Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: An Expat’s Guide to Man’s 6th Sense

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Photographer: danist soh
Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: An Expat’s Guide to Man’s 6th Sense

Getting “that message” from an ex both incredibly gratifying and infuriating.  It seems like it’s the new vogue to write an apology letter to your ex-girlfriend.  It’s like it just sits there waiting and waiting for the exact moment she’s over you.  The moment she’s moved on and might just finally be happy, he clicks ‘send’.  Is this man’s 6th sense?  Has Google created a new alert?  Am I the last to know that they’ve created the latest algorithm in social media f*ckery?

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Photographer: Adam Birkett
He Hurt You

In this letter, he finally takes responsibility for all the things he did wrong.  All the times he lied (and the corresponding gaslighting), all the times he perpetuated gender stereotypes, all the times he just wouldn’t listen.  How did he come to the realization that this was the perfect moment to bare it all?  Why is right now the perfect time for him to come to his senses?  How does man’s 6th sense determine the right time to connect?

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Photographer: Wilfred Iven
Creep…Creep…Creepin’

I have no doubt that a recent post encouraging communication between partners is the most recent source for “the apology letter”.  What about the other times, though?  My rebound after H got his friend to message me on Facebook to see if I was going to Busan for an event.  This friend owns a travel company and it was pretty clear that there was no way in hell I was getting on the bus for this sold out trip.  How do these people know that you’re off the market?  Most of these messages come from men with whom I’m no longer even connected through social media.  Even if they are able to look on Facebook or instagram, the messages are sent before there’s any sort of public trail of the relationship.  It’s like how dogs can sniff out fear.  These douche-canoes can sniff out happiness and want to stifle that shit immediately.

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Photographer: Brigitte Tohm
Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

I went out with a military man who was just dying to make the blog.  He was, indeed, a Tinder fail story.  He lied to me about his location for no reason with the full knowledge that Tinder shows you the distance between you both.  We lived pretty close to one another already.  When he said he was out in the bush running drills, he was actually cursing the high cost of a side of guac at Lotte World Mall.  I wouldn’t have cared if he was too busy to hang, but don’t tell me you’re being eaten alive by mosquitoes out in the peninsula.  The night before H came to Korea, I got a lengthy message from MM apologising for it all.  He even told me he had gone deaf in one ear and had nearly lost his job.  We had only been out maybe 3 or 4 times.  He owed me nothing.  Some cosmic force in the universe (or man’s 6th sense) must have whispered that Cartier might be happy so it was the perfect moment to insert his thinly-veiled attempt at roping me back in.

Letters from the Ex: Man's 6th Sense stone wall letters symbols
Photographer: Matthew Wheeler
Hieroglyphics

What does it all mean?  Well, man’s 6th sense seems to hit him like a pile of bricks once he realizes there’s a chance you won’t agree to another shot.  It’s not that he wants you back, he wants you to want him back.  Toxic relationships are less partnership, more power struggle.  He wants to have the upper hand back and he can feel that it’s gone.  The best part?  By this point you really should no longer care.

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Photographer: Chelsea Francis
Get Creative

Gentleman, what you must realise is that your messages contain several of the same phrases.  When you all write the same thing, it doesn’t sound genuine.  Here are some of the canned phrases in each message I’ve received:

  • “I just want you to be happy.”
  • “You’re an incredible woman.”
  • “You deserve the best in life.”
  • “Even if we don’t get back together, I hope we can at least be friends down the road.”
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Photographer: Corinne Kutz
It is well.

It’s lovely for you to admit that you were wrong.  It’s validating to have all those worries and frustrations confirmed as your own f*ck ups.  I’m glad you’ve managed to clear your conscience.  Next time, don’t bother drudging up the past.  The notion that I’ll ever see a travel romance again is ridiculous.  We didn’t work out.  I’ve released your ghost.  It is well.

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Seoul Dating: How to Get Him to Commit

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Photographer: Jena Postma

How to Get Him to Commit

I’ve been seeing tons of click-bait headlines making their way through the travel, expat, and lifestyle communities.  Figured I’d give this one a shot, too.  So sue me, right?  Not quite – read on to see how you too can get him to commit with this one amazing tool.

