Expat Dating Diaries: The Eternal Expat

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Photographer: Frank McKenna

The Eternal Expat

The Eternal Expat is one of the most likely men you’ll meet from my list of the 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date.  Flitting from city to city and country to country “sampling the local fare”, this guy has found a good life.  Probably considered to be generically attractive from a North American perspective, he’s got an even more charming personality.  Somewhere down the line he was likely a varsity athlete, fraternity brother, or both.  He’s got natural game and women everywhere seem to swoon.  He’s never settling down in one place, and for him you’ll never been enough.  He might make a grand gesture.  He might make it seem like he’d have you join his nomadic lifestyle and travel the world together (#travelcouple, #instaromance, the whole nine yards).  When it comes down to the actual plan, he’s a lone wolf and you’re just dead weight.

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Photographer: Denis Gavrilenco

New Notches

The main goal of the Eternal Expat is to carve as many notches on his bedpost as is humanly possible.  He loves to have the girlfriend experience.  He loves it so much that he’s collecting as many as he can manage and in as many countries as his passport will allow.  Let’s be clear: this guy does not want a girlfriend.  He wants adventure between the sheets and on the open road.  He has 1 priority, and darling as lovely as you are, it’s never going to be you alone.  Tucked between expensive dinners out, museum trips, and spa experiences, the eternal expat must be a master scheduler.  He can juggle multiple languages and even more women.  Remember marinated cherries? He was juggling THREE of my friends all at once and one more he brought on vacation!  I wonder just how many other rolodex members he had on rotation…

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Photographer: Leeroy

Red Flags

The Eternal Expat won’t ever let you see his phone because he’s sending the same messages to you and half a dozen other girls.  He will make it seem like he wants to date you exclusively right off the bat.  He will tell you how amazing and beautiful you are.  Far too early for heartwarming discussion, he’ll tell you straight up how much he likes you.  He’ll tell you exactly what he thinks you want to hear in an effort to avoid having “the talk.  Try to see through the bullshit.  He probably does like you a lot.  I bet you are beautiful and amazing, too.  Just take it all with a grain of salt since all these lovely things roll off his tongue easily.

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Photographer: Samuel Zeller

Long Gone Silver: Emotional Pirate and Booty Chaser

If you encounter someone you think might be an “eternal expat” communicate your expectations and desires immediately.  Don’t let yourself get surprised or hurt down the line thinking you’re in an exclusive relationship when he’s on a completely different page.  If he’s not where you are, move on.  You won’t change him.  Why would you want to waste your time trying?  It’s unlikely he’ll wake up one morning and realize what an idiot he’s been and what a loss you are.  If he does, it won’t happen until he’s Long Gone Silver and you’ve moved the eff on.  If all you want is a good time then that’s totally fine, too.  Be adults and talk about the kind of relationship you want to have.  He’s got plenty of experience and you’ll hopefully be more than satisfied.  If you want emotional satisfaction, however, don’t walk that plank.

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Have you encountered any Eternal Expats throughout your travels?  Leave me your story in the comments!

 

Expat Dating Diaries: The Local – Chasing the White Horse in Korea

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Photographer: Elijah Hail

The Term:

Riding the White Horse in Korea

I read every Korean blog Google populated in the first few pages and happened upon the concept of “riding the white horse in Korea”.  What this meant was that there were certain locals in Korea who preferred socializing with foreigners, but only as a novelty.  In less politically correct terms, this typically referred to a Korean man wanting to have sex with an All-American-looking woman.  There are many Koreans (male and female) who do not subscribe to the homogeneous ideologies of this small nation.  There are many Koreans who don’t make fetishes of particular races.  I have several North American friends who are dating or who are married to wonderful Korean men.  This article is part of the 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date, and is not about those people.

