Expat Dating Diaries – A PSA to Grown Men: Stop Ghosting

Everything ends, but some things don’t even get a chance at a proper start.  Grown men need to learn to communicate rather than “ghosting”.  This is the story of my devilishly handsome, mysterious, and insanely cowardly rebound.

Ghosting: Everything ends, but some things don't even get a chance at a proper start. The story of my handsome, mysterious, and insanely cowardly rebound. That Girl Cartier people man guy black and white body tattoo art bracelet
Photographer: Jake Davies

My Most Recent Ghosting Experience

I recently went out with a man who I thought was interested in dating casually.  As I was fresh out of a relationship, I figured he planned on getting to know me over time.  It’s also fair to assume that he was seeing other women throughout the first month of what I’ll call our “courtship”.  Tinder is like window shopping, and I had a brand new account.  We saw eachother 4 times that first week, which was a little intense for me.  It was also pretty similar to my last relationship.  Co-P was in a new Facebook relationship a mere 11 days after he and I split.  That’s such a shady look.  Perhaps he shouldn’t have cheated if he knew he’d get so butthurt about our break-up.  I wasn’t in a place where I felt I needed to “win” the break-up.  I want to wait until I actually know someone before determining I’ll be spending my valuable time with him alone.

Ghosting: Everything ends, but some things don't even get a chance at a proper start. The story of my handsome, mysterious, and insanely cowardly rebound. That Girl Cartier people man woman body tattoo art couple back black and white

So, rebound and I had some really nice dates.  We went to some of my favourite spots in Itaewon as he was new to the city.  A friend of mine came along on date #1 (what I call an “audition”), and his boss met up with us later that day.  He joined me for a restaurant review and asked that we spend the next night “just us”.  He held my hand in public and let other males around us know through physical cues that he was the alpha and I wasn’t going to entertain their advances.  By date #3 he told me he didn’t want this to just be a fling.  After that, I started to get the silent treatment.  He’d go incommunicado for days, then blow up my phone with cute selfies and videos.  We both left Seoul for the long weekend, but were in touch the whole time.

Ghosting: Everything ends, but some things don't even get a chance at a proper start. The story of my handsome, mysterious, and insanely cowardly rebound. That Girl Cartier people male hand arm shoulder body tattoo art
Photographer: Matheus Ferrero

When he got back home, he called me via video chat.  He cracked a joke at one point, so I laughed.  He told me that’s all he ever wanted.  All he wanted was just to make me laugh and smile.  The line was delivered with such innocence and fluidity I almost believed it.  I rolled my eyes and that’s when he said the one thing that surprised me.

“You’re so cool.  You play it so cool.”

“What?”

“Yeah, you act like you don’t care.  I care.”

“I’m confused.  You’re the cool one in this situation.  I’m just trying to keep up.”

My bullshit-o-dometer was whizzing out of control.  That’s when he told me he had the next 10 years of his life planned out.  Where was I going to fit in?  It’s nice to have a casual, physical relationship, but what were we and what happens next?  What about the “dot…dot…dot…”?  After I told him it was a little early to be having this conversation, I suggested getting together on the weekend.  He agreed, with the caveat that now (after nearly a month of knowing one-another) was the perfect time for this serious discussion.  After that?  Radio silence…was he seriously ghosting me after trying to lock it down on freaking FaceTime?

Ghosting: Everything ends, but some things don't even get a chance at a proper start. The story of my handsome, mysterious, and insanely cowardly rebound. That Girl Cartier people girl man coffee relax chill restaurant coffeehouse bar shop mobile phone texting browsing
Photographer: Jacob Ufkes

Gentlemen, you know exactly what kind of shitty human being you are when you consciously decide not to pick up calls or respond to messages.  Nobody is too busy to make plans with someone they like.  When a man is interested in a woman, he’ll move Heaven, Earth, a board meeting or a boys night to see her.  When you’re ghosting, you’re avoiding responsibility because you’re too chicken shit to have an actual adult conversation.  Everyone gets anxious when it comes to potential confrontation.  You owe it to the other person to provide a proper conclusion.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: to get what you want you have to communicate.

