I've been kind of cracked up at the amount of traffic and questions those silly dating posts have generated. Why? Because I'm not exactly known amongst my nearest and dearest for the being the savviest in the love department. I'm more the type who kind of just sneers around at couples (except gay couples -- they are always the exception, and everything they do is perfect and fine by me [I don't know -- don't ask]), and is known for having "friends". In quotation marks. For the most part, I'm not exactly a fan of dating. And I'm not very good at it either, being seemingly inherently far too blunt to allow the whole song-and-dance to operate very smoothly. I also haven't had a single committed (or even semi-committed) relationship the entire time I've been in the ROK. Nor was in one for a incredibly long time before I came.
Also, I've only been here for a year and a half. I'm not exactly what one might call an expert. I have spent a lot of my time here with Koreans, which somehow seems to be something that a lot of the foreigners I've known here can't quite seem to manage. Which has always struck me as a bit odd. I mean, they're everywhere. And a lot of that time has been spent discussing cultural differences openly with each other, as we encounter them within our interactions. Which has been really cool. And I guess that's where most of my perspective comes from.
This is all an insanely long preamble to the fact that I'm about to re-post a comment that just showed up on the 나쁜놈 entry, which I sincerely hope the author doesn't mine. But I basically almost did a little happy dance in the middle of my kitchen when I read it.
Why? Because it represents a perspective I've been beating my head against a wall trying to find here in Korea. A man, a Korean-Korean man, who doesn't fall on either side of some bizarrely huge divide between 'bad guy' and 'nice guy'. A man who neither completely judges a woman for being a fucking human being, nor has slid so far into a completely shallow and debauched view of the world that absolutely everything you do is alright by him, because the world is a fucking carousel ride headed straight for the pits of hell anyway. Or. Something.
This is getting worse by the second. Sorry. Let's just have a look now:
So the first thing I have to say is this: a lot of where I went with that post was me kind of projecting out a bit. Because I was asked to consider something from a perspective I really just don't have, which is that of a commitment minded person who is worried about fidelity. Fidelity has not been a concern of mine since I've been in Korea, or for a long time before. So some of that was kind of, if I were this kind of person, what would I need to be looking for?
That having been said, I have been operating largely under the understanding that, by and large, Korean men, frankly, don't do a fantastic job of handling a woman's sexuality well. A lot of that judgment, I should add, also comes from the fact that before I came to Korea, I was in a big huge liberal artist Brooklyn bubble for nearly six years. Perhaps if I had spent those six years (which are rather important ones to consider, when dealing with the subject at hand) back in my red state Southern Baptist hometown, I might not be so quick to make it a "Korean man" issue in my own mind.
But now I'm intrigued. And I take these corrections not only with a big huge dose of the humility of a person who already basically knew she didn't entirely know what she was talking about, but also with a huge sigh of relief and, actually, joy.
Korean men who hate 내숭? Who will take you seriously as a human being, who is also a woman, who has all of the same feelings and desires as they do, as men?
Um. Where? Phone numbers and addresses, please!
Ladies. I know you want to hear more from this guy. I know I'm not the only one who is like, yeah Korean guys dress nice and have good manners and stuff and things and it's all great and fantastic and I'm having a great time and look he loves his mom! and everything is great and fine and I'm happy, but dear god sometimes I actually feel a little bit like I can't breathe or it might be in the wrong direction.
Girls? Questions? Comments? PD, would you be up for a little guest bloggership, if it came down to it?
Let me get the ball rolling. Here's what I'm wondering. When I said that Westerners would joke around about sex, I didn't mean to imply that Koreans don't. I'm obviously well aware that Korean men make sexual comments and sexual jokes. All the time. I guess what I meant is that I've just been under the impression that the implication is a bit different. A Western male friend may make an off-the-cuff sexual comment, and it may have literally no actual sexual intent behind it at all. At all. He may view you entirely as a sister, and have no intentions of ever, ever laying a finger on you. The joking, although sexually based, can actually sometimes be more along the lines of even the way that one male friend might tease another. I've been under the impression, however, that when Korean men make a sexual comment or a joke to a woman, generally he means it. There is definite sexual intent. Even if the intent isn't, "I want to take you home tonight," or, "I only want to sleep with you and then never call you again," it's still there. Which to me isn't the same as the other. And it doesn't feel the same either.
I am I wrong about this? I would love to be....
Note: The comments on this entry are important. I take back a bit of that happy dance, in retrospect, and in consideration of the things that Diana, who is incredibly wise (and obviously knows a good Korean guy when she sees one) has pointed out.
Yes we all know Korean men can handle female sexuality when it means (he thinks) he will be getting (easy?) sex. How does the average Korean man stand up to it out of a female friend, or, better yet, a (potential) girlfriend?