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Photographer: Trevor Paterson

A Horseless Carriage

In my year in Busan, I met and socialized with a ton of Koreans in our little neighbourhood of Hwamyeong.  On Friday nights we played guitar, a friend from a more central location brought a cajon, and we sang outside the local convenience store while eating instant ramyeon and drinking soju and/or beer.  There was never a time I felt like I was singled out as a caucasian North-American.  We were friends who enjoyed playing music together.  On the other hand, there were plenty of caucasian males who would mess around with anyone they could, but would exclusively date Korean women.  This is the North-American equivalent/opposite of what we’ll call “the local” from this point on.  Seoul was a different dating story…

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Photographer: Alexandre Chambon

The Local

“The local” is chasing the white horse in Korea.  He just wants to screw date someone foreign he can show off to his friends.  As a caucasian woman with blue eyes and blonde hair I’ve found that, more often than not, this type of local’s intentions are pretty transparent.  I don’t believe a significant other should be a status symbol.

Riding the White Horse in Korea ThatGirlCartier people men woman wet market basket meat fish utensil refrigrator signage pail lamp light korea
Photographer: Alexandre Chambon

Where (not) to meet The Local

Korean men frequently try to pick up at events called “language exchanges”.  This goes both ways, but I often hear about foreign women who want to improve their Korean skills and are instead propositioned.  Most people who have been here longer than a couple of months will scoff, roll their eyes, and dive into their own personal anecdote about a language exchange situation gone wrong.  They often involve the suggestion they “practice” Korean and English in a DVD Bang (a room with a tv, dvd player, couch, and a box o’ tissues), a love motel, or her apartment (as many Koreans in their 20’s still live with parents).  This is definitely a consideration when thinking about why many foreigners give up on learning Hangeul.  Language exchanges are great places to meet women who are new to Korea.  Guys chasing the white horse in Korea tend to lurk here.

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Photographer: Poodar Chu

Western Status Symbol

You shouldn’t date someone or even befriend someone because you think she’ll impress your friends (or teach them English).  My old school asked me to help a young CEO of a Private Equity firm.  I think he wanted to introduce his employees to someone who looked different to the women with whom they would typically interact.  Meeting these men who couldn’t look me in the eye for the first two meetings was insightful.  I wasn’t introduced for my teaching abilities, but for the way that I looked.  Fortunately, these guys realized that I could discuss the Financial Times and other such publications.  Within a few meetings I was taken more seriously and some of my suggestions for their business were put into place.  I stopped wearing makeup or particularly fashionable attire.  I definitely don’t think I was brought in as a white horse in Korea, but it was pretty close.

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Photographer: Can Anh Khai

Dating Korean Men

I can’t speak from firsthand experience as I haven’t dated a Korean man while living here.  I’ve been asked out on dates, but the way the question was posed didn’t really feel like it was a date.  Dating conventions tend to be quite different from back home, and I just haven’t had the time for the runaround.  I find Korean men to be quite beautiful.  They often dress very well and have their own style.  The #1 sales of cosmetics for men come out of Korea.  While I enjoy getting dolled up, I don’t spend too much time on it.  If my man takes longer to get ready than I do I’ll get antsy and peace out.  Men in Korea tend to be more in touch with what we call their “feminine side”.  I think I’m a bit aggressive and outspoken for them (and the aforementioned North-American counterparts).

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Photographer: Annie Spratt

A friend of mine went on one date with a local Korean guy.  After that one date they were exclusive (from his perspective).  She went along with it even though she was still dating other men.  This is why communication is important.  He would bring her around his friends and show her off, but there was no way he was introducing her to any family members, including his cousin who was his best friend.  He wanted to meet more of her caucasian (only) friends.  This “white horse in Korea” is a woman with some serious sexual prowess.  No matter how she tried to entice him, he couldn’t keep up.  Their relationship ended when she popped into the shower with him to spice things up.  Things didn’t perk up – she never saw an erection from him again.  Guess the white horse in Korea isn’t for everyone.

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Skinfood Cafe Seoul

SkinFood Cafe Seoul

SkinFood has quickly become a favourite brand of mine lately.  The quality of the products paired with their subtle, fun scents, adorable packaging, and affordable price range has got my collection growing quickly.  Imagine my surprise to have found the SkinFood Cafe Seoul!

