KOREA has plenty of its own unique twists on romance. And so it is with Valentine's Day. The date is the same. Romance is still the theme. But, for reasons I have yet to determine, in Korea, Valentine's is all about the men.
It's the girls who buy the chocolates for guys, not the other way around. A month on, it's payback time, with White Day for the ladies. Now, you might think that the chocolates the guys get here would be somewhat "manned-up" compared to the ribbon-wrapped, girlie offerings we are used to in the West. Perhaps chocolate-shaped tanks or pralines fashioned like nude women. Nope. What's on offer is just as chick-tastic as anywhere.
Outside every convenience store tables will offer baskets, teddy bears, fake roses and colourfully-adorned boxes and boxes (and boxes) of chocolates. Is there a (heterosexual) man who appreciates the kind of saccharine tokens of Hallmark's favourite holiday that wouldn't be out of place in an episode of "My Little Pony"? Perhaps in Korea. Or perhaps they have no choice.
Yes. Men do like chocolate on occasion. This is acceptable. There are, for instance, blood sugar justifications for tolerating, at times, sweetness. Men, however, do not like flowers, teddies, angels or pink. Especially not pink. It is just not right. It's a weak colour. Neither red or white, but iffy. No character. Pink sort of says, "I thought about running the four-minute mile, but then decided instead to buy a kitten and bake muffins."
There is an order to things, there are jobs to be done. And pink does not fit into this order for men. No one stormed Normandy wearing pink. Or bench pressed 200lbs. Or chopped down a tree.
Of all nations, Korea should no better. There is a belligerent and unstable commie state on its doorstep. Do you think Kim Jong-il is going to be deterred from throwing his weight around by Hello Kitty or pink heart-shaped boxes? No. No he is not. He'll be encouraged if anything. There is a reason men here have compulsory military service. And bringing men into contact with pretty Valentine's wares goes against it.
No one ever punched anyone in the face wearing pink. Not like a man anyway.