"OH, you know my friend The Twin and her boyfriend are OK now?" the girlfriend drops into the conversation casually. The twins are two of her friends I have yet to meet. One of them has been dating the same guy for 8 years. Last time I heard, she had wanted to break up with him and had told him so. He had other ideas.
"Oh? I thought she wanted rid of him?" I say, "What happened?"
"Well. . ." she says pauses and furrows her brow. "I don't want to say. You will think this is like all Koreans."
"Don't worry I won't. What happened?" I reassure her, intrigued. This was going to be interesting. This guy had definitely done something above and beyond a dinner date to win The Twin back.
"Well, he asked her for her bank account details. And then he gave her 2,000,000 won," she says, labouring over every word.
"2,000,000 won? What? Why?" What had he done to owe her the equivalent of 1,200 euros? Had he sold her wardrobe for drugs? I had to be missing details.
"Just to show he cares. He wanted to make a gesture."
"To. Show. He. Cares?" I say in disbelief. 7/11 must have been all out of flowers and chocolates that day.
"Yes. I don't like," she says, well aware that I find this beyond belief.
"She got back with him? But she was done with him. I thought that was it? So he gave her a pile of money and now she's staying with him? You are telling me that is literally what happened?"
"Yes," she says, "so strange. I hope you don't think all Koreans like this."
I damn well hope not, I think to myself. Not if that is the cost of a relationship. . . With what is in my bank account, I couldn't afford much on the market of love.
Probably not even a sloppy kiss on the mouth from a bearded man with chronic bad breath.