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Miss A – I Don’t Need a Man: Kpop Music Mondays

October 30, 2012

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A GIRL BAND ON KPOP MUSIC MONDAY! It has finally happened! After 13 weeks of pure Kpop Sausage festivities, Miss A finally breaks the streak to be a girl band on Kpop Music Mondays! If you haven’t seen this record-breaking video, check it out here:

So I’ve noticed that as of late we are saving our deeper thoughts for our blog posts. We had a bit to say about this Miss A video, or more so, what it stirred up inside of us regarding implications about Korean culture, but we feel like Music Monday should remain at least a bit entertaining rather than a heavy lecture about what we think about stuff. But the fact that we have to hold ourselves back a bit for Music Mondays doesn’t make us upset because we feel like there are different communities of people existing on YouTube, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and on the EYK blog itself that have different kinds of conversations and enjoy commenting in different ways. While a lot of viewers overlap into all of these communities (the Nastiest of the Nasties!), we must confess that this blog here has our favourite group of individuals, who all seem to promote conversation and to discuss things in a level-headed fashion. YAY! So onto our thoughts about the video:

While Miss A’s message seems simple enough, truthfully, it’s difficult to fully grasp the context of the video if you don’t live (or if you have lived) in Korea. Even thought we really love Korean culture, there are some parts we don’t love, one of which being the rampant materialism. I’ll give you an upsetting example: when I was still teaching at my all girls high school, dating was a hot topic, so I tried to incorporate interesting concepts like opinions on dating into my lessons to foster class participation. One of my classes was an open class survey where I asked questions in English, and the students would vote, and then we’d discuss why they voted for what, and then they’d present their findings to the class.

One of the most appalling discoveries I made was during a survey about dating and marriage. Out of my 14 classes of over 40 students, around 80% of them would choose A) a good looking, tall, rich person that treated them like garbage over B) a short but good looking average paid person that treated them like gold. I was SO shocked and I wanted to know why they would make such a poor choice, to which they’d respond that appearance to other people was more important. And somehow, they thought their personal happiness would increase if other people were envious of what they had, even if what they had didn’t result in their own personal happiness. And there was also the added bonus they could buy things to make themselves happy.

Now, I’m glad that there was a small percentage of students that wanted to meet someone that wasn’t a jerk, but even when I adjusted the survey more in favour of the shorter guy regarding happiness, it seemed like shortness in itself was such a HUGE problem. A huge shallow problem. When I told my students I dated a guy who was a foot shorter than me (true) they were shocked and even responded with “ewww”. I really REALLY tried to impress upon my students the importance of a person liking someone for their personality, rather than for just money and looks, but it was hard to convince them when they’d say, “but you married Simon and he’s really tall.” I didn’t marry Simon because he was tall!!!! O____o

Now as I got to know more Korean adults, I discovered that, in my personal opinion, some of their priorities were out of order. When my friends started dating a new guy, I asked them what they were like and every single person started to tell me about their job, how much money they make, and if they were good looking. I even had one friend tell me in advance, “he’s not good looking and he doesn’t make a lot of money”. And I was like… “Um. I don’t care about that. Does he treat you well? Does he make you laugh?” I really had to needle my friends to find out WHAT their boyfriend were like outside of their jobs, so I feel like something is going wrong with priorities if people are more concerned about impressing their friends about their boyfriends’ job. Now obviously, not everyone in Korea is like this, but I experienced it enough to feel worried about my friends.

Now what does this have to do with Miss A’s song? Well, it seems that the idea of dating or marrying rich is a very big goal in Korea (and other parts of the world), but it’s more weighed towards a woman snagging a rich man, rather than a man snagging a rich woman.

Even if you look at Korean dramas, the concept of wealthy women seem to fall into three basic categories: a really old grandma CEO, a heinous b*tch of a crazy CEO, or the heinous b*tch daughter of a rich CEO trying to hook up with the rich guy that is interested in the poor girl. Why aren’t there any talented F4 flower girls that are sought after by all the boys? Super rich woman driving hot cars and saving a poor guy from his rough life of not-richness? I want to see a Korean girl forcefully grab a guy by his wrist and drag him somewhere against his will. I really think that this is a small reflection of how gender roles are seen in Korea.

