“How will it go? Where will it lead? Will tonight become a lifetime full of magic? Go with the flow. You might succeed meeting someone you don’t think is fucking tragic.” -First Date the Musical, “The One”
Dating has always been high on my list of dislikes. I hate the whole process. I’ve been accused of being too picky, and I guess there’s some truth to it as I only get real crushes about once every three years. I’ve never had a lot of luck, so part of this New Me kick has meant being open to new, potentially awkward things.
A few weeks ago, I woke up to a text from a teacher – we’ll call him “Matchmaker” – at one of my schools. He speaks very little English, and it was mostly in Korean, so I had some friends translate it. Basically, he said he had someone he wanted me to meet. I was having a rough week, and in my fragile state/desire to continue to put myself out there, I agreed to it.
I probably should have asked some questions prior to agreeing. I found out that the guy he wanted to set me up with lived in another city, so it took some time to coordinate schedules for a weekend when I would actually be home. I also learned later that he was at least 10 years older and that his job involved something I am completely against. Still, I figured that if this guy wanted to set me (a foreigner who speaks almost no Korean) up with his friend, he must at least be attractive or speak decent English. Reasonable enough, right?
I should say that I don’t consider myself really superficial. There have been plenty of times when I’ve really liked men who didn’t do much for me physically. There needs to be some physical attraction, though, and I tend to go for tall, dark, and handsome nerds. When it comes to Korean men, there’s no doubt that Daniel Henney would be my type, but I’m certainly not expecting to find a guy who looks like him. I’m not *completely* delusional after all.
On Saturday, I went on the date low expectations. Matchmaker picked me up to introduce me to his friend, and we went to a cafe. I had told him that I was sick during the week with a stomachache, which was true but more of an out if I needed it.
Not surprisingly, my date was more of a Psy than a Daniel Henney. Still, I tried to stay positive and hold out hope that we could have a good talk and maybe even be friends. As soon as we were introduced, I realized that was unlikely because he spoke even less English than Matchmaker. I couldn’t imagine how this would work. My stomachache was becoming more real by the second.
The next 1-1/2 hours were filled with awkward conversation, though “conversation” is a stretch. It was basically very broken English with one word sentences. “Baseball?” “A little. I like hockey more.” “Ice hockey?” “Yes.” “Oh! Baseball.” The majority of the conversation occurred through translator apps, which did not work very well. Matchmaker wanted to leave us “juniors” alone to go to dinner ourselves, but I said I couldn’t eat because of my stomach. They kept talking about “Next time, dinner” and something about Psy taking me to a music festival, as if these things were happening without regard to whether I was interested. Wait, what?!
After a long time of just “talking” at the cafe, we finally ordered something to drink. As terrible as it sounds, I started sending SOS messages to friends and people I knew in town. “Save me! I need out!” One person was actually going to “randomly” show up at the cafe, but I told him not to because I was going to end it on my own like the grown woman I pretend to be. I made a decision to be polite and finish my smoothie before I said anything.
I stayed as long as I possibly could. Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore. I told them I had a stomachache and needed to rest. Psy wrote something in his app that was possibly very sweet but translated to “I drink pain,” so I can’t be sure. Matchmaker drove me home and said Psy would probably text me later. (Matchmaker gave him my phone number without asking my permission.) Matchmaker texted me later, and I told him that it wasn’t going to work and that it was too difficult to talk through translator apps. I’m still not sure he got it, but if he says anything next time I see him, I’ll just be honest about my lack of interest.
Despite everything, I’m glad I went because I can now say with 100% certainty that this guy is not the one for me. Otherwise, I might be left wondering about what might have been. I also learned that I should never agree to something when I’m emotionally unstable and that I should always ask questions before agreeing to a blind date. Lesson learned. If Korea has taught me anything, it’s to laugh about everything because it’s all you can do sometimes. I guess until Daniel Henney learns of my existence, the search for love continues…