Ghosting: Everything ends, but some things don't even get a chance at a proper start. The story of my handsome, mysterious, and insanely cowardly rebound. That Girl Cartier people woman girl sitting waiting alone blonde hair mobile phone

Ladies, here are some of the reasons why he’s ghosting you:

He’s Not Looking For Commitment

This guy will flip his shit at the simplest “how was your day?” text.  It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a serious relationship or casual tail.  He wants no strings attached and assumes you’re hunting for a ring.  Drop the dud and play the field.  He’s not worth your time.

There’s Another Woman

I always say that Tinder is like window shopping.   Men can certainly make the most of a shitty situation.  In fact, a lot of guys I know actually exclusively Tind while on the can.  If you’re dating someone actively perusing your replacement, he’s a turd.  Don’t let yourself circle the drain with this one.

You’re the Other Woman

I met this wonderful man last year who really wanted to take things slow and get to know me.  We went on some fantastic dates and I felt like we really started to make a connection.  Then, he started acting weird and before I knew it – he was ghosting.  It turns out his ex fiance was getting married and he just wasn’t quite over it all.  It didn’t matter that their relationship was over.  He wasn’t ready to make an emotional investment that might end with similar feelings.  This one actually came back and we were able to talk it out.  Eventually, we even became friends.

He’s Just Not That Into You

It sucks to hear, but the old Sex and the City adage is real.  He doesn’t see this going anywhere and doesn’t wanted to get sucked into an emotional conversation where he’ll have to explain why.  He doesn’t even respect you enough to have the common decency to tell you he doesn’t want to see you.  Start swiping.

You’re an Option, Not a Priority

He wants to keep you around in case he needs an emotional relationship or a late night booty call down the line.  Unfriend.  Unfollow.  Block if you must.  Move the hell along.

Ghosting: Everything ends, but some things don't even get a chance at a proper start. The story of my handsome, mysterious, and insanely cowardly rebound. That Girl Cartier people girl female lady woman travel outdoor alone beach seashore sea ocean waves water summer mobile phone texting

Dating is tough.  Expat dating is often tougher.  When it comes down to it, we all want to feel important and cared for.  Nobody wants to feel tossed aside.  Ladies and gentlemen, don’t willfully neglect another human.  Be kind, be gentle, and stop ghosting.  I can guarantee that a reasonable person will respond much better (and likely stop responding altogether) if you tell him or her in a nice way that you don’t want to proceed.  The calling, the texting, the passive aggressive social media posts (and lurks) will all vanish – and you won’t have to.  If you want to alleviate guilt and avoid confrontational/ emotional conversations be clear.  Stop ghosting.

Break-Up Don'ts and Dating Do's - Expat Dating Diaries That Girl Cartier

Break-Up Do’s and Dating Don’ts – Expat Dating Diaries

Expat Dating Don’ts and Break-Up Do’s

Co-P and I started having the inevitable (inevitable because he’s leaving Korea, not because he’s a cheater) break-up talk.  It would have been fine had it not been in Haneda airport 6 hours before our flight.  A few days later our fast, serious, fleeting, expat dating romance was over.  Little did I know then, he was already seeing (and sleeping with) someone else.  The confidence I had in our direct, communicative relationship was an absolute lie, and I feel pretty stupid having trusted him.  Because of the exciting, dramatic, and rocky way our relationship began, I felt like most of the time we were playing relationship chicken.  I had several trips lined up before meeting him.  He said he wanted to come, and without too many jokes or dares he booked flights.  I should have taken my own advice…

Because of the dramatic way our relationship began, I felt like we were playing relationship chicken. I should have taken my expat dating advice! girl woman barbell weights muscles strength training athlete crossfit health fitness exercise working out people
Photographer: Alexandre Vanier

Looking back on our relationship (as shortlived as it was) I have a number of thoughts and feelings.  We are completely different people with a few key common interests (fitness, food, and expat dating, it seems).  Ultimately, we weren’t compatible romantically or with our timing.  He tried to limit me to 2 tourist attractions per day on our travels.  He wanted a 10 PM bedtime.  I wanted to soak up everything (including the nightlife) in a new city.  He followed the rules.  I wanted to renegotiate them.  There were so many times when I felt I couldn’t be as wild and outlandish as I wanted to be.  In some respects, that’s a really good thing.  Co-P pushed me to be the healthiest and strongest person physically I could be.  I was well-rested, too.  Ultimately, I got bored.  I think he did, too.