Now I know, we could look at North American TV shows and be appalled by what they say about North America, but yeah, I do think that a lot of the trashy reality TV shows out there are a reflection of what needs to change. How is Toddlers in Tiara’s still allowed to be on TV?! What is with this HoneyBooBoo crap?! But since I live in Korea, I’m out of the loop with North American TV and I just read random articles that appall me from time to time.

Altogether, I wasn’t necessarily trying to make a point in this blog post or form a hypothesis or anything. I just wanted to talk a bit about my experiences of gender roles in Korea and how those experiences relate to Miss A’s song and video, which might not be as relatable to people living outside of Korea. Living in Korea, though, this video makes a lot of sense to us. Alright, I need input people, input! Anyone else have similar experiences while living in Korea? Outside of Korea? Inside of a hamburger bun? What….

And, on another super serious note, JYP yells out his name whenever he pulls something out of his pants, and more in the bloopers!

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Miss A – I Don’t Need a Man: Kpop Music Mondays

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  1. Loved this!

    7 years ago
  2. All Hail the End of the Sausage Party (on Music Mondays) !!!!!!

    7 years ago
  3. Miss A!!!!!!

    7 years ago
  4. I haven’t watched this week’s KMM yet bc I’m currently in lecture, but I read the blog post, and soo true about (most) girls’ ‘ideal types’. And I don’t think it’s just a Korean thing, but more of an Asian thing (I’m Taiwanese Canadian)
    My cousin (who I am at all not close with) have stated, in short, screw education imma just marry a rich guy and I’ll be set for life. Like what is this crap, seriously…
    Makes me so upset when I hear guys go for good looking house wife material girls, and girls go for good looking and rich fart sucking guys…

    side note: I almost lol’d in lecture when Martina said she didn’t marry Simon bc he was tall, thanks haha ♥

    7 years ago
    • Yeah, waaaaaaaaaaay back then everywhere marriage seemed to only be for money and status. Thankfully the Western world has progressed from that, but Asia…well, they ought to catch up. That’s why I’m also glad that my Chinese parents want me to choose a career and a man that will make me happy, not rich (though I’m sure they’d think that’d be nice lol).

      7 years ago
    • I’m thankful my parents always preach that my independence and therefore, my education, always comes first and in my mom’s words, guys are optional lol and I’m sometimes baffled to hear these words from her when she’s your typical asian housewife that (financially) depends on my dad, but they’re both so loving and supportive in my erm… independent-ness haha

      I’m so glad to hear you’ve walked away (?) from that part of your life and was self-aware enough to do so; I’ve heard stories where the girl continue to stay in a bad situation either bc she can’t bring herself to, she doesn’t have support elsewhere, or heaven forbids, her parents and/or friends tell her to stick it out… it makes me ill that there are people out there that encourage enduring abusive relationships…

      7 years ago
      • I wouldn’t look down on your mother because of how she chooses to live. There are some people that want to stay at home, raise a family, and be a house wife. It’s what they enjoy, and they get fulfillment out of life like that. Some people get an education and still choose to be a housewife, if they find a good husband. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s still good to get an education though, because unexpected things happen in life. With an education you can make sure that whatever you choose to do, you know you can at least support yourself (and hopefully your family if you need to) no matter what you choose to do in the end.

        7 years ago
        • Oh no, I’m not, and looking back at what I wrote, I realized it sounded like that ><"

          I sound like a bad daughter now :(

          7 years ago
        • No, you don’t sound like a bad daughter, don’t feel bad.

          7 years ago
    • Well, not just an Asian thing. A friend of mine, whom I believe is Arabic-Israeli, told me about visiting her cousins in her dad’s home town. Granted, they live in a small village away from urbanized area, so maybe their way of life seems more “old-fashioned” to us, but when she told them about how she’s in university and trying hard, they were absolutely appalled! According to my friend, her cousins don’t have any form of ambition and just aims to marry rich.
      My parents are, luckily, more concerned with my own competencies and ability to provide for myself. I guess it has to do with their lives, how they went from being really quite poor to building up a comfortable life for themselves and me all thanks to their own hard work.

      And anyway, isn’t it more realistic to not be completely dependent on another person so something like finances (and happiness)? The economy fluctuates, businesses can fail, and boy wouldn’t it suck if your only ambition in life was to marry rich and then your rich husband’s business fails?

