Sunday, February 5, 2012

How to Improve Your "외dar": Some Preliminary Thoughts

I'm about two months late to the bandwagon, but here, have this post on "외dar."

I read other K-blogs here and there, but a lot of times I cannot be arsed because the writing is twee as fuck, or there's little to no actual content involved. Sometimes both.

This particular article at least avoids being twee but I think Mr. Boothe really missed out on a chance to start an actual discussion or at least impart some useful knowledge by just dropping the term "외dar" out there without any context. Okay, we should improve our 외dar, but how? What should ping? What has pinged yours? Because otherwise it's just like high school all over again: avoiding the weird kids just because they're weird. (More on that in a second...maybe.)

I do agree that there are foreigners over here who immediately (or even after a time) ping on my 외dar as "whoa, this guy is bad news, stay away," yet they fail to really register with other people (usually Koreans but other foreigners as well) as a bad idea. Is it just different cultural norms? Is it, as Michael suggests, Koreans trying extra hard to be inclusive? Is it because foreigners act differently around other foreigners than they do around Koreans? It's probably all three.

Thinking back to the few "weirdos"/unsavory types I've met in Korea, I've come up with things that I believe should ping on your 외dar.

I should preface this by saying I tend to prefer avoid douchebags and just generally immature people, not necessarily people who are just "weird." I'm awkward as fuck most times (or at least I feel like I am) so I like hanging out with weird people because they probably won't notice or give a shit if I'm awkward. Which means I should rephrase: these are things that ping on my 외dar. Your mileage may vary.

Danger, Will Robinson!: The Checklist

  1. An obsession with finding a Korean girl/boyfriend.
  2. Related to the above, saying, "Korean girls/women..." or "Korean guys/men..." a lot.
  3. Spending an inordinate amount of time in Itaewon.
  4. Likewise, spending an inordinate amount of time in Hongdae.
  5. Probably Apgujeong, too, but I haven't run into this personally.
  6. Wide-eyed, naive wonderment at the marvel that is South Korea that lasts for more than their first two months.

Any other traits in foreigners that raise your eyebrows?

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