Expat Dating Diaries: The Local – Chasing the White Horse in Korea
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.
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…
“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.
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.
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.
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).
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.