Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Black Day

Happy Black Day!

Black day, the Korean holiday celebrating the opposite of Valentine's Day, is here.  April 14th is the official day for single people to wallow in singledom, wear dark colors, eat black food, and do other equally emo things involving self pity.  
Happy Black Day

Typical Black Day food

Koreans love to celebrate love.  On February 14th (Valentines Day), Korean women are expected to get something for their mate.  On March 14th (White Day), however, the men return the favor and bestow gifts upon their favorite women (think large and embarassing gift baskets on the subway).  I can't forget to talk about Pepero Day (November 11th)- the most blatantly commercial of the holidays.  On Pepero Day (Pepero is a Lotte candy made of cookie sticks dipped in chocolate), couples celebrate by giving each other Pepero and buying obscene amounts of the sticks (11/11, get it?).  The holiday was created by Lotte several years ago to promote sales, but because Koreans love love that much, they buy into it.  Literally.

White Day. . .

And this is Pepero Day . . .


The Korean culture is obsessed with dating.  Sometimes I feel like I live in a Disney movie where happiness solely revolves around meeting your perfect match.  This is exacerbated by the fact that it is absolutely acceptable in Korean culture to ask questions deemed inappropriate by Westerners.  For example, one of the first questions I get asked by my coworkers is, "Andie, Boyfriend?"  We got a new principal in March and when we met for the first time, it literally went like this, "Hi I'm Andie." "Ah, Hello. Andie, Boyfriend?" "No haha no boyfriend." "Oh.Very Beautiful."  That's all the man has ever said to me.  Moreover, from listening to some of my coworkers and Korean friends, I've realized Korean women feel limited without boyfriends.  On holidays if you don't have a boyfriend it's a big deal-- as in, most women won't do things alone.  Some of my coworkers are single and if you ask them what they are doing for a weekend or holiday, they will sigh sadly and say, "I have no boyfriend.  I will stay home."  Relationships, apparently, are the gateway to fun.

While I am on the topic of the Korean dating scene, I have to tell you about the 100 day party that occurs in many Korean relationships.  After dating 100 days in Korea, couples sometimes celebrate with a party or by exchanging rings.  Many jewelers even carry 100 day rings for couples.  That's right - after a mere 3 months of dating you exchange rings. Because Koreans love love that much.  

Two more of my favorite Korean relationship phenomenons are purses and underwear.  I personally feel that the best part of having a boyfriend in Korea would be never having to lug my purse anywhere again.  When you have a boyfriend, he carries your purse like it is his own.  Everywhere.  Romantic, right?  The underwear thing is my other favorite part of Korean relationships.  All lingerie stores (and trust me they are EVERYWHERE-- from the subway stations to every other street corner) have matching his and hers lingerie in the windows.  As if having your boyfriend carry your purse wasn't emasculating enough, forcing him into underwear matching your lingerie should do the trick.  Any pattern is available for the matching his and hers.  It's all part of the Koreans loving love.

Happy Black Day to all my single friends!

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