As "Black Day" approaches, I thought I'd post this little ditty I wrote after Valentine's Day. Originally posted to my personal blog on February 15, 2008.
Korean's have figured out a way to recognize Valentine's Day while building a second-chance day for men and a separate day for cynics right into the system. Valentine's Day in Korea is a time for women to bestow upon men chocolates, candies, and the like. The lucky ones with both X and Y chromosomes can sit back and be showered with gifts from wives, girlfriends, sweethearts, daughters, even co-workers. It's completely acceptable, and often expected, for females to buy chocolates for all the men in their lives, regardless of the nature of the relationship. Of course, if the brown-nosing men out there want to go ahead and buy gifts for their sweeties on Valentine's Day, the gifts aren't likely to be turned down. The men aren't expected to reciprocate in any way, however—until White Day on March 14. That's the day women hope to get their due. So, I think of it as a second chance for men, since most probably screwed up Valentine's Day in some fashion anyway. And for those who get shafted on either of those days, or are otherwise disgruntled, there's April 14, Black Day. Black bean noodles called jjajangmyun (짜 장 뮨) are consumed by the bowlful by black-clad singles and cynics who use the day as their personal revenge against holidays dedicated to love.
Cognizant of the customs regarding Valentine's Day here in Korea, I was anxious to see how things played out among my co-workers and friends. The men in the office certainly received many more chocolates and gifts than the women, although I did get a few treats, myself. Our English service intern (a female) gave me a chocolate with a note that almost brought a tear to my eye:
Dear Abbie (smiley face)Happy Valentine! Pretty Abbie (smiley face) though there's been little time to talk, I 'shall' know you have a warm heart! I like your voice on radio, so, please let me hear it for a long time (smiley face)
I'll let you know how things go on White Day next month. If this system works like the well-oiled machine I think it is, I should rake in some serious chocolate on March 14.