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Photographer: Freestocks.org

Breaking the Rules

I’ve already gone back on my word by entering into a relationship with a) someone I met through Tinder, and b) on my list of the 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date.  If you’ve read Expat Dating Diaries: The Military Man you’ll know that there are some dirty dawgs out there especially in and around Itaewon.  I met my new Co-Pilot at Souva, which has quickly become the latest hot spot for my coupled-up pals.  In our first week and a half we had been to at least 7 restaurants together, watched 4 movies, made dinner twice, and climbed a freaking mountain.  He mentioned me to his parents and mine got the Skype update 2 weeks in.  I know you’re still wondering how to get him to commit, but I’m sure you’re also wondering if good ol’ Cartier’s going to get boring with a boyfriend.

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Photographer: Matthew Kane

No More Drama

It wouldn’t be the Seoul expat dating community without a little bit of drama (I know this is what you came for :P).  This wouldn’t be the Expat Dating Diaries without unnecessary drama, right?  Well, shocker!  My new beau went out on dates before he met me!  There are a few women with whom he’s been out who are friends of friends of mine.  One in particular was pretty pissed when he let her down easy (via text – party foul, I know).  After she screamed at me, I told him straight out that if we were going to do this we wouldn’t be with anyone else.  If either of us change our minds down the line that’s fine.  That said, a certain conversation needs to happen if either of us want to start seeing other people.  This leads me to the most important tool you can have in your arsenal if you want to know how to get him to commit.  Time and time again girls lose their minds over men who choose someone else.  How do you get him on the same page?  This one’s simple…

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Photographer: Freestocks.org

The One Amazing Tool

What’s this one elusive tool to use when wanting to know how to get him to commit to you?  COMMUNICATION.  There’s no big secret.  He’s not a f*cking mind-reader.  TALK with your Seoulmate!  Communication is a tool we all have within our big ol’ bag o’ tricks, but when it comes down to it we rarely feel confident enough to share our feelings effectively.  The biggest flaw in my last relationship is that I felt powerless what it came to expressing my wants and needs.  When I tried to initiate a conversation about things which bothered me, he “was bored” and didn’t want to hear it.  In my mind, my last relationship was just a silly little travel romance in the beginning.  Never in a million years did I think he’d skip out on an epic SEA adventure to come live with me in South Korea.  I didn’t tell him what I needed and wanted right from the start.  When he started weaving dreams of a real future beyond Asia, somewhere we might settle down, I scoffed and moved on.  When I started to believe the fantasy, he pulled away.  We weren’t on the same page at all.

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Photographer: Thought Catalog

Fake News

For someone who “hated social media” as much as he did, he sure checked his instagram likes regularly.  It blew my mind that he thought I was demanding he give up the “opportunity of a lifetime” to come live with me.  It drove me mental that he wrote his younger female travel companion a love letter on Facebook when he took off from Cambodia to come to Korea.  When he left Korea to head home, he shared: “too many people to name.  It’s been emotional.”  I was proud to be with him, yet he tried to hide me.  He was always pleased to be tagged in cool hipster photos at the palace or beachy pics with the lads.  Unfortunately, he refused to acknowledge our life together publicly.  Looking back that should have been a HUGE red flag.  I wanted to shout from the top of every mountain in Korea that I was happy with him, but he couldn’t bring himself to tell his own network he had a girlfriend.  It’s such a night and day difference to have an intelligent, accomplished, handsome gent tell me he’s happy to be with me at the top of a mountain we climbed together.

That Girl Cartier - Time and time again girls lose their minds over men who choose someone else. How do you get him to commit? This one's simple. people man woman couple lovers sweet nature trees grass forest trunks
Photographer: Emma Frances Logan Barker

Looking Forward

Maybe this relationship will crash and burn tomorrow.  Maybe it’ll withstand the tests of all the small town (ahem HBC) murmurings.  If you don’t have the exclusivity conversation with your desired partner, then you can’t be angry with him (or her) for continuing to date.  If this person meets someone else with whom they have more in common, you can’t fault them for wanting to pursue a relationship.  You didn’t communicate your desires.  If you’re not getting the answer for which you’ve been searching, then move along.  He’s not going to fall in love with you just because you’ve been hanging around.  It doesn’t matter if you have beer-flavoured nipples.  No matter how much you pretend to love Star Wars, if he doesn’t love what you’re actually into then what kind of foundation are you building?

How to get him to commit?  

Talk to him (or her) for f*cks’ sake!

