Are you indifferent to seeing people in relationships where you live? Does it bother you or do you think it’s cute? Well, if you come to Seoul, it will definitely drag a reaction out of you. Don’t feel bad, it’s not only you, it’s everyone, even Koreans are affected by the couple culture. So if you’re single and slightly bitter, you might want to look over the next few things that will probably bother you if you come to Seoul.
I am a bit new to the concept of “couple events”. I have been told that rather than having friends or random people doing these events together, mostly couples sign up and go. These events are opened to everyone but it is likely to be overtaken by couples that will stop every five seconds to take selfies of themselves.
Not all of the couples do this, but there will be a good chunk of them that will not hold back. Just be warned if the event seems too ‘lovey-dovey’ or it states “couple” in the title, you might want to stay away.
Seeing siblings in matching outfits can be adorable and even sometimes when you have a matching peace of clothes with your significant other can be cute but not when it is overdone. If you walk around popular areas of Seoul, you will most likely come across couple outfits. These outfits are definitely coordinated from head to toe by either the boyfriend or the girlfriend. I too have fallen prey to “couple socks” or “couple jackets” but I always refused to wear anything too crazy, like an entire matching outfit.
The popularity with couples’ outfits here in Seoul is insane. On any given day you can see couple t-shirts, pants, shoes, socks, hats and even couple haircuts! Now that is some dedication.
Asking personal questions all the time
Everyone at one point or another has been asked “Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?” question. Yes it can be annoying but depending on where you are in your life, it might not actually bother you even if it is asked a couple of times. Now, when in Korea, whenever you meet someone new, this question might arise out of nowhere. If you’re teaching in a Korean school and the kids don’t see a ring on that finger, be very sure that they will ask if you have a boyfriend. If you do, be prepared to have follow-up questions that might be a little too uncomfortable to answer.
If you don’t have a significant other then even more questions arise. “Do you like Koreans” “Have you thought about dating a Korean person” “ I know someone who is single who you might like, would you consider going on a date with them?” etc.
These aren’t just uncomfortable questions from students. They will come from any and all directions. People that were usually very happy being single here in Korea, tend to get a constant reminder that they are single from random strangers. It can be rough out there.
Holding hands everywhere!
Why would handholding be annoying even if you’re single? It doesn’t seem like something that would be annoying right? Well it’s not, that is unless you are walking and there is a slow walking couple (which almost always seems to be the case in a crowded area) holding hands. You would think that because there are too many people that they might let go for half a second to let you walk by or they would move aside but neither would be the case. You will have to go around them because they will stare at you like an evil alien trying to tear them apart from each other.
This is not a one-time thing either. It will sometimes make you wonder if they ever let go. As an American who has dated Koreans, I can say that my hand gets tired and sweaty after all the handholding. I had to ask for my hand back for a little while.
It doesn’t get annoying to see everyone holding hands until you need to get somewhere and hand holding is blocking your way or when you see this everywhere and all the time. No thanks; I’ll hold my own hand.
You know how Christmas is a time to celebrate with your family and eat good food? It’s also a time to exchange presents with your loves ones. Well in Korea it’s mostly a religious holiday and more importantly a COUPLE’S HOLIDAY!
Christmas eve is a scary time to try a new restaurant because it is absolutely crowded with lovers. Every single place has couples eating there. The actual day of Christmas seems more like Valentine’s Day on steroids. You see couples everywhere on the streets, restaurants, movie theaters etc. For a person who is single, it is the one reminder that you are forever alone.
There is also Pepero day (November 11th) when you are supposed to buy a bunch of pepero for your sweetheart. Though if you are a teacher and your kids like you, you will get some pepero anyway.
Valentine’s Day is more of a holiday where girls give gifts either to their boyfriends or to guys they like hoping for a favorable responseThe response comes on White day March 14th. Boys should respond by accepting the proposal to start dating by giving candy and flowers or rejects the girls with giving them nothing.
Don’t fear single people! There is a holiday for you and it’s called Black Day. All single people are expected to eat JJajang Myeon, otherwise known as black noodles. This way other people know you are forever alone and can strike up a conversation with you, which might lead to a relationship. This is the idea behind it…sort of.
Being single in Korea is tough because there really is a reminder that you shouldn’t be alone. The culture very strongly pushes towards doing things as a group, so being an individual is not looked at very favorably. This leaks into relationships and love. I say this because I have seen it with both foreign and Korean friends. Though I do want to mention that being single anywhere is tough but when you are truly happy with and by yourself, then it’s really up to you to decide if you want to share your amazing self with someone else or continue to do your own thing.