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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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