THE BRAND

According to SkinFood, it “is the first cosmetic brand to root itself in food.  (Their) food philosophy drives (their) product development to ensure that only the highest quality food ingredients are used to create a more beautiful, healthier lifestyle.”  I’ve used products with avocado, tomato, apple, vanilla, and even salmon of all things!  If you’ve seen my 4 Minute makeup routine you’ll recognize a few of those products.  “Food components (like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants) deliver targeted nourishment and care. The key to maximizing beauty can be found in the food around us.”

THE DECOR

The decor of the cafe is just like their skincare and cosmetics shops.  There’s bright yellow everywhere!  They have tons of books and motivational quotations framed and selectively placed.  There’s a variety of seating options for the individual guest, group of diners, or cute couple.  There was an adorable couple snacking away sitting on the couch near the photo opp area.  This is a super sweet date spot if you’re looking for all things cutesy without making him uncomfortable.

THE BEST FOOD

The SkinFood Cafe Seoul is, of course, part of the SkinFood cosmetics and skin care brand.  Their attitude towards food isn’t just part of the branding, it’s their core belief.

“Nutritive, wholesome food has the power and the ability to keep skin radiantly beautiful.
SKINFOOD is always searching for the best ingredients to utilize in product development.

The SKINFOOD initiative for the best food ingredients is a journey across the world.
Method matters. As a result, SKINFOOD upholds eco-friendly and
sustainable growing methods as a pillar to our philosophy.
We meet with farmers across the country to ensure that the best food is grown under the best methods.
The journey to discover the best food never ends.
Come with SKINFOOD and discover how food can transform beauty.”

According to the SkinFood Cafe Seoul, “You are what you eat.” and “Healthy skin starts with food.”  I ordered what I remember being named something like the Yummy Yummy Platter which was KRW 12,000 (about $12 Canadian, $10 USD).  There were three slices of baguette.  One was topped with half an avocado, some cherry tomatoes, and parmesan cheese.  Another was topped with grainy mustard pulled chicken and topped with parmesan and a little bit of honey.  Another was topped with rich, clotted cream, blueberries, and mint sprigs.  The baguette was a little crusty and stale, but the toppings were full of flavour.  You can’t go wrong with half an avocado in any meal in my opinion!  The two slider buns were topped with iceberg lettuce, ham, and a Kraft single.  This is a poor girl’s afternoon tea, and I loved it!

Even the bathrooms at the SkinFood Cafe Seoul are cute, clean, and full of SkinFood soaps and lotions to sample before heading on your way!

Go check out the SkinFood Cafe Seoul!  The chic Garosugil area of Apgujeong in Seoul is the perfect place to spend a sunny day, so why not pop into this adorable little cafe?

Expat Dating Diaries: The Military Man

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Photographer: Amanda Jordan

I’d like to preface this edition of the Expat Dating Diaries with a lengthy note to all readers.  Scroll down to TL;DR to skip!  This series is designed to be sarcastic.  It’s designed to incite a knowing laugh from women around the world living abroad.  Many of you have met men like the ones in The 7 Worst Guys An Expat Can Date.  This is not a man-hating article.  This is not a man-hating series.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  I love dating!  The stories and laughs I get from horrible dates make for girls’ night hilarity.  The shared moments and memories from great dates make all the bad ones worth it.

soldier military camouflage war smoke man people

Photographer: Tyler Barnes

To the gentlemen reading (we’re about half and half, right now according to Google), thank you for checking out my blog.  Sorry for the make-up and mush, but I’m assuming you knew what you were getting yourself into.  You probably can’t relate at all to these guys, you can see a couple of traits here and there in yourself, or you just want a good laugh at someone else’s expense.  You could switch these statements right around and apply them to the ladies, too.  I’m sure there are a number of traits you recognize in women from which you’d like to stay away.  Why am I only writing about the dudes?  ‘Cause I don’t date women.

fly clouds sky plane airplane air

Photographer: Takahiro Sakamoto

I have several friends married to wonderful men serving in the military.  Some of them even met in Korea and got married here!  My family has a history in the RAF (my badass Grandmother) and the RCAF (my Grandfather).  I dated a kind and generous man in the Air Force.  I have no issue with the military.  If you find a diamond in the rough, the Military Man will be the most loyal and caring gentleman in the world.  The standard review of the Military Man (MM) in Korea, however, is that he’s a dirty dawg.