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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!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQpg0fIgkby/

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?

Seoul Dating: This Is What You Came For…isn’t it?

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Seoul Dating: This Is What You Came For

Dear Wonderful Readers and Internet Trolls,

It has come to my attention that I’ve become known around Seoul as “the girl who goes on dates and then writes about them”.  Cool.  Let’s go ahead and clarify that, shall we?  ThatGirlCartier has been around since 2009 (on Twitter).  If you want the roots of the name itself, go check out one of my first posts on this site.  On instagram?  You can creep me back to 2012 there.  You’ll see pictures of food, fashion, fitness, culture, travels, a variety of weights and hairstyles, and oh yes – a couple of ex boyfriends.  That’s life, ladies and gentlemen.  Expat dating is tough!  Seoul dating is a minefield.  Just like Juicy Couture sweats and UGG boots, some things don’t last. If Juicy is any indication, some things might just return (you know who you are and yes, you’re welcome back – just say the word).

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xoxo Gossip Girl

The idea that I’m some sort of “Land of Morning Chaos – xoxo Gossip Girl of Seoul Dating” is ludicrous.  That said, if any of the show’s designers want to dress me I would not put up a fight.  Also, wasn’t Gossip Girl a dude in the end? Writing bits and bobs about my silly Seoul dating life seems to be a bigger deal to men than it is to women.  Men seem to either really appreciate my writing from an outside perspective, or take what’s written too personally.  To those who understand this to be entertainment and defend me and my right to write, thank you!  To those guys who “would never go on a date with a dating blogger”, well this one’s for you.

Seoul Dating That Girl Cartier

Express Permission

If an expat dating experience ends up on That Girl Cartier it’s because express permission has been granted to share whatever has occurred on the date.  Tinder often initiates Seoul dating.  I’ve mostly got stories in the vault which aren’t all that interesting.  A lot of people ask to be featured on The Toronto Seoulcialite.  One guy even snatched my phone for a couple’s selfie just in case he “made the article” I was thinking about writing on Olympic Park.  This is not new.  Expats constantly ASK to be featured on the site. The marketing men, military men, locals, teachers, or anyone else from the list want to be here.  It is astoundingly easy to get material, because people love having our experiences shared anonymously online.  Sometimes they’re exaggerated.  Most of the time they’re not.

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Hey Friends,

I recently shared a tidbit on my personal Facebook page from a comically bad first date.  My personal profile is just that: personal.  Venting and sharing anecdotes on my personal page should not be grounds for an attack.  I feel that everyone’s entitled to share personal opinions on Facebook.  November 8th and 9th, January 20th, and the past month have been great indicators of just how many personal opinions people share on Facebook.  I’m a writer.  Your antics won’t get published to my site without permission.  Please continue to be ridiculous and make me push my own boundaries, too.

Remember friends, readers, and trolls, this right here?  This is what you came for.  

I wouldn’t have 3 times more views on this silly little website than its informative sister site if it wasn’t.

WDTDT: Who Pays on the First Date?

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Photographer: Wilfred Iven

Why Do They DO That?!: Who Pays on the First Date?

This new series entitled “Why Do They DO That?!” (henceforth: “WDTDT”) is all about the things that some men do which baffle women.  On wine nights the ladies have gone through it all.  We’ve asked “why would he go back to her?”, “why won’t he call/ text?”, “why won’t he kiss me if he says he likes me?”, etc.  The thing that baffles me the most is what they won’t do, or the sneaky and conniving things that some men do.  This leads me to the age old question (for our generation, at least), “Who Pays on the First Date?”

Read to the end for my personal take!

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Photographer:  Jay Wennington

It Begins…

This is a situation I’ve encountered first-hand, but have heard from other gal pals as well.  I find that this is particularly prevalent with guys you meet online.  Whether it be Tinder, POF, OK Cupid, or even instagram, these particular guys have a heavy rotation for a specific reason.  You chat for a bit online and he suggests meeting up.  He suggests a trendy new restaurant you’ve wanted to try.  Great!  You share a couple of dishes and he either says he’s not going to drink at all or he has a cheap bottle beer.  Trying to match the vibe of the date, you either have the same beer, something of the same value, or water.  You don’t want to go overboard, right?  You don’t want him thinking you’re some sort of alcoholic or that you’d win first prize in a pie-eating contest.

