The Newest in Dating Diaries: Repatriation
When writing about something as sensitive as dating, it’s kind of tough to write something positive without hurting someone’s feelings. You might be thinking “huh? What’s she talking about? Why would writing something good hurt someone?”, but hear me out. When you write something – anything at all – and it strikes a chord in a man (even one you may have never met!) the comments section can get a little heated. I’m ready and waiting with popcorn (Smartfood, I’ve missed you) for all of the man-hating, extreme feminist names they have stored in their back pockets. When you write something about men in general, and someone else he thinks he’s the man in your life, feelings can get hurt. I am single. I am all over the map literally and figuratively. In the (almost) 3 weeks I’ve been back in North America, I’ve met some truly wonderful people, and surprisingly young and accomplished men.
Dating After Korea
Since leaving Korea, I’ve been through Bali, back to Korea, to Canada, the United States, and back to Canada all within 40 days. If any of you think dating in Korea is wonderful, welcome to the rest of the world. It’s your damn oyster! If you’re having trouble and want to explore the dating world more extensively, maybe the contract life in the land of the morning calm isn’t for you. I know I’ve always been the queen of bad timing, and Korea pressure didn’t help. I’ve recently had a freedom and flexibility which seems to have been pretty attractive to men. Well, pretty attractive to the average ODB and younger man, alike. It feels nice to have most people believe I’m somewhere between 21 and 25. Guess my multi-step K-Beauty routine has been working! I’m always honest and upfront about being 30. Ain’t no shame in that game. My Tinder is set to meet men 25 – 37, which I feel is fairly age-appropriate. Meeting younger guys (organically) has actually taught me a lot about how to relax into the dating world again. In honour of The Real Housewives of New York City returning to Bravo, let’s let my favourite cradle-robber, Carole Radziwill, tell you all about why repatriation is best with a younger man by your side.
At 30 (and after living in Korea), it’s really easy to get anyone’s number. I’ve just been living in fantasy land (as far as any recruiters are concerned) for the past 3 years. If you can’t walk up to a random hottie and pretend you’re just two SIMS characters after that, what HAS Korea taught you? Seriously – after 30 we just don’t care. There are dating opportunities everywhere.
You Can’t Hurry Love
You might think that dating is the same everywhere. That notion would be entirely incorrect. Living in Korea has completely shaped the way I interact with men. Expats don’t typically buy into the Korean way of dating, but we definitely don’t do it like we would back home. We’ve all got that added pressure of our contract’s time limit looming over our heads, so more often than not we rush. I remember by our 3rd date (in as many days) Co-P asked me to be his girlfriend (and subsequently married the next woman he only met a handful of times. Bullet = dodged). Adonis went from traveling SEA to living with me in the course of a month.
You’ve been out of the game for X many years
Things happen so quickly when you’re living abroad or traveling. I had a whirlwind romance turned roller-coaster ride in Bali over 10 days. It’s insane how quickly things develop. Because of my experiences, I have the emotional ADHD of a much younger human. I need to learn how to slow down and actually meet people again the Western way. In order to do so, dating a guy on my level has a number of benefits:
He’s Not Necessarily Established
Coming back to live in Canada I’ve stayed with my parents, gone on a blogger trip, and am currently house-sitting. Until I sort out my job and living situation in Toronto, I’m 30 and living in my parents’ basement. Good news! He’s probably still living with Mommy and Daddy, too, or he may have just moved out on his own. You’re ready to re-enter the social scene and he’s eager to experience the city. Nobody’s there to make you feel bad about starting over since he’s starting up as well.
The younger guys I’ve met thus far have been far more earnestly doting, caring, and chivalrous than guys my age. Maybe there’s been a renaissance in upbringing or maybe they feel like they have more to prove with the change in typical gender dynamics. Whatever it is, I’m appreciative. All my life I’ve been so worried about losing someone precious. Suddenly I feel like I’m the important one they don’t want stolen away.
He’s Got the Energy
He’ll teach you about the latest trends
I feel like such a geriatric creature bringing this one up, but there are pieces of generational technology I haven’t had time to peruse. He’ll help you assess the latest gadgets and give you the specs before even heading in to buy the hardware. When I’m still fighting with Olleh/ Korea Telecom (KT) to get my last account closed, it’s great to have a wealth of knowledge helping me along.
