"That's cool.... likin' the Korean guys.... that's totally cool."

Last night was pretty good. It was nice to meet Smalltown out for once, instead of on my kitchen floor, and see a few other familiar faces from around. Me and Smalltown got right down to business, talking about the kind of things only two people like me and Smalltown can just sort of casually admit to each other. Smalltown kind of makes you feel like you have nothing to lose in this department, sometimes. I showed him the "i wanna brush ur teeth" text and he said he thought it was the most brilliant chatup line he'd ever seen. We agreed to disagree.

Of course, it took me all of thirty seconds upon entering the bar to notice that The Bar Tender has been replaced with a seriously adorable kid in a beanie with glasses and a Sex Pistols t shirt. He waved at Smalltown when we walked in and I was just like, "Who the fuck is that?"


"No I'm just saying. I haven't been here in like a month and [The Bar Tender] pulled some kind of Benjamin Button stunt or what? Who is that?"

"He's some new kid. Since they're opening the new place, [The Bar Tender] is gone all the time. I think he's here to stay, but listen Liz, don't even think about it. It's not a good match."

"I don't... I didn't say anything about a match, alright? Just calm down....... so why isn't it a good match?"

"He seems like the player type, if you ask me."

"Why? Did he say something?"

"No. Just the extroversion.... the overly friendly personality..."

I glanced over at him to try and size him up. He saw this and gave the most ridiculous cheesy smile/overly enthusiastic wave/bow combo from across the bar. I laughed and gave a slight nod in return.

"Wait. You're basing this on him being friendly? Get the fuck out. Anyway, even if he is a player. I mean it's understandable. Look at him -- he's cute as hell. He's definitely got a girlfriend."


Smalltown had some important girlfriend-based problems he was trying to discuss with me and was not amused by the fact that I had gotten distracted. "No. I hear you. I do. But you know, even if he is a player, all the better."

"What?! You hate that kind of...."

"No. I mean like the gross ones who think they're super hot and get off on mistreating and upsetting women, that's one thing. But the ones who just are that way. I mean, you can't get upset about it."

"What are you even talking about right now? Are you telling me you don't get jealous? That's bullshit. And anyway, with that kid, I just know there would be all kinds of games and drama and you wouldn't be able to tolerate it for five seconds."

"No of course I get jealous. Just not in a situation where I expect there to be other girls from the start. And... wait what do you mean games and drama?"

"He's definitely the type to not text for a week just to stir up trouble and psych you out."

"Oh whatever. Like I'm not familiar with that game."

"Yeah but you hate that shit."

"Yeah, I hate it. But it doesn't get to me. Other than just being irritated."

"You are pretty fucking stubborn."

"Right. There's no way anyone can win that game with me anyway, so it's fine."

"But... why are we even talking about this? I still don't get why you say a player is better than a nice guy."

"I'm not saying 'better' -- just easier."

"Oh, this I have to hear...."

"No I mean, think about it. With a player, you know exactly what you're getting. You know exactly what to expect, and you know exactly how much of what comes out of their mouths you can trust. With a nice guy.... now, see it's the nice guys that really make me uncomfortable."


"Because with a nice guy, you always have to wonder, 'Is he really a nice guy, or is he a player and I've fallen for it?'"

"....Oh. That makes sense, actually."

"See? Oh man wait I have to go. Watch my beer!"

The kid, who we'll call CP, had stepped out on the porch for a smoke break. This was my chance.

"Wait! Hey! Am I not invited?!"

"Come if you want to! I just have to...."

Jesus. The boys are all on board for me helping them out with the girls, which they often fucking need, by the way, due to the fact that a group of drunk foreign men swaggering over to a table of Korean women in a bar aren't always thought to be the most upstanding guys -- it helps a lot to have a girl (space) friend to go over and smooth things over, start the conversation first. Especially when that girl can speak a hell of a lot more Korean than they can. But in the rare instance when the situation's reversed, they can't seem to do anything but whine.

Well, you know what they say. You want a job done right.....

I stepped out on the porch and CP immediately leaned over to light my cigarette. "You shouldn't doing yourself...."


"Ah. Eesh.... nothing."

"Thank you."

"Oh it's my pleasure! Where are you from?"

"The US."

"Ah! The US....A! United States.... of America?"

"Right. Aren't you cold?" He had his sweater up around his neck and his arms covered with nothing but a t shirt.

"Oh... my.... body is not cold. But my neck." He cuddled down into the sweater. "My neck gets very cold."

At this point I noticed that he has the adorable habit of only making a couple of seconds of eye contact before blinking like mad, raising his eyebrows and looking away.

