Valentines and Couples in Korea

Korea is not the country for singles.

Or maybe it’s the place to go and get coupled up fast.

Though I failed to do so.

In Korea, Valentine’s Day is both a big affair and just another couple holiday.

It’s ALL about the couples. Once you live there long enough, I think you learn to be amused by the proliferation of couples and all-things-couple.


Although being asked about your relationship status by everyone you meet is less amusing. And no, this really isn’t an exaggeration. Talk with anyone long enough and you’ll encounter the married/boyfriend/girlfriend question.

I knew going into the classroom to expect this question even from my students.

Personal boundaries between student and teacher aren’t quite there in Korea. But I guess when you spending up to fifteen hours at school – those unfortunate night study hours – you’re bound to get at least a little close.

So I decided to be honest with my students, rather than mysterious or strict and no-nonsense.

Upon declaring that I didn’t have a boyfriend, sometimes a collective “awwww” of sympathy arose from the class.

Other times there were smatterings of “sorry” mumbled throughout the room.

And in the classes with the biggest personalities, shouts of “Why?! Teacher so pretty!” from both my female and male students.


Walking down the street, you feel no less single. Couples make their presence known not by excessive PDA – American teenagers win that one – but outfits. Couple outfits.

I can’t talk about Valentine’s Day without talking about the couple outfits. Maybe once upon a time, people only did couple T-shirts.

I’m here to tell you that’s barely even amateur level.

A quality couple outfit will coordinate tops and bottoms, jackets, hats, and even shoes.


I really regret not getting any candid photos to share with you. That’s why this post is scattered with sketches of identically-dressed stick figures. It was the next best thing I could do for you.

But you can check out real couple outfits in their full glory here or here or even see foreigners trying out this trend here.


So Happy Valentine’s Day, and if you’re single like me, you can at least take comfort in the fact that you’re not in Korea.

And if you are reading this from Korea, Valentine’s Day is already over, so no biggie.

By the way, this is my 100th post on Becoming Ji Hye! Forget Valentine’s Day – I’ve got something better to celebrate.

Thanks for sticking with me this long, or if you’re new to this blog, welcome!


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