소개팅 (Sogaeting), or ‘Blind-date’ in English, is one of the common ways of finding a boyfriend or girlfriend for Koreans. The term ‘소개팅’ comes from 소개 (Sogae) which literally means ‘Introduction’ and ‘팅(ting)’ comes from a fragment of the English word ‘meeting’. A 소개팅 is normally organised by the introduction of a friend or colleague to someone you know who you deem to be an appropriate match. If he or she would like to be introduced, you can ask the following: 소개 받을래? (Sogae badeullae?), which literally means ‘Would you like to be introduced?’ If they both say yes, then a 소개팅 will be scheduled between them. Furthermore, the person who organizes the 소개팅 becomes the 주선자 (Juseonja), or in English, the host or matchmaker.
After exchanging mobile numbers, or their Kakao messenger ID with the 주선자 (Juseonja)’s help, the next step is to decide when and where they ought to meet. Some go to restaurants, while others prefer cafés for the first meeting, but few 소개팅 take place in bars. Also, the most essential point is to find a place with a quiet atmosphere and a nice aesthetic. If you google 소개팅 장소 추천 (Sogaeting jangso chucheon), meaning ‘a recommendation for Sogaeting locations’ on Korean websites, blogs or Instagram pages, you’ll find hundreds of suggestions.
소개팅 is supposed to be a One-to-One dating experience, which means that you might feel very awkward with it being your first meeting. In that case, the 주선자 can join you at the beginning, helping things to go smoothly. However, after having a short talk, the 주선자 will then mysteriously disappear, leaving you two in peace. From that point on, the evening is yours alone.
When it finishes, you might wonder who pays for dinner and/or coffee? There are two options; one is to obviously go dutch, or in Korean – 더치페이 (deochipei). The second option is for one of you to pay first and then the other pays for the next round of coffee or beer afterwards, if not maybe a couple of days after. If one of you wants to see one another again, you can ask: 애프터 (aepeuteo), or ‘after?’. If you find yourself on a 소개팅 then we hope it goes well, and that you manage to get an 애프터; You can ask first, if you like.
Another interesting concept in Korean blind-dating is 과팅 (Gwating).
‘Gwa(과)’ is a word that comes from 학과 (Haggwa) which means a ‘major/course’ in University, and 팅 (ting) borrows its pronunciation and letters from ‘Meeting’. Gwating(과팅) is also a form of blind-dating, but normally between groups of more than 3 students. For this, you’ll also need a trusty 주선자 (Juseonja), but depending on the situation, you can have a 주선자 from two different groups. and the 주선자 can participate in the 과팅 as a member of the group. The biggest difference between a 소개팅 and a 과팅 is that while a 소개팅 tends not to take place in bars, most 과팅 take place in bars as it’s a much more casual group experience.
Compared to a 과팅, which is One-to-One dating, a 과팅 is normally a group of two to three though it can sometimes include more. However, it can still be awkward as it is the first meeting between new people. However, you shouldn’t worry, considering that it takes place in a bar with others, there’s much less pressure to be the singular source of conversation. Before starting a 술게임 (Sul-game), meaning a drinking game that usually involves soju, the members normally pair up as a boy and girl. To make pairs, there is an interesting method where one of the groups present their items on the table such as a wallet, a mobile, cards and so on and the other group members pick an item for one another without knowing whom it belongs to.
Once you start drinking, you’ll no longer feel awkward. Having said that, participants are careful because the groups represent their 학과, or group of friends, thus, they ensure that they don’t spoil the atmosphere by making mistakes through impolite behaviour. Otherwise, news would spread fast throughout the campus, and eventually, other ‘과’s would not offer a 과팅 to your 과 in the future.
Once you’ve actually met someone, what do you need to know? The first thing you ought to be aware of are the many anniversaries that Korea is known for. There are numerous anniversaries to be aware of, but the first anniversary is the 투투 (tu-tu) or Two-two, which means any ‘Twenty-second dates passed since you started dating’. On 투투 days, you prepare something with the exact number 22, such as 22 roses, or 22 chocolates. Having said that, ‘투투’ anniversaries are normally celebrated by teenagers, not University students or adults. This is largely because of how many anniversaries that remain to be celebrated. Some might celebrate 50 days, however, for most adults, 백일 (baeg-il), which literally means ‘A hundred days’ is the first anniversary. On the day, Korean couples go to a special restaurant to have a significant meal and a bottle of wine, and they share gifts with each other. Gifts can include 커플링 (keopeulling), which are couple-rings, or something special, and flowers are always given. Nowadays, handmade ‘드라이 플라워 (deulai peullawo), or dry-flowers, are immensely popular as they last and do not wilt, and are so often given that there are flower shops dedicated to 드라이 플라워. However, it is a highly-trained skill to create a bouquet of 드라이 플라워, thus the price is much more expensive than a regular bouquet of flowers.
Useful tip: If you’re worried that you might forget about your date, there’s a useful Korean messenger app for couples called 비트윈 (biteuwin), or Between. This app not only count how many dates you’ve had, but it also reminds you about your anniversaries. With this app, you’ll never miss an anniversary or date.
커플룩 – The Couple Look:
When you finally do meet someone, you might wonder about what you could do after you’ve met. The 커플룩 (keopeullug), or “Couple” Look, has become a colossal trend; a silent, fashionable statement of your love to the world. This is one aspect of dating in Korea that you don’t want to write off, as more and more couples are embracing the trend and using it as a fun way of going out together to laugh and to explore one area of dating that Westerners arguably neglect en masse. In the west, couples tend to fork in the middle of the road when it comes to clothes shopping, choosing to go their own ways and brave the clothes racks alone. In Korea, however; those who sashay together – stay together. When you think about it, we neglect to share our tastes when shopping together in the west and subsequently turn what could be a hilarious, bonding experience into a solitary, secret mission. We thoroughly recommend giving this trend a try. Why not go out together to a popular shopping district like명동 (Myeongdong) and spend an afternoon suggesting some clothes to try on? Go out, put on your best pout, and strut your stuff through the aisles. Afterwards, you can take a walk outside in your new outfits and spend the evening together in style.
Featured Image Source: ©13-12-18, Inspiremekorea.com