Because of the dramatic way our relationship began, I felt like we were playing relationship chicken. I should have taken my expat dating advice! airplane travel adventure plane people vacation trip transportation vehicle helicopter
Photographer: Inge Wallumrod

As much as I’m content with my life without him as my boyfriend, there are still moments that give me pause.  I miss having him as the friend I thought he was.  There are a lot of lessons that can be learned from every relationship, and expat dating is no different.  Take a look and see what you can extrapolate from every interaction.  Here’s what I’ve learned…

 

Because of the dramatic way our relationship began, I felt like we were playing relationship chicken. I should have taken my expat dating advice! people man woman couple dating talking romance candle lighting lights bokeh
Photographer: Austin Call

Expat Dating Don’ts

  • Don’t have your first few dates at favourite spots in your neighbourhood.  You’ll hate yourself going back to a memory you made together there every time you pass them.
  • Don’t invest yourself too much in the beginning…or really ever.  It’s important to keep a balance and your own social life.  Don’t be one of those people who gives up on your single friends when you’re coupled up.
  • Don’t ignore the majority of your friends saying bad things about him.  Especially don’t alienate them in favour of the ones who speak kindly.
  • Don’t ignore his ex gfs if they reach out to you.  There’s a reason they sound crazy.  That reason is probably that he hurt them something fierce.
  • Don’t let things move too quickly.  If he’s asking you to be exclusive on the third day you’ve met, maybe there’s another issue.  Pump the breaks if things are heating up a little faster than anticipated.  It might be exciting to jump into a new relationship, but you also might be left with the feeling that you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.  He might have self-esteem issues, be self-indulgent, or just want to stir up drama.  Co-P posted about his new girlfriend the day before a trip we planned together.  (Super nice way to let me know you cheated, by the way…).  Expat dating is tough!
  • Don’t get hung up on past heartaches.  There’s a reason he’s not the one with you on this date!  Focus on this new person who wants to spend time getting to know you!
Because of the dramatic way our relationship began, I felt like we were playing relationship chicken. I should have taken my expat dating advice! people girl woman couple clothing hand touch
Photographer: Christiana Rivers

Expat Dating: Break-Up Do’s

  • Do let yourself have a mourning period.  Maybe you haven’t lost the love of your life, but you’re losing out on someone who has made an impact on it.  You’ll be ready when you’re ready.
  • Do:  It doesn’t matter if your mourning period is short.  If you are ready to get back out there then do it!
  • Do: Say YES.  If you get an interesting invitation then say yes!  Surprise yourself with new hobbies and activities.
  • Do: Meet new people!  It doesn’t matter if you want to get out on the dating scene right away or not, new people = new perspectives.  Isn’t learning what we’re born to do?
  • Do: Widen your net.  Meet people (new friends and prospects) you might not normally go for.  Everyone thinks they have a “type”.  If yours hasn’t been working for you, try something else!  Whether you’re an expat dating or just meeting new pals, there are plenty of us in a concentrated environment.  Go forth an experience new things!
  • Do: Look out for #1.  Take care of yourself first.  Don’t overextend yourself for someone who won’t go out of his or her way for you.
Because of the dramatic way our relationship began, I felt like we were playing relationship chicken. I should have taken my expat dating advice! sea ocean water waves nature horizon sky sunset sunlight sunrise sunshine people couple love man woman hug smile happy
Photographer: Christiana Rivers

I’m not looking for the stars and the moon in another human.  I’m looking for a travel companion, good conversationalist, work-out buddy, party pal, and all around life partner.  I’m looking for someone who won’t deliberately hurt me (or put me at risk) because he’s started to stray.  Neptune has 13 moons.  Uranus has 27 (and they’re outta this world, girlfriend).  Our very own galaxy is full of stars and moons.  If you’re an expat in Korea like me, you’ve likely circled the globe at least once or twice.  He (or she) is out there, but you’ve gotta make it through the Star Wars first.

