Thursday, February 14, 2013

Korean Cougar

So anyone who reads this blog knows that I've been hanging out with Dallas more recently. And if you have eyes and are reading this blog, you know that he isn't hard to look at. Last Friday he met me at school and met one of my co-teachers and my guess is that some students saw him. Last weekend we went downtown on Monday and saw some of my students, then he came to my school on Tuesday because he needed to borrow something and more of my students (and some co-teachers) saw him.

So through out the week I've been fielding questions about out relationship with my students. He came to one of my younger classes (5th and 6th graders), two of whom he teaches in public school. They of course asked if he was my boyfriend and while we tried to establish that we were just friends, after he left they had a rapid fire Korean conversation with random bits of English thrown in that basically ended up with us married. Then one kid thought I was 42 (which made me feel super great) but then explained that he meant 32. When they found out Dallas was 24, they were all shocked and were like "teacher he is so young."

Then another class asked me detailed questions about him (this is a class of 5 middle school girls, mind you) and why weren't we dating etc. They also don't believe that we are just friends. Then, during a class switch, an entire new set of girls had a conversation about me and Dallas and how they saw us near Lotte cinema. Of course this conversation was in Korean and my co-teacher roughly translated it for me. My other co-teacher was like, "Your friend is famous here now."

When I walked into my last class on Wednesday, the 3 girls were staring at me and I was like, "what?" This is the conversation that followed:
Girl 1 "Teacher you look very pretty today."
Me: "Thank you"
Girl 1 "Teacher, I look you look pretty because you are in love."
Me: "Um, what?"
Girl 2: "I saw you downtown with a boy. He is very handsome. Is he your boyfriend?"
Me: "No. we are only friends."
Girl 3: "Boys and girls can't be friends."
Me: "Yes they can. We have been friends for a long time now."
boy: "Maybe start as friends, but now not friends."
Me: "Moving on...did you do homework?"

The reason I'm telling you this story is to talk about relationships in Korea. My students get confused because in Korea boys and girls, especially once you reach middle school age, aren't friends. They don't hang out together, especially not in a group. They don't have dinner together or coffee. If you see a couple, then they ARE a couple. Girls hang out with girls; boys hang out with boys. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about that. In some ways it is great. There is minimal confusion about boundaries, you have friends who know at least in part, how you feel about certain things. But then again you miss out on so many other things. I've always had a mix of friends. Yes, sometimes those friendships went in odd directions or ended horribly because of gender differences, but usually they weren't that much different than my relationships with women. I also learned a lot about myself and comfort levels and how to act in mixed groups by having male friends.

So I'll continue to hang out with my male friends and have my students think I'm a cougar, married or have multiple boyfriends (they've asked the majority of these questions about Josh as well). And I'll explain every time that I'm single. And no, I don't have a baby either.

1 comment:

  1. love love love this post :) "teacher, he so young"