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Fun Dating Facts from K-dramas

The Korean dating culture is fascinating, and K-dramas bring you some of the best examples

Debashree Dutta Apr 18, 2022

Photo: Courtesy HanCinema; Pixabay

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Are you fascinated with the Korean dating scene? Do you want to visit Namsan Tower and tie love locks? Or is the thought of ‘소개팅’ (‘Sogaething,’ which means blind date) completely alluring to you? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, this piece might be of interest to you. I believe dating in Korea is fairly similar to other countries, but unique in its own way. If you’re a K-drama buff, you probably know what I mean. But if you’re not, let me fill you in.

In South Korea, love is a celebration of happiness, and making it public is a matter of greater joy. There’s a 100th-day anniversary that couples celebrate. To make the status official, lovers exchange couple rings as a sign of commitment. Well, reminds me of this emotional scene in Crash Landing on You. Captain Ri Jeong-hyeok (Hyun Bin) puts a ring on Yoon Se-ri’s (Son Yejin) finger. Jeong-hyeok’s innocence and insecurity are endearing. He expresses his apprehension about how Se-ri will respond by saying, “If it’s meaningless to you, you can sell it off,” and the latter reciprocates by placing the second ring on his finger, confirming their love.

It’s not such a rare sight to spot couples in matching T-shirts in South Korea. To show how well-coordinated they are, lovers wear identical T-shirts and clothes. We may find it unusual, yet by doing so, partners express their commitment to a long-term relationship. Teenagers and young people are more inclined to take part in the practice. Do you remember how, in A Witch’s Romance, Yoon Dongha (Park Seojoon), the happy-go-lucky young man, sends career woman Ban Jiyeon’s (Uhm Junghwa) heart racing when he gifts and asks her to try on one of the couple T-shirts?

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Those who haven’t been living under a rock are aware that on February 14th, Valentine’s Day, people all over the world celebrate love in all its glory. South Korea is no exception, but there is a twist in the way they do it. On Valentine’s Day, unlike in other countries, a Korean woman will give a chocolate box to the man she likes. If the sentiments are mutual, the man will give her a return gift on White Day exactly a month later. To be honest, I had no idea this existed until I saw Abyss. When Cha Min (Ahn Hyoseop) discovers the actual meaning of Go Se-yeon’s (Park Boyoung) Valentine’s Day gift — a box of chocolates she gave him in high school — he is overjoyed. Cha Min had always assumed that his feelings for Se-yeon were one-sided until then. 

‘Aegyo’ — a sweet depiction of love for the partner through voice modulations, cute acts, and facial expressions — is typically considered a sign of flirting, and is one of the most entertaining aspects of Korean dating culture. Innumerable K-dramas have featured aegyo. It’s performed by both men and women, and is pretty effective in attracting people towards each other. You’ll see why if you watch this clip from the rom-com high-school drama, That’s the Truth I Learned in School aka School 2017.

How often have you heard this line in K-dramas, “Will you have ramyeon with me?” It is one of South Korea’s most popular pick-up lines, implying that the speaker wishes to become physically acquainted with the listener. The Korean counterpart to “Netflix and chill,” it’s a metaphor for sharing physical intimacy. The pick-up line is widely used in Korean dramas to express latent romantic feelings for the person being pursued. For example, in Run On, Shin Se-kyung and Yim Si-wan share a cute, cozy moment where Si-wan wants to know when they will have ramyeon together, to which she kind of blushes. 

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