This week we try to tackle the issue of dating in Korea, which – quite obviously – we can’t give a lot of insight into, since we’re married to each other and have never dated anyone in Korea. In fact, we’ve never dated anyone Asian ever in our entire lives. So…the best we can do here is to relate the stories we’ve heard from our close friends who have dated people in Korea. We’re lucky to get both perspectives: that is our Korean friends tell us about dating foreigners, and vice-versa. Seeing as this is just us relating anecdotal stories to you, they do not represent Korea as a whole, obviously. We can only offer you their perspectives on the situation.

Anyhow, there are a couple things that we’ve noticed that are commonly related to us by our friends who date Korean people. Primarily:

1) Forget that stupid “Should I call or Shouldn’t I Call” Rule
Garbage! We’re so glad that Korea doesn’t seem to use this rule. From what we’ve been told, if you meet someone and you like them and you exchange numbers, you don’t wait for a few days before you call them again. You just call them THAT NIGHT or the next day. When we asked our Korean friends about this, they told us that this is standard practice, and – in fact – if you don’t call right away then it’s a sign that you’re NOT interested in them. Sounds weird, huh?

Korean Cell Phone

You have a phone. Use it!

But it makes sense! Seriously! Why wait for so long for fear of looking like a creeper or overly keen? It’s true that we operate off a principal of less interest, in which the person who shows less interest has more power in the relationship, as the one being neglected will try to compensate by showing more interest. Then you get the stupid “well if I pretend not to like them then they’ll start to worry and like me back” kind of deal. What silliness!

If you meet someone and like them, call them up. Stop the subtle jockeying for position. And, likewise, if you’re in Korea, prepare to not play that game anymore. Of course, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other games to be played, just not ones we’re used to in North America.

2) Send lots of text messages.:
Now, this might not be a golden rule, but just a pattern that we’ve noticed, but our friends who are dating Koreans, or Korean people dating each other, tend to text message their significant others a lot. Like, a lot a lot. It’s hard to have conversations over food because they’re always writing something on their phones. It’s funny how constant question asking and texting doesn’t transfer over well to a North American crowd. Even our Korean friends who moved to North America complained that they freaked out their Asian-American boyfriend by texting too much. Asian-American does not always equal Asian culture. It could just be fluke instances that we’re hearing about but we do see lots of text messaging. Are we wrong here? Again, we’re just trying to observe from an outsider’s perspective.

3) Go public to get private:
Real estate is really expensive here in Korea. Not only do you pay monthly rent, but you have to put down a huge deposit, usually around $10,000 for the deposit, and oftentimes more. You get that deposit back by the end of your lease, mind you, but the problem for many people is simply coming up with the money for the deposit. And so, since many people can’t come up with that kind of money, they stay at home with their parents and families a lot longer than usual. Usually until they go to University, and then they move back in until they get married.

So everyone goes out! Korean Coffee shops are open reallllly late; like until 1am and sometimes later. Which is why you’ll see some of them have really cool atmospheres, perfect for dating, like Cafe Lua. Restaurants and movie theatres, and private DVD rooms are everywhere. On the street behind our apartment, not even the main street, there are three coffee shops on the same small strip of road, not even a three minute walk from one end to the other. And the coffee shops are crammed, most often with couples longingly looking into each others eyes. Also, if you want to go somewhere private for…playing…Yahtzee, then you have love motels that offer you the privacy you need, either by the night or – like a boss – by the hour.

Random side note, love motels are EVERYWHERE in every city in Korea, so if we’re worried about spending money on booking a hotel, don’t do it! Majority of foreigners crash at love motels when visiting friends in other cities! A simple looking/fringed covered parking lot/single tower with small windows/gaudy named = love motel/love hotel. There are usually 2 or 3 in one area so you can compare rates. Some of them are totally amazing, with comfy big beds, hot tubs, and flat screen TVs and others are just simple with a bed and bathroom. For $30-$60 bucks a night, you can’t go wrong! Anyways, we digressed…

Again, this is just our attempt to relate what others have told us. Some people will have terrible stories about their experiences, and some will have great ones, and neither side represents dating in Korea as a whole. If you have any stories about dating you can relate here, either confirming similar experiences, denying them outright, or just adding your own stories, we’d much appreciate it!

  1. Hi Martina and Simon! (I’m putting Martina’s name first to change things up!)
    I was just re-watching your old videos :D

    I have a question for next week’s TL;DR:

    What do you guise think about non-Asians trying out for Korean
    agencies such as YG, JYP, etc.? In what way would you think it’d affect
    Korea to see non-Asians in Kpop groups and as idols, if it were to ever

  2. SPUDGY HUMPS ALL THE VIDEOS!!… no i didnt just find this out… i tink its funny! lol

  3. hi guys, My name is Camila, and I am from Chile. I’m here because I love K-pop and I would like to learn more about Korean culture, so I have a cuestion for you……  Why people say that the members of K-pop groups are assembled couples? As if they were really “couples”, to me sounds a bit strange, it is normal in Korea? Actually happens??!! 


