There’s no stigma attached to online or blind dating in South Korea.
The couple culture in Korea is so strong that the question “Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?
” is asked by strangers as casually as if they were asking about the weather.
Blind dates and online dating are completely normal in the land of morning calm. When going out with friends, the oldest member of the group usually pays for the meals and drinks.
This Korean food tradition of “the oldest pays” trickles into dating.
When going on dates, the man feels he should pay for everything.
Yesterday, I asked my students what the weather was like outside.
They’re used to this warm up after 10 months of being my students.
When I came in as their teacher, the weather was already starting to chill. I know I should have been more sympathetic, but it was just too cute.
Usually when I ask this question, they perk right up and shout out that the weather is windy, snowy, rainy, or cold. How could I have forgotten that my poor middle school students are teeming with hormones and are in the prime age of “that awkward phase” we all wish we could forget but cruel mothers and photographs filled with braces and pimples won’t allow us to? I decided to scratch the lesson I had planned for the day and just talk to them and let them vent about their teenage problems.
Yesterday was a gorgeous sunny day, so I expected them to be especially excited to shout out a new answer than the usual gloomy weather ones they’d been giving me all winter. I asked them all sorts of questions in English about dating in Korea and couples, and we spent all of our 45 minute class time chatting about Korean dating culture.
To my surprise, I heard the girls sigh and the boys muttered it was sunny and bright. (Secretly happy to practice an idiom I had taught them earlier that month.) “Spring is happy weather, and that means all the couples will be out. They were so animated and open about sharing with me all of their views that I decided to make a list of everything we talked about and share it here with you! No one meets in the ice cream aisle as they mull over the decision to splurge on mint chocolate chip or cookies and cream ice cream anymore.
I laughed, confused by the contrast from the sunny weather outside to the gloomy weather in my classroom. Here are the 3 things about Korean dating culture that my Korean middle schools students shared with me! I, for one, would never judge couples who met in cyberspace. com dates as well, and I (sadly) also claimed to have met my beaus at the juicing counter of Whole Foods when I introduced my dates to friends.
Do you know how you can tell when people met on an internet dating site or blind date in America? I’m not sure why the stigma of online and blind dates is still so strong in the Western world, but one thing’s for sure.