      7 years ago
    • VB

      Hullo! I’m Taiwanese American, agree with the “asian thing” idea. MY cousin said the exact same thing. She went to college to “find a guy and marry rich.” Which annoys me because she cheapens the idea of higher ed and shuns the the idea of a girl pursuing a master’s degree and above as useless (what I’m doing) *sigh*

      7 years ago
      • Oh wow… and college isn’t cheap at all either… well… I hope that um, works out for her but you know what, you keep doing your own thing! Because seriously, when all else fails, it is SO much better to depend on yourself than a so-called rich guy. Who needs to “marry rich” when you can “get rich” yourself? :)

        Of course, economic crisis aside… -sigh-

        7 years ago
    • agreed~ though it may not be as big as what EYK have written above, often when i’m around Asians (I’m Chinese living in Scotland) and they talk about relationships and stuff, the first thing that they will ask is “What does he do for a living?” “Does he get a good pay?” “Wheres he from?”

      Social status is a big thing amongst Asians, which is one of the things i’m not really proud of being a fellow Asian XP it’s like saying if you can’t reach the top, don’t bother talking to me~ >.<

      7 years ago
      • Exactly! Social status and public image is so important among Asians and maybe it’s because we’re living ‘west side’ and in a Westernized culture, so it’s something we can’t really wrap our heads around…

        7 years ago
  5. Having lived in Japan for four years of my life, I have to agree with you that it is a huge problem. Status, money and looks seemed to be the most important thing. I think that it’s a shame because while in Japan, I met wonderful people who were very nice but because of their life situation, would never be given a second glance in a dating situation, which is really sad.
    I also like the point that you brought up about the strong women. What drove me crazy in Japan was the lack of strong independent women, because the ideal type for men was a woman that they could protect. I understood that it was a cultural thing, but I still hated it. (sorry, rant….)

    7 years ago
    • It doesn’t matter if it is a “cultural” thing to me. It doesn’t excuse sexist values to me. For a specific example,I don’t consider the way women were treated back in the day in America (though things aren’t near perfect with that situation still) okay just because “it was in the culture”.

      7 years ago
  6. Gosh I can’t stop laughing because of the french “subtitles” ! xD Why the hell did you guys write this ? hahaha lmfaoo.
    Anyway it’s nice to think of your french-speaking fans ! *_* (not sure if this sentence is correct but you get my point don’t you ?)

    7 years ago
  7. It’s definitely got a Beyonce/Destiny’s Child vibe to it. Very cute and bouncy. I’m glad they’re back too. Win!
    Um, with dating, I don’t have any friends that think this way entirely. Some might be more superficial than others but all would chose love and friendship with a man over attractiveness and money. Though those things are good too. =D
    Oh and my guy friends usually express they like best a pretty face and makes them laugh. They have enough girl friends to know bodies change. You can never count on that.

    7 years ago
  8. This blog post of your s remindeed me of my favorite book “the little prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. There is this line in the book (I had to look up for the quote on the internet since i read the book in Lithuanian) “Grown-ups love figures… When you tell them you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies? ” Instead they demand “How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make? ” Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.”

    7 years ago
    • Heh, this reminds me of a speed dating thing my room mates conned me into going to with them. They had all these questions for us that we could ask each other, like what is your major, what kind of job do you want to get, what job do you have now. You know, things like that, that most people ask when they want to get to know you. I decided to throw those questions out the window and instead asked things like “what do you like to do for fun?” (since their personality is much more important to me than what their major is) but so many of the guys looked at me with like “But… that’s not one of the questions…”

      Sadly this is also the attitude of people near Washington DC. Literally the first things they will ask me are “What kind of job do you have? Is it a well paying one?” “Where do you see your career in the future?” “Are you planning on going back to college?” instead of questions like “Hi I’m ____, what’s your name?” I always have an insane desire to tell them that I plan on being a hobo that bums off my parents for the rest of my life, and maybe I’ll knock myself up with a rich man’s baby so I can get money off him. Ah, the things i would say if my parents hadn’t drilled into me to try and be respectful…

      hmmm, sorry if that seems like I’m ranting. I guess I’ve kind of been irritated by people lately.

