, either, and I *am* a native English speaker. So.

In fact, I was just coming back to clarify quickly, that what my point actually was is that it's *not* equal. Yes, we all have our struggles, and yes it's something we all need to work on together. But the point is, how many times have you seen posts or articles or comments or heard or had conversations about the struggles and stereotypes of foreign men with Korean women? How many times have you heard foreign men complaining and pointing out how Korean men will interrupt and disrespect foreign male/Korean female interaction? Which are all legitimate points, and not behavior I agree with.

But how many times have you heard the other side? How many conversations among women about the struggles *they* have with interracial dating in Korea have you heard? And I understood from the very beginning what your intentions were, and that's why I hesitated to point it out. But the ultimate point is, now the predominate number of comments in response to this post, which was made in hopes of opening up dialogue about something that just isn't discussed that often, have switched to the focus of how women aren't fair to men. *Yet* again. That is really fucking frustrating. No matter what anyone's intentions were.

Was the point I was trying to make. So no, your intention wasn't bad. And neither is the intention of the guy who plucks up the courage to walk across the bar and try to start a conversation with a woman he wants to talk to. But sometimes, it's good to stop and think about what that might be like for the woman, and adjust your intentions.

I'm really not trying to harp on about this, but I do want to try to make it clear, in a diplomatic way, so that maybe men can try to have a little more respect and restraint in future dialogue. Sometimes, because things *aren't* equal, you have to step back and just let women have their say without interjecting. Not because your issues aren't just as valid, and not because women can't benefit from connecting with men, and not because we can't all benefit from being more connected to and understanding of each other, but just because sometimes women don't get to have their say. We get shouted down a hell of a lot all over the internet, and out in the real world as well. Sometimes it's okay to just let us at least stay on the topic of our own experiences.

Anyway, I'm glad to have you reading. And I do thank you for the opportunity to try to make something understood that I think is hard for even really, really good men to understand sometimes.

Anonymous said...

I'm no picasso,

You're Point is 100% clear!!
TO answer your questions I actually don't normally read of partake in discussions about foreign men and korean women ( You obviously have a fair bit of experience!!!) I'm aware of the situations and peoples reputation and read a bit here and there but definitely not to the point that you have experienced it. You seem to think that i read up lots about the subject and im somekind of male expert on the matter =p. I don't!!! Honestly, perhaps I've been sheltered way to much over the last 5 years of being in korea but I've heard/read about just as many times women complain about their situations. To be fair , Its probably due to the fact that I only have 1 close foreigner guy friends and 4 close female foreigners. And I hope me mentioning this doesnt come across as me thinking that women foreigners complain too much. Its far from the truth! I'm more than happy to hear about you're problems!!

I never said the situations between males and females should be equal I believe palladin did. I in no way think that guys have it equally bad as women and I'm not trying to prove otherwise...
I hope you can believe me when i say that i think you bring up a very good point that women dont have it equal to males. And its totally disrespectful for a guy to interject and say " guys have it just as bad too". And you're right no matter how much i try to understand your situation I'm never fully going to "GET" it for the simple fact that im not a woman in korea!!! I assumed wrong that i was aloud to put a neutral comment on here( which was NEVER about males vs females) it was just about general HATE in the expat community and how i felt bad that the situations were the way they are.)

No need to pull out the "diplomatic" word as i think i've conducted myself fairly well? I didnt swear, i didnt name call and I certainly dont disagree with anything you have said or talked about. I hope in future post we can discuss general matters in a neutral way without it being about either males or females!!! I regret having put my point of view in this particular post...

MikejGrey said...

I've gotta say, reading these comments makes me glad that I'm not there anymore.

I feel like you should make a video post of a comedy routine in the manner of an 80's comedian's "White people are like this, but black people are like this!"

I dunno.

I live in Portland now so who the fuck knows?

I'm no Picasso said...

Anon -- Sigh. I think you're being defensive. I said diplomatic because you gave me the room to actually explain what I meant, whereas palladin didn't. I wasn't implying anything. And apparently you still don't understand the point we're trying to make about why men don't need to express their experience every time they have the opportunity to do it. You still want to make it about how the women in these comments are trying to control what you say and make your experience seem invalid because of your gender. Which, you know, since you're so sensitive to that, then I really am honestly glad you're *not* a woman. I don't think you'd last long.

No disrespect meant by this. Honestly. But I just give up trying to explain something that men don't want to understand, so long as it 'hurts their feelings'.

Mike -- It's not actually like this out in the world much anymore, and when it gets that way, it's not hard to put people in their place. The ones who really quick up a fuss (as you can plainly see) are generally not terribly bright.

Anonymous said...

I'm no picasso,

I'm sorry but i 100% understood what you were saying But honestly you're getting me completely wrong because I dont feel like the women in these comments are making my experiences invalid and i dont feel like your controling what im trying to say. If you think I think that I'm sorry but you're completely wrong. Its quite the opposite.

Ill leave it at that and I look forward to your future posts !

Thanks

MikejGrey said...

Hah. Good to know. No more loud South African guy shouting in Goose Goose about god knows what?

Or some loud asshole delivering the classic, "Do you think Korean girls masturbate more than Japanese girls?"

I'm no Picasso said...

Well, I don't go to the Goose anymore. And I haven't been out around a bunch of foreign guys for a really long time, either. So who knows. Anyway, that night was probably the time I was the most ashamed of being a foreigner ever. Ever. I don't know how people get it in their heads that it's okay to behave the way that they do, anywhere, in any country, in regards to anyone. No matter how drunk you are.

MikejGrey said...

Right? I think it's a combination of these people getting it into their heads that Korea doesn't count as the real world and their just dirtbags in general.

No fucking manners. Those poople.

I've got to think of a magazine I could send my article to now. I'm thinking along the lines of salon.com.

Gomushin Girl said...

Returning more to the topic . . .
How much do you think your experience of being harrassed by non-Korean males while with your Korean dates is due to location? I've experienced relatively little overt commentary here in Seoul when out with my boyfriend, from either side of the nationality fence.
My boyfriend says that his friends are all incredibly, insanely curious about how he managed to land a foreign chick, and want to know if I have single friends.

I'm no Picasso said...

It's definitely location. In Seoul, and other cities I feel like there are enough foreigners around that there's a decent mix of nationalities, genders, world views, etc. so that no one can form these little enclaves of bad behavior quite so easily. Things being what they were when I first came to Incheon, there were not many foreigners around at all, and they were all male, and they were mostly all of one mindset. And the ones who weren't when they arrived quickly adapted to fit in with the pack.

A big result of that was the behavior I've described. They had literally no interaction with women whatsoever -- not Korean women, and not foreign women. They mostly went to work where they didn't really interact with anyone, went out to the bar where they only interacted with each other, went to bed, woke up, repeated. They literally just seemed like they couldn't even remember what proper behavior even was.

But I think they were probably just bold enough to express thoughts that I'm sure a lot of men actually have. Like I said, even with the good guys, you can nearly always see a bit of something cross their faces when you first mention dating a Korean guy. Even if they have the good sense not to actually say it.

Gomushin Girl said...

I know the very look you mean ~ like they ate something a little beyond its "best consumed by" date that hadn't really gone bad, and they're keeping it down, but they just got a whiff of it in a silent, tamped-down burp.
And then, of course, there's that look of vague confusion and surprise on everybody's face, Korean and non-Korean alike, when they realize the man you've been babbling about is Korean. If they're really bold, they follow up "Oh, so he's Korean?" with "He must speak English really well, thanks to you!"

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