Here are some things I heard from my ex’s: “Why do you have so many male friends? But the same guys would get angry when their own girlfriends tried to drink more than one can of beer.” “Do you really have to go to all those social gatherings? They wanted to date a girl who was smart and independent enough to handle her own life, but also dependent enough to respect when faced with difficulties.In the crude social economy of heterosexual male expats living in South Korea, having a Korean girlfriend is a sort of measure of success.You can learn the language and forge all of the platonic friendships with locals that you like, but as far as anyone else is concerned in the expat scene you haven’t truly “arrived” until you have a Korean girlfriend or spouse.I’m not exactly quiet, and I’m definitely not the ‘submissive girl’ that many people see South Korean girls as. But somehow, my personality became a problem when I started dating men in South Korea at the age of 20. I thought, is my outgoing personality — which was attractive to them in the beginning — an obstacle to developing a stable relationship? A bunch of my girlfriends had similar worries when dating South Korean men.Many men approached me, expressing an interest in my outgoing personality. But sooner or later, they started to complain about things that energize my life, what I think are important, like interacting with people and having fun at interesting social gatherings. The biggest source of complaint was the irony of men applying different standards on their female friends and “girlfriend.” Some guys I knew loved hanging out with girls whom they called cool and funny — for example, girls who could drink two bottles of soju straight.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.
The beautiful female protagonist is independent and savvy at her office, but in front of a guy she likes, she’s one step behind, submissive and gentle.The pressure is amplified in the confines of Korea’s communal Confucian society.