I know people like to read about how things are done in different cultures and I certainly aim to please in this department.
First, let’s talk a bit about dating. In Korea, dating is a very serious thing. One would almost think you were talking about a fiancée and not just the girl you are seeing. See, I can not ask a girl out for coffee because that is a ‘date’. Dating, to Koreans, means I am interested in that person, with the idea that sex will eventually happen but never on the first ‘date’. If I said ‘let’s have coffee as friends’ then the concern instantly vapourizes and the girl is free to say yes or no without any perceived pressure. Also, if you do end up dating a Korean girl, there is a precedent for formally asking for the father’s permission for marriage. In North America this is considered old-fashioned but here it’s still a pretty important tradition. I met a guy on the bus the other day who was on his way to do exactly that. He was dressed smartly as if he was a businessman, dress pans, shiny black shoes. He spoke good English and we had a nice conversation about language and cultural mindsets.
Ok, back to the whole ‘pre-marital’ arrangements. In North America, it is nice to see a guy hold the door open for his girlfriend, carry packages, little thing to show that he is a gentleman and is willing to ‘ease her burden’ because that is what he is capable of doing for her. What you will never see in North America is this:
At first, one might think that the guy is simply fashion-brain-damaged but still wants to express his personal choice of sexual orientation but you would be wrong. Another view is that he is simply colour blind and thought that the ‘red’ messenger bag would perfectly accessorize his Angry Birds smartphone case but without knowing him personally, this is most likely not the case. The last, and certainly not least, is that he is carrying his girlfriend’s purse for her. For most westerners, this is completely foreign. No woman would ever give up her purse and let someone else carry ‘their entire life’ for them. It’s way too personal! Not quite so here. Despite living here, I will never carry my wife’s purse….ever. Especially if it’s hot pink.
Weddings are in interesting affair here. I have attended two of them and it still is an odd set-up. Cheaper certainly but definitely odd. First, the wedding and the buffet places are usually in the same building, on the same floor if the place you choose is sufficiently large enough for your budget.
“What do you mean, ‘same floor’?” you ask?
Oh that’s easy. See Korea is a small country. Many people don’t realize just how small is truly is till you put it into perspective. South Korea will fit inside of Ontario TEN TIMES and yet the 50,000,000 dwarfs Canada’s 34,000,000. Hell, the Greater Seoul area has 24,000,000 alone, nearly the entire population of Canada in just one city. To that end, Korea builds UP and not OUT because space is a premium here. This also means that there are more businesses in tall buildings. The wedding we just attended was on the 4th floor while the dinner was in Basement 1. The previous wedding both the ‘hall’ and the buffet were on the same floor but it was larger in both respects that wedding.