Thursday, July 16, 2009

International Dating Conundrum: an Observation

Why are there Korean-Korean couples and foreigner-foreigner couples, but not many Korean-foreigner couples in Korea? Here's one aspect of it as conversed with a friend earlier:

Most of the Americans I've talked to like to know what goes on in their girlfriend's or boyfriend's life. They like to meet his/her friends and they like knowing what he/she does on a daily basis. It's like keeping tabs. Jealous boyfriends/girlfriends verge on stalking and know who their significant other is with at all times and where. Americans want to know about the exes and other things about their boyfriend's or girlfriend's past.

Most of the Koreans I've talked to don't want to know about exes. They don't want to know about opposite-sex friends. They would rather just not think about their boyfriend/girlfriend being with any other members of the opposite sex, ever. I have heard some Koreans say they would rather be lied to than know what their boyfriend/girlfriend has done or does that would upset them. Some Koreans don't think this way at all, as my friend just pointed out. Haha. I guess I shouldn't make generalizations!


  1. Hi Kristin,

    I'm commenting on your posts out of order because I printed your posts out of order but I'm OK with that because I'm pretty sure you can handle that.

    Even though I read most of your posts and comments I have a lousy memory too. This means I'm not sure you ever spent any time in Itaewon. This is the district of choice for mixed race couples (Korean & foreigner) especially during night time and weekends.

    I visited Itaewon 2 or 3 times a week because back then I was one of Jehovah's Witnesses and attended the Seoul English congregation which was located in the middle floor of a tall city building.

    Like you, I was surprised that they provided cloth slippers for everyone who attending meetings there. I can't remember if they had carpet or hardwood flooring. Most likely it was not carpet because I remember feeling great surprise at those cloth slippers!

    You see, I had already been teaching ESL at a middle school for a while so I knew that everyone expected me to wear "slippers" instead of my street shoes inside the school building. I just did not see the point of it because all the flooring inside the school was some kind of tile or vinyl. Only once did I wear my street shoes inside the school. One of my boy students stared in great shock at my street shoes! He must have reported me because one of my co-workers ended up talking to me about it. That was the last time I did that.

    It was here that I met a one of those rare happy mixed race families. The wife was about my age and very tan skinned and pretty. Her husband was a dark skinned black African-American. Their cute and adorable children looked more like her than they did him but their big round eyes and easy to brush wavy hair came from him.

    After I first met this sister's husband I wrongly thought he was one of those mild and kind elders that I do meet every once in a while here and there. Imagine my surprise that he wasn't even baptized yet. He explained to me that he was hoping to get discharged from the military first.

    There's always a first time for everything, isn't there?

  2. Of course, this is not the first mixed race Korean-BAA couple that I've met but it is the only one I considered genuinely happy and normal and balanced.

    Korean-BAA couples are very rare. What is more common are Korean-white couples. I'm sure you can understand why.

    I once knew a white skinned Korean sister who had married a BAA US soldier. Her oldest daughter looked like her dad. She had very dark skin. Her younger daughter had white skin like her mother. This Korean mom showed strong preferential treatment for her younger daughter over her older daughter.

    Both daughters are now around your age. Neither one joined the Jehovah's Witness religion.

    In defense of their mom I would like to say that she was born and raised in South Korea. That's where she met her husband. She became one of Jehovah's Witnesses after she married her husband.

  3. In California a few years go I met a BAA looking male householder who told me his Korean mom was also one of Jehovah's Witnesses and that his dad was an ex-US soldier.

    He said he liked Korean food but only knew how to cook Cajun Soul food of the kind his dad exposed him to. He also told me he never joined the Jehovah's Witness religion after he grew old enough to make up his own mind.

    That's when I shared with him my memories of the Korean sister with 2 daughters. I also explained to him that South Koreans are very xenophobic (definition?) and that white skinned Korean actresses are much preferred over tan skinned women like me. I am built like my dad and I look like my dad. In other words, I look like a farm girl or village girl.

    He surprised me by accepting my "Watchtower" magazine offer for that month. I guess honesty really is the best policy.

  4. I do quite a bit of random channel surfing, including all the Asian channels that are available to me one hour east of Los Angeles.

    I've only seen 2 tan skinned Korean actresses hired for those Korean dramas and they both had very small parts. The first one was exceptionally beautiful. The second one was cast in a villain role. Both were historical costume dramas, not the modern day soap operas.

    The bank I would deposit my teacher's salary hired only white skinned female tellers and they were all tiny except for one. She was around my height and weight but her skin was translucent pearly white.

  5. My younger siblings and I would sometimes complain about how proud and arrogant our mom can be sometimes but this is because we made the mistake of comparing her to American born women her age when we really should have been comparing her to Korean born women her age.

    Compared to them she is very egalitarian. She has many friends that were or are married to ex-US soldiers.

    I once asked my aunt if she had any friends like that and she scowled and said no. She does have one friend with a white husband but I'm pretty sure his Korean is not only way better than mine but also somewhat better than yours since they have been married for decades and they met while they were both attending the same South Korean University together. In other words, he was a foreign exchange student, not one of those Ugly American US soldiers. That's why this Korean woman is an exception to my aunt's rule.

  6. My siblings and I also did not consider the fact that my mom had an uncle that worked for the Korean Embassy in New York and is well connected in many other ways as well.

    If it weren't for the fact that my mom has been a baptized Christian of the Jehovah's Witness variety since 1975, the above mentioned fact (that she has many friends who were or are married to ex-US soldiers) wouldn't be true.

  7. Sigh. Well, this whole topic makes me feel tired. I'm gonna take a break now.