Korean Tips and Taboos

Friday, December 05, 2008

Since I have been in Korea, I have received some very strange complements. Now if I was back in the states, I would have thought some of these people were trying to start a fight with me. For example, I was in the elevator and this woman dressed in a pink suit and perm came up to me.

She glazed longingly at my face and she seemed to study every inch of my forehead and then she said, “You would be really pretty if you had thicker eyebrows.” Now if I was back in Georgia, I would have thrown down, but because this was an older woman; I just couldn’t. I was offended and dumbfounded, and this woman didn’t even have a clue! She thought she was helping me.

These kinds of questions are disturbing and it can totally deflate your ego because often times they are things that can’t be changed. I’ve heard, “You would be much prettier if you got a different hairstyle; You could get a boyfriend if you were a little taller; and as a greeting by some friends: “Have you gained weight?”

It just got me thinking because I’ve found that people just seem to be a bit too blunt here.

I was discussing this with a Joe Waller, the guest from yesterday and he said that a woman asked him, and I quote, “Can you marry?”

She didn’t ask, “Are you married?” No. She was wondering if there was a chance in heaven that this guy might even be able to get married.

That’s so Korea.

Don’t worry. If some person gives you one of these arsenic dipped complements, do not fret. It is because they care and they want you to improve yourself so you can achieve all your hopes and dreams.

Don’t worry. The unmarried Korean women have it a thousand times worse. Everyday they are nagged by their parents to lose weight, to be prettier, to get married- honestly, that’s why the girls are so skinny. It’s because of all the nagging.

So the next time you that buddy of yours says, “hello” and then pats your belly and asks, “when your baby is due?” Say an equally barbed compliment like, “How’s that promotion not coming” or… “You look very handsome today-much better than yesterday.” It ultimately means that you are paying attention and you care.

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