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What’s the Ideal Korean Man

November 21, 2013

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One of the things we discussed before filming this topic was how impressed we were with the specificity of some of the qualities of an ideal man. Really, if you had to describe your ideal type, would you talk about his schooling and salary and job and work hours and habits? Isn’t it more like “I’d like someone tall and swarthy, maybe in a band, who loves cooking as much as I do.” Right? No? I’m not sure. Maybe your list of details is a bit longer than that, but probably not as long as this list here:

Now, let’s talk about this blog post before we give you Soo Zee’s translation of it: not everyone holds these standards, of course. This was a fairly popular blog post when it came out that satirizes how picky Korean girls can be. It both highlights the absurdity of these demands, but also the pressures that men face in meeting women’s expectations. Here’s a screenshot of the blog post. Now that I come to think of it, why didn’t I ask Soo Zee for the URL? I’ll ask her as soon as we get into the studio today.

And now for the list. Guys, even if this list is a parody, if you nail all of these qualities you’re pretty much the perfect man, regardless of what country you’re from. Girls here are looking for:

—–
A guy who has salary of over 100million KRW, and is over 180cm tall. There must be no bald people in the family tree. He must like sports and has a buff body, as well as a great fashion sense. He must have a cheerful and bright personality. He must never loose his temper and be polite. Should have a charming smile and be great at sex. Should come from a wealthy family that has at least 3 billion KRW to their name. He must have graduated from SKY, and have a great job that starts at 9 and finishes at 6, only 5 days a week.

He should help out with the house chores. He should be able to drink more than 2 bottles of soju but also not enjoy drinking. Should be a great cook, enjoy music, and also be a great singer. Should be great at fixing stuff around the house. Should have a religion but not be too devoted, and drive very carefully and be neat and tidy.

His score should be higher than 850 in TOEIC, and he should also speak a bit of Japanese. Should have studied abroad for language, be the only child of his parents and his parents should live far from Seoul. The parents should occasionally visit, maybe once a year. The parents should also prefer lighter memorial services for their ancestors during Chuseok and Seollal.

He should give gifts on every anniversary, and have great taste. He should be honest and should be able to play both the piano and the guitar. He should be great with managing his finances and should listen to what women say. Should both like kids and be great with kids, should like reading books, like to go shopping with his wife and not mind being the driver, and should hold his wife’s shopping bags when they shop, then go to coffee shops together and gossip together and also read through women’s magazines together. Should also text and call often when they’re apart.

The guy should have female friends but know to drew the line between friends and women. Should like to travel. Don’t splurge, gamble, smoke, or be sickly. Should have gone to the army and have a great sense of humor. Should be romantic and be able to swim well, have 눈치 (which is a loaded Korean word for “awareness,” kinda). Should be a great writer and know how to paint. He should also be very humble, very social, and yet have leadership skills at the same time. He should be great with seniors and also have a bit of aegyo in him, while also being handsome, and also good to his inlaws and the rest of his wife’s family. He should also be kind and bold enough to dance naked if the wife says so. And he should forgive his wife IF she cheats on him.
——

Holy hell that was intense. I’m basing this off of SooZee’s translation, and I’m not sure if Soo Zee’s style was just jotting things down randomly, but the way that it’s written and not clearly organized into categories makes it seem so overwhelming, like “you should do this AND be this AND do this AND have done this AND do this ANDANDANDANDANDANDAND”.” Or maybe I’m just too busy English lit analyzing this. I don’t know. I was overwhelmed reading it.

Again, if men don’t meet these standards, it’s not like they’re outcasts and never get girls. Only so many people can get into the SKY universities. A LOT of men smoke. Not everyone has lived abroad. And I don’t know that many people pulling in over 100k a year while working reasonable hours. If everyone were held to these standards, then only, like, three people would be able to date.

But that’s also not to say that these standards are irrelevant. They do go into a lot of people’s considerations. We had a Korean friend who, when we asked her about her boyfriend and what he’s like, the first things she said was that he wasn’t very good looking, a bit overweight, but he has a stable job. When we asked her more info, like – say – how well do they get along, or what do they do together, or what do they have in common, she was just like “yeah, we get along alright.”

From our perspective, it seems like there’s a lot more emphasis on economic stability than what we’re used to. We never talk to our friends back home about how successful their significant others are, or where they graduated. Or is that just us? Are these topics of conversation you’re used to having with your friends?

Yeah! I hope you found this video interesting. Subscribe if you want to see us do more TL;DRs. You’ll never miss one if you click on this pretty button right here!

