Dating Korean guy – the clash of prejudices

Dating Korean guy - Innocent Man Korean drama vs ChangDating outside your race unavoidably brings about stereotypes and prejudices. Unusual thing about dating Korean men is that it brings two sets of stereotypes that are completely opposing and mutually exclusive. I must admit that there is rarely a thing that can throw me off balance as much as prejudices. But this conflict of stereotypes about Korean men is so ironic it does nothing more than bring a smile of contempt to my face.

On one hand, there is the stereotype of Asian man as a little emasculated guy that no woman in her right mind could find attractive. On the other hand, droves of screaming Hallyu fans bring about the prejudice that if you are dating a Korean guy it must be because of the twisted perception of a perfect Korean guy painted in dramas.

So, I have a choice between being an asexual woman who only cares about guy’s personality or a crazed fan that doesn’t care about guy’s personality at all, as long as he is Korean? I would like to put those two groups of people in the same room so they can have a talk.

Let me pause here and say that there is nothing wrong with falling for a guy because of fantasy you have, whether it comes from Korean drama, K-pop or somewhere else. Is it in any way less shallow to say you like tall guys, or blue-eyed guys, than to say you like Korean guys? Enter a room full of people and you will instantly be attracted to some while others won’t even register on your radar. Who is so self-aware to know exactly why they are attracted to someone?

However, I am glad that in my case I have never even heard of K-pop or Korean drama before I met Kimchi Man, just so I can rub it in the face of anyone who dares confront me with those prejudices.

I must admit that in my life, those prejudices come from online world. Offline I still haven’t encountered anyone who told me something like that. I don’t know if that is because they are not aware of the stereotypes, or just don’t dare say it to my face. I live in an almost exclusively white European country where other races are a rare treat. No one I know has heard of K-pop. No one heard the “Asians are bad drivers” stereotype (and I intend to keep it that way as long as my father is letting Kimchi Man drive his new car ^^). Not that I think Europe is less racist than America, it’s probably just more covert when races are not living side by side.

So why did I choose a Korean man? Only thing I knew about Korea when we met is that they have efficient car factories, because my geography teacher had mentioned that incessantly. Who knows, maybe that’s why I was attracted to a Korean man? ;) All I know is that it doesn’t matter why you are initially attracted to someone, what matters is the relationship it blossoms into. And that should only matter to the couple in the relationship. It certainly shouldn’t matter to random strangers.




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61 thoughts on “Dating Korean guy – the clash of prejudices

  1. It is silly to fall for someone just because he’s Korean or French or American. Love is love and there will never be an answer to the question “why”. That’s why discussing love with a Korean man is just the same as discussing love with any kind of men. I think there are good and bad guys everywhere; Korean men are no exception. What is posted here is most of the time to read for fun, not for advice. Thanks Oegukeen for sharing.

    • Well, we obviously disagree on some things, but one thing we completly agree about is that Korean men are humans and thus some are good and some are bad, no doubt about it.

      Thank you for giving your opinion.

      • I have a korean friend, I am a filipina. We have been friends for almost 1 year. After I broke up with my boyfriend, he texted me and ask me If I’m okay. He really seems so concerned about me. After 2 weeks of continous texting he ask me out :) and that date was the most perfect moment of my life. He is really gentleman and sweet. He brings my bag and hold my hand so tight while were walking. What I think is its really impossible all the girls will not like him. Almost perfect. What I know is they are really loyal and they will treat you like a princess. Thats really true! :) He texted me everytime he updated me always of his activities. Right now he is still courting me. :))

  2. Good article Oegukeen! There are some interesting points here but I think you’re missing a few things. Those asian stereotypes that you’re hearing (and from whom?) seem pretty outdated to me, I think they’ve been getting some great PR for the last 10, 20 years. You mention the internet and there is certainly a lot of prejudice that you’ll find online not just about people of ALL races, but of religion, ideals, skin color, etc., etc. All my friends are into Korean guys and I live in Bloomington, Indiana so it’s not really a hotbed of open-mindedness. I’m not sure about personality but they are certainly a lot easier on the eyes than plenty of other guys. I think KPOP has certainly given them way too much limelight and I agree with you that most Korean guys aren’t like that. Here’s how a friend described her two cents on this subject:

    1. Korean guys in thick glasses, tucked in dress shirts, and looking generally nerdy are, well, not very attractive.

    2. Korean guys with earrings, accessories, tattoos, and and a decent wardrobe can be very attractive.

    And if you think Korean guys are asexual, honey you NEED to go to South Korea. It’s not Japan and it’s not China, they’re definitely not that shy over there.