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Photographer:  Mitch Rosen

He likes You (maybe)!

You finish up, you’re still a bit hungry, and he suggests you move on to the next spot.  Awesome!  He wants to spend more time with you.  He likes you!  What you may or may not realize is that in your effort to be polite and accommodating, he’s been in control the whole time.  He grabs the cheque, you pull out your wallet, and he insists on paying.  Ever so sweetly and carefully he lulls, “you can get the next one”.  Why do they DO that?! I think you know why…

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Photographer:  Alex Knight

Bourbon by the Barrel

Your next spot is uber hip with a great atmosphere, low lights, and expensive cocktails.  He’s pulled this trick before and wants you to foot the bill for his top shelf Boulevardiers.  This might be the point at which you’re tuned into his ploy, it might not.  Most girls I know don’t want to poke the bear, so instead of saying something we’ll go along with it and balance out his suddenly extravagant tastes with house wine or draft beer.  While he’s downing two at once, you’re pacing yourself.

Spirit hennessy bottles bottle service brandy bar drinks alchohol club

Photographer:  Olu Eletu

So…Who Pays on the First Date, Then?

In this situation, you’re both paying.  That said, you’re paying through the nose for his wild night out since he’s made the initial investment.  This has actually happened to a friend of mine and me in Seoul with the same guy.  She’s had some bad luck having also been out on a date with The Military Man (yep – Mr. Cherry Freak himself), too.  This guy has the same M.O. each time: he takes the girl for Korean Barbecue, orders some soju (maybe $2 a bottle?), eagerly foots the bill, and then suggests much pricier spots in Gangnam.  When the remaining cheque(s) arrive, he sits back, sneers, and gives the same line without missing a beat, “your turn”.

man woman people friends gathering event straws cocktail group glasses still bokeh

Photographer:  Gabriel Gurrola

Who Should Really Pay on the First Date?

I think that in this day in age, especially if you’re both teachers in Korea making the same salary, it’s ideal to go Dutch.  If you’re in a relationship show that you care for one another by thoughtfully bringing over his favourite beer or wine for movie night.  Never arrive at someone’s place empty-handed.  This is pretty much a rule whether you’re dating or not (and with men and women, alike).  If you are dating, go back and forth, but don’t be a doormat (that one goes for guys and girls, too).  A relationship is a partnership.  If you want a sugar-daddy (or a sugar-mama!) there are plenty in and around Seoul.  If you want a partnership, however, it’s a two way street, ladies and gents.

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Have you been out with someone who played you with the line, “Your turn”?  Have you felt like you were completely missing your backbone in that situation?  Let us know in the comments!

Expat Dating Diaries: The Military Man

Expat Dating - The 7 Worst Guys An Expat Can Date - That Girl Cartier

Photographer: Amanda Jordan

This is not directed at any one person (save “the cherry incident”), it’s simply part of a lengthy and sarcastic series on The 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date!

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.

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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.

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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.

restaurant dining table chairs wine glasses plates utensils lights bottles alcohol eating people leather water

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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My VIP Facial: IPL in Seoul

My IPL Facial experience at VIP Plastic Surgery in Seoul, South Korea. That Girl Cartier

If you follow my Korean adventures on The Toronto Seoulcialite, you may remember that at the end of July 2016 I got botox.  I think we played a little fast and loose with my forehead, but getting my crows feet taken care of was kind of life changing.  After getting botox I went traveling to Thailand.  Rather than the 29 I had just turned (August 6th), people were guessing that I was somewhere between 22 and 24.  As I edge closer to a single, nomadic 30, this was good news!

In 2015, just before coming to Korea, I was tying up some loose ends and used a gift certificate for and IPL facial in Toronto.  The procedure was only about $150, and I thought I was going in for a lovely, relaxing time.  This was not the case at all.  For 15-20 minutes I had a cold gel all over my face and what felt like a tattoo gun piercing my skin at frequent intervals.  It was one of the most painful beauty experiences of my life, and it’s one I would gladly repeat at bi-annual intervals.  The results were amazing.  My gray, Canadian winter skin had colour again.  My broken capillaries were no longer visible.  My IPL experience in Toronto was horrendous.  This blogger’s experience was like my reaction when I had IPL in Toronto.  Traumatic!  I mean, it worked, but it was so painful!

