8.16.2010

Seoul Searching: Korean Men and 'dating'

Alright, time for a very shallow post that I'm sure you have all been waiting to hear. So while I was in Seoul, I had been experiencing my first foray into Blasian dating. However, I must say that the 'dates' and custom of dating were both so relaxed that I don't know if I should call them dates but more 'one on one' time with local Korean men.

I had the opportunity to go on two 'dates' with technically 3 different Korean men: "Milo" (Young-Joon) , "Ray" (Jong-Sui), and "Kenny" (Kwang Ho).

Milo I met at the club that was hosting a French exchange student's going away party. He's a magician...well as a hobby. He's entering his final semester as a Computer Science major at the University of Seoul. During my last two weeks, we had coffee at "Angel-in-Us" coffee house and talked for over three hours. He told me about how he broke his arm when he was young, resulting in a huge scar that runs up his forearm over his elbow, preventing him from fully extending it. As a result, he does magic with primarily his right hand.

Instead of the military, he worked in an elementary school pretty much being a tech support guy. And by tech support, I mean plugging in printers and computers when teachers couldn't figure out why they weren't 'working'. That's how he decided on his major although now he really wants to be a producer or director and work in the entertainment industry. He's been hindered by the practicality of such a career so he's focusing on finishing up with Computer Science. I encouraged him to at least try being a director, do what you love. At least he has a degree to fall back on.

He has a lot of dreams of travel and learning languages. He wants to learn English, German, Spanish, and Romanian. I admire his determination. He was very nice and we still talk on Skype but with the shortness of my stay, I knew nothing would extend beyond friends. No magic touch there.

The next date was not at all planned. It was very serendipitous. I actually met Ray at the train station on my way to the Itaewon to get my hair done. I was riding up the escalator listening to my ipod and homedude was in front of me, turned around to glance at me, did a double take, and started talking to me. I took my earbuds out and learned he was also a UOS student. He told me he had seen me around campus and had wanted to talk to me but I had always turned away.

I fixed that for him. I gave him my number because what the hell, I was only going to be there for 3 more days. So we exchanged numbers at the train station and he pointed at which train I should take. While I was getting my hair done, he texted me and asked me if I wanted to go out to dinner. Knowing how long it takes to do a Black woman's hair, I told him the best bet would be the next day.

He later asked if he could bring a friend and I agreed. Knowing it would be a pretty chill 'date', I invited my friend, Tabitha and we all went on a 'double date' even though Tabitha already has a boyfriend (I kind of withheld that from her though she figured it out soon but it was so chill that I wouldn't even call it dating).

The ironic thing is that Ray ended up talking to Tabitha and I got to know his friend 'Kenny'.He was really cool and sweet. He chose his 'slave name' Kenny because South Park is his favorite show, which quickly endeared me to him. He and Ray were both Business majors and much older, about 26 and 27 respectively.

I asked what branch of compulsory service they served in. He told me Ray was in the army but he had actually served in Emergency Services as a paramedic. He told me he knows CPR and had performed it on 4 people.

'That's cool' I told him.

'Yeah but 3 of them died,' he said deadpan. I told him I was sorry; can't really say too much after that frank statement.

'It's alright. It wasn't my life,' he assured.

As horrible as that sounds, I admired his morbid frankness. I just made sure not to put myself in a situation where I need his CPR 'expertise'.

We ended up having Korean Barbeque at this cozy, modern restaurant with black wallpaper and orange lanterns. Though our clothes ended up smelling like barbecued Korean pork and Tabby was still trying to recover from a hangover from the previous night, we had a blast teaching Ray and Kenny American slang such as 'hella' and 'cray cray'. It was a really fun time.

After treating us to ice cream, we walked back to the UOS campus because Tabby and I both had to study for our finals that Friday. While we were saying our goodbyes, Kenny told me I was gorgeous and I told him he was very handsome. I wanted to keep in touch with him but unfortunately he doesn't have a Facebook or Skype. Fortunately, I still have Ray's cell phone and he's on Skype (though he hasn't been on since I added him), so maybe I'll ask for it.

In summary, the Koreans seemed very open to interracial dating and I thoroughly enjoyed the attention I received from Korean men while I was there. Although it is against custom for Koreans to greet random strangers they do not know, as I was walking I had some young Korean men break custom to say hello to me.

I also have to be objectifying and say I also enjoyed the view: because military or police service is cumpolsory, many of the Korean men are buff and fit which is nice. Also, I am now on the K-pop bandwagon as I was introduced to 2PM, Se7en, and Bi on this blog and abroad, appreciating the sexy that surrounded me.

