Valentine’s Day in Korea

Well, Valentine’s Day has come and passed. And for those in Korea, you probably don’t know how different Valentine’s Day is. While in America, technically gifts are supposed to be given both ways, I’m sure most people realize guys don’t really care for the gifts. At least, not nearly as much as girls do. Valentine’s Day is much more geared towards the females of America. I’m not saying this is bad, just saying that’s how it is. Valentine’s Day here is pretty much the opposite.

While it’s not exactly against the rules to give your girlfriend a gift on Valentine’s Day, the normal procedure is that women are supposed to give men the gifts. This isn’t just some chauvanistic, male ego-driven thing, though. Conversely, one month later on March 14th is White Day. On White Day is the intended day for men to give gifts and chocolates to their girlfriends. So, essentially speaking, Korea has two Valentine’s Days. Talk about taking capitalist consumerism to heart.

And, for the single, be not faint of heart! You have a day as well! After enduring two straight months of couples holidays on the 14th, April 14th is your day. Black Day. It doesn’t really sound that fun or happy. But, I don’t think “black” is supposed to take on the connotation that an American would give it, especially in this context. On Black Day, single people can go out and eat a special kind of noodle dish, famous for it’s black sauce. Yet another victory for consumerism.

Actually, there are a lot of these holidays that I have noticed. Nov. 11th is Ppeppero Day, which are basically like Korean Pocky – cracker sticks covered in chocolate. It’s on that day, because the long, straight shape of the cookie resembles a number one. So, 11/11 is Ppeppero Day. Also, coming up in a couple days is Samgyeopsal Day. Samgyeopsal is a famous dish in Korea. It’s not like you need a reason to go eat it, it’s one of the most popular dishes. Yet, coincidentally enough “sam” means “three”, so on March 3rd, we have Samgyeopsal Day.

My own Valentine’s Day wasn’t that great. I got some chocolate, but it’s pretty common for female co-workers to just give all the male co-workers chocolate, and Monday was also my language meeting, so everyone kind of brought chocolate to share. I kind of bombed, though. Made a Valentine’s Day card for someone (how 3rd grade) and sent a picture of it, since I wouldn’t see her until Saturday and didn’t want to wait that long, then never got a response. I’m not dumb. I know what that means.

The next morning, at work, I finally got a response back, and the conversation was pretty short. She just wasn’t feeling it, but wanted to be friends. I said that I was sorry, but I can’t really do that because it’d make it harder for me to move on, so we said goodbye. Wasn’t the first time it’s happened, won’t be the last, but I’ll admit, it stung a bit. Maybe I invested myself a little too deeply, since we’d only met a couple times, but I liked her. So whatever. It happens. Can’t be too upset about it. Can’t make somebody feel something they don’t.

I’m “over it” in the sense that I can open about about it and talk about it without getting really emotional, but I’m not “over it” enough that I’d be able to see her and not have some kind of weird feeling. I mean, yeah, it’s only been a day, and I do tend to have very intense, short-lived feelings that come and go pretty quickly, but seeing or talking to her still would just really draw out the process and make it last way too long. I deleted her from my phone, and even cleaned out the inbox of my text messages, so I couldn’t even find her number that way. The tie has been cut, and it’s too late now. It sucks. I’ll miss her, but as the prophet Vonnegut says:

So it goes.


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