I’m not exactly quiet, and I’m definitely not the ‘submissive girl’ that many people see South Korean girls as. But somehow, my personality became a problem when I started dating men in South Korea at the age of 20. I thought, is my outgoing personality — which was attractive to them in the beginning — an obstacle to developing a stable relationship? A bunch of my girlfriends had similar worries when dating South Korean men.Many men approached me, expressing an interest in my outgoing personality. But sooner or later, they started to complain about things that energize my life, what I think are important, like interacting with people and having fun at interesting social gatherings. The biggest source of complaint was the irony of men applying different standards on their female friends and “girlfriend.” Some guys I knew loved hanging out with girls whom they called cool and funny — for example, girls who could drink two bottles of soju straight.I’m still learning about how to balance society’s demands on women and my internal traits.
I learned that I need to fight my own expectations for myself, too.
You can see this contradictory expectation in female heroines of many K-dramas.
The beautiful female protagonist is independent and savvy at her office, but in front of a guy she likes, she’s one step behind, submissive and gentle.
It’s Valentine’s Day, and I am enjoying making chocolate on my own.
I no longer categorize this activity as a womanly activity. I also recognize that so-called girlish behaviors like are not the preserve of women. The revelations on my part may be uncomfortable for some South Koreans to bear.
I just needed to have the right opportunity, and the right man, to let these ‘girlish’ traits show.