My Korean Husband

Intercultural Life

Category: Culture (page 21 of 22)

Traditional and modern Korean culture.

Cup of Tea

Not something I do a lot but starting to realise why some Korean girls do it… hehehe.

‘Oppa’ is the respectful term used by girls for a guy who is older than them. I don’t usually call my husband that because I use other names couples can use. Because of the popularity of Korean dramas a lot of international fans seem to think that ‘oppa’ is always used by a girl who is in love or in a relationship with the older guy. Not always. It was and still is a normal respectful term to use to a guy who is older than you. It literally means ‘older brother’. I only use it at times where I want to be extra respectful.

Being cutesy like that is called ‘aegyo’ and a big warning here: if you have a Korean partner and you want to try being aegyo it may not work! A lot of guys really hate this and one of their reasons for seeking out a non-Korean partner could be because they want to date someone who does not do this. So proceed carefully!

Share Button

Watching Pride and Prejudice

I love all things Jane Austen but Jane Austen books and adaptations aren’t as popular in South Korea as they are in some other countries. My husband didn’t have much of an idea about what I was talking about when I first started explaining the phenomenon of Jane Austen. This ended up to being to my advantage though. Too often males in western countries can take an instant disliking to anything Jane Austen simply because they have heard it’s something ‘girly’ and old fashioned for women. There are lots of amazing and sensible men who enjoy all things Jane Austen but by far women outnumber men.

I even had a previous boyfriend use Jane Austen as a reason to break up with me (though among other reasons) because he had an irrational fear that I would force him to attend the Jane Austen Festival and dress up in costume. I had no intention of doing that but he had such ridiculous ideas in his head that he refused to listen.

So I was very happy when my husband had no problems with sitting down and watching Pride and Prejudice with me. He wasn’t very familiar with the storyline so it was nice to see someone experience Jane Austen for the first time. He is usually quite expressive and vocal when watching movies and dramas and this was no exception.

Pride and PrejudiceThe Wickham and Lydia storyline quite upset him. He also watched ‘Lost in Austen’ and had quite a dramatic reaction to the ending which I may make a comic of another time.

 

Share Button

Ice Mum

Something we can never agree on is how to respect and speak to parents. Because my husband comes from a hierarchical society it is ingrained in him to always be respectful to his parents and not to disagree with them. Whereas I come from a society that is more relaxed about parent/children relationships and I will openly disagree with and contradict my parents. I have a good relationship with my parents but some things I may do or say my husband sees as disrespect. He has trouble understanding this sometimes.

This incident however, was actually one of those times where I was not doing anything that could be seen as disrespectful but he still thought I was! And he thought that for many months!

Share Button

Changdeokgung Palace

Warning: don’t ask my husband questions at historical sites as he will just make shit up.

Have you visited Changdeokgung or any of the other palaces in Korea?

 

Share Button

Jokduri and yeonji gonji

Why does the bride wear that thing on her head and have red dots on her cheeks in a traditional Korean wedding?

I think I’m smiling through the pain in the above photo! It was not at all comfortable and it was a hot day.

The crown is called a jokduri. It was worn by married women on formal days and for wedding days. At the end of the Joseon Dynasty these were very popular and quite extravagant. They are made with black silk, padded with cotton and decorated with embroidery and other accessories. In modern Korea you are only likely to see them at a traditional wedding ceremony.

Originally they were created by Mongolian women for when they went outside. The Korean version is smaller than the original Mongolian version.

The red dots are called yeonji gonji and they can either be drawn or painted on or be cut out pieces of paper that are stuck on. Mine were literally red stickers! Red is believed to protect against evil so the red dots on a bride’s cheeks are believed to protect her from evil spirits.

I also had fake eyelashes on. The makeup artist told me that fake eyelashes are very important in a Korean wedding ceremony but I don’t think that is tradition!

Share Button

Lucky Pig

Since our engagement my husband’s family believes they have had a lot of luck, as things have been going really well for them. They think I’ve brought the luck into their lives so they have called me a ‘Lucky Pig’.

In Korea pigs mean fortune. However, in western culture calling someone a pig is usually an insult! Meaning they are ugly or eat too much etc. So when I first heard his family are calling me that I was like “What?!” But then thankfully it was explained to me. Let’s hope I can keep the luck coming!

My husband, knowing that in English it sounds very different to in Korean, laughed and said in English, “Yeah you are the lucky pig!….. Oink Oink!”

Share Button

Obsession with height- Big Bang example

Let’s explore the Korean obsession with height! I think most countries have some interest in height, with women usually preferring taller men, but not many rival Korea’s obsession.

I’m not exactly sure when or why this first started or if it’s just a product of modern culture. I don’t know how much pressure men put on each other but I know Korean women put a lot of pressure on Korean men. The famous example being on the TV talk show where the women said they would rather have a tall husband who was physically abusive than a nice short guy. WTF…

Many times I’ve heard women, and not just Korean women, say they only like tall guys. And not like guys who are the same height or slightly taller, they want men like a foot taller than them!

Because of this Korean men can get big complexes about their height. They are already not very tall compared to many other countries, but does it really matter that much? Unfortunately the message they are receiving is that it does matter. The incident of the women on the TV show hating short guys has been retold to me by many many Korean guys. It was really upsetting for them. Of course not all Korean women place such emphasis on height though, it’s just sometimes the negative views are the loudest.

Now in Korea, it is normal for guys to wear “lifts” inside their shoes to make them appear taller. These are like a foam triangle thing that lifts their heels and gives them more height. I had no idea these things existed until a few years ago when I dated a Korean guy and I was slightly confused to why his height seemed to change day to day. He eventually confessed to me but it was the first I had heard of such things for men and I didn’t ever think his height was a problem.

Now to the reason why I decided to talk about this today: Big Bang. Talking to a Korean friend once, I confessed how much I like Big Bang. Her immediate response was “but they are so small.” Huh? I was so confused. What did that have to do with anything? I was talking about music. How does the artist’s height affect that? The same conversation has been played out many times with Korean people saying to me “but they are small.” I usually respond with “so what?”

Big Bang’s height is in the news again today. There is a summary on Big Bang Updates which makes a lot of international fans go “what??” Such concern about height seems so over the top to us. And the comments about height are often quite nasty. It is used in a way to try to bring them down.

Having a taller height does not give a guy a good personality. There is really no real benefit to the relationship except maybe he can reach the top cupboard easier. I’ve dated extremely tall guys before and their height was not even a positive thing. It made kissing standing up almost impossible and did not magically make those guy’s crappy personalities any better.

So how tall is the guy I ended up marrying? He is only slightly taller than me. If I wear heels I am taller. This does not bother me at all. In fact, I like being able to look directly into his eyes.

So for girls out there obsessed with height: does it really matter that much? You could be missing out on meeting some great guys simply because you aren’t interested in anyone under a certain height. There are better ways to narrow down what qualities you want in a man.

For all the guys out there worried about their height: don’t stress about it. Not all women care about it. If a girl disregards you as a potential date simply because you aren’t tall enough then she is not worth your time.

"Guys! Don't you know that it doesn't matter how talented or popular we are... it doesn't matter because we are too short!" "Aww, okay let's just go home..."

 

Share Button
Older posts Newer posts

© 2017 My Korean Husband

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