Fast forward nearly two years to Seoul, Korea.  I decided to face my fears and try it out again.  This time, my IPL in Seoul was done by an actual surgeon (the same one who did my botox, actually).  My IPL in Seoul started differently than in Toronto.  In Toronto, they actually shaved every tiny hair off my face (except for my eyebrows, of course).  Then they applied the gel.  Here, the team was confused as to why I would want them removed.  That made me a bit nervous (I was on edge because of my Toronto experience already), but we went ahead.

I don’t know why I was so worried!  The procedure was a breeze and didn’t hurt a bit.  Once the gel was on and I was comfy, we popped some goggles on and my surgeon got to work.  a device was used to deliver a spectral range of light to my skin.  It felt and sounded like the bright light from school pictures.  The whole thing only took 15 to 20 minutes.  My photofacial IPL in Seoul was such a difference to my hot, tattoo gun experience back home!

IPL treatments can be used to help restore the skin’s youthful appearance as it can remove age spots, sun damage, and redness from broken capillaries (something I struggled with after about 25).  This process is called photo rejuvenation.  Since there’s no down-time, it’s great for people on the go.  I was shopping in Sinsa for a friends birthday immediately after.  It’s a non-invasive procedure (it’s a facial, right?) and this round was quick and gentle.

My IPL in Seoul at VIP Plastic Surgery was 200,00 KRW, however the average price is about 567,174 KRW.  Connect with English-speaking VIP consultants at vipps@vipps.kr

Have you ever had an IPL in Seoul?  What were your experiences here like vs. anywhere else you’ve tried the IPL?  Let us know in the comments below!

Shopping in Korea: A Love (Hate) Letter

 

Shopping in Korea:

“Knock-knock!” 
“Who’s there?”
“A waygookin trying to spend money.”
“Oh f*ck no, not again…”

I love retail.  Shopping is a hobby of mine and it’s hard to beat in Korea.  When shopping in Korea, prices are cheap and clothes are cute.  With the 4 drastically different seasons (cue massive eye-roll from the expat community), there are plenty of opportunities to switch up your look.  Shopping in Korea is a bitch.  It doesn’t have to be, however. Korean retailers could opt to take advantage of the massive number of foreign workers (and their hard-earned won), but for some reason refuse to acknowledge this insane opportunity for profit.  I love you, Korea…but I’ve got some questions for retailers in the land of morning calm.

What’s the deal with “One Size Fits All”?

I fit into your OS clothing most of the time (yes – even non-stretchy stuff), but frequently things are just too short (I’m 5’8″ tall).  Skirt and pant length in Korea call for a whole new article (a belt is not a skirt, ladies).  It’s ridiculous that given the changes in Korea over the past 50 years you still assume that everyone is the same height.  Most of the Korea women in my workplace are actually quite tall.  While many of them are slender, most of them are actually quite voluptuous.  I don’t mean fat, I mean that several of them actually are taller and curvier than I!  Aren’t you tired of operating at a loss having to discount all the clothing that really should be labeled “one size fits 20% of our population”?

That Girl Cartier - Shopping in Korea

Why do you insist on being c*nty to foreign shoppers?

“As of September 2015, according to the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs, the foreign population in South Korea, including migrant workers, increased to 1.8 million, accounting for 3.4% of the total population.” – Chosun News.  That’s a rise of nearly a quarter of a million people over a period of 4 years.  I would estimate that we’re closer to 2 million migrant workers leading into 2017.  It’s not like we’re new, and it’s clear that we’re not going away (at least not en masse) anytime soon.  You’ve had a significant number of migrant workers in your country since before most of your retail associates were born.  Why won’t you reprimand your employees who are little shits to your customers?

I don’t have a Korean body, but I fit into your clothes just fine.  I’m tired of being told I’m not allowed to try on clothing because I’m wearing makeup.  It’s especially offensive when I don’t have a lick of makeup on.  I’m aware that you think I’ll stretch out your apparel, but newsflash for you Mr. Walter Cronkite – I won’t.  When I’m treated differently because I’m a foreigner, I tell my other foreign friends.  When I’m treated well, I tell my friends, followers, and people in line for coffee.  You complain about how Native English Teachers make more money than Korean.  Guess what?  We spend more, too.  There are plenty of ESL Teachers who don’t have bills to pay off and who enjoy shopping in Korea every…damn…weekend.  Get with the program and train your staff to treat all clients with respect.

