There are many ways to describe Korea. One that becomes pretty obvious after lingering in a public place for any given period of time is the abundance of cutesy couples.
Mainly, they are the young and tender 20-somethings: holding hands, staring in each other’s starry eyes, and caressing each other’s neck, hand, hair, arm or leg. Also, here in Korea, men’s masculinity is not threatened by such things as being seen carrying a purse – usually, their girlfriend’s; or wearing matching outfits: t-shirts, hats, pants, shoes, and even cell phone covers. Yes, the potential for it’s-so-cute-I-could-puke spills out in all corners of Korea, and particularly in Daegu. (Disclaimer: Of course, not everyone does it.) While all this mushy, lovey-dovey public affection could easily cause one’s eyes to roll rather involuntarily in one’s head, I find it curiously endearing – to an extent.
The cuteness comes out in other forms as well, and that’s where the girls and women take their cue. For example, watching girls take pictures can be an entertaining scene. They use the point finger of the peace sign to make dimples in their cheeks when they smile, put their palms on the sides of their cheeks to make their face look smaller, or give the adorable wide-eyed puppy dog look.
But don’t take my word for it. Here is a great video on just how cute you can be to get what you want, and how awkward watching it can make you feel. You’re going to want to turn away, but find that you can’t. It is hilarious, and according to friends – Korean and Western – it works!
Although there isn’t a direct English translation, in America, we might use the term butter up or sweet talk, but either way, there is nothing that quite compares to “egyo burida” in Korea, the capital of all that is the cutest.
Now, ladies, here’s a challenge: Can you do egyo? Try it out this week, and post to the blog your results! It should make for a fun experiment if nothing else.