    • Excellent post, I’m half-Korean and I live in NYC. I used to get excited whenever I saw an Asian guy on a billboard over here but now I just shrug because it’s become a lot more common. The prejudice that you see online is usually from insecure white guys who don’t like other races dating white women or insecure asian guys clamoring about how white women don’t date asian guys. I wouldn’t be sitting here typing this if that were the truth. On the flipside, my dad is definitely not like anything that you’ll see in a Korean drama. I wouldn’t be sitting here typing this if that were the truth. I hope whomever wrote this article realizes that a Korean guy is a guy first and Korean second.

      • I must say that you both seriously misunderstood my article. I was just pointing out two stereotypes, both of which are so “ironic it does nothing more than bring a smile of contempt to my face.” That means I disagree with both of them.

        I am glad you see some positive change, but fact remains that Asian man – non Asian woman are many times rarer combination than Asian woman – non-Asian man. Don’t take my word for it, check out the statistics for marriages in the USA.

        As far as realizing that a Korean guy is a guy first and Korean second, did you seriously not understand that I was being ironic when I said I maybe fell for a Korean guy because Koreans have efficient car factories???

        Maybe you have some prejudices of your own about women who date Korean men.

        P.S. When you say “over here” I assume you mean the USA. Don’t forget that not everyone lives in the USA (I am in Europe) and that USA has much higher interracial mixing than any European country.

        • I didn’t mean to offend at all. My mother is German and my father is Korean so I certainly don’t have any prejudices against non-asian women who are dating asian men. I understand the irony, I just agreed with the poster because I believe that the whole “little emasculated asexual” stereotype is pretty much a thing of the past. Some of my friends who had notions of these stereotypes were shocked when they studied abroad over there so I have a lot of views that connect with that post. My sister, for example, swore off all asian guys and only wanted to date Italian men until she spent one semester in Florence and another in Seoul – she is now dating a Korean guy. I think that what you’re getting at is an interesting juxtaposition of stereotypes that meet in the middle, that Korean guys, somehow, are viewed as very desirable and yet somehow, not that desirable at the same time. I’m also aware that asian guys date non-asian girls a lot less than the other way around. My folks always tell the story of how dad was nearly disowned time and time again because he didn’t marry an asian girl. I also think a lot of asian guys prefer asian girls more often than the other way around. It’s probably different for American born asians, and, looking at the rates of the link that you provided me, you can see that the marriage gap between genders when it comes to asian-americans isn’t as large of a gap as it is between all asians in the U.S. I am currently dating an asian girl, although, like my dad who had a preference for Korean girls, I am open to dating anyone and might just follow in his footsteps and end up with a non-asian girl. I thought that this was a good topic and it’s something that I’ve always thought about because of my parents. Again, I didn’t mean to attack this article, as a matter of fact, I thought it was really well-written and thought out. I found this website because through my sister and there are some great points in it, I just have a lot of experiences with this subject so I just wanted to add my two cents :)

          • Thank you for clarification. I didn’t think you attacked the article, just misunderstood it.

            I really do appreciate your two cents, and please keep on commenting. It’s always valuable to get other people’s opinions. But, like I said, I have different experience and don’t see that stereotype as thing of the past. I do hope it will be, though.

    • Thank you :)

      I already wrote some of my opinions in the other reply, but I would just like to say I would find guy #1 more attractive than guy #2. It all depends on the taste, and I really don’t like tattoos. :)

      Also, I don’t understand why you pointed out that Korean guys in South Korea are not asexual. I’m dating one, don’t you think I noticed? ^^ I was referring to stereotype about women who are dating Asian men. Maybe that’s what you misunderstood?

  3. I prefer guy #1 too. Honestly, K-pop stars in my eyes are just girlish boys with weird hairdos, tattoos and lots of jewelry and makeup. I’d rather go out with a nerdy who can be clumsy at times but are sincere and honest.

      • The writer of that comment forgot that just because she likes something, doesn’t mean everyone in the world feels the same. We need to keep in mind that people have different tastes, otherwise we will sound judgmental.

        • You are right.. actually, I was jokingly replying with “me too”… what’s beautiful and what’s not is for everyone something different. …as for k-pop stars, them being “girlish boys with weird hairdos, tattoos and lots of jewelry and makeup”, may be a concept, maybe they like that style, but it’s surely not up to me or anyone to judge. My two cents to this topic… I prefer to get to know someone, since I’m not that kind of person who’s falling for a men quickly. But specifically related to Koreans (or Asian actually), I like their outer look, since they combine the criteria I like at men the most, which are dark hair, dark eye color, small eyes and the V-Line. I am not shallow here, it’s just that the first thing you see is the outer look, you don’t see the personality first, “the outer look is what makes you interested in s.o., the personality is what makes you love a person” (or something like that, you surely know what I mean). (^_^)v

          • I didn’t mean you, I meant the writer of the comment that claimed “this type of Korean men are attractive, that type aren’t”, as opposed to just expressing her opinion, like you did. Nothing wrong with having an opinion :) Sorry I wasn’t more clear about that.