Why does your footwear detract from every outfit?

When I moved to Seoul from Busan I was so concerned about not having an adequate wardrobe.  I live and work in an area adjacent to Gangnam.  The first time I went to Apgujeong I actually dressed up.  What a waste of time!  Most people have masks covering their faces (whether it be pollution or surgery).  What I’ve really noticed in both Busan and in Seoul is the footwear.  It’s atrocious!  You see these beautiful women in perfect outfits sullied by filthy, faded, knock off ASICS Sneakers.  You’ve got 7 seconds to make a first impression.  The first thing someone notices about you are your shoes, and you choose these?  At least I have an excuse – I’m waiting for my eBay order to come in because you won’t supply shoes larger than a size 8!

Did you know that there are black people living in your country?

Holy shit!  Korea is no longer a homogeneous society!  Now, you not only have multicultural societies popping up all over Korea, you’ve got their kids, too!  You lucky, lucky industry.  You would think that you’d figure out you’re completely missing the K-Beauty market beyond Asians.  The question I see come up the most in the expat forums is where to buy foundation for darker shades.  We were actually just talking about it this weekend with Star – 87Pages (pictured above with Mika The SeoulChild) and Sam – Expat and the City.  You don’t have to come up with something new altogether.  Places like Olive Young, LoHB (a Lotte brand), and Watson’s would make a killing if they imported products designed for black women.  Know the audience in your industry.

That GIrl Cartier - Shopping in Korea - Son & Park Shading Presso Bronzer

P.S. Big thanks to Olive Young and Son & Park  for bringing in the Shading Presso.  I needed bronzer and was about to spend my life’s savings over online at Sephora.  This product was designed for contouring, but I pretty much just blend it all together and make my face look less pasty.  Beauty blogger in the making right here, ladies and gents.

Korea, I love you but shopping in Korea is bringing me down.  When I want a new pair of kick-ass sneaks I shouldn’t have to go on eBay.  I shouldn’t have to be hustled out of a store, or directed to the men’s section.  Last time I went shopping in Garusogil and had planned on buying outfits for a friend of mine and I.  The dresses fit fine in each store and the prices were reasonable (expensive, in fact, by Korean standards).  They just weren’t what I envisioned for a night out on the town.  I didn’t need to hear “big size-y” while in the fitting room.  Hell – I didn’t need the side-eye when I walked into your boutique.  You need to give your head a big ol’ shake and realize that H&M, Zara, and Forever21 (pictured above) have cornered a market in which you should easily have jurisdiction…you’re just xenophobic.

Love,

That Girl Cartier

Expat Dating Diaries: The Green (Card) Monster

Expat Dating - That Girl Cartier

Photographer: Taylor L. Spurgeon

The 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date!

In this edition of the Expat Dating Diaries, we take a look at Frederick*, the “Green Monster”.  You may recognize this little gem from The 7 Worst Guys An Expat Can Date.  Frederick came to Korea in an attempt to escape a difficult political climate, to put it lightly.  Good ol’ Freddy had a Bachelor’s Degree from a prestigious University, and a post-grad in business to boot.  He loved his job in finance, however was made redundant in a suspicious turn of events (for which he wasn’t to blame, of course).  He told me straight off the bat that he wanted to immigrate to the United States or any other country which would take him…but, you know, America…#1.

Frederick and I met through Tinder, a wonderful little dating app for delusional women and men with questionable values.  We had been talking for weeks.  Because we were both new to Seoul and because he lived nearly two hours from my side of the river, it took quite a while to actually link up.  When we finally met, it was on a whim after I had a Sunday Funday with the girls in Itaewon.  He was a little sloppy from the baseball game and had run two subway stops to come meet me.  I hid a Taco Bell Salad (yes -the kind where you can eat the bowl) in my purse for the entire date.

Cheeto Taco Salad - That Girl Cartier - Expat Dating Diaries
Seriously – bad decisions were made way before November, 2016.

