I’ve been meaning to write this for a while but lately I’ve been so busy with writing on my main site – Life’s an Adventure 2 – about K-pop and Korean music in Toronto that I just never found the time. Now that the concert is over and most of my new K-pop albums have been reviewed (although I’m still working on a couple of articles about Korean indie music), I finally have some time.
This is a surprisingly easy topic to write about… because it’s probably the most common question I get asked – for the past six or so years – once people find out I love Korean culture and write about it. Although I don’t understand the correlation between loving the culture and dating the guys… it seems that most people make that leap in their minds. So I’ll address it here.
Why here and not on my Korean culture site? Because neither the question nor my answer are really about Korean culture at all but more simply, just about dating. And I promised you all that I would talk about dating here!
Do I like Korean guys? Have I dated a Korean guy?
That question, in one form or another, is one I’ve been asked by almost everyone I’ve met at some point since I moved to Korea in 2005. I was regularly asked it during my three years there – by both guys and girls, Korean and foreign – and am now asked it often (although not quite by everyone) since I’ve returned to Toronto. My answer is basically along the lines of “Yeah, sure. They are guys right. Some are hot, some are not.” But that doesn’t satisfy some people, even though it’s the truth so I’ll expand on the answer since it seems that so many people are curious. Not that it bothers me to be asked, I find it oddly fascinating and intriguing that just about everyone asks me.
Yes, I like and date Korean guys! But I don’t JUST like and date Korean guys – or Asian guys for that matter. I lived in Korea for three years and I think it would have been more weird if I hadn’t ever dated a Korean guy. Come on, three years in a country where most of the dating possibilities are Korean, wouldn’t it be odd if I didn’t date at least one? Especially with friends and co-workers willing and ready to set me up on a blind date? But I want to be clear – I fell in love with Korean CULTURE while I was in Korea and felt so comfortable and content during my three years there but that doesn’t mean that I will only – or want to only – date Korean guys. In my mind, loving and feeling at home in the culture doesn’t really influence who I want to date (well, not all that much anyways). In fact, since I’ve been home I’ve only had one relationship – with a white Canadian – although I have been on a few dates with guys from a variety of backgrounds.
The best answer to the question is I like guys. I don’t have a physical or racial type other than I tend to prefer guys with dark hair and slim, athletic builds. But a lot of guys – from many different countries – fall into my physical preference. So yeah, Korean guys fit the bill… I can’t deny that or that I find some of them attractive, just check out my post on hot Korean actors or hot Korean musicians. But I also have a celebrity crush on Channing Tatum and have always liked Johnny Depp and that doesn’t mean I only date white guys. Just like my writing about Korean culture doesn’t mean I only want to date Korean guys. My exs that I remember most fondly are a white Canadian, a Native Canadian, a black American and a Korean American. And other than all having dark hair… they really had nothing in common physically or racially.
Hope I cleared that up!
So what do I look for in a boyfriend?
After “do you like Korean guys?” this is the second most common question and one that makes more sense to me. And like most people, I have a short list of things I look for in a potential boyfriend. In my second third year of university – yeah, I said “second” third year, I had two third years of university because I changed both my major (from Business to Politics/Economics) and my university – I came up with a list of five qualities that I want in my boyfriend. Over the years, it really hasn’t changed except I’ve added two others.
I love a good conversation more than just about anything. And I’m a super curious person who is always looking to learn something new and I’m interested in a wide variety of topics from sports to Korean culture to current affairs to music. So it’s important that my boyfriend be able to discuss a wide variety of topics and bring his own interests to the table. I want him to be able to point out when I’m wrong – nicely of course – and be able to show me a different point of view.
2. Sense of Humour
Yeah, I know this is on just about every girl’s list and many guys but it’s important. Being able to laugh at life and yourself is vital. I’m a glass half-full girl and have a slightly odd sense of humour so it’s no fun dating someone that’s either always negative or doesn’t understand my humour (which I will admit leans towards sarcasm at times). Plus my family loves to tease so he needs to be able to understand gentle teasing and hopefully tease back in a friendly manner.
3. Love of Sports & the Outdoors
I love sports, especially hockey and baseball! So not liking sports is a deal-breaker. I tried it once, it so didn’t work. The guy doesn’t need to cheer for the same team (I’m both a Leafs and Jays fan) as I grew up with a father who’s a Habs fan and a brother who’s an Oilers fan, but he does need to understand that sports will be on the TV at times. And also that pretty much the only time I curse is when I watch the Leafs – sad but true.
I also love camping, canoeing and hiking and would love to share that passion – and participate more in it – with my boyfriend. While I love living in the city and frankly couldn’t imagine not doing so, I am a country girl at heart and need to get out and explore all the wonderful (and beautiful) outdoors that Canada has. And yeah, I can bait my own hook!
4. Love of Travel & Adventure
I never imagine how key this point was when I first made it but realized it’s more about how I view life that simply about travel. Life IS an adventure – this is how I think everyday and why my main site has that name. Yes, I love to travel and would love to pursue that love with my partner, showing him my favourite places, seeing his favs and exploring new ones together. But it’s more about how he view’s life. Finding adventure and new discoveries in our everyday life is just as important as traveling to an exotic location.
I’ve been told I intimidate some guys – no idea why, I think I’m nice – so if he’s confident in himself, it will make for a better relationship. I am confident in myself, I’ll admit to that, and can be a little self-contained at times but I’m also shy around any guy I find attractive (at first). I can never ask a guy out, I just can’t, much to my friends dismay (I can’t explain why I can’t because I run the rest of my life quite easily). So he needs to be confident enough to start the relationship. Plus it’s just nice to have someone make decisions for you (sometimes, not always of course).
Those were my original five qualities that I looked for in potential boyfriends since my early 20s. One that I always flirted with including but finally decided it was too obvious to state was “mutual attraction.” Being attracted to each other is key! But I think it goes without saying as I can’t imagine dating a guy who I didn’t want to kiss. So since I created the original list, I’ve only added two others (but all of the originals still stand intact).
6. Good with Money/Investing
No, I don’t mean I want my boyfriend to be rich! It turns out that I have absolutely no interest in my personal finances or investing. I hate math! So even though I’ve always been good at math and accounting (in school and at work), I just can’t be bothered in my personal life. I know it’s important and I should care more but I don’t. Which is why I want my boyfriend (and future husband) to both care and be good with money and investing. Not obsessed, just comfortable and competent.
7. Understand and/or Appreciate My Love of Korean Culture
And this is where we come full circle to the start of this post. I do love Korean culture and it’s become a big part of my life. I write about it, I attend Korean events regularly, I run a Korean-English language exchange group called Say Kimchi, and I study Korean language (badly but I do study). So our relationship will be stronger if he understands how important it is to me and how much of my time and life it consumes. Of course, if he enjoys it too and participates in this area of my life that would definitely help!
Notice how none of the qualities I look for are physical! That’s because I really don’t have a type of guy I date (other than most have dark hair). But since I’ve been crazy honest here, I do prefer my guy to be both taller than me (I’m 167cm or 5’6″) and weigh more (no, I’m not saying my weight) because it makes slow dancing together more fun. And then I can wear heels on our dates! Plus, I don’t want to feel big! No girl does!
Hope that answers the question about me and Korean guys! And now that you know what I look for in a boyfriend… What qualities do you look for in a boyfriend?