Sunday, July 12, 2009

Couplehood taken to extreme levels in South Korea--the horror, the horror!

While Julianne and I were eating lunch in a major department store's food court we suddenly noticed this girlfriend popping her boyfriend's zits . . . and just when we thought it couldn't get any worse she picks up two TOOTH PICKS and finishes the job.

NOTE: This may have nothing to do with 'couplehood' culture in Korea. It may be more about individual personality traits and relationship eccentricities . . .

BUT SERIOUSLY! Pop your zits in private!




Mark Eaton said...

True, blessed love in action.

Cassandra said...

I've seen this before a couple of times on the subway, and I admit that some things are better done in privacy. However, I find it even more distasteful that you have posted a video of them on the Internet.

Jason said...

Hi Cassandra,

If you're in a public space, displaying behavior to such a degree that you disregard others in the same space, without regard for the two-way flow of existence within a public space you open yourself up to being recorded and represented within that space . ..

If you took a very different view of the video you might consider that it could be a counter-discourse against my views on public displays of intimate interaction within the arbitrary construction of social space within which the couple is disrupting the normative behavioral codes of behavior . ..

Either way, they get to display behavior that they must on some level know they have made a CHOICE to display . ..

Please don't misunderstand my intentions here: I WANT to encourage a dialogue about what is 'appropriate' and or otherwise in public spaces and WHY . . .


Cassandra said...

Hi Jason,

Hypothetical question.

If a Korean took a picture of you doing something to be deemed inappropriate by the general Korean public (e.g. kissing your girlfriend on a busy street), how would you feel if they then posted that image on a public forum under the heading of 'the horror, the horror'?

Just curious.

I get what you're saying about people opening themselves up to be recorded, but I find it a bit disrespectful to do so.

As I said in my previous comment, I have seen girlfriends openly popping their boyfriends' spots on the subway. I've seen a girl picking her boyfriend's nose in public. Friends have also told me stories along the same lines. Maybe it is a trait of Korean 'couplehood'. It's not that pleasant to watch, I agree, but neither are the full-on displays of public affection, which seem to be accepted in my home country. Cultural differences fascinate me.

Anyway, I enjoy reading your blog (particularly loved the post entitled Cell Phone Etiquette 101), and have picked up some good tips for new things to try in Seoul. I apologise if my wording was a bit harsh in my first comment; I didn't mean it to sound so blunt. :)

Jason said...

Hi Cassandra,

I've had Koreans take my photo MANY times without asking my permission, and had them VIDEO me too, again without asking my permission . . . this has happened when I've been teaching, when I've been on the street, etc.

If I'm doing something that the majority of people in a culture would consider taboo, and it's in a highly trafficked public space . . . I have to be prepared to be filmed doing it.

"the horror, the horror" is meant to be rather tongue in cheek--and regular readers of my blog would understand that, I think. Also, people who know the literary allusion would also get my mild commentary on the phenomenon that is couplehood in Korea's modernity . . .

Anyways . . . I made sure that the couple's faces were not visible, and feel that that was more than fair considering what they were doing in the FOOD COURT of a major department store.