My First Korean Blind Date
My first thought was Friday? Saturday? I meet guys all the time. I decided to answer with, “What are you talking about?”
“A Korean guy. Don’t you want a boyfriend?” Turns out my teacher was setting me up on a blind date.
A couple of lessons before, I was talking to my teacher about how poor my Korean speaking skills were. I told her, “I should just get a Korean boyfriend, and then I can practice all the time.”
Instantly, my teacher’s eyes lit up as she said, “Yes! I can do that for you! Finally! What kind of man do you want? I can take care of everything for you! Just tell me!”
Blind dates are very popular in Korea. They’re usually set up by a person’s friend, coworker, or even parents.
“I… no, don’t worry… uh..” I was spluttering words at this point.
“Don’t worry! I’ll get you a blind date. Just leave it to me.”
After this exchange, I had hoped she’d forget about it after teaching other foreigners seven days a week. This was not the case and the next week, she made plans for my first blind date.
Blind dates are very popular in Korea. They’re usually set up by a person’s friend, coworker, or even parents. I’ve had plenty of people offer to set me up on blind dates: my tutor, my coworkers, my Korean friends, my foreigner friends, and a random Korean woman I met on the subway in Seoul.
Everyone wants to set me up on blind dates because everyone wants me to have a boyfriend. I can’t even tell you the number of times Korean people have asked me if I have a boyfriend, and when I’ve said no, have shot me a horrified, “But why?” with varying degrees of shock and sympathy.
“I don’t know why,” I usually answer.
Then the conversation can go a few ways:
Korean person: “But you’re so pretty.”
Me: “Oh, I know.”
Korean person (grabs male Korean friend): “He’s single; you should talk to him.”
Me: “Uh… okay?”
Korean person: “I know lots of nice boys. I’ll get you a date.”
Me: “Uh…. (quickly changes subject).”
However, sometimes I do wish I had someone. I’ve never had a boyfriend before so maybe I should give it a shot.
It’s not so much that I’m afraid of men, it’s more that I’ve been single for a really long time. I don’t want to bother getting emotionally invested in someone because that takes a lot of time and energy. In simple terms, I’m selfish, but at this point in my life, that’s okay. However, sometimes I do wish I had someone. I’ve never had a boyfriend before so maybe I should give it a shot.
With that thought in mind, I told my tutor I’d go on the date the next week. Then I bombarded her with questions and worries. What if he hated me? What if he was creepy? And what if this was some horrible prank? What if I fell in love with him at first sight, and he thought I was terrible and then I died alone like I always feared? Like any sane person, she told me to calm down.
I talked to a couple of my friends about the whole situation and they all soothed my mind. First I talked to my friend Lish, who is American, and she told me about some blind date horror stories from home.
Then I talked to one of my Korean friends at a language exchange. “Don’t worry,” he said. “It’ll be fine. Blind dates can be great. I met my wife on a blind date.”
“Really?” I said, leaning almost all the way across the table to hear his answer.
“Yeah,” he said.
“Wow. Phew— Okay I can do this.”
The day of the date came and I was instructed to meet this mystery Korean blind date man in front of the movie theater downtown.
“He’ll be looking for a foreigner. I don’t have a picture.” My tutor said.
I shot her a sarcastic, “Great…”
I’d say the most important thing I gained from the experience was the confidence to go on another blind date here.
As I was about to leave my office to meet him, I started panicking.
“I’m freaking out,” I said between short shallow breaths as I sought comfort from my friend, Lish. “Oh god, I can’t feel my hands.”
“You have nothing to lose! Remember, it’s just meeting a new friend! That’s all it is.”
As always, all of my worrying was for nothing. The guy was really nice, although there was a pretty big language barrier. Did we make a connection? Not really, but it was a pleasant experience overall. I’d say the most important thing I gained from the experience was the confidence to go on another blind date here. Who knows, maybe one will work out?
My First Korean Blind Date photo by Unsplash.