Dating Younger: He Looks Good
Have you ever noticed how 30 year old men look these days? Being stressed and overworked not only has an effect on the ol’ beer belly, but their skin loses glow, too. Cameron Diaz’s character in “The Holiday” talks about how men age gracefully and women become haggard. “I’m gonna call bullshit on that.” That couldn’t be farther from the truth for me. 5 years ago, a friend who had just turned 30 told me she was the happiest and in the best shape of her entire life. I scoffed, but dammit if those words aren’t ringing like the Bell of Good Luck in my 30, flirty, and thriving ears.
In my mid-twenties I was fat and miserable. I worked out plenty, but stress and poor eating habits got the best of me. Coming back from Korea, I have a phenomenal beauty routine thanks to my friends at Leegeeham, G2Cell, CosRX (they just sent me a package I can’t WAIT to review for you), and Seoul Cosmetic Surgery. Botox is no longer taboo. Wouldn’t you want to stop the aging process dead in its tracks? I don’t want to look like I’m dating a child, but I’m not ready to look like I’m dating my dad, either.
When I was in my early to mid twenties, I went out with guys who I considered to be out of my league. I dated a lot of douche-canoes; a lot of big Richards, if you will. Ladies: you are worth it. Don’t ever let a guy string you along without commitment simply because you think he’s too hot or too accomplished. Spoiler alert: there’s no such thing! If he’s interested in spending time with you in or out of the bedroom, then you need to be clear about your expectations. When you’re happy with what you’re getting then that’s perfect. If you’re not, make it clear!
I’ve learned to care a lot less about what other people think. If he fucks it up? Well… I don’t care, really. I mean it’s lovely for now, but he’s got a lot of living to do before settling down. I’m looking to plant those roots in Toronto, but until then why waste good company?
Warning: Dating Younger may have Drama Closer than it Appears
When dating a younger man, there’s always the chance there will be some pathetic fly on the wall desperate to make a meal out of a snack. One day she’ll learn. For now, ignore…ignore…ignore.
In my last year in Korea I dealt with the most vile, psychotic woman I’ve ever met because she thought she was dating my boyfriend. She met him twice – before I had ever met him. The vendetta lasted a year, and I’m sure the wine, fat-shaming, and name-calling parties continue even now that I’m gone. There’s plenty more to the story, but that’s too juicy for today.
Just one for the young ladies considering the paragraph above. We’re older. We’re wiser. Take heed.
Korea –> Canada: Dating through Repatriation
Living in Korea was great for my health, horrible for my heath, and taught me a lot. It was great because in my first year I was able to create that work/ life balance I so craved. I had the opportunity to cook properly, my favourite snack foods were disgusting in Korea (BBQ Cheetos – ew!), and I had split shifts meaning I could work out 2 hours a day. I took my weekends off, and that’s where I’d let myself go off the rails a little bit.
Number 1 rule? No gym on weekends. Number 2 rule? It’s okay to eat an entire pie from Pizza School (corn and all) on Sunday. Was I hungover? Absolutely. Had I cleaned my entire apartment Friday night rather than go out? Hell yes. Did that have something to do with the “focus candy” prescribed liberally? OH YEAH. Korea helped me lose my stress weight and taught me about balance. When you feel good you look good and that goodness radiates. I have a whole new outlook on dating in Canada right now.
My #1 Key to Dating Anywhere
What did I learn? Well, this series is about dating, so we’ll keep it to that. Communication is the absolute most important part. Even if you’re dating someone from another English-speaking country, there are bound to be cultural differences. Knowing what you want and what you can bring to the table is also important. As someone returning to the dating game in my home country, I don’t feel comfortable dating someone who has just been blindly happy with the status quo the entire time I’ve been away. Maybe it’s the Korean Skincare Routine, maybe I’m just not willing to settle for someone who has settled. Regardless, I’m attracting younger guys – and I’m starting to be okay with that.
In conclusion, nobody needs to know you’re dating younger.
You’re only as old as the man that you feel, right?
Have you experienced something interesting and unexpected coming back to the dating pool in your home country? Let Cartier know in the comments section below!