We had a couple of beers and played some darts. Conversation was flowing well.  He was laughing at all my poorly timed, uncomfortable jokes, and I actually felt like he was really listening to what I was saying.  It didn’t hurt that he had sparkling eyes and a smile that made me go a little gaga.  By the way – I really hope you’re imagining me on a Tinder first date with The Donald.  You must be scratching your head right now wondering wtf I was thinking.  I assure you, he looked nothing like Trump, and it’d be a few months before I found out how much they really did have in common.

korea people kids girls boy children fashion clothing model candy smile happy friends
Photographer: Tycho Atsma

Call me crazy, but I think it’s pretty important when working as an ESL teacher to have a basic appreciation of children.  Every day I’m surprised by the progress my little gremlins (er – munchkins) make.  The childhood whimsy in my daily life is a bonus of my job, not a detraction. Because of how far away Frederick lived, I didn’t really see him interact with many others in a social setting.  The one and only time I actually ventured out his way, there wasn’t all that much to do.  It was a beautiful day and the park provided a nice atmosphere for a walk, a talk, and some appreciation of jacket-less weather.

kids child boy happy smile smiling laughing people children usa flag water sprinkler
Photographer: Frank McKenna

A little boy trailed off from his mum and stood looking from Frederick to me and back practically beaming to have seen such alien entities in his little corner of a suburb of Seoul.  In true teacher form, I said “hello”, and asked him in Korean what his name was.  Frederick simply barked that he hated kids.  Good talk, bro.

travel trip adventure road grass street father son guy people men shades car vacation clouds sky forest woods
Photographer: Asaf R

When Daddy-o came to town I really should have gotten the hint, but we had been on so many awesome dinner dates, museum trips, and discussions about current events and opera, I had a tough time pulling myself away.  Frederick, you see, was a great fan of classical music.  He was a particular fan of Wagner.  I thought he just dug the intensity of The Ring Cycle.  Then, I spent the day with Frederick and his father.  Turns out it was his fondness of the Führer which drove his musical education.

girl woman blonde hair fashion stairs stairwell sunshine summer people
Photographer: Ondrej Supitar

I couldn’t figure out why he kept commenting on my blonde hair and blue eyes.  What I know of my background is that I’m mostly of English and Irish descent.  My blonde locks are a product of an overly enthusiastic Korean hair-stylist.  It’s no secret these locks have seen their fair share of bleach.  I think we’d all be surprised at our genealogical backgrounds.  My grandfather was adopted and I grew up in a multicultural society, so culture was always an exciting means of expression rather than a tool of judgement.  Frederick’s father mused about how lovely it would be to have a cute little boy running around the house.  Wait – Frederick only wanted to hitch his wagon to an American.  Pops knew that I was a “Snow Mexican”, right?

wurst sausage food stand restaurant menu people German Berlin
Photographer: Dave Meier

That talk turned into a discussion about home decor.  Dad took out his phone and started swiping.  Pictures started popping up on Dad’s phone of his young Filipina girlfriend (she and I are the same age and his son is older than me).  Eventually, we got to the home bar.  Sitting on a rooftop patio in Itaewon drinking Pina Coladas, I discovered that Frederick was not just an opera enthusiast, but a history buff and a bit of a dick.  Frederick was the wurst.  The basement bunker bar was designed in red, black, and white.  Propaganda and paraphernalia covered the accent wall to the left of the bar.  Had I been dating a modern day Nazi sympathizer?

girl woman red head hair people backpack fashion view landscape blue sky summer lifestyle city town looking
Photographer: Chris Lawton

I wish I could say the story ended there, but expat dating is tough!  Sadly, Frederick got the better of me for one more date.  I needed arm candy for an event, and Freddy definitely fit the bill.  That night he asked me to be his girlfriend.  We went out partying at what was then the newest and hottest spot for Koreans and expats alike in Seoul.  Bumping into many of my friends, he didn’t hesitate to hold my hand or kiss me in front of anyone.  Then, we ran into a naturally red-haired, adorkably beautiful friend from my neighbourhood.  They seemed to recognize one-another, but I wasn’t sure how.  It wasn’t until Monday when I received the screenshots of their 4 AM time-stamped Tinder conversation that I knew it was over.

passport travel trip
Photographer: Ian Baldwin

I was wrapped up in his arms and he was telling another woman how much he wanted the D….C.

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

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*Names and other incriminating details have been changed to protect the not so innocent.

