Dating korean man korea
It dawns on me that my battle isn’t just about fighting South Korean men’s expectations of how women ought to behave.
I learned that I need to fight my own expectations for myself, too.
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.
I just needed to have the right opportunity, and the right man, to let these ‘girlish’ traits show.
I realized that I might have forced myself until then to be this independent, outgoing girl with an “optimistic character,” fixing problems by myself without relying on my man.
I am self-conscious of my independence and womanhood.
You can see this contradictory expectation in female heroines of many K-dramas.
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.
It’s an old battle: fighting against the chasm, between the expectations of South Korean men (and even women who embrace these expectations) and the real, live selves of South Korean women.
As a young woman, I kept wondering about how I should act, and how much of myself I should show men.