Long time world!
Ok, so funny story time. The first time I came to Korea to live was back in 2005. It was less than 24 hours I got off the plane, and I was jet lagged. So I found a cafe at 6:30AM and just stood outside sipping my coffee. One of the part-time workers was outside washing the windows. She was close by, so I casually said “It’s nice weather today, isn’t it?” Now the rules of conversational etiquette dictate that the worker should have:
(a) respond about how nice the weather was, which could progress into a conversation if she so desired.
(b) give a short but polite reply and return to work if she did not wish to hold unnecessary dialogue.
Instead of (a) or (b), I got an ultimate death stare of universe. She didn’t say one word and just stared at me like some crazy dude that liked talking about the weather and raping girls. She was visibly scared and weirded out. So she inched away, keeping me in her sights, and returned to work without saying a word.
That was my very first culture shock in Korea. But I later realized that it’s 1) abnormal to talk to strangers for no reason at all. And that 2) a lot of Korean girls be straight petrified of random strangers of the male kind.
Now since a lot of the fear is directed towards guys, I’m guessing it’s a rape thing. And I understand. Rape is something girls have to be aware of. It’s a serious issue, and I don’t want to make light of it. But as someone who grew up outside of this society, I think the fear might be a bit excessive.
Here’s a few “scary stories” that I’ve heard:
“Scary Story” #1
– Friend was in the elevator of her apartment building and a delivery man (with full on uniform, holding a package) was riding with her. He turned to her to ask if he was in the right apartment building. And she timidly said yes.
That’s the end of the story. Really. But she told me it was a “scary situation.” Scary enough for her to actually remember a 20 second elevator ride with a delivery man.
“Scary Story” #2
– Taxi driver takes friend home. Taxi driver has a bunch of tangerines and offers her one. She says thank you. But instead of eating it, she worries that he might have injected it with something.
She ended up eating it when she got home. And sure enough, it was a delicious tangerine.
Of course not every Korean girl is afraid of everything. But just the fact that I can quote these as examples is proof that there is a fear that exists among Korean women. Who knows. Maybe it’s all warranted. There are definitely stories about these totally normal situations that turn into shocking front page news.
I am not a girl, so there are somethings that I will never understand. But as someone that’s on the other side, it makes me not want to be nice to strangers. Because even if I am nice, I will get death stare. Your boy is mad sensitive yo and death stares are crazy scarring!
Maybe I should just be like this:
If you’re a girl, do the same thoughts run through your head? Do you think this fear is excessive?