            I agree with you, if someone on the street gets my attention, it can only be because of their looks. And someone who looks attractive to me can suddenly look quite ugly if their personality turns out to be ugly.

  4. As a woman who IS actually asexual, asexual people can be aesthetically or romantically attracted to others. Asexual people can still find people attractive, in the way that a painting is attractive or ugly. Many aces have romantic attractions and date, they may have a physical “type”, they just aren’t sexually attracted to anyone and many don’t want to have sex.

    • Thank you for explaining. I am aware there are 3 types of attraction and only one of them is sexual. The stereotype about Asian men IS about their sexual attractiveness.

      • I did know the stereotype, but you said “an asexual woman who only cares about guy’s personality” and a lot of asexual people DO care about their partners’ appearance and would care about their partner being “hot” or “cute” or aesthetically appealing in some way. ^^

  5. do you have or plan to write a post on how Korean men are in reality in comparison to what K-dramas and K-pop likes to present? I am sure a lot of girls are basically in love with the idea of the perfect Korean guy you can see in dramas. Some reality check would be nice to have, I am sure most Korean guys are not Kim Jaejoongs or Won Bins and would be nice to know what Korean guys are really like. I heard that it is very rare chence for non-asian women to be considered by a Korean guy because the most important for them in a marriage is social background, education and being Korean. is this true?

    • Yes, something similar was on my mind for a long time. Since I have only seen one Korean drama I tried to get a general opinion about Korean men from a forum, but people there didn’t seem to understand my intentions.

      Also, I believe negative stereotypes are far worse than positive ones so I would like to get those out of the way first. While it is good for mature adults to know reality, I see no harm for boys and girls to daydream and idealize. It’s a normal part of growing up.

      It is impossible just from personal experience to say what is rare and what is not. To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a poll in recent years asking Korean men how they feel about marrying non-Korean women. Korean men I know don’t care if she is Korean or not.

      I believe scientist found that in the majority of cases we are more likely to be in a relationship with someone from same socio-economic and educational level. That goes for all societies, not just Korean.

  6. Interesting post. I’ve been keeping track of your blog since I read and commented on one a while back. It’s been so interesting to see some of the questions people ask too. I admit that I’ve come to find several Korean men attractive, but I don’t harbor any illusions that they are anything like the fictional depictions of them in Kpop and Kdramas (don’t mind occasionally daydreaming about it though, haha.). I accept the fact that I’m probably going to fall in love with physical appearances first in the majority of instances, but I feel no need to be with a guy simply because he is Korean. Anyway, whenever I visit Korea it’s not going to be for the men or the music… It’s totally going to be for the food. :)

      • Haha, I might have to get a Korean boyfriend just so he can take me to Korean restaurants then. “I don’t want you for your body. I want you for the food.”

        My family doesn’t really do Korean food. They’ll eat sushi, but have to be pressured into going to a specifically Korean restaurant with me.

    • The first time I met my Korean boyfriend (before we were dating) he actually stated he was surprised that I agreed to meet him and how most white woman weren’t attracted to Asian man. I disagree with the statement, but all of my family back home in Canada sadly fall more under that stereotype.

        • I also have a friend who had started a relationship with her coursemate in Canada ;)

          I don’t know much about Koreans only briefly about the Korean movies and kimchi =P However I do have few mates and even my Korean coursemate himself thought I were a Korean too, but I am actually a Hong Kong boy with British assent. To the white, I am sorry to say that Asian as Hong Kong, Japanese or Chinese are not sort of foreigners-look to the Koreans LOL! This is not about body size difference I guess =0

          Although I look alike them, I don’t really act the same. However this subjects to his personality. As asian, we still have to overcome such different-cultural relationship. No matter what your races are, I strongly believe love can break this hardship.

          Hope you all enjoy the moments with the right guy together. I am here to wish my friend stay well and keep sweet though her long distance relationship has just started. =]