      7 years ago
    • I immediately thought about this too!

      7 years ago
  9. 4minute!

    7 years ago
  10. Congratulations on finally getting a kitchen table (JYP)! (:

    7 years ago
  11. Another awesome review you guys! Keep it up! How is your eyes?!

    7 years ago
  12. Simon lost his pants at first and now he doesn’t need it. Awesome! He needs only his T-shirts. XD

    And Meemers. MEEMERS LURKING EVERYWHERE! =^ㅅ^=

    7 years ago
  13. One more thing… 4:55-5:02 MEEMERS IN THE SHOT <3

    7 years ago
  14. My roommate is am international student from Korea and I just told her about your survey and she said that she would also choose the rich/tall/treats-me-like-crap guy. I was just as shocked as Martina probably was. She said that money was the most important factor and that a man without a good job and salary implies that he has no skills or ability and that is absoluetly unacceptable.

    7 years ago
  15. LOVED the french part! Merci de penser à nous hahaha!

    7 years ago
  16. great blog post and KMM! It’s sooo funny yet insightful. I have to say it again, you guys are the best!

    7 years ago
  17. nah

    Miss A for my vote, it was a song that grew on me, wasn’t a fan the first time, but now im singing it everywere

    7 years ago
  18. The video doesn’t work on my mac :( Loved what you both had to say though!! I didn’t realize how materialistic people could be. Lol I would much rather be in a relationship with someone that is poor but treats me well then be with someone rich that treats me like crap. I wish more people felt that way. Its really sad to see good people end up with jerks!!

    7 years ago
  19. I was really excited when I understood the deeper meaning/context to this song because of you guise. I am constantly indebted to EYK for giving me a better understanding of Korean culture and thus allowing me to enjoy it more.
    I’m really glad you went more in depth about dating standards in Korea. I know you’ve touched on it briefly in other videos, but this blogpost really hits home the big idea. It seems so foreign to me to date only for looks/money and it makes me really sad that some girls in the world hold this as an ideal. Do I appreciate an attractive guy? Yes. Will I solely base a relationship off of looks? No. This does not equal a lifetime happiness, because eventually looks will fade and no amount of money is infinite. True happiness looks past that and I’m glad miss A is promoting that idea. To quote an article I read in all kpop “[Miss A] arent looking for a man, they’re looking for the right man” Amen!
    So yeah, end rant.

    7 years ago
  20. Were can i vote for this week showdown ?

    7 years ago
  21. I’ve been into korean culture for a while now, and I think the same way…after watching lots of tv dramas and MV I understood that one of negative aspects in it is the materialism and the idea of female figure above all…however, I think it is not only an “Asian Issue” but more a global one…even if not so obviously, in other cultures the idea of the “dominant male power” is always the most popular…I mean, I live in Italy and even here woman have lots of problems at being considered as capable as men…so I really
    liked and understood Miss A’s song, even if I’m not Korean… If nothing else, I appreciate
    Koreans because they are honest in admitting that this is their real way of
    thinking … while I hate the way my government claims to support equal
    opportunities when the problem lies at the very core of our culture…

    7 years ago
  22. I couldn’t agree more with Martina, It always saddens me to see wealth and career progression being equated with success in life and a yardstick by which to measure a potential partner. There are far more important things in life. Money is not everything. I just hope that Martina’s former students don’t have to find that out the hard way.

    7 years ago
  23. This is so very interesting! Just today we were going over family and life vocab in my Japanese class and Sensei was telling us that even if a married couple hate each other they would never get divorced. She even mentioned that she’s never seen her parents kiss.
    Okay, a little different than what you’re talking about but it’s still interesting to see the huge culture differences. It’s really hard to wrap your mind around marrying for money. Yes, some have the Cinderella idea of falling in love and marrying a rich guy but it seems like they’re skipping the falling in love part. :/
    I, for one, am really sorry you had to subject yourself to Toddlers in Tiaras and HoneyBooBoo. I apologize for my country to making such cheap and horrible shows.

    7 years ago
  24. I really liked this blogpost..heh. so level headed xD but in all seriousness, I agree… Although it’s adorable watching the guy save the girl etc etc, I wonder what the drama would be like if the girl saved the guy. Also, in Asia in general, I found that reputation matters a lot. I’ve told my parents many times that I don’t care what I wear, I don’t care that people may think I’m poor since I wear the same clothes, yet my parents insist my reputation would be bad.