Britney Spears in Seoul Korea

Britney in my Seoul – Oops, I did it again…

Britney Spears in Seoul, South Korea

Saturday June 10th Britney Spears played a show in Korea.  She was actually in Tokyo when I went with Co-P, but we didn’t go to the show.  We actually began the break up process at Haneda Airport, but that’s a story for another time.  Oops…I did it again.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d see her live, and I certainly didn’t think it’d be in Korea of all places!  Even cooler?  With G Dragon playing a show and Ultra Music Festival this weekend we got our KRW 99,000 tickets (just over $100 Canadian) upgraded TWICE.  I was sent to 3 different windows and had to wait a long time while they got their act together, but I walked away with VVIP tickets which had a value closer to $400 Canadian…each!  I got all gussied up with fabulous fellow blogger “A Fat Girl’s Food Guide“.  We had all kinds of laughs I really needed outside the venue, and went inside just before the show.

Britney Spears in Seoul Korea

Circus

There was no opening act.  Britney got straight into it and didn’t stop for an hour and a half.  She was strictly business, purely professional, and an enchanting entertainer.  The fan favourites were all a blur, fading into one another in a medley that got me in the zone!  Last night was a reminder that if Britney can make it through 2007, I can make it through the day, too.  When you breakdown you can go further into the madness or take the opportunity to rebuild.  There’s a blessing and a beauty in the breakdown.  Others may have torn you down, but only you can truly rebuild from the wreckage.

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Toxic

The past year has not exactly been my easiest.  I came to Korea to give myself a break from a stressful job and a toxic work environment.  After a healthy, comfortable, calm year in Busan, I decided to take on the capital city: Seoul.  I was right back in a difficult work environment with longer hours and less time to dedicate to fitness and finding friends.  Sprinkle in a couple of dating disasters and Itaewon drama, and voila!  You’ve got yourself a pretty shit sundae.  It’s getting tougher and tougher to pick myself up.  I truly believe that you should take as many lessons as you can from a negative situation.  Reflecting on our actions, reactions, and the ones from the people around us is crucial to personal development.  While I often feel like I take one step forward and 3 steps back, I want to move forward and enter my 30’s with joy and energy.

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Work, B*tch

On Mondays I aim to ease into the week.  I get to work with the youngest kids on Mondays.  While conversation is tougher, the cuddles tend to be plentiful.  My gym doesn’t open until 8 AM on Mondays, so I take it easy.  I talk to my parents on Skype every Monday and always look forward to our weekly ritual.  I’ve partnered with Sprout Seoul (Natural Healthy Whole Food Service in Korea), so I skipped out on my weekly meal prep in favour of flavour.  I’ll have breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack or dessert free of over-processed ingredients, chemicals and additives.  I’ll be sharing pictures and honest thoughts on the menu here daily, too.  Last time I ordered from Sprout I was down 3 kg within days.  I’m thrilled to be on the 5 day plan.  If you order from Sprout Seoul, make sure to mention The Toronto Seoulcialite or That Girl Cartier to get a free snack!

…One More Time

I’ve read that we should start now rather than waiting for a special occasions. I say, take what you can get.  New Year’s Eve, a birthday, a new job, a break-up or even a Monday is an opportunity.  I’ve got a recent break-up, a birthday on the horizon (August 6th if you’re keeping track), and the Monday trap tomorrow.  I want to take these opportunities as spring boards to a better me.  As cheesy as it all sounds, a fresh start is exactly what I think I need.  With a new gym membership, Sprout Seoul, a little Restylane c/o Eunogo, some rad new friends, the love of more than a couple drag queens, and Britney in my Seoul, I’m Stronger.  Now get to work, b*tch!

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Expat Dating Diaries: The Eternal Expat

Expat Dating - That Girl Cartier

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…

Riding the White Horse in Korea That Girl Cartier people men women friends crowd walking city signage bar korea mall shopping
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.

Riding the White Horse in Korea ThatGirlCartier guy fitness athlete health boy people court black and white asian
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.

Riding the White Horse in Korea ThatGirlCartier architecture building infrastructure room wooden bench people man guy thinking alone sad male asian
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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Expat Dating Diaries: The Green (Card) Monster

Expat Dating - That Girl Cartier

Photographer: Taylor L. Spurgeon

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.

