Matchmaking agency holds special lecture for Black Day

By Lee Ji-hye

Dozens of single women and men rushed to grab seats at the head office of a matchmaking agency in southern Seoul on Friday night.

DUO, Korea’s largest service for searching singles ?which has brought together 30,954 couples (and still counting) ?organized a special lecture to provide insight into the hunt for that sometimes elusive significant other

Titled, “Guiding your way out of your ‘singledom’ and finding a boyfriend or girlfriend,” the two-hour talk was held just a weekend before April 14 or Black Day, a commemorative day observed by singles, especially those who did not receive gifts on the previous two romantic dates, Valentine’s Day and White Day.

“Korean men need to look up from their mobile phones and actually talk to women ?the men need to take the initiative,” said Lee Myung-gil, 35, Korea’s first official dating coach, who registered his occupation as an official profession at the Korean Employment Information Service.

“Kakaotalk is important, too, it shows how you carry out a conversation, but it also shows insecurity when you turn to instant messaging instead of confidently talking face-to-face,” he says.

After presenting a graph, which he claims illustrates the best time, date and day to ask a girl out, Lee asks each student to take part in a “role play” at a Duo classroom

“When’s the best day to ask someone out?” Lee asks the class.

“Thursday, because Friday is the last day of the week and it’s most comfortable for many working people,” he explains.

Handing out a questionnaire of 15 problems to solve, Lee asks participants to answer questions such as, “When’s the best day and time to ask a girl out on a date?” Or, “What is the most appropriate menu for a blind date?”

According to Lee, Thursdays, between 6 and 8 pm is the best time, because this is when people look the most attractive.

Asked if he worries that his aice could possibly narrow the definition of a first date or how to start a relationship, Lee says guidance is sometimes necessary.

“Men seek aice that is straightforward and sometimes even blunt,” he says. “They come to me with a specific goal in their minds, or a certain person they already want to be with. ”

Korean men in particular, tend to be more sensitive about trends or so-called “social standards” ?including which pick-up line is appropriate for Korean women.

“Some men or women are stuck in the conservative way of thinking that asking people out for drinks is borderline stalker-like, when it’s not,” Lee explains. And he aises women to loosen up in order to find a compatible partner

The online platform has made it much easier for Korean women to discuss relationship matters, “especially with the condition of anonymity,” according to Lee, who says women usually seek aice on more practical problems.

“They ask various questions that deal with more personal matters, such as whether or not they should break up with their boyfriend, or if the couple is ready commit to a marriage,” He says.

According to the agency, men and women are on average, 28 years old, when they turn to a matchmaking company for help.

“Romance has become quite different to the classic definition that shaped dating from a couple years ago,” Lee says, adding that it is much more difficult for men to comply with social standards.

He says Korean reality TV shows in particular have had a big impact on how men think they should act.

Shows such as “Superman is Back,” a KBS variety show that shows how celebrity fathers and their toddlers spend most of their days when the mothers are absent has raised the bar for a father to be financially successful and a family guy at the same time.

“Korean guys like compliments that have to do with their lives in society, such as, you look busy, you look like you work out a lot,” Lee aises, saying this indirectly empowers men, because such comments are regarded as socially significant.

On the flip side, Lee says that if a man says the same thing to a Korean girl, she will interpret it differently.

“Tell a Korean girl that you look healthy, or that they look as if they had stayed up all night working ?and they will feel embarrassed, because it means their make-up looks sloppy, or that they look fat,” Lee says.

“People want to hear questions in which a person has invested time and energy, which means men want to hear about their success and women want to be complimented on their beauty. ”

In the lecture, Lee always says that there are three things they must discuss before moving on to marriage.

“It’s important to talk about money matters ?you want to know what financial plans you have and what sort of future lies ahead, and still have trust in this person,” Lee says.

“Second, you should make sure you are on the same page when discussing how many children you and your significant other wish to have. Disagreement on the number of offspring could lead to clashes. ”

“Oh, before you marry, never forget to talk about distribution of labor when it comes to household chores. Men might hate me for saying this.

“If you think about it, it’s like baseball. Nobody delivers the right pitch if the pitcher is unsure. All pitchers have to be confident that they will be successful. That’s how men have to act. ”

He says most people are keen to get into a relationship, but few people actually think about what this means ?instead they’re more worried about how to meet social standards that might not be right for them

“Overcoming this situation is a matter of self-confidence and self-awareness,” Lee says.

“Our society may be the most wired country in the world, but at the end of the day, everyone wants romance that is analog rather than digital. ”

“You can’t trust an app, but you can trust what you see, feel, and touch. No matter how many messages you send online, you can’t deliver the tingling sensation of holding someone’s hand for the first time. ”

SOURCE: The Korea Times