14 April 2008

single in korea... the horror!

mmm so that's what being single looks like.

today was black day (aka 솔로부대 or solo regiment), but you wouldn't know it from walking around my neighborhood. no, unlike two months ago when it was valentine's day, or last month on march 14, which was "white day", today the sidewalks aren't filled with chocolates and pink crap. since there's nothing to sell on this special korean holiday bemoaning single-dom, what's to celebrate?

whereas the other two holidays are foreign imports (v-day is english co-opted by americans and white day is originally japanese), black day, and many other 2nd-tier holidays (usually falling on the 14th) are wholly korean inventions. it's fitting since koreans are obsessed with marriage and the path to it. i eat meals alone and people think it's weird. on a daily basis i'm asked if i'm married or have a girlfriend. telling them that i'm gay is too dramatic a response to what in korea amounts to, "how are you today?" but even my fellow homos give me looks of concern and ask, "why, matty? you are not ugly!" as if ugliness is the only reason why people are single.

i toyed with organizing a black day feast for my single friends. we'd gather, drink excessively, and brag about our singled freedoms while eating yummy jjajangmyun (짜장면 or chinese noodles in black sauce). but, this being couple-obsessed korea, chances are it would have deteriorated into horribly catty complaints about our coupled friends and the stigma of the solo life. too much soju and some of us would start making out, which would be awkward and anathema to the event's intended spirit.

don't be fooled by the smiles. this is a desperate response to a desperate situation. anti-couple activists in taiwan. the banner reads, "couples go die!" (photo from here).

a quick wiki search finds many days created in protest to the grossly saccharine lovey-dovey days. the trademarked "singles' awareness day" or sad, is pegged to february 14, while just a plain ole "single's day" is every october 1st. quirkyalone day is:

"a person who enjoys being single (but is not opposed to being in a relationship) and genreally prefers to be alone rather than dating for the sake of being in a couple."
my my, isn't that definition just what i want in a companion? wishy-washy and annoying with a little bitterness at the end! no wonder you're single! i much prefer the "lovers-go-die" clubs of japan and taiwan. according to the story, in the manga "ping-pong club", a member betrays their team members to go on a date. the club is formed with the intent of breaking the couple up.

supposedly, may 14 is "rose day". i have no idea what one does on rose day... give each other roses? as if one color isn't enough, it's also yellow day. yellow because those of us who didn't eat black noodles today can eat yellow rice next month. eh? june 14th is kiss day and july 14th is silver day (exchange silver rings with your lover). i'm a bigger fan of august 14, also known as green day, when couples drink cheap bottles of soju (usually sold in green bottles) and walk in the woods... in lieu of woods i assume the cheonggyecheon will do. i hope to participate. there are more, but i'll spare you (go here if you want the full rundown).

in the meantime, here's a great quote from a reuters article about black day:
"i had a miserable time on valentine's day, felt even lonelier on white day and now i'm crying over a bowl of black noodles," said a young woman who asked only to be identified by her family name na out of embarrassment.

"things better be different next year."
happy black day!

No comments: