(This post is part of the “Looking Past Korea” series which is a run down of all things I think are superficially important, culturally important, and things foreigners think are important but I think are pretty over rated)
Superficiality: Korean girls who act cute and naïve towards males.
Why it happens:
Essentially, it’s a difference in the way relationships are approached between the United States and Korea. Ever since I first thought that Courtney was cute in my 6th grade class, I’ve been pretending to not like girls that I actually do like. Girls do the same thing towards guys. These trends often carry themselves over into our adult dating relationships.
It’s a defense mechanism against getting hurt and maintaining a person’s individuality.
Korean girls seem to have no such defense mechanism. After a few dates with Rachel I knew she liked me because she told me. Additionally, she did it in a distinctly cute Korean girl sort of way. She did it despite her fears that I might become disinterested in her, cheat on her or do something that would hurt her in the near future. She put herself out there early. She had no defense. I could very easily have hurt her.
What it tells us about Korea:
It tells us that long term relationships are more desired in Korea. This has to do with factors involving gender issues, money, living with ones persons parents till they are married, status in a group of friends, and many other things.
Many foreigners get the wrong impression from this behavior that
A: Korean girls are easy to pick up, and
B: Korean girls are completely naive.
It could be argued that the ease which one picks up a girl depends on the girl, and they would be right. Are all Korean girls easy to pick up? It depends, they are individual people after all.
With few foreigners in Seoul, foreign guys are what you might call a “niche market.” Although most Korean girls wouldn’t give a foreign guy a second look, the types of girls you might find at foreigner hot spots would. They are probably attracted to foreign guys in the first place. These girls represent only a subset of Korean girls.
Also, calling these girls naive is simply…well…naive. They have their dating games the same way westerners have their games. The game is so different however, that most foreigners probably don’t even register it as game.
In the United States it’s the “I’m pretending not to like you” game.
In Korea it’s the “I’m so cute and innocent how could you ever hurt me” game.
The stereotype is that foreign guys are all out for one night stands. it’s a well known stereotype amongst girls. They may act like you are special, and they may act like they are hurt, but in the end it’s still an act. They are ready to move on about 3 minutes after you do.
They may tell say “you are handsome,” but my guess is it’s just because it’s one of the few phrases they know.
Propose – Lee Seung Chul