Life In Korea: The Online Dating Scene
Please don't show my mother this post! Well I can't say it really matters in the long run any way. It's almost Valentines day, by the time you read this, it might already be Valentine's Day either way, I am single AF! I'm okay with it. It's not my first Single Gal V-Day, nor do I doubt that it will be the last; either way its better than the last one I spent with my ex. I've been in Korea, for almost a year now and I have done the online dating thing on several different platforms and on TWO continents! It's all the same.
So Korea is no different from the states in that online dating is a thing, possibly more so. In a country where blind dating is still a thing, and a very popular thing, why wouldn't online dating also make the rounds. I know that there are many different apps and sites out there but the two that I "use" are Tinder and Bumble.
Yes the dreaded Tinder! Let's start there. I remember when Korean ads started to pop up in my YouTube algorithm, when I was still in Chicago. In between my Running Man and Knowing Brothers clips, there was Seungri, modeling for Tinder. This was of course before the Burning Sun Scandal, but I still knew, from my hours of useless Big Bang videos that the Panda was a ladies man; more so than they tried to make G-Dragon out to be. I immediately took a screen shot and sent it to my Korean friend. I needed to know if Tinder had the same "reputation" in Korea as it did in the States. He said he had never heard of it. Quite the serial dater, himself, I wasn't buying it!
I did the necessary research, via YouTube and Reddit and found that most girls were still having similar experiences. And yet, out of complete and utter boredom, I downloaded the app. I had been on Tinder for a grand total of 3 hours when I was living in Florida. I for my first D!ck Pic and promptly deleted it!
It is important to note that there are three types of guys in Korea. Koreans (obviously), English speaking foreigners, and Military; there are FWBs in every category. Most people will tell you to stay away from Military guys for varying reasons. The most popular reason is because military personnel are only here for a short amount of time, my response being, "so are you".
My personal reason for avoiding military is that either they are looking for an FWB or they are looking for an FWB while his wife is pining away at home! I know a girl who fell victim to that one. She fell head over heels for this guy in the short 5 months that they were... "coloring", as Carrie put it. She was even considering going back to the States to be with him when his deployment and her contract were over. A month before, he couldn't see her anymore, because his Commanding officer was "super religious" and his divorce wasn't technically filed. A week before he is scheduled to leave, he just couldn't bear the thought of "burdening" her with all of his personal demons and drama.
Now, this is not to say that English speaking foreigners that are not in the American military are any better. I have had an Indian guy talk to me for about a month before he dropped that he was working in Korea, while his wife was back in India. But that was okay because his wife "didn't mind".
I am happy to report that I have not gotten a single d!ck pic. I have gotten the typical "What's your name, where are you, do you live alone". series of questioning. No conversation; no sly lead ins, just straight to the point. And when I tell these, uh, "gentlemen" that I don't, I don't know about your house but Jesus is in mine, I receive radio silence. I am okay with that. I have actually had one ask if I lived alone, and I told him no all the foreign teachers at my school live together. Not to be deterred from a good time, he asked "don't you have your own room though?"
Today in my Facebook Memories there was a post from 9 years ago, where a Nigerian guy was trying to talk to me. That hasn't changed. In the category of English speaking foreigners, I seem to attract Africans and Indians. I get it, my tan says that I am of African decent, and there are a good number of South Africans in Korea; I work with two! When I got my hair braided the lady asked if I was Indian and we had to clarify if she meant Native American or New Dehli.
I have been creeped out by both an African and an Indian for doing the same thing. It's probably more common than I realize but less guys confess to it. Twice now I have had someone tell me that they really liked my pictures and mention 1 in particular. One guy went as far as to show the photo that he particularly liked. The problem was that this particular screenshot was not taken while we were talking! He has had this photo saved on his phone for heaven knows how long and when I asked why he said, "Just to appreciate your beauty from time to time. Until we link up and I can see the real thing." I have never been more creeped out before in my LIFE and I have had a stranger kiss and smell my hand, and an old woman attempt to physically drag me to her church! Needless to say he was blocked!
As far as Koreans go, I have matched with a few. At this point it is a game to me. I match but rarely hear from them. Maybe a "Hello" and that is that. I don't mind. I talk to one on and off every 2-3 weeks. He will ask me if I want to meet and I remind him, again, that I while I don't mind meeting with him, it will not go beyond coffee. Sometimes that is okay. Sometimes, he just can't help that he is "a dog"; his words not mine.
If you really want to link up with Koreans, for talking or meeting or... "coloring", the best place may actually be HelloTalk. Marketed as a language exchange app, I know many a foreign girl that has deleted the app because she was constantly being hit up for something other than friendly conversation.
*TMI Alert* Tinder and Bumble have become a Bathroom Boredom activity. When I know that I will be sitting there for a while, I will open Tinder and start swiping.
What about you? Any online dating horror stories? Which apps work for you? Let's continue the convo below!