The Romantic Korean Pt. 2
In part 1 of this segment we all learned how many couple related unofficial holidays there are in Korea and with at least the 15 I mentioned, and likely more that I don’t know about, it can be tough to keep up the romantic momentum. Or, if you’re like my husband, you never really got a running start in the first place.
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Way back when we’d first started dating, our 100 days landed on Christmas Eve and as mentioned in the previous post, both of these are super romantic couple’s days in Korea. Having been in Korea long enough at that point, I knew this was a double whammy but I had never celebrated either day the way a Korean couple would so I didn’t quite know what to expect. My expectations were neither high nor low but there were expectations and my, now, husband basically bombed the entire thing. Yes, at the time he was a struggling artist, but still.
While we weren’t the couple ring exchanging type, which is one way to celebrate the first 100 day-versary, I was a “take a romantic dinner when I can get it” sort of girl, but I guess I never vocalized that to him. We set off in search of a restaurant that I assumed would be darkly lit and have wine and other aphrodisiac type items on the menu. We ended up in a brightly lit Teriyaki restaurant where we lined up and got our food on a school cafeteria tray. Maybe it was a hipster joint or a deliciously inspired throwback, but it didn’t have any of the romantic necessities clearly spelled out in every romantic chick-flick you’ve ever watched. I definitely spelled it out to him at the end of that uninspired “romantic” holiday.
The what would be considered romantic holidays in Korea continued to go by and my boyfriend, now husband, stumbled through every one of them. I hadn’t heard that Korean men were romantic as a stereotype until after I started dating Jae-oo and then upon hearing it, I laughed out loud. While he’s not unromantic, he certainly has to be led to the occasion of being romantic. This stereotype when put up next to the others concerning Korean boyfriends/husbands like they won’t do chores in the home, cook or anything remotely helpful really had me baffled. Where were all of these stereotypes coming from? I think the romantic stereotype has come in large part from the wave of dramas that aren’t focused on Korean history and family life but on dating life.
Take 2: Years have passed and by now I’ve hammered into my husband’s head that while I don’t need much, some Hershey’s chocolate on Valentine’s Day and a bucket of strawberries on my birthday will make this girl swoon. I’m trying on my pre-pregnancy clothes after I had our daughter. I had gotten a pair of pants on and thought they were snug but thought maybe they’d work.
I generally don’t ask my husband how things look unless obviously I’m fishing for a compliment but that has backfired more times than I can count as he just shoots for honesty at every turn and apparently honestly I’m a hot mess half the time.
Looking at the pants he responded:
Well, you have an 80% camel toe so you probably shouldn’t wear them.
I didn’t even want a 20% camel toe and in relating the story to my sisters later that evening, I found the whole thing hilarious. One of my sisters said if her husband ever responded like that he’d be kicked out of the house so fast his head would spin. Any response other than, “you look great,” and he’d be wishing he just kept his mouth shut. In the end, I appreciated his honesty. Did I know the pants were snug? Sure. But was I considering walking out of the house in them? Yes so, it’s a good thing he stopped me. While telling anyone that I had a camel toe and that my husband had to stop me from walking out of the house with it should probably be embarrassing, I say it because dating someone that speaks your language as a second language, while they may sound romantic, will also probably say some pretty blunt not-so-romantic statements because it’s hard to translate romance.
Why do I relate these tales of romance with my Korean husband? Because Korean TV dramas are like dramas everywhere, they are purposefully dramatic. Also, Korean girls are probably more romantic than the guys. They are the ones after all reminding the guys when the romantic holidays are and deciding which couples outfit they will be wearing that day. If anything, I’d say Korean guys are just more apt to have fun with the whole matchy matchy outfit idea and are just as into the selfie inspired photos as the girls are.