Winter Wonderland: Beating Dry Skin in Korea

Miracle 10 Skin Care Yorkville Toronto

From the time I was 8 until I was around 10 years old, I had some strange breakouts that plagued me (and my poor Mother while we were in France!).  I got teased quite a bit because of it.  When kids called me the traditional, silly, childhood names reserved for acne I wasn’t really bothered because they were mislabeling the issue.  They weren’t zits, but nobody really knew what was going on with my face.  At one point it all just cleared up, and since then I’ve always been the kind of person who found pride in being able to wash my makeup off with soap and water and still have pretty flawless skin.

Since coming to Korea, I’ve made much more of an effort to use a proper cleanser to take off my make-up before bed.  Since I’ve started teaching, my crows feet and forehead wrinkles have gotten out of hand.  It’s sudden, too.  I woke up in Osaka, Japan last summer and smiled at my reflection in the mirror while putting on make-up.  To my sheer horror, there were crows feet.  Aging: not a subtle bitch!  That’s actually why I decided to get botox once I moved to Seoul.

When I wrote this article, I hadn’t gotten botox, but you had better believe that my medicine cabinet had more than a few moisturizers.  Even with my twice daily moisturizing routine, the air quality in Korea combined with the dry winter cold (they don’t heat places like they do in Canada!  I’m constantly wearing my winter coat indoors) has left my skin really dry.  I know that a lot of my friends have had their fair share of weird and unexpected changes in how their bodies react to things in Korea, but the most common issue (beyond gut rot) has been related to skin.

My face is the biggest concern because that’s the only place where the dry skin actually feels itchy.  I don’t want to constantly be scratching my face – I’m (finally) trying to be good to my skin!  One of my kindergarten students actually pointed out that I had some red patches along the lower half of my face closer to the jaw-line.  My bronzer or blush actually clumps up in these patches.  It’s not pretty, y’all.

Miracle 10 Spa in Yorkville Toronto

I think it’s important to note that while this is in no way a sponsored post, The Plastic Surgery Clinic and Miracle10 skincare were in a Brand Ambassador-style partnership back in 2014 and 2015.  Miracle 10 skincare had been very good to me when I was in Toronto and had my lifestyle blog up and running, and my Twitter feed was more Toronto-centric.  I had been given the entire starter line of skincare products  ($249.00 on their website) tailored to my particular skin type.  The scents are very, very subtle (which I loved) and my skin felt fresh, clean, and healthy.  After running out of the products I unfortunately just did not have the money to purchase the set, but now that I’m getting older I think it would be a really wise investment (especially with this air quality and pollution in Asia).  Since their products are available with international shipping on miracle10.com, as well as on The Shopping Channel and Amazon.com, I can’t imagine I’ll have a problem getting them shipped to Seoul.  Fast forward to cleaning out my Busan closets and going through my  beauty collection, I found I actually still had quite a bit of one product left: Super C.

Miracle 10 Super C

Super C is designed for Normal/Maturing and Delicate/Dry Skin.  It helps to refine the appearance of fine lines, refines the texture and tone of the skin, and aids with skin brightening and fortifying.  When I see skin brightening in Korea it usually means whitening agents (eek – bleach!), but since this product is from Canada I felt fine going right ahead.  The Miracle10 skincare  website also provides the following information:

Your unique skin type may need a little extra boost to help it look its radiant best. Super C is 100% pure Vitamin C. This powerful anti-oxidant helps to repair the look of sun damage, hyper-pigmentation, and the signs of aging.

Super C
100% pure topical vitamin C (l-ascorbic acid) is a highly stable antioxidant powder formulated to dissolve into and instantly supercharge any Miracle10 gel or cream formulation. Powerful antioxidant properties may help to repair and heal damaged skin. Super C assists in collagen production and the repair of sun damage to restore vitality, clarity and refinement to all skin types.

Features

  • Over time, skin becomes accustomed to certain ingredients, so it becomes important to adjust your skin care system.
  • This powerful antioxidant instantly dissolves into and supercharges any Miracle 10 cream or gel.
  • Improves skin texture and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Within 2 days and 3 applications my dry patches are almost entirely gone.  I’m pretty thrilled with the change in how those dry patches reacted, and wanted to pass on this little beauty fix to you!  Have you tried any of the Miracle10 products?  Are there any Korean beauty products that corrected an unexpected problem?  Let me know in the comments!