8.26.2011

A response to The Expat's slam on Korean Sentry, Part II: He said/She said.

Cont. from: A response to The Expat's slam on Korean Sentry, Part I.

The other place where you see his stereotypes creep on in, despite his protestations that he has Korean male friends who are not like this!!! is in his characterization of the position and values of Korean men. Apparently, they are momma's boys who have everything handed to them, who Korean women only put up with because they have to. The Westernization, and therefore impending dateability of a Korean man depends on his ability to change this fact about himself. That's what his super special male Korean friends have done. Which is why they succeed with Western women.

The only thing I have to say about that, is that I don't know where this person lives or what Korean men he has been associating with to leave him with the impression that any part of that is true. Again, he claims that the people he actually knows aren't like that. So why it's become a banner for The Way That Things Just Are for him is a little puzzling to me.

But it's kind of just his word against mine, I guess, for those who haven't had the experience to know firsthand. But let me just talk about what I've seen, in general, to be my idea and impression of The Way That Things Just Are:

Korean men are, generally speaking, very close to their mothers. And, usually, their entire family is important to them. They value family, and family obligation. Their parents do sacrifice a lot for them when they are growing up. Which is why, at some point in their lives, it becomes time for them to step up to the plate and pay it back. Korean men are under a lot of pressure to secure high paying, stable jobs in an extremely competitive society, so that they can not only provide for their future families, but also because, at some point, they will be providing for their parents in their old age as well. Korean men go through a grueling high school experience that often involves returning home past midnight most nights, only to stay up for a few more hours studying even longer. They wear uniforms every day and have to keep their hair cut to strict standards. After high school, they enter the army, where they face a brutal masculine hierarchy the likes of which most Western men will never encounter in their lifetime. They shave their heads and wear nothing but army fatigues for the better part of two years. They live on a small allowance that provides for little more than cigarettes, snacks and train fare for their trips home.

The brief years surrounding their army service, which are spent in university, are a very valued time in their lives, when they can wear their hair and clothes however they want, enjoy some amount of free time and lounging around, and date girls for fun without having to think about the high standards of marriageablity requirements on either end. They make the most of it -- you better believe they do. Hence the flowerboy phenomenon -- the flashy outfits and wild hair. The, at times, childish behavior.

The second they finish university, the fun and games are over. It's back to a strict regimen of suits and ties, short and neat haircuts, and grueling working hours. With the added pressure of having women now sizing them up for their potential to provide for a family in a society where living, housing and education costs are certainly nothing to sniff at.

I would actually like to see the reaction of a panel of dead average Korean men to the characterization of them having women practically handed to them with no effort, and Korean women not having a choice in their marriage partners. I imagine it would be something akin to hysterical laughter.

But that's beside the point. My point is, I don't see anything about those values and experiences that put me off an un-Westernized, Korean-Korean man as a potential dating and marriage partner. What I see when I look at the average, stereotypical Korean man is not a lazy, spoiled momma's boy -- it's a man who values family and is accustomed to responsibility and living up to expectations. It's a man who is used to putting others before himself, when the situation calls for it, and not doing everything that he wants to all of the time. A man who understand that sometimes what you want to be doing is not what you should be doing.

But that's just me. I've only dated a few dozen of them, been friends with a couple dozen more, worked with probably close to a hundred, and been in a relationship with one for nine months. My closest friends in this country are Western women who date and are married to Korean men, and Korean women who date and are married to Korean men. What do I know, compared the The Expat, about what Western women, or any women, look for in Korean men? Probably nothing.

18 comments:

MikejGrey said...

Good Lord. Expat hell, eh? At least they got that right. Also, the Hunter Thompsonish avatar, Hunter would probably throw dynamite at him.

MikejGrey said...

Also, this is a very good website. http://theportlandreview.com/

audience said...

Let him stroke his own ego. He does not seem whole a lot different than those trolls at Korean Sentry. I got nothing against white dudes, but I wonder what his wife saw in him in first place.

audience said...

It is not in people's nature to seek positive sides of folks that are different.

Melissa said...

I think you've both made a general characterization of the "typical" Korean man. I think that both of you know that it is general and that there is of course wild variation in any population.
I think that he is joking though, and you're just supposed to be reading it going, "yeah I know some people like that haha! Oh well."
There are spoiled Korean men, just like there are spoiled men and woman everywhere! There are also good people, not just Korean, but just people, all over the world ^^
I do love the way you write though, and I much prefer your version of men than his, but unfortunately, both exist~

I'm no Picasso said...

The thing is... I don't know some people like that. The only thing I know "like that" are the diatribes that constaly spring forth from foreigners' mouths about "Korean men", when they don't actually know any and are having a difficult time adjusting to the fact that people in other countries have different cultural norms than they do. So. If it's a joke, it's not a very original one. It's kind of on par, for me at this point, with people making a Black people/gangster "jokes". Or Mexican/illegal alien "jokes". If that's what someone wants to consider "funny", then that's up to them. I find it pretty boring, low-brow and indicative of a person who just doesn't want to think very hard about things.

karisuma gyaru said...

eheheh... great post. i'm giving you a standing ovation right here :p

Seb Theriault said...

INP, Love your blog , love your writing However I'm with melissa when she says

"I do love the way you write though, and I much prefer your version of men than his, but unfortunately, both exist~"

I'm not here to prove you wrong or go against you're word but I do have my own valid experiences with korean males HOWEVER there are 3 things that go against my opinion 1. I'm a foreign male living in korea 2. I'm a poor writer and 3. It would be your word against mine since theres no reason for you to believe because who the hell am I anways? some asshat foreigner male who comments on your lovely blog..

