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Dating: “No” means “Try Harder” Redux

January 13, 2009

I was challenged (a little) in comments to this post, so I did a little anecdotal research in class today.

I had a class of adults, both genders represented, ranging in age from 22 to 30. They had not been privy to the previous discussion about dating culture, so I had a fresh batch. I told them that it was my understanding that Korean women, if they like a guy, may rebuff his advances to make him try harder. I asked if that was true, and asked them to explain it.

A man said “Korean women often make a boy ask three times before they say yes.” Every woman in the class smiled and nodded her head enthusiastically. I asked “Really? Is this true?” They nodded yes. I asked each of them in turn “Do you do this?” The answers were “Yes,” “Sometimes,” and “Depends on the Guy.” I asked why. One student explained “I want to know that the guy really cares. If he won’t stop asking, I know his feeling is strong.” A man said “If a Korean woman says ‘yes’ after the first time asking, she will seem ‘easy’.” All the girls nodded again.

I turned to the men. “And you know this,” I began. “So you know you need to ask again and again.” They all indicated they knew. “What if a girl says ‘no,’ and means it?” The answer was “You can tell from body language and tone.” I asked “Can you always tell?” The men hesitated and the women jumped in: “No, guys can’t always tell. Sometimes they won’t stop. It can be very irritating.” The guys showed guilty smiles. One man complained “It is confusing. There was a girl I liked, and I asked her out two times. She said she was busy both times, so I stopped asking her. Later, she told me ‘You were foolish’.” I asked “Foolish for not continuing to ask?” “Yes.” “So if you had continued to ask, she would have dated you.” “Yes, but I disappointed her.”

I had a similar conversation with the following class, which has similar demographics.

I think this dialog describes the cultural phenomenon that I outline in the last post fairly well.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Granfallon permalink
    January 13, 2009 10:46 pm

    Well, this system may lead to missed opportunities and false hopes, but that’s all part of the game, no? The analytical side of me goes bonkers over stuff like this, but the Romantic in me knows that if everybody just said what they meant, everything would be less fun.

  2. landgabriel permalink
    February 1, 2012 6:01 am

    Late in the game here. I just wanted to add my opinion. I think courtship works much better this way. I have never held a long term relationship longer than 6 months, and I believe it is because I always hooked up with ladies that said yes right away.

    Now I have been chasing a woman that I could see myself marrying. She would flirt with me but barely give me a hug. But she dropped hints like ‘I want to have kids’ and ‘keep in contact with me’.

    I’m so turned on! I love these traditional courtship routes. Good things take a long time. Now that i am done playing the field I really love the innocence and ambiguity of courtship. I am open to meeting other women, but I fully intend to keep up pursuit of this one (while abstaining from sex). If we end up together I know it will be so amazing, a very strong and loving relationship.


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