"So, are you a student?"

"No, no. Just I am working.... here...."


"And I like to play sports."

"Oh really? What sports do you like?"

He looked off into the middle distance and counted on his fingers: "I like riding a motorcycle, swimming, and reading a book."

"Oh yeah?"

"Hobbies!" He grabbed my arm. "Those are my hobbies!"

"Haha. Hobbies. Right. 취미." Player? Are you serious? Like hell, he is.

"Especially I like riding a motorcycle. When you have that underneath you, in your head... the power... just bang!" Biggest, most childish grin I've ever seen on anyone over the age of 21. You've got to be fucking kidding me.

We went back inside.

Smalltown: "You little fucking minx....."

"What? He's not a player, by the way."

Later that night, Smalltown's friend who's wanted to meet me for some time finally stopped by. She's cool as hell. She'll be JH and you'll definitely be hearing more about her. She knows I want to learn Korean, so when she speaks to me, she speaks in Korean first, and then repeats it in English -- the most helpful thing I've experienced yet. She was wrapped up in some drama with an American halfsie (mother Korean, father American) who was acting like an ass. We got talking about men and it was seriously nice not to be having that conversation with a guy for once. I explained the players-are-easier theory to her so she could confirm this with Smalltown, who was still in shock and awe of the whole thing, and she said she had never, ever thought of it that way before, but that I was exactly right.

Then she caught me perving on CP. "You know him well?"

"Nah, tonight's my first time to see him. But he's fucking cute, isn't he?"

"Yes! I'm so surprised you can see that!"


"Most Western girls can't see when a Korean man is good looking. Just, they don't like them. Even if they really are good looking."

"Well, they're stupid."

"You want him?"

"Nonono. Just met him tonight. Don't know anything about him. I'm just looking. Anyway, I'm sure he has a girlfriend."

"Don't be so sure."

When he came over to bring our drinks, she asked him in Korean if he had a girlfriend. He went bright red and sort of hid his face in his sweater and answered that he didn't. She then asked him if he was 바람둥이 and he almost fell over with embarrassment, denying it. I pretended not to understand the whole exchange. When he walked away, JH turned to me and said, "알았어?"


There were a couple of other foreign guys we know from around in at that point, and when we went out for a smoke, they were asking what the whole exchange was about. "Oh just I think that guy behind the bar is cute, so she was asking about if he had a girlfriend or not."

"Wait... she thinks that guy is cute (pointing to the Korean girl)?"

Now, these guys have seen me in there on several different nights with The Baby, The Baby's friend, The Korean Bodybuilder, The Boxer and various other Korean guys. And they're good guys. But somehow they still can't get it through their heads that it's possible for a Western woman to find a Korean man attractive.

"No. I do."

"Oh... you do? Oh yeah. That's cool.... likin' the Korean guys. That's totally cool."


Other guy: "Man that guy is like totally gay!"

"Yeah I have to go now. You guys have a good night. I'll see you soon."

This morning I got a text from JH:

"안녕. 어제 잘 놀았어? 그 남자 제정신 아니야ㅠㅠ 나중에 설명해줄께^^ㅋ 너 시간날때 만나자. i was too shocked! u'll be surprised how crazy he is."

"언니 안녕하세요! 그 남자 나쁜놈이야? you'll be surprised how not surprised ill be. 한국에 외국 미친놈 많이 있어요. 다음 시간에 난 다 듣고싶어요. 언니 걱정하지마세요. there are good guys out there. somewhere. ^^"

"히히^^ 고마워 ~ 어제 잘보냈길바래. 우드스탁 자주가서 그 남자 자주 봐 ^^ㅋ 다음에 우드스탁같이가자^^"

She's a keeper.


Diana E. said...

Beware the cute bartender, Liz. You may end up marrying him and cooking his mom japchae.

I'm just sayin'...

I'm no Picasso said...

Haha actually I thought of you and Min Gi this morning, because I was thinking about what a 바람둥이 job bar tending is, and I remembered how you thought the same thing when you met Min Gi.^^

The japchae looks delicious! So does everything else..... your future in-laws are lucky.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I've been a silent reader for a while now (I went and read all your backlogs- your sense of humor is like mine and I like the way you present your entries).
Anyways, just wanted to say that I'm trying to learn Korean right now (I'm American) and your entries help me. Like when you add the one words, or the simple sentences from your students, it's really helpful in reinforcing what I'm learning ^^


I'm no Picasso said...

Hi Susan! Glad to be of some help. Just remember I'm still a beginning learner too, so there are bound to be more than a few mistakes.....