Today’s anecdote

Today I studied. Just studied, didn’t go anywhere particular, just hung around the university. And studied. By the way, did I mention that I studied?


I went to school as usual at 9 O’clock, the shower in our room was slightly broken so we actually started the day by going to the office so we could get it repaired. Then it was school time and I studied… And I studied… At 1pm we were off and I waited for Unnie in the entrance hall. She was together with some people from her class, two chinese girls and one Thaï girl that I met the previous day. Together we went to the canteen to eat. Of course me and Unnie had to be difficult, not feeling like eating the food that they had, but feeling more like eating kimbap.


So me and Unnie headed to another building in the uni that has a famous bread shop (Paris Baguette) and and also sells cheap kimbap. It took us a while to find but we got there and went back to the canteen again to eat with the others.

At this point a very curious and interesting talk began.

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The Thaï person (that I met yesterday) was telling us about her husband (she married three months ago). Her husband is a Korean 45 year-old widow (was a widow) who works for a travel company. Hence he travelled many parts of the world and ended up studying in a famous university Thailand. That is were they met, a couple of months later voilà, she has moved to Korea with him, leaving her family, cat and her job behind. But the most interesting talk begins here.

She began to talk about this one time, soon after she came to Korea, when she went to a night-club with her husband and four of his friends (two couples). She started by stating that the Korean boys in the clubs were quite handsome and that they seemed less shy in clubs and that everyone had fun dancing. At this point she had our full attention, and that’s when her story slowly got creepy.

She had gone to the bathroom herself, only leaving the table where her husband and his friends were sitting for a short while. As she was about to return a waiter took her arm and dragged her to a table at the opposite end of the club. She was shocked and the club was packed so she couldn’t get away. The waiter let go or her in front of a table where some men were sitting. One of the men made her sit down and took his arm around her shoulders before she could react. As you can imagine we were all in shock at this point.

Her Korean was very lacking but she tried to talk herself out of the situation the best she could: ‘한굯람아니요’ (I am not Korean) ‘우리남편…’ (my husband…). All the while the man kept saying: ‘괜찮아요, 괜찮아요.’ (It’s ok, it’s ok). At this point we were all squealing in disgust.

She explained how she managed to get out of his grip and leave the table in a hurry to return to her husband. She told her husband about what happened but he didn’t seem too shaken over it.  It turns out that this is very common in that kind of nightclubs. Single men will go to that kind of place to meet single women. They will sit at a table together and if any of the girls that they see passing interests them they will call for a waiter to drag the girl(s) to their table. A special sign can be put on some tables that then excludes the girls sitting at the table from getting ‘picked up’ by a waiter.

Still in shock, sitting at her own table again, she started to notice how the girls reacted to this kind of treatment. It turns out that many of them actually seemed to be flattered by it and shyly followed the waiter to the table. If they didn’t like the man then they would leave the table after a short while, only to go back to dancing, waiting to be called to another table.

Our chins had dropped to the floor.

Disbelief aroused us, but this woman had proof: pictures to disturb our minds and make us wonder, why and how this could be.

Then I remembered having seen similar scenes in a few Korean dramas and felt a slight urge to see it with my own two eyes. Something like this just still seems too strange to believe.

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Well that is me signing out again with today’s anecdote that made me wonder.

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Thilde Kold Holdt

I am a novelist by profession, currently working an epic fantasy series about 7th century Korea. My epic fantasy trilogy about Vikings, the Hanged God, is currently being published. I have lived

enough different places that the most difficult question to answer is: "where are you from?" I am, quite simply, from the planet Earth, for I have yet to set foot on Mars. Someday, though...

© Thilde Kold Holdt