    7 years ago
    • That’s why I really liked that one drama, Protect the Boss I think it was called, because it seemed the girl did more saving the guy instead of the other way around.

      7 years ago
  25. lol @ simon holding up the sausages

    7 years ago
  26. I loved Music Monday this week, and i have to add that Martina, your post makes A LOT of sense! since i don’t live in Korea (yet :P) i don’t have first hand experience with this, its a good thing to know. and yes Simon, you DO need your pants! btw….*whisper:JYP!

    7 years ago
  27. Big hearts to the finger moustache!!!

    7 years ago
  28. Whatever problems I have with dating in my own culture, I’m glad this isn’t one of them.

    7 years ago
  29. I remember being in school and we would all jokingly say, “Junior year is kicking my ass. I’m just marrying a rich guy.” I think the marrying a rich man is because family wants to know you’re taken care of, I know my parents would love me to be well of with a rich man. At the same time, I think they’d be disappointed if I threw everything away just to be well off. I had a physics teacher who flat out told us that a marriage to a rich man would not work out. Then again being at an all girls school, they wanted us to be independent women, not following behind a man the rest of our lives.

    7 years ago
  30. While I’m all for women empowerment and less dependence on a guy/your family, I kinda do understand the korean mentality. While I would never marry a rich guy for his money and disregard his horrible personality traits, I also wouldn’t marry someone who didn’t have a stable job/income even though I loved him (unless I was well off enough to support us both). There has to be a middle ground. You can’t throw love away for money, but you can’t throw away stability away for love either. /shrug that’s just my take on it….

    7 years ago
    • I believe that the problem doesn’t lie in stability itself, but the Korean ideal of stability. The article that Martina posted was talking about how the Korean middle class needs to have a lifestyle that’s almost like the high class in North America. I don’t mean to point out that its bad — every country has its own cultural standards — but from a North American view it seems that happiness comes with a very high price to the point that we wonder if the cost is worth it, especially when it seems that sacrificing personal happiness is okay as long as your decisions garner envy from others, even your friends. Personally, I don’t think of their decisions for dating as a form of stability (in the way Martina described their opinions on dating anyways) but more for bragging rights and that isn’t something I really agree with (and is something I argue with my parents all the time – I’m Vietnamese living in Canada). Either way, this is an interesting blog post and I hope I can read more opinions here to learn more!

      7 years ago
  31. I love watching for Meemers in your videos… he’s like the Where’s Waldo of your videos, he always pops up in unexpected places

    7 years ago
  32. Hmmm, I’d have to say I’m short and single. I don’t really care for tall men because…well…they’re too tall for me…lol! Even the kpop idols are too tall. It makes me wonder how tall Korean women are if they want a tall man. Also, I’m single and live on my own and my step-dad is always talking about how I don’t need a man when I do something as simple as carry grocery bags up the stairs into my apt or take out my own trash….really, now! If I want a man only for those things, then I’m pathetic. I want a man for a relationship and as a companion, not to do things for me. They aren’t slaves. I don’t think I’d want a man for protection either. I can take care of myself. So learning all this about Korea just makes it a little sad for me. I’m not against women independence, but men should treat women better and that goes for all cultures.

    7 years ago
    • By the way, the irony is that most Korean women are shorter than Korean men, but they wear 6 inch heels and complain they want to meet a tall guy. 0_____o I always told my students to throw away their shoes with heels, and TADA! Tall guys everywhere! Hahahaha!

      7 years ago
  33. I noticed that too but never really paid much attention to it. My dad is mongolian and my mom is mexican. love is taken serious in mexican culture, most not all. but finding love when you both have nothing and making it work is a big thing.. but as my dad i noticed it was different. always saying he needs to have a job and good looking is always the first question. but if i tell my mom he open the door and was super nice to me she was most impressed, but if i told her that he yelled at me or told me what to do. she gets really mad and even went to his parents house. To my dad ( that loves me ) saw it differrent. well i see it both ways . but still money is not everything, but it is needed. and looks should just be icying on the cake.