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What’s the Ideal Korean Man

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  1. Hmm… very interesting nuances of ideal standards. It seems as if the idea of having a standard or limit to any subject is very prevalent in Korean culture as previously mentioned at an earlier TL;DR about Korean beauty standards. Maybe that’s why some Koreans are very meticulous about such subjects which leads to a sense of pressure and superficiality. I’m scared to see what are the standards about the ideal Korean women. <- I REQUEST THIS FOR THE NEXT TL;DR!

    P.S.- Thank you for those charismatic smiles. #USNasties

    3 years ago
  2. I thought that was a rather ridiculous request. I know so very few people who are the only child. I’m curious about Korea’s views on family size. I come from a big family of like 8 aunts/uncles on one side, so large extended families are the norm.

    3 years ago
  3. I think in any culture, we have ideal types, but that list is a little too overboard… it’s like she wants a copy of herself… assuming the writer of the blog is a woman. The author would be better off cloning herself… who wants to date themselves? not me… kkkkk

    3 years ago
  4. WOW.. the are very strict about love…

    i just think than the ideal type is the man who brings the best of you and make you a better person…

    and if is korean…is even better hahahaha

    3 years ago
  5. I heard there are many men against a feminist group(?) called yeo-seoung-boo in Korea. Do men in Korea oppose feminism in general? And are there strict gender roles in Korea? Lastly, are there any other “types” of people that either men or women hate?

    3 years ago
    • That’s infamous “여성가족부”, which is known as Ministry of Gender Equality and Family(MOGEF) in English. Among international kpop fans they are known for random censoring of MVs. Inside SK, it is one of the most controversial government department due to politics revolving around it.

      3 years ago
  6. Omg. If someone says I’m picky ever again, I’ll direct them to this TL:DR lmao!
    Please tell me that the next TL:DR is about the Ideal Korean Woman. (Even though I’m terrified to find out what superhuman powers we’re supposed to have aside from boobs.)

    3 years ago
    • Boobs, great long hair, thin but still have J-Lo’s curves, a melodic voice, intelligent wit, ability to whip up a 5 course meal every day in high heels, be savy and super polite, a great dancer, leap tall buildings in a single bound. And oh have a baby or two and bounce right back after pregnancy. It’s all just scary when you think about it.

      3 years ago
  7. Well the thing about ideals is that they are WAYYYY out there. Sure i’d like to meet a dreamy hot guy with a 10 pack and a heart melting smile and a great education and a great job and a great everything, but uh, where the hell would a perfect person exist and why on earth would they pick me to be with? hahaha, i’d rather have a best friend who is silly and fun that i can spend my life with cuddling and watching nerdy things, if he is carved out of marble by the gods and his eyes sparkle and his pecks can dance, then by all means that is a plus. :)

    3 years ago
  8. Finally finished the blog post and I think I went catatonic for a few minutes while reading all the “desirable” traits. That is an insanely unrealistic list of traits and doesn’t really say much towards personality and emotional compatibility. Makes me wonder what the guys look for in girls, although I have a slight idea hearing male idol after male idol talk describe their ideal types.

    3 years ago
  9. there is something to be said for the “cracking puny humans over one knee” ability in a man. <3 i have girl friends for the other stuff.

    3 years ago
    • ahahahaha! this reminds me of something I wrote in an “about me” blurb. I wrote “I like having a man around to fight the big battles… like killing spiders.” (at the time i was talking about my, then, current boyfriend. Sadly, he wasn’t so good at killing spiders, it was a deal breaker.) :P

      In my opinion, much more important than gossip or women’s magazines.

      3 years ago
  10. I JUST LEFT A COMMENT SAYING THAT, ten seconds ago!

    3 years ago
  11. Ok, so my next question is what’s the ideal Korean woman?

    3 years ago
  12. pffft, mr gwon is a cutie.

    3 years ago
  13. Expectations are great to have – until they become unrealistic. Being a university student, talk often turns to boys especially because I have a roommate who is engaged and another who loves Kpop and Kdramas just as much as I do. When we are serious, we do focus more on personality, character and our relationship with the significant other but we don’t think it is unreasonable for it to be someone we find attractive and can provide for us. It is not uncommon at my school for a person to have a non-negotiable and negotiable lists.

    3 years ago
  14. Can the next TL;DR be the ideal woman? :D

    3 years ago
  15. I think it’s pretty common for Asian cultures to value education and economic stability–it shows that you’ll be able to support the family and kind of lends itself to the girl being a future housewife/dependent. My parents for example, expect me to get married with someone in the same profession, who makes the same or more than me. And it’s unfortunate but that seems to be the only ideal son-in-law that they see lol Another thing is the tendency to compare to see who’s “better at life” and these are the things that are discussed/bragged about.

    Dramas seem to perpetuate these ideals too! Making these characteristics seem more important than their terrible personality.

