The act of performing a "dongchim" (doesn't that sound so 'academic'? lol) is when a child puts their hands together (some say with their index and middle fingers extended and held together) and then they jab their fingers into another person's butt . . . lol. (Roboseyo has also blogged about this Korean cultural phenomenon before--see here for another spin.)
Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately lol, youtube only has two videos that I could find to illustrate, ahem, what a dongchim is . . . just in case the statue picture didn't fully convey the meaning, lol.
The reason I felt the insane urge to donchim an ajusshi in the subway has to do with one of the things foreign English teachers have to adapt to when living and teaching in Korea: being stared at.
Dare I use Kim Jong Il as the 'quintessential' example of an ajusshi stare? Yep, damn right.
Being stared at is especially bad for foreign English teachers who are women, and if they have, ahem, a large bust.
Julianne is one of these women--hmmmm, large bust . . .
Anyways, when we travel through the subway system we have developed the anti-ajusshi-dead-fish-pyonte-stare-system (pyonte means "pervert").
NOTE: I am NOT saying all Korean men are perverts, and I am NOT saying that all ajusshi do this either. This is, however, a cultural phenomenon that many female foreign teachers experience while in Korea, and I do not think I am overgeneralizing.
Anyways . . .
Here are some of the methods.
1. I step in between Julianne and the mobile roving eye ajusshi with my back to him. This seems to have about a 40% success rate. The problem is that the other 60% simply pretend to want to change where they're standing and waiting for the subway to arrive; they walk to a new position with a clear line of sight on Julianne's .... yeah.
2. Walk to another of the many waiting spots to get on the subway. This works for about 90% of the ajusshi, but the remaining 10% seem to have some sort of foreign-women-large-bust magnetism that pulls them along after us. Oh yeah, the other problem with this strategy is . . . there are usually more ajusshi standing at each of the waiting spots on the subway platform--argh, lol!
There are some days when Julianne and I just have no patience and if we're tired and stressed out trying to find a free space where we don't feel the staring eyeballs becomes an exercise in futility with no actual hope of escaping the situation, but you just keep trying anyways . . . kind of like Sideshow Bob here.
3. Give them the all powerful 'teacher death stare of disapproval' and see if this shames them into quickly realizing that they need to be anywhere else but in close proximity to Julianne and I . . . this generally tends to work only for a short period of time. The ajusshi may or may not move to another location, and while they do stop staring for a little while the urge to "sneak another peek"--oh god, who am I kidding?! There's no covertness, or attempt at being inconspicuous when staring at Julianne's chest! The border guards at the DMZ are more 'subtle' with their staring then these guys are!
Anyways . . . those are some of the strategies that Julianne and I have tried and used with varying degrees of success.
Getting back to me being tempted to dongchim an ajusshi . . . Julianne and I were on our way back from me picking up new glasses at COEX Mall when Julianne's powerful charms were locked onto by a particularly determined ajusshi.
We ran through our anti-staring-ajusshi tactics but his counter-measures were powerful, and we couldn't shake him.
Getting on the train we changed cars--nope, didn't work. And the really weird thing is that he followed us onto the car where we sat down while he went into the next car . . . and then came back again to sit across from us and to my left.
I began giving him my best 'teacher look of death and disapproval' and it deterred him--for about 90 seconds.
Julianne and I then just did the only thing one can do after exhausting all the anti-stare tactics--pretend that he doesn't exist, and Julianne sits with her backpack on her lap.
After arriving at our destination stop we begin walking along the subway platform towards the stairs in the distance. And guess who is following along about 10 feet or so behind us--yep, Julianne's new biggest fan!
I suggest to Julianne that we slow down so he has to walk past us, and he does.
And then the idea hits me as we begin walking up the stairs with the ajusshi in front of us, and I say to Julianne, "What do you think would happen if I dongchimmed him?" We both began laughing hysterically, and I say, "Wow . . . I seriously don't think I could top that." (Meaning, I don't think there's anything I could do that would be more taboo than that to an ajusshi (at least and not go to jail for a VERY long time, lol.))
I guess my concluding thought would be that Julianne and I choose to teach and live in Korea, and that we just have to develop a 'Keflon' coating so that whenever something bothers us it just slides off like butter--like BUTTAH!