    7 years ago
  34. nice french subtitles…very strange for an insult (but ok, you’re from Canada! ^^), but nice!

    7 years ago
  35. I wonder if their draw towards that type of man also has to do with security. When I was in the Philippines I found out that my friends put security and family even before their own opinion of who they choose to marry. When I was visiting N. Africa women don’t even look at a man unless he’s 30 and has his life established.

    7 years ago
  36. I know this doesn’t have anything to do with MissA, but you guys look like you lost a lot of weight! Congrats!

    7 years ago
  37. I would rather have a man who treats me right and is not crazily attractive then one who is hot and treats me like crap. In all honesty, i want a relationship like the one may parents have: they respect each other, treat each other equally, and just simply love each other. My mom works and even though she does cook dinner almost every night, my dad does it sometimes and also helps with the cleaning around the house. I guess what I’m trying to say is I want a relationship that is not defined by the gender stereotypes of our society: just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean that I have to be the one that cooks, cleans, and waits on her husband hand and foot. I think society needs to stop focusing on outer beauty when it’s the beauty and character on the inside that really counts.

    7 years ago
  38. wow very interesting blog post.. i must say I agree and it does scare me sometimes.. outside of the fact that I love korean culture and most of its great things but this is one of things that makes me feel super self conscious when I am surrounded by a bunch of asians or when I go to different country..
    This fact would be I guess why plastic surgery is such a trend over Asian countries.. it’s sad..

    7 years ago
  39. Nic

    I saw the new Music Monday was up and was like “Yay!” But forced myself to finish the work I had to do first so I could watch it as a reward for finishing. It was worth it! Loved this Music Monday.

    About what was said about the focus on tall rich guys…. yes sadly I agree and see it all the time in Korean culture.
    I’ve had some experiences myself where it’s been frustrating the focus that is put on height and looks and money. I’m married to a Korean man and he doesn’t exactly fit into the Korean ideal. He is not tall, not rich and by Korea’s high standards not good looking (though Western people seem to think he is good looking). More than once I’ve had friends who were Korean girls blatantly ask me why I married my husband because he is not rich or tall. It shocked me at first but now I have my lines ready about how he treats me so well, he makes me laugh, we are best friends, he makes me happy. I hope I’m changing their views even in a small way when they see how happy we are together. But I do get frustrated at why I need to even defend myself about it….

    But it did make me feel… I’m not sure how to put it… better in some way that’s it’s something obvious to you guys, because it’s something I stopped talking about because when you try to explain this to people who don’t know much about Korean culture either online or offline you can get accused of stereotyping or being rude or racist etc. I start to question myself and wonder is it because I’m closer to Korean men and hear their complaints about this and I start to second guess what I’ve seen and heard. Every culture has good and bad things about it and this is something worrying about modern Korean culture and I do think there should be some dialogue about it. And Miss A’s song is at least a step in the right direction.

    7 years ago
  40. I’m really glad that you guys elaborated further in this blog post about what you thought of the message. I agree that this probably isn’t miss A’s best song to date, but the message of this song is superb!

    I remember reading a lot of hate comments on the MV comment section, saying that miss A are being stupid and that people are offended because they still live off of their parents’ money and they like their boyfriends to indulge on them. It took everything in me not to respond to those comments. But I think this song probably hit a little too close to home for a lot of people — which is awesome, because for once, there’s a K-pop song that promotes values worthy of followings and not just about being cute and melting a guy’s ice cream.

    7 years ago
    • I guess I don’t think there is anything wrong with parents supporting kids or giving them an allowance, after all, why have kids if you don’t want to take care of them? BUT I think Miss A is referring to those really spoiled kids (like the kind you see in Boys Before Flowers) that are real jerks about having money to spend even though they don’t earn it themselves. The ones that put other people down and judge them based on clothing and looks and name brands. I guess there are extremes in all situations right? Of course, I loved it when Simon used to pop into my work with surprise flowers when we were dating! It’s a great feeling to have a gift bought for you, but you shouldn’t be dating someone FOR the gifts. :D

      7 years ago
      • I had a boyfriend who I could never get him to understand that while I loved that he wanted to give me gifts, the best gift he could give me was the smaller things like simply spending time with me. The lavish gifts, at least for me, didn’t make up for his douche baggery.

        7 years ago