    The ideals about looks make me think about plastic surgery and how even guys get stuff done.
    Some of the stuff is REALLY specific like shopping bags and driving carefully lol it makes it seem like guys aren’t expected to be nice/gentlemanly so these become requirements…if that makes sense.

    3 years ago
  16. i mean while this list is really specific… its not that far off i feel in America… people in general are really impressed with ivy league graduates (definitely the women are more impressed abt male graduates than the other way around i would say) which usually leads to a partner who is financially stable but by no means is that the American standard for an “ideal man” and if you are going SOLELY by those standards (and not by anything else like personality and relationship qualities), then you will be referred to as a golddigger lol

    3 years ago
  17. I’m from America……soooooo we do what we want! lol

    3 years ago
  18. Wow……Good thing people “settle”, or we’d be looking at a nation of single people! :P

    3 years ago
  19. In an interview with Cnblue, they said they would rather be called ‘reliable’ than ‘funny’ by their girlfriend, which is pretty much the opposite of here in Australia, If a girl says you’re reliable, it pretty much means she has nothing else nice to say about you. If someone asks you why you like someone, saying ‘because he makes me laugh’ is perfectly reasonable whereas saying ‘because he’s reliable’ makes you sound like a tool.

    3 years ago
    • But why does it have to be one or the other? I know when I like someone it’s because they’re both reliable AND funny. The combination does exist.

      And yeah, it does make you sound like you’re using them.

      3 years ago
      • I think it makes her sound like she’s looking for good character.

        3 years ago
  20. In my opinion… as a short person, I prefer being able to stand near someone and not have to look up at them all the time. Sorry tall people, short people have issues. [My boyfriend is about 12 inches (30 cm) taller than me. While good for hugs, it sucks for regular conversation.] Love from Aggieland (college station, TX) :]

    3 years ago
  21. ahh I blame the dramas.

    3 years ago
  22. Korea needs to get over themselves with the whole ideal type thing. Like seriously, girls do crazy plastic surgery and guys have to do all these things just to get someone who wants to basically show off. I mean as much as I am one for financial stability, I would never be with someone who I didn’t love.

    3 years ago
  23. Wow… Accoding to this Idols are not the best material for boyfriends ^^

    3 years ago
  24. I think in all countries the ideal is turning towards academic and financial success, especially as universities are becoming more competitive and people are putting emphasis on having a stable career before dating/marriage. Being intelligent is the new sexy.

    However, it’s really sad how this or physical appearance can be valued over personality and chemistry, and I hope that more relationships can just ignore these ideals and just love each other because they are who they are.

    Another video for the ideal Korean woman? :P

    3 years ago
  25. You just described my ideal type at the end of you TLDR! Where can I find that guy. Hopefully he wants a girl who went to art school also XD

    3 years ago
  26. That is a good point. Not only being the only daughter-in-law, but being completely responsible for ensuring that she is able to have children who will be able to continue the family line and name. That’s a lot of pressure.

    3 years ago
  27. The whole idea of finding the Ideal (Korean) Man is ridiculous to me, I mean it just shows how shallow we can be as human beings. But I’ve noticed this isn’t just a Korean thing, it happens a lot in Asia (or to asians in general) and not only is it an expectation of the girl but her parents (usually mom) as well.

    A perfect example would be my mom and aunts, I was born and raised in Australia and my family have lived in a western country for over 30 years and yet the conversation of “So when are you going to find a good looking man to bring home” and the occasional “You need to make sure he has a good paying job” “Make sure he can take care of his family, because it means he can take care of you” and so on and so forth. Ah sigh!

    3 years ago
    • I don’t think it’s shallow to have an ideal type, however it’s when you hold every guy to that standard and don’t give them a chance if they don’t meet your ideal type.

      And wow, sounds tough having to put up with that from your family. >.<

      3 years ago
    • Well there IS truth behind those. You can’t expect some slob at life to treat you right, and I don’t mean this in the “providing you with stuff” kind of treating, but the implication behind it.

      The fact that a man is hard-working, reliable, with strong morals and wants the best for the woman she loves will obviously reflect in a successful working life. Or at least in the process of it.

      What I mean is, a man and a woman that loves will also wish to give their best to the woman/man they love. A sweet personality and humour won’t pay the bills. And like I tell you, it’s not the “providing money” per se, but the “providing a full life for the person you love”. It’s not the money or the work themselves, but the principles behind them.

      3 years ago
    • I must admit, though I don’t have to have some rich (actually I would hate that) I don’t want a deadbeat either.

      3 years ago
  28. “I cannot boast of knowing more than half a dozen women in all my acquaintance who are truly accomplished.”

    Reminded me of Pride and Prejudice haha. Those are some pretty insane ideals.