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Photographer: Richard Revel

TL;DR

Whew!  Now that that’s over with, let’s move on to the story.  The Military Man wants to settle down…in theory.  Being deployed over and over again means he’s a lone wolf.  More often than not he’s “exclusively dating” a few lovely ladies.  I’ve seen this countless times and am heartbroken for my friends who have been hurt.

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Photographer: Alondra Olivas

Three’s A Crowd

This is the kind of story I hear again and again.  My friend from Busan met a Tinder guy in Seoul for brunch.  He flew down to party with us in early spring.  They continued to see each other long-distance, and she was smitten.  The thing about men in Korea is that they seem to think that they’re entitled to two separate entities: foreigners and Koreans.  They seem to believe that never the two shall meet.  One long weekend 6 months into dating, she went up to stay with him.  She left his place Monday morning as he had to work.  Imagine her surprise when that very afternoon she saw him walking hand in hand with his Korean girlfriend off base in Gangnam.  Wasn’t he supposed to be at work?  Hadn’t they banged at his place that morning?

american flag usa united states helicopter air flying blue sky

Photographer: Skor

The Cherry Incident

My favourite MM is a guy I have actually met on several occasions.  We met through mutual friends on a day known in history as “the cherry incident”.  This guy is in the army and has quite possibly the most beautiful apartment I’ve ever seen in Korea.  Marble counter-tops, hardwood floors, a Japanese toilet, and le piece de resistance: a washer and a dryer. When my gal pals, my ex, and I were invited over to his place, he provided top shelf alcohol, mixes, and garnishes and told us to help ourselves.

cherries fruits food healthy bowl

Photographer: Danielle MacInnes

For nearly 2 hours he rattled on and on about these beautiful, succulent, marinated cherries which were perfect in a Manhattan.  My friend had to try them, of course!  She couldn’t open the jar, so after an eternity of trying she handed it over to me.  Just as the lid to the jar popped open, time stood still and I heard a slow motion “Nooooooo!” from our host MM.  The rest of the night was tainted by the wailings of a sullen MM butt hurt that his pristine jar of cherries had been opened and would have to actually be used.  He also hit on me in front of my (now ex) boyfriend, then proceeded to tell me he wanted a one night stand with any of my friends in attendance.  Class act, MM.

fighter jet air force flying

Photographer: Jeff Cooper

Fast forward to March when I moved from Busan to Seoul.  MM saw me on Tinder, and when we didn’t match he went and found me on instagram.  I was all moved in, but for two months he insisted he needed to help me move.  It’s impressive the creative ways these guys think up when trying to weasel their way into your apartment.

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Photographer: Leeroy

Musical Chairs

While I haven’t dated this guy, I’ve now met 4 girls who have.  One of them was actually his live in girlfriend during the cherry incident.  We didn’t meet that night, but I would later find out that she (and 3 other friends of mine) had been wined and dined by this MM.  He’s tried to intercept a couple of my friends’ dates by inviting their party of two over to his table.  He even flew a Tinder girl from the United States to Vietnam to meet up for a tryst, and when she wouldn’t put out he cancelled her ticket home.

architecture building structure wall clock military soldier army parachute sky clouds church

Photographer: Erik-Jan Leusink

The MM manages his time (and women) exceptionally well.  He’s an sensational liar and a master manipulator who can maintain several relationships at once.  Camouflage is key.  His phone is glued to him at all times.  He’ll never let you see it, of course.  MM must reply immediately for fear of mixing up names and dates.

Here lies Episode II of the Expat Dating Diaries and the 7 Worst Guys An Expat Can Date.  

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