  4. hi Mandi Dominguez!! I am new here. have seen first to you I am from kathamndu,Nepal. name is laxmi prasad shahi. thanks

  5. You two are just too fucking funny…love it!!

  6. Can I just say you guys doing the lovey dovey on camera makes me more secure in the fact that my SO and I are not the only weird couple out there?

    Tanks! (Like big ones. Martina, you can have the pink one.)

  7. The dragon part was just funny!~ XD
    i’d love to date a korean if only it wasn’t for the fact that a whole continent separates us :/
    I want to move to asia once i’m done with school (and find money for it)
    but i’m stuck between south korea or japan! i don’t know which to choose! :/

  8. Haha!! I laughed so much watching this! It’s sooo true! My husband is Korean and he and I had the most bizarre, awkward and hilarious relationship….and still do. I love it though and wouldn’t trade it for anything.  He totally asked me out by saying, “What do you think of me?” I had never been asked that so upfront before. But Koreans are blunt if not honest and to the point. It just takes A LOT of getting used to! But it is so worth it! 

  9. i kinda like the whole dating scene in korea based on how u guys described it. i actually like the whole private DVD rooms and open late cafe’s and movie theatres especially since im always around my family…it also sounds nice just to hang out there nd watch a movie. and i like that they would call the same night or the next day after meeting someone bcuz i hate the few days that u spend debating whether to call this person the next day or the next day after that nd so on XP

  10. Haha, what another commenter said about DVD bangs… Yes, they’re not usually for just watching movies. They have beds in there, after all… And a box of tissues, and an ashtray. :3 Before I knew this or had ever been to one, I made the naive mistake of telling a Korean guy I wanted to go to one on our second date, thinking it’d be cheaper and maybe we could hold hands or something… Only to end up fighting off his octopus attack for the whole second half of the movie. To this day, I haven’t seen the end of Inception… Haha. 

    I will say, though, that since kissing in public is really taboo here, if you’re downtown with a date and feel the sudden need for a make out session, it’s impossible to find a nice dark doorway because Korea’s so populated and brightly lit. In that case, a DVD bang is perfect for an hour or so of “private time.” And there’s always ajummas handing out DVD bang discount cards to every couple that walks by!

    One thing I find really funny here is the couple style. Couple t-shirts, same-same style, and even couple-matching underwear. I still haven’t decided what I think of it. Sometimes I think it looks dumb, and sometimes it’s really cute. I guess how I feel about it depends on how bitter I’m feeling at the time about being single in such an intensely couple-y culture. :P

    • OMG BAHAHAHAHA!  That’s DVD bang story is very funny.  The two of us actually go to DVD bangs…and watch movies.  The private rooms are cool!  

      • As you can probably imagine, the details of the story are even funnier (and incredibly awkward), but not something I’d share here, ã…‹ã…‹. It was definitely a Korean cultural communication failure on my part, and there was no 3rd date. (>_<) When I told one of my guy friends the story, he laughed and said he knew at least two other foreign girls that had had the same kind of DVD-bang misunderstanding with a Korean date. Aigoo!

  11. I should really date in Korea. It suits me well. 

  12. I just came back from my trip to Korea and I can say that there are tons of couples out and about on the streets of seoul. Every other college student I saw had a girlfriend/boyfriend, and a lot of them were wearing couple t-shirts. I actually found it quite cute how the younger couples would even wear matching headbands such as tiger ears ^^. I did actually see quite a few interacial married couples too. But really, it’s couple land over there, so many couples O_O.

  13. simon where u get ur tshirts from?

  14. my fiance is korean, and i’m half japanese and half american (i grew up in america)……i’ve been in korea for the past year now.  there’s tons and tons of cultural differences, but it all works out in the end if you’re dedicated ^^ i think one of the most irritating things was that, at the beginning, he kept pressuring me to change my appearance and look prettier.  in america that would be a huge fail, NO ONE tells you what to look like, everyone’s so big on inner beauty and the whole be your own person thing…but in korea, people will tell you that you need to lose weight, that your hair is weird, your clothes are weird, etc, etc.  at first i was really insulted but then i realized that its just a cultural thing.  its ok to say things like that here…its like…affectionate…haha

    i feel like i could write an entire book about this topic but i’ll stop here ^^;

  15. LMAO. Simon and Martina’s on-cam love moments x’D 

  16. The 14th of every month marks a love-related day in Korea…can you explain these?

  17. I really wish it was only grandmans that were racist!
    I have a friend that says she hates asians but they never did anything to her! O_o

  18. As we are talking about dating here… i have a question about the birt control pill ^^
    I wonder can you buy it there easily in pharamcies without consultig a doctor. In Germany we need a doctor’s prescription whenever we need a new package -.- so i wondered if it is simpler in Korea.

