A friend who recently moved back to the US from Seoul said that when trying to figure out Korean men, just subtract 13 from their age and that is their "US dating age". So a guy 28 there is like dating a 15 year old here. What's your opinion?

Okay. As per usual, when I get these questions, I have a lot of questions in return.

Like, first of all, why do you need to figure out Korean men? I'm assuming you live in the US. Are you planning to move to Korea? Bottom line, people who need to "figure out" other races without living within a culture dominated by that race, especially when it comes to dating, skeeve me.

Second of all, do you know that I'm dating a Korean man? And if you do, did you not stop to think that maybe this question would be offensive? Did you mean to imply that I like to date men who have a child's mind?

There's really nothing about this question that I understand, least of all the motive behind asking it. But what I have to say is this: maybe your friend has really shit taste. Or maybe she has kind of a childish mindset, herself, when it comes to digesting people who are, on the surface, different from her. Maybe her only way to cope with the cultural differences was to classify the men she was dating as simple minded. Maybe she didn't realize that, in Korea, within Korean culture, we are the ones who make mistakes and do things "wrong".

I don't know what else to say. I know I make a lot of good-natured jokes at Busan's expense from time to time, but he's not a child. Not in the least. He went through an army service that would've made most of the guys I went to university with cry. He holds down a job working hours that I can't imagine ever tolerating, and he does it without complaint. He sends money home to help take care of his family. And within our personal relationship, he manages to handle me and my neuroses in such a manner that I know I can rely on him in a way that I haven't ever been able to with any other man before. He's not a child. He's a man. And he's as Korean as they come.

And that's all I know to say.

Ask me anything


rapuntsel said...

kkk. I think you answered the question with that though.

I do understand why you're upset, but I get the feeling that maybe that is why you got that question, to get a second opinion.. so to say..

I'm no Picasso said...

I guess I did. I just don't really understand at what point someone would think that 28 years old = 15 years old was even a possibly accurate representation, even starting from nil. I just find it to be a very strange question.

Cyndi said...

The space to ask questions was limited, so I didn't get to explain further. My friend is actually my daughter's friend and she didn't mean anything negitive. She was trying to explain to me the difference in the dating culture between Americans and Koreans. It was just from her experiance. She grew up in American but had to move to Korea with her family when her father was stationed in Korea. She spent 3 years there. What she meant was that the young people in Korea don't move as quickly into relationships as Americans.

For example, teens start dating so young here and the relationship can quickly move from kissing on the first date to being more physical within a week. In Korea, she found that most people start dating later and it could take knowing someone a couple of months before the guy would attempt to even hold her hand.

She was trying to explain that she was having issues with American guys trying to move so quickly from saying "Hey, I like you" to "Hey, let's sleep together."

The example of subtracting the age was just trying to show that the Koreans she knew didn't jump into serious relationships as early as Americans.

I didn't mean to offend you or imply that your boyfriend wasn't mature. I was just trying to ask your opinion about the pace at which relationships move when dating a Korean man vs. an American man.

I have read your blog from the beginning and admire your dedication to teaching. I can understand, looking back on how I phrased the question, why you would have taken it the way you did. I apologize if I offended you or anyone else with the way I worded my question.

I'm no Picasso said...

Cyndi -- I appreciate you taking the time to explain what you meant. I guess what you should know is that I get a lot of emails from young women back in the US who have self-proclaimed "yellow fever" and sometimes the questions I get asked are not a matter of misunderstanding, but genuinely offensive. So I kind of start out in that default mode. We take a lot of hits from a lot of sides, being Western women with Korean men, and it gets difficult sometimes.

For future reference and for others who are wondering, if the ask box space is too small, my email is always open, too.

To respond to this question more thoroughly, now that I understand what you were going for, I'll make another quick post -- it's a bit much for a comment!

Thank you again for understanding my response.