Expat Dating Diaries: My Best First Date in Seoul
My Best First Date in Seoul
Over a year ago I wrote an article about the best summer date spots in Seoul. My most enjoyable first date in Seoul, however, was pretty unconventional. Our romance was short-lived and never got very serious. It was before I ever fell in love. It was before I ever truly had my heart broken, too. There were disappointments down the line, of course, but he and I actually still talk to this day. Maybe it has something to do with my best (and longest) first date in Seoul!
Where Do I Begin?
A friend and I had planned on going to the Doosan Bears game at Jamsil Stadium. She had come up from Dongtan and had no intention of joining me on a first date in Seoul. This military man and I had been chatting on and off on tinder for a few weeks. This was before having written about the 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date. I was avoiding seriously dating at the time. Since boys were already on their way to the game, so we figured we could all hang out. While sitting in the stands some overly aggressive foreigners started waving at us and one of them even shouted out, “Kate!” We still can’t figure out who they were, but they didn’t end up being the guys from Tinder. Because of that encounter, we almost bailed on the meet up. I’m so glad we didn’t!
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First Date in Seoul Key # 1: Common Interests
I love going to watch live sports, so meeting up at a baseball game was perfect for me. At a baseball game you’ve got the hoopla of the game, the crowds, and the walk up songs. At a baseball game first date in Seoul you’ve got the bonus of cheerleaders, and announcer, and BYOB. If conversation gets boring, get well into the game. If the conversation is riveting, it’s just the Korean league. The field is smaller, the players are slower, and unless watching pop-fly after pop-fly being caught is your thing – it’s pretty repetitive. Not a ball fan? Find something else with an element of distraction or an easy out. If you’re meeting someone for the first time you don’t want to get sucked into a massive time commitment (read: waste of time). If you’re having a good time, however, laissez les bon temps rouler!
First Date in Seoul Key # 2: Perfect Sunset
Could the sunset pictured above be any more perfect for your first date in Seoul? I don’t think I’ve ever seen one quite as extraordinary since! We got to canoodle for a bit as the game wrapped up and the sun went to sleep. Red sky at night, sailor’s delight, right? Well our weather the next day was pretty darn perfect as we strolled hand in hand along the stream, but that comes later…
First Date in Seoul Key # 3: Multiple Dates in One
Did you think my perfect first date in Seoul would lead you to a bathhouse crossed with Korean Dave & Buster’s? Well, we’re here! We had been out in Itaewon for dinner and needed somewhere to go before curfew hit. My date was actually with his boss who was totally down to check out Dragon Hill Spa. If you’ve never been to a Korean bath house/ sauna/ jimjilbang, read up on the most luxurious one in Busan! (Privilege check: this probably is best suited to cisgender straight couples. Being on a first date in the actual baths together could prove risky! I’ll let you use your imagination…) Here are my reasons why a jimjilbang is an awesome first date in Seoul.
First Date in Seoul Key # 4: Clean up Your Act!
With 9 different baths in the female sauna area, you’ll be super fresh, clean, and relaxed for the rest of your date. We separated for about 30 minutes and reacquainted fresh-faced, squeaky clean, and in pajamas! If a guy can’t handle me without makeup then I know it’s not going to last, but PJ’s is a whole ‘nother…ballgame!
First Date in Seoul Key # 5: Plenty to Explore
After a quick scrub and some relaxing in the tub, we all met up in the lobby. I used to live in Jamsil (south of the Han River in Seoul), so sometimes we’d crash at Dragon Hill if it was tough getting a taxi home. Since it’s open 24 hours, it’s also the perfect hideout if you want to socialize past curfew. Since the boys were new to Korea, we explored the many different saunas in the huge building. Are you a hot or cold sauna kind of person?
There is a restaurant and a snack bar. Grab a snack of some ramyeon (cup noodles), bingsu – a Korean dessert which is like flavoured “snow” (shaved ice), or a beer to keep you going!
I love getting a little competitive on first dates. Playing plenty of arcade games was a great way to get to know how my date handled victory and defeat! We shared a sneaky little first kiss in the singing room where he sang me his absolute favorite song (and where we screamed Alanis Morisette’s “You Oughta Know”).
Ready to catch some Zzz’s? Head into the indoor (or outdoor if you’re keen on being mosquito breakfast) cinema or any of the sleeping rooms around the jimjilbang. Sleeping together on the first date in Seoul means something a little different here! The best part? In the morning, we got to soak one more time before heading to breakfast in Itaewon.
You know you’re on a good date when you don’t stop to check your phone or take pictures along the way. Back in the winter of 2016 I took this snap of Chonggyecheon – a stream in Seoul. It was nice ticking this one off my Seoul bucket list. You can walk from Dongdaemun through Namdaemun and up to the palace by following the stream. Who knew just a few months later we’d be walking and talking hand in hand under a noticeably warmer, blue summer sky?