I'll spare long boring examples but let me just say that I've lived with a korean male, my brother in law, for 2 years and hes the exact opposite of the hundreds of korean males you've met! HE refuses to take on his family duties as the eldest son , he's been spoiled and even at the age of 32 with a good job he refuses to pay anything back to his parents who are literally sick because of him! Guess who's taking care of them now? My wife( youngest) and I have to live with them and help them out.. Although he does give the impression that family is important, after living with him for 2 years ( he now lives in company domitory) his words dont match his actions... Most selfish irresponsible human being you'll ever meet. I have hundreds of stories about him and his friends that would make you wonder and question why the hell he acts the way he does even for the most seasoned koreanized foreigners...

With that being said All my other korean male friends are generally exactly the way you describe them to be..

For some reason out of the hundreds and maybe thousands of korean guys you've met/known, you've somehow managed to never meet one that acts outside your description ??

Anyways , Keep on writing!

Seb Theriault said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seb Theriault said...

My above post isnt an attack on you INP.. I hope you dont take it that way. I'm also venting about my retard brother in law who happens to be korean....

Generally speaking, I think you're right and THE expat is a Retard...
My only point was that just because you haven't met a korean ( out ofthe thousands you know) that act outside of the typical korean male mold Doesnt mean they dont exist. Because I certainly lived with one =p. Though, I do not think All korean males are like this. I quite enjoy my korean male friends company and respect them and look up to them..

looking forward to future posts

I'm no Picasso said...

Seb... I think you've misunderstood. Let me try to explain.

Have you ever met a black person who is a criminal? I have. So.... can I say, "Black people are criminals,"? Is that the next logical step? What about, "Most black people are criminals,"? How about, "Not all black people are criminals, but..."?

I'm sorry your brother in law sucks, but I don't see how one bad Korean man justifies a negative impact on the entire category, or that his behavior in any way reflects on the culture or the society. I would imagine Korean society would be quite disapproving of him, as would the average Korean man..... so..... I don't really get the point of bringing him up?

Seb Theriault said...

Hey,

Thanks for the reply. No I totally got what you were saying. And No I do not think that my brother in law = all korean males. Far from it. He's just completely not a normal human being.. Also , I don't know any black criminals personally =p.

IN anycase, I think just reading your description of what a typical korean male is + Melissa's comment + certain sentences you wrote + having a douche bag korean brother in law seemed to struck a cord and the result was the above post =p.
I was just agreeing with Melissa's comment. Also my brother in law just completely fits into what the Expat was describing =p. And yes hes a retard to think that all korean males are like that. I certainly dont.

Either way felt good to vent about it =p. Perhaps the wrong place wrong time =p.

Feel free to delete the comments if you want as they dont particularly add to the conversation.

I'm no Picasso said...

Seb --- For some reason your comment isn't showing up here... not sure if you deleted it or if it's just a computer fuck up, but either way.... there's no need to delete anything. And having a lazy louse of a brother in law is not pleasant in any culture. And I don't think the sun shines out of Korean men's asses. I just get tired of the classification of Korean men that foreigners tend to make based on watching them walk down the street, when what I've seen of the culture they are raised in is quite different. Your culture and society are only your culture and society -- they don't ensure absolutely one solitary thing about the outcome of your character. But most people are influenced by their culture and society, at least to some extent. I just wanted to share what I honestly see when I look at the culture and society that shape Korean men. I see negatives there, too, obviously, but even the negatives don't really line up with the "gay momma's boy spoiled gay homo pink wearing feminine weak gay" mantra that we all hear so often. If anything, I would say hyper-masculinity plays a big part in the negative realm here. But again, that's just me.

I'm no Picasso said...

And Mags.... yeah. The Hunter S. Thompson thing is getting old. It seems like any ordinary douchenozzle experiencing run-of-the-mill culture shock who doesn't want to admit that they just aren't as worldly as they wish they were tries to take up the HST banner. Thompson made art and went out of his way to experience the world around him, even if it wasn't always pleasant and he didn't always get it. These guys.... hate their lives and won't do anything to change that. And blog about it. I see some discrepancy there, personally.

Seb Theriault said...

Nah , Didn't Delete it..Must be a fuck up. I thought you deleted it but guess not.

Thanks for the elaboration. I'm 100% with you.

Yeah , Its too bad people make false assumptions just by looking at people walking down the street. But having lived with Koreans 24 hours a day under one roof for the last while I've got my fair share of understanding where koreans come from. Mostly from a Family standpoint which is a rather interesting perspective as most foreigners never get to experience this! I dont agree with certain behaviors and I would never go as far as saying " all koreans act this way" " alll korean males are gay pink wearing momma's boys gay". Theres no excuse for foreigners who make blanket opinions like that...

Caitlin said...

Try teaching mobile engineers or any Korean full time worker and your stereotype of lazy, momma's boy Korean men will be thrown out the window. I'm in awe everyday of how hard my students work, most of the time 12 hours a day and 6 days a week. And on top of that, they work their asses off to only see their families on the weekend. This work lifestyle would never fly where I'm from in America and my students do this with little complaint. Lazy, whiney, sissy, whatever that guy said no where near describes my view of Korean men.

Rob-o-SE-yo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rob-o-SE-yo said...

Could it be that these particular expat males paint Korean males as lazy whiners because the lazy whiny responsibility-shirking Korean males, who AREN'T putting in 72 hour work-weeks, are the only ones who have enough free time to see them?

Not that it then becomes OK to paint an entire group with one brush, or to judge the entire population by their low-water mark... but it's kind of a self-selecting group.