The 7 Worst Guys An Expat Can Date

Expat Dating - That Girl Cartier

Photographer: Dave Meier

We have a tendency to get a little bit lonely living abroad.  Expat dating can be tough!  It’s not always easy to meet someone who speaks English, and if you haven’t been somewhere long then your foreign language skills might not be strong enough for the dating world.  Men we’ve met while living abroad and trying to feign off loneliness haven’t all been bad.  The stereotypes represented are just that, stereotypes and generalizations, so please take this all with a grain of salt and a bit of a laugh.  Before you go locking up your love and throwing away the key, see if you notice any similarities herein.  This is all about the very worst of the worst: The 7 Worst Guys an Expat can Date.  Click on the links to expand your expat dating horizons…

Expat Dating - That Girl Cartier

Photographer: Ben White

The Local

This guy just wants to date someone foreign he can show off to his friends.  It’ll be a fleeting romance and a shot expat dating experience.  You’ll wonder what exactly you both were thinking.  In Korea, they call this phenomenon “Riding the White Horse”.  I’ll leave you and your imagination to that one.  This isn’t always the case, of course, but as a caucasian woman with blue eyes and blonde hair I’ve found more often than not this type of local’s intentions are pretty transparent, and they’re simply not for me.

Expat Dating - That Girl Cartier

Photographer: Taylor L. Spurgeon

The Green (CARD) Monster

This fellow might come from a country with a less than ideal passport situation and is looking to change that through expat dating.  Alternatively, he might have visions of moving to a different country for fame and fortune.  The Green Monster just wants you for your connection to your home and native land, land of hope and glory, or the home of the brave (most likely the latter, in my experience).

Expat Dating - That Girl Cartier

Photographer: Amanda Jordan

The Military Man

The Military Man tends to want to settle down.  Being deployed over and over again means he’s a lone wolf.  More often than not he’s “exclusively dating” a few lovely ladies.  They really do want to have their white picket fence and 2.5 kids, but the struggle is real when living in what amount to dorm rooms.  If you find a diamond in the rough, he will be the most loyal, caring gentleman in the world.  The standard review of the Military Man is that he’s a dirty dawg.

Expat Dating - That Girl Cartier

Photographer: Frank McKenna

The Eternal Expat

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 a charming personality.  Somewhere down the line he was likely a varsity athlete or fraternity brother.  He’s got natural game and women everywhere swoon.  He’s never settling down in one place, and for him you’ll never been enough.

Expat Dating - That Girl Cartier

Photographer: Ben White

The Lifer

Like the Eternal Expat, The Lifer doesn’t want to return home for fear he’ll just never have it as good.  He’s a 6 at home, but a 10 abroad.  Out every night of the week, he’s got a local girlfriend, but still crushes Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid on the regular.  With expat dates across the city during the week, he’s got a locally-sourced meal every Sunday night.

Expat Dating - That Girl Cartier

Photographer: Ben White

The LBH

The LBH or “loser back home” is a nightmare for both expats and travelers alike.  This guy has no social skills, but collects friends like Pokemon cards (note: he’s got a fat stack of those back home, too).  He’s likely well-educated (at least a Bachelor’s degree) and assumes that because he’s foreign (read between the lines here, ladies) he’s got something over the rest of the males in the country.  He’s not picking up the cheque anytime soon (which is fine, but let’s at least go Dutch) because he’s got massive student loans in arrears.  He probably has an acoustic guitar at home and has learned to play all of 3 chords.  Avoid this one like the plague…his friends are way cooler than he.

Expat Dating - That Girl Cartier

Photographer: Freestocks.org

The Travel Romance

This one shouldn’t be avoided altogether, but you must know upon entry that your risk of heartbreak is about 90%.  Meeting in vacation mode gives you the opportunity to live without the stress of work and other responsibilities at home.  You both are at your best around one another.  You’re swept up in the bliss of being in a new place with new adventures at every turn.  Give in to the Travel Romance, just don’t give away your heart completely while Expat Dating.  It will fly away to the other side of the planet to taunt you with ransom letters every time your time-zones allow you to connect.  Mine has now moved to Sweden Australia to date a “woman” ten years his junior.  I’m mortified…

Have you had an expat dating experience or travel romance which has stood the test of time?  Make sure to leave a comment below!  If you’re in Korea, check out this list of stellar date spots in Seoul.  From the budding romance to a tale as old as time, The Toronto Seoulcialite has got you covered.

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That Girl Cartier - 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date