So Gee and I went out to the French Quarter of Seoul today. She has been trying to get me out here for some time. Apparently, this district is known for its ritzy restaurants with French names and Korean-French fusion. I wanted to see an Oriental doctor in the area, so her pleading finally found a willing participant. She picked me up at Seocho Station, and took me to a little bistro that was known for its brunch menu.
The items sounded appetizing. I was especially curious about the Royal Egg, which touted scrambled eggs and smoked salmon over a cream cheese bagel, with sauteed mushrooms, sausage, bacon, and Lyonaisse potatoes on the side. I ordered it along with a green tea, while So Gee went for the crepes.
When the food arrived, I was a bit disappointed. Like most restaurants in Seoul, the food quality is fairly low. The sausages tasted like grilled Ball Park hot dogs; the eggs were made from one of those eggs-in-a-carton contraptions; and the smoked salmon was far from fresh, with an overly fishy taste from being left outside of a refrigerator too long.
Aside from the meal, it was still good to be there with So Gee. She was busy making an analysis between Korean men and those in other countries, curious about my opinion, and careful not to put her foot in her mouth at the same time: "Korean guys are all nice and sweet in the beginning. They will send you text messages that say, 'HI. HOW ARE YOU. I JUST HAD LUNCH.' And then, they'll talk to you for two hours every night. Because, you know, Koreans don't date. They just become boyfriend and girlfriend. Then they date and see how it goes. But, for everyone I know, they just slowly stop being nice after three weeks. Why do you think that is?"
"Maybe, they got what they were after and they were done. It could be sex, or, maybe, they were just after approval. Once they felt fulfilled, they left the situation. I don't know. It could also be a matter of youth. I know I was the same way when I was young. I would do a lot of stupid things with girls, because I felt like that was how I was supposed to act. Maybe, that's what's going on. People are just given a certain way of how they feel love should be from the media and society, and then they act accordingly when the time comes. They don't have the awareness that love isn't like a film or story. They just have no idea. They're just going with it. I don't know. I'm no expert on relationships. What do you think?"
"Oh, I am no expert either. I just noticed that this is how Korean men act. Maybe, they just want to get sex, and after that's done, they are no longer nice."
"Yeah, that could be. It could also be that they are just acting the way they think they are supposed to act when they meet someone to gain approval, and because it's so fake, they can only keep up the character for so long."
"That's why I like being with you. I know what I was getting with you. You were Pirooz in the beginning, and you are still the same Pirooz."
"Maybe, that's why we've had success together. We are not trying to be anything other than ourselves. We can even look at how other people get upset when things don't work out in a relationship, but whose to say that isn't exactly what needed to happen. I mean, if things didn't work out with you, then, maybe, that was the way things were supposed to happen. You needed to go one way, and I needed to go another. I'm not saying I don't want things to work out with you. It would be great if they did, and I would like to be with you for a long time, but you just can't ever know these things. Maybe, it changes when you have a baby. The responsibility of family puts a different dynamic on the function of the relationship. You are responsible for something outside of just you or me."
So Gee nodded her head, "I think Korean men and other men might be the same then. I don't know. I mean - I don't want to generalize - but men are manipulative for dating. Basically, guys want girls' pussies, in the end. They tend to say so many meaningless words, especially future talk. Bottom line, I think they want sex with girls. And in order to manipulate those girls they just say so many things. Like sending text messages like ten times a day, showing how much they are attached to this girl. But this frequency of contact slowly decreases. The other thing is guy's set-up an environment to break-up. They don't use words. Korean girls are just too much of an idealist to a guy's words. Maybe, it's not everyone, but I see a lot of kids like that."
After our conversation, So Gee and I went to the Coex Mall. I wanted to check out the latest Apple gear, and begin a plan for getting all the equipment I would need to make a film upon my return to America. We slowly made a nice list that included: an IMac, IPod Touch, Belkin Microphone Adapter, 500 GB hard drive, and camera.
It was nice to dream of having all these tools. I continued thinking about it while we went for a visit to an Oriental doctor shortly after. I was in the middle of uploading the latest software for OSX, when the doctor's acupuncture needle came down on my face, and I was brought quickly back to reality. "Oooh," I said aloud. "In my face?" "Yes," the doctor said, and continued to put several other needles in my face, legs, knee pits, and wrists.
I lay sprawled like a lobster for 20 minutes, hoping that this treatment would bring an end to the tension in my right eye. After the acupuncture and some minor massage, I felt tremendously better. I was then signed up for some Oriental medicine treatment to help my heart and liver, which, according to the doctor, were not doing well: "You may not be able to take Oriental medicine," the doctor said through So Gee's translation. "But if you do what I say, you will be fine."
My medication begins on Tuesday. I will have a list of foods I can eat, and I must follow this list, or I will receive "gray hairs". At least, this is what So Gee told me on the cab ride home.
"Oh, yeah," she said. "If you don't follow the directions, you will get gray hairs."
"I don't mind gray hairs."
"No, you will have hair like lettuce."
"Lettuce? Okay, now I'm scared. I don't want lettuce hair."
I am not really sure what So Gee meant by lettuce. We still have moments where certain things are lost in translation. It definitely makes for interesting days and nights. And for a reason I can't explain, someone telling me that my hair will become lettuce is enough of an explanation to get me to fly on the straight and narrow.
"Yes, lettuce," So Gee repeated. "Lettuce."
We finally rolled back into Sinchon. It was raining hard. I opened an umbrella and exited the cab, making sure to hold it over her head as she exited.
"Thank you," she said.
"Yeah," I said.
Identity Politics and Zen
1 day ago