  7. I really like this blog. Especially in this post there´s written so much that have been in my head for quite some time. I also tend to over-analyze everything and although I can´t say I didn´t like asian guys before noticing k-pop and such things I´ll never know if it haven´t influence me. My point is that I´ve met a really cute korean guy one day and I fell for him very fast but after (based on reading many blogs and various “opinions” on the internet) I´ve spent some time wondering if I fell for him for real or for some “unjust” reason. Later I´ve discovered that I stressed too much about it because when I started to really like him it had nothing to do with the fact that I´ve seen k-dramas and I know (and sometimes even listen though absolutelly not at the time I´ve met him) k-pop. And also I was confused since there are so many sites where people talk about some fettish and racism related to non-asian people liking asian people and it confused me so much that later I was afraid to admit to myself that I was attracted to him so much. They made me feel ashamed of occasional watching k-dramas and occasional listening to k-pop and liking korean guy at the same time. It makes me very sad because for me what I listen and watch is one thing but who I like, that´s something completelly different.
    The other thing I wanted to share is about those prejudices. In my country there are mostly white people though it slowly changes lately. Interracial relationship are like non-existent. I´ve seen about two ot three couples where the male was black and female was white in all my life here and that´s it (one night stands are something else, that´s much more common). We don´t have many black people here. We have significantly more asians and the most visible group as such is Vietnamese community. But they don´t date outside the community usually and if they do it´s non-asian guy with vietnamese girl. I don´t think I´ve ever really seen a relationship between vietnamese guy and non-asian girl. And so it happened to me, that I´ve met the Korean guy I´ve mentioned before in a club and we ended up kissing rather openly (which is nothing strange at that club). I can tell you that what I´ve seen from people around shocked me completelly because simply everyone stared and two times I was approached by guys with very nasty comments (I was so happy that the guy with me didn´t speak our language). When my friends found out about him, it´s not like they said anything against me getting involved with him or whatever, but their reaction was quite… nasty too (not in all cases). I knew my country was rasistic but I still thought it´s not that bad. And exactly, problem wasn´t the fact that he was Asian, it was because he was asian male. If he was a girl I believe it would be very different. I´ve realized that almost all people around me think exactly like this, that asian guys are like..less men, more asexual. And media are supporting this so much that I´m totally furious. Because it´s not fair and absurdely untrue, especially in my case, since this guy was in many things so much better then all my previous aquitances and he even seemed to me much more like a man exactly because of his behaviour. Most of my girl friends consider black men highly attractive and Asians completelly the opposite (they think asian girls are very beautiful though). But I know some girls who thinks very differently too.

    • Thank you for this comment.

      I know what you mean about them trying to guild you into feeling ashamed. It happens to me too and I don’t even like Kpop (I respect it, but it’s just not my type of music), and I’ve seen one Kdrama so far. I really wonder where this attitude of looking down upon women who are attracted to Korean men comes from.

      What you said got me thinking, and I realized that Kimchi Man and I are probably the ONLY interracial couple in my whole town, which is not that small at all. There were a few people who gave unpleasant comments, but I’ve also had complete strangers on the street wink at me behind Kimchi Man’s back signifying to me they thought we are an adorable couple.

      I think stares we get also come from the fact that I am considerably taller than him. :)

  8. From middle east and I think Asian guys can be hot most off the time , but also can be so cold and selfish they have no heart.

    • Of course they CAN be, they are humans.

      However, I hope you’re not saying more of them are than on other continents. Asia is a big place, you know.

  9. Im interested in hearing about relationships between Korean men and black women. I’m interested in all things Korean, but are the men open to a relationship with a black women?

  10. Honestly i thought korean men would stick to korean women but apparently not! I am a hardcore kpop and korean lover, and then i met my boyfriend who is korean and he was attracted to me and haha told his parents he planned to marry me. Seriously i don’t think the color of your skin matters i’m a olive skinned girl and he told me personally he would date a black girl bc a lot of black girls are interested

  11. I was in a long distance relationship with a Korean guy when I was 22 years old but we lose in touch 1 and a half years later.. :( I am now in my late 20s and I work in a Korean bakery.. I have a few Korean friends personally though..

  12. hello everybody well i’am faty from morocco and am 19 years oold,sorry to writing here but i want to talk with someone from korea i really want to visit it but first i want to know many things thanks for reading it hope u answer me

  13. I have to say these 2 stereotypes are SO aggravating. My boyfriend is Korean-American (moved to the US when he was 6) and I cannot place him into either of the prejudice groups. Like when I tell people my bf is Korean these are the questions I get: IS HE TALL & BEAUTIFUL LIKE THOSE KPOP STARS??? IS HE REALLY SMART?? DOES HE SPEAK ENGLISH??? WHICH KOREA IS HE FROM??. My answers: Hell no, I liked him because he was imperfect (I was sooo sick of dating pretty boys lol), He is definitely smart, but only in certain ways. No sugar honey ice tea he can speak English, He is AMERICAN-Korean!!! & lastly, SOUTH FRICKEN KOREA. You can’t even leave North, its sealed off from the rest of the world!!

    People in the US need to get their crap together and pick up a book. This is honestly why we are 17th in education, they do not inform us on other cultures!
    Especially Asian cultures!

  14. Hi! I need advice! I Korean guy told me that he liked me for a long time and start pushing our relation really hard! He even started to kiss me in front of his Korean friend and my friends, asked me for dinner and so on. And after i realized that i feel comfortable that way… he just disappeared… Like not responding on Kakao or doing it with few days delay… Few times he said that he will call me out and didn’t do it. Instead he went out with friends and things like that. I am really confused. Help me, please!

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