    3 years ago
  29. And I thought I had high expectations! I actually feel sorry for these boys if that’s the list of expectations they have to fill to be considered dating material.

    3 years ago
  30. Those are some crazy requests…..

    And show us a pic of your tattoo, Martina!!! :D

    3 years ago
  31. So…basically she just want a girl inside a handsome and wealthy man’s body, right?

    3 years ago
  32. hahahaha the dancing naked one is true!!!!! WHY DOES MY HUSBAND ALWAYS DO IT??

    I’ve sat in on many many drunken conversations of Korean guys complaining about the high standards of Korean girls. Always hearing about it.

    My husband doesn’t fit into the ideal type except maybe studying English in another country. He doesn’t have a good job, is not tall, dropped out of university, doesn’t have an amazing body. BUT IT’S OKAY! Because he makes me happy – more than anyone else in the world can. :)

    3 years ago
    • I love your comic! Thank you (both) ╰(^▽^)╭ I learn a lot and laugh a lot.

      3 years ago
    • UGH, couples in love. Always gotta show us single people what we’re missing out on. #ForeverAlone

      Jk, you guys (and SM) are adorable!

      3 years ago
  33. Good lord! So basically you have to be superhuman. If these are the expectations of a Korean man, then I am really worried what the ideal Korean woman would be….Next TL:DR??

    3 years ago
    • Yeah! I’m now really curious about the ideal Korean woman! hope to see a TL;DR on that. Thanks for this video, your tl;dr’s are always interesting

      3 years ago
    • To put it simply, The ideal korean woman is a clone of Kim Tae Hee, Lee Yeon Hee or Suzy.

      3 years ago
      • based on looks maybe but they do look for education, career and personality also depending on the guy. I’m Korean and to be honest, yes that’s what I would look for in a perfect man but nobody’s perfect so of course no one’s going to have all those characteristics. Just a few would be nice…

        3 years ago
    • The expectations for an ideal Korean woman probably would rival superhuman Korean man by being supermodel Korean Lady.

      But that’s the funny thing about ideals. Very rarely do you find the ideal of anything because reality makes us more sensible and pragmatic.

      3 years ago
      • I’m guessing one of these superpowers would be: ‘Must be able to walk in high-heels”
        Because that is a super power in its self.

        3 years ago
  34. Watching this makes me want to know what is the ideal “foreign guy” now, if such a list of standards exists? lol. I’d also want to know what the ideal Korean girl and foreign girl would be too, though, I wonder how “clean” the list would be too haha

    3 years ago
  35. hi

    3 years ago
  36. Ermahgaw martina your tattoo looks aweshum!! ~~

    3 years ago
  37. This description reminds me of a story one of my best friends told me about her mom: her mom was (and still is, IMHO) a very pretty young lady and she had many suitors come up to her door. One of them actually provided a résumé/CV with a letter declaring his love for her… he listed his family’s origins/salaries/jobs, what he aspired to be (doctor), his current grades (think: middle school), favorite/least favorite past-times, his views on drinking… it was a really intense letter package. :D

    3 years ago
  38. I love how there is a picture of Siwon from Suju as the freezeframe for this vid.

    3 years ago
    • Agreed! I saw that pic with the title of “What’s the Ideal Korean Man?” and was like, “Welp, this is gonna be a short video since they answered it in the freeze-frame!”
      Simon and Martina, you have delightful taste.

      3 years ago
    • Well he is tall, rich and handsome.

      As for the English well… and anything else we might have to meet him in person.

      3 years ago
      • Judging by his adorably awkward solo in SS2, I’d wager his English is somewhat lacking. Though to be fair that was a long time ago.

        3 years ago
    • He’s the only asian guy my mom approves xD

      3 years ago
      • MmM

        He’s the only asian guy my guy friend’s mom approves of as well :P

        3 years ago
    • I read this as “Simon from Suju” and I was wondering, when did Simon become a part of Super Junior? @____@

      3 years ago
      • Answer: I’ve always been a part of them :D

        3 years ago
        • They should put you on the group just to make the average height higher. Wouldn’t them ELF’s like that? hahaha

          3 years ago
        • But it would make the rest look shorter.
          Isn’t Donghae 169 cm?

          3 years ago
        • Just make him a drummer like in AOA. He’ll be always sitting xD

          3 years ago
      • OMGoodness that would be hilariously awesome!

        3 years ago
  39. So scary that I randomly started watching an old TLDR of you guys in your old apartment and you guys posted a video! I guess this is a sign that you telepathically sent me here to watch your new tldr

    3 years ago
    • Definitely a sign. We are connected, you and I. I will think of a number between 47 and 49. If you get it correct, then the omens will be true, and we can begin fulfilling the prophecy of taking over the world with Marshmallows.

      3 years ago