  19.  I’m used to live in North York, Korea town represent!, and there were tons of Korean couples but I’d rarely see mixed ones. I was dating an Asian guy at the time and whenever we’d go to Asian restaurants I would get dirty looks (OMG, white girl got this hot Asian guy! MURDER HER!)

    Good times… In Montreal there are not many Asians at all (and consequently good Korean restaurants….)
    *single K-Pop video tear*

    • Hahah! That’s funny! Actually there’s alot of Asians in Montreal! Its crazy how much! If you go to Chinatown or downtown, you will see a lot! But I agree, there is not a lot of Koreans or korean restaurants…

  20. :D You guys listen to B2st’s Beautiful? :D 

  21. Spudgy alarm clock? So you mean it never rings to wake you up unless the doorbell rings. He is the LAZIEST dog on the planet. He won’t get out of bed until we get out of bed. He actually hides his face under blankets, tshirts, whatever to avoid the sunlight.

  22. HAHAHAHA! Yeah, we heard the same thing from our Korean friends, but sometimes we actually just want to rent a hard to find Korean movie! We actually watch the movie, which I’m sure shocks the owners. :P – MS

  23. Oh we’ve heard all about the complexities which is why we had to narrow down to one simple topic!  We’ve seen the group dates in action, heard hilarious stories about booking clubs from friends who stumbled in unaware, and we own the couple outfits. We’ll have to cover these topics in a different TL;DR!

  24. what about touching and stuff and do they seem to have limits about when you can have your first kiss or PDA

  25. Haha Asian Americans doesn’t equal Asian culture, damn right you are! I’m probably the only ABC child (american born chinese) in the area that is curious about Asian culture. (Maybe it’s because Asia is pretty awesome and I don’t want to be a nuisance when I visit. XD) Which makes my parents proud, even though I don’t fulfill their other areas of requirements. Not to mention that the more generations of the family being in America, the more likely the kid doesn’t really care about Asian culture.

  26. Do you guys know if korean families still do the traditional arranged marriages?

  27. Woot Riverside California! That’s where I attend college, but I hope to study abroad and attend college in South Korea some day!

  28. Simon, I can explain you why we need to wait 3 days to call a hot chick. No, wait. Barney Stinson will explain that to you. Three days rule, mate! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkmheRE9zi4

  29. WOW, REALLY?  I thought it was totally the opposite since asian people not american asian, asian asian are a little shy and stuff, this is REALLY good to know!

  30. mee mee mee! mee mee mee! mee meee meee meee mee mee mee mee !!!  jajaja so sweeettt!!

  31. *Is it true that you guys had your honeymoon in Puerto Rico? Did you have a good time because I’m Puertorican lol.
    *Hey how is the mall there? like where do you shop if you need like i don’t know like a hammer or something XD

  32. You guys should check out charlycheer’s vids on youtube if you haven’t… she has some personal experience dating korean guys. She’s a really uplifting person… much like the owners of this site ;) It’s funny watching her vids because every so often she seems to have a brain fart like she can’t talk, you can tell she’s looking at something and a moment later she looks into the cam and says “Oh my god, that was some eye candy right there…” LOL…. I love any other girls that understand my attraction to not only Asian men but foreign men in general ;) 

  33. i really love the idea of them txting that very night….what’s the point of waiting honestly!?!?!? O.O it makes me just angry and disappointed and confused! :P

  34. I can’t believe you guys didn’t talk about couple outfits! Best part of Asian relationships XD

    Something that I found quite funny, though, was when I started going out with my boyfriend, and it had only been a few months after he moved here from Korea, and he literally asked my best friend EVERYTHING about dating a white girl. He really did act as if dating a white girl was like dating a different species from a Korean girl. I found it absolutely hilarious XD

  35. Love motels—> another way to get away from prying eyes and do the *ahem*

  36. You must be Gob Bluth fans! “Michael, I’ve made a huge mistake…”

  37. when are you going to do kpop dance for 2011 

  38. Haha, I want that phone charm from this picture ;P (:

  39. re: Love Motels – feeling a little icky about choosing one of those for ‘general Yahtzee-free overnighting’. Of course regular hotels have their fair share of Yahtzee playing as well, but in terms of bedding/linen that has ‘had the dice rolled over and over again’ ….it’s a little disconcerting. Then again, I suppose I’ve used hotel towels that have been god-knows-where. (the B52’s song “Love Shack” keeps playing in my head) ha!

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