I have previously written a post about how to find your boy-friend or girl-friend in South Korea. In this post, let’s talk about some interesting tips for dating in South Korea.
In South Korea, there seems to be a lot of excuses for celebrations by dating couples. For example, Korean couples celebrate dating anniversary every 100 days of their relationship. You may see in some Korean TV dramas that couples count down to the 100th day anniversary and plan how to celebrate it and what gifts should be bought. The couples have anniversary celebrations again on the 200th day, 300th day, and so on of their relationships. Such 100-day anniversaries are so important to the couples that if one party forgets such anniversaries, the other party may use it as the reason for splitting up. So, in South Korea, some people use smartphone app to help keep tracking of such 100-day anniversaries.
There are also some special romantic days in the South Korean calendar for couple celebrations. As mentioned in my post about special days falling on the 14th of every month in South Korea, apart from the Valentine’s Day (14 February) and White Day (14 March), couples also celebrate the Rose Day (14 May), Kiss Day (14 June), Silver Day (14 July), Green Day (14 August), Photo Day (14 September), Wine Day (14 October), Movie Day (14 November) and Hug Day (14 December). You may refer to my post regarding how couples celebrate these special romantic days.
Public announcement of relationship
When compared with their western counterparts, Korean couples are relatively conservative, and intimate behaviour (like kissing and hugging) in the public is still not so common. However, the couples do not hesitate to let others know their relationships. Couples may wear couple T-shirts (with same colour, same pattern, love messages or even their photos) and use couple bags. If you watch Korean TV dramas, you may find couples like to wear couple rings. In South Korea, wearing ring on the ring finger of the left hand is not restricted to those having married. Dating couples like to wear couple rings on the left-hand ring fingers to show that they have a good dating relationship. So, some couples like to exchange couple rings as gifts on their 100-day anniversaries.
Another well-known ritual of Korean couples is to hang the love locks onto the fences of the ground terrace of the N Seoul Tower. Lovers write their names on the locks (some also attach plastic plates for writing love message) which are then hanged onto the fences. They then throw the keys away to show that they are locked together eternally. It was said that the idea originated from some tourists who saw the same thing at the Tokyo Tower, and was made popular by the TV reality variety program, “We Got Married” (우리 결혼했어요). In the hit TV drama, “My Love From the Star” (별에서 온 그대), the main characters also did the same thing at the N Seoul Tower. In fact, this “Locks of Love” idea has become so well-known that even the tourists like to hang love locks at the N Seoul Tower. If you forget to bring your love locks, don’t worry – there are love locks, plastic plates and writing pens on sale at the souvenir shop of N Seoul Tower.
Paying the bill
Dating couples do not split the bill evenly or pay for the bill individually, and usually the boy-friend pays the bill. However, while studying in Seoul, I talked to some Korean male students who said that while they didn’t mind paying the bill during dating, it would be good if their girl-friends occasionally pay for some small items, for example, the boy-friend paying for the movie tickets and the girl-friend paying for the pop-corn; the boy-friend paying for the meal and the girl-friend paying for the coffee when they go for a coffee after the meal. This shows that their girl-friends are not selfish and are willing to share the burden.
South Korea is a highly-wired country and it is well-covered by internet connection. You may note from the Korean TV dramas that Koreans like texting each other using their smartphones. Korean couples are no exception – texting your lover is the first thing to do when you wake up and the last thing to do before you go to bed. During the day, the couples text each other about their whereabouts and send each other emoticons with hearts and/or kisses. Some couples may even track each other’s locations through smartphones using an app with GPS map.
Therefore, if a person is suspicious of his/her lover dating the others, he/she may demand smartphone passwords from his/her lover to check the texting and call histories of the smartphones to see if there are any questionable communications with the people of the opposite sex. So, in order to avoid queries from their lovers, some people prefer to erase the texting and call histories of the smartphones as soon as they have finished texting or calling. Interestingly, there is also an app developed in South Korea to interrupt GPS tracking signals.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. So, if you are dating in South Korea, don’t forget to try the above rituals if they suit you. Happy dating! 🙂
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Michelle Kang, “For love in Korea, follow the rules“, Korea JoongAng Daily, 2014-04-07
Keith Kim, “Dating in Korea: 11 things you should expect!“, Seoulistic, 2013-05-23
Park Ji-yun, “Seoul Tower locked in everlasting love“, The Korea Times, 2008-11-12