It's funny because my friend Jaeyong was all happy for me when I said I was going on a date with Milo. He kept saying, "I hope you find a nice Korean boy."
I
replied, 'Well I have statistics on my side because Koreans are more likely than any other Asian ethnic group to marry Blacks."
Of course he said his favorite catchphrase, "Really?"

Whether it was breaking custom to say hello to me or having a 'moment' with the 7-Eleven clerk, I as a Black woman felt wanted and admired in Seoul. I received more attention there than that bestowed on me by sleazy white American men back in the states.

I never thought I would be attracting the attention of anyone in Seoul nevermind going on 2 dates in one month in a foreign country, so it was a nice surprise. As a Black woman, it was soul- affirming after experiencing all the slight colorism and European preference that you are all aware of in my first Post. To have my beautiful dark skin and beauty as a Black woman validated was enriching and empowering because even before Seoul I had some self-esteem issues.

Through all the ups and downs, I ended up thriving in Seoul, amongst people of color and men of color who were open to my aesthetic. Meeting these amazing men was truly a rewarding experience- offering a great perspective - one of many experiences during my time in Seoul I will never forget.

13 comments:

  1. Through all the ups and downs, I ended up thriving in Seoul, amongst people of color and men of color who were open to my aesthetic.

    This is exactly the way it should be. Keep these memories safe and happy in your heart and your mind for as long as you can.

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  2. Sounds like a wonderful experience for you. I've enjoyed your adventures. Thanks for sharing them with us.

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  3. What a glorious experience!

    When do you expect to go back?

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  4. Wow! Sounds like a cool journey you were on. Congrats on your "dates" - yes any exploratory get-together in the circumstances you described I consider to be a date. That is special and now you have in your memory including the written one how you felt and what went on in your BlAsian dates! Congrats!

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  5. @Hateya and Lenoxave
    I am glad I had the experience

    @Am
    I'm planning maybe Spring Semester of my Junior year after I have a few more engineering and Korean classes under my belt.

    @SC
    >>Congrats on your "dates" - yes any exploratory get-together in the circumstances you described I consider to be a date
    That's how I feel too. I will cherish those dates forever :D

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  6. @ Bcbgrl33

    Glad to see you'll be going back!

    @ Sam

    Welcome!!!

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  7. Gold Mountain For Purchase

    Excerpt

    I'm about to check this book out. Sharon is a very good writer and she's exploring a relationship btwn a Chinese Man and a Black Woman during the 19th century.

    ReplyDelete
  8. @Lenoxave
    That book sounds fascinating. There's not too many books chronicling Black and Chinese relationships during the Gold Rush and construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. I will check it out as well Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  9. @Bcbgrl33 - I thought the time period was fascinating as well. Amazing what proximity and timing produces. Let me know what you think when you read it.

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  10. @Bcbgrl33
    Thanks for this. As a black woman, this truly warms my heart. We're constantly made to feel like no one wants us or thinks we're beautiful, when that's so obviously not the case.

    In summary, the Koreans seemed very open to interracial dating

    Did you get any stares as people seem wont to do here in the States? (Esp. BW/non-black) Whenever I've gone on dates with non-black men, people stared at us like we were strange and exotic animals in a zoo.

    One time, a white woman sitting at a table near ours stuck her finger in her mouth and started making gagging noises while looking pointedly at our table (I was with a white man). This was many years ago, but the way folks are acting nowadays, we're not far from that. Fortunately, it sounds as if your experience was a lot more enlightened than mine have been.

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  11. You are so right about this BCBGRL33.
    I was on my way to get my hair braided again and was in a different town and got off the bus a block or two earlier than I was supposed too. I got called beautiful 3 times in the span of half an hour by random Korean men on the street and one Korean lady on the train. I got called beautiful today as I was walking into the subway station too by some random Korean man who walked up to me said hi and grabbed my hand and told me I was beautiful. Never received this type of attention in the States at all. You need to com back here soon so we can hang out again.

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  12. See - I tell you there's something going on.

    Look at him (in yellow) Walkin It Out. LMAO. I subscribe to "Bronzed Asian's" channel. She is Blasian born in S. Korea and a Howard Univ. Graduate.

    Walk It Out Y'all

    She and her crew are hilarious and their observations on life in S. Korea are never dull.

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  13. @Cinnamon
    Not too many stares but at the coffee shop with Milo, one Korean kept staring at us. Walking out by myself brought tons of stares in its own right, but if people were staring I didn't notice. We probably would've gotten more stares if we were holding hands walking down the streets (which was on my bucket list)

    @DN
    Haha I am not surprised at all girl you are gorgeous :D
    >>You need to com back here soon so we can hang out again.
    I'm working on it :D I'm trying to bring my friend Sierra who is half black, half Korean (her mom was born in seoul) and she's dying to visit her mother's homeland. All 3 of us would run that town lol

    ReplyDelete

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