Dating: “No” means “Try Harder” Redux
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.