Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Stuff Koreans Do: "Asking Who is the Most Attractive"

So I am going to start a new segment of my blog titled, "Stuff Koreans Do", which will be similar to the popular YouTube videos, "Shit [insert type of person] Say".  I'm hoping that this segment of my blog will allow readers to understand a little bit of what I see/hear on an almost daily basis from Korean friends/coworkers/students/strangers/etc.  These will be subject matters that still confuse/astound/or interest me even after being here for 9 months.  I hope you enjoy!

My first segment of "Stuff Koreans Do" will discuss the topic of beauty ideals.  I have yet to write a proper blog post about this, but beauty standards are taken extremely seriously here.  Korea is one (if not THE) world-wide leader of cosmetic and plastic surgeries--but more about that in another post.  In this post, I want to tell you about one of the first questions I encounter when meeting a group of Koreans.  It never fails, upon meeting a new group of people, someone will always ask me or my friends to pick:

"Who is the best looking/most attractive?"  

(of the group)  

It is such an awkward question to be asked altogether, much less after knowing the asker of the question 10 minutes after meeting!  But to Koreans, this type of question is standard conversation.  One particular instance where I remember being asked this question was when my friend Cara and I were at the local bar, Rock and Roll.  We happened to be sitting at a table next to a group of 4 younger Korean guys, and we were casually talking to them.  Of course, their English wasn't perfect, but we were able to communicate some.  After talking a few minutes we were both asked to choose the one guy of the group who we thought was the most attractive.  Koreans are very self-aware of their attractiveness level though and accept it.  They know if they're pretty/handsome or if they got the short end of the stick in the looks department.  Because of this, the most attractive person at the table will usually be the one to bring up the question "Who is the best looking?".  Funny, right??

When asked this, I typically try to dodge the question the best I can.  I will compliment each of them on something, or say looks don't really matter, or something along those lines, because who wants to answer that???  Anyways, this is definitely a question that gets brought up when meeting new people and although I come to expect it now, I still find it strange.

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