TTD and I sat in Dunkin Donuts early on a Sunday morning, drinking coffee. “Should I try to meet up with that Carol girl today?” I asked. TTD and I had just completed our Buddhist Temple Stay program and had the whole day ahead of us. Dunkin Donuts had supplied us with our second breakfast of the morning and we sat there, someplace in Seoul, unsure of what to do next.
“How long have you been texting her?” TTD asked.
“Like three weeks now,” I said. “I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere. She always has to work.” The girl we were talking about was a bit of a mystery to me. I’d met her weeks earlier around four in the morning at club GoGo’s in Hongdae. She was pretty and stylish and said her name was ‘Carol.’ Her English wasn’t great, but it was good enough to have a decent conversation and at the end of the night we exchanged numbers. I had high hopes that she liked me quite a bit; she seemed to the night we met, although her enthusiasm had gone down ever since she sobered up.
TTD was busy texting people herself. “I say go for it,” she said while punching out another message. “It’s been three weeks. If she doesn’t want to meet up by now, maybe you should give up.”
“I agree,” I said, nodding my head in agreement. I sent Carol a text asking her if she wanted to meet up. She replied quickly, saying she couldn’t because she had church events all day. “That’s a good reason to say no,” I said. “That sounds legit. Sometimes I forget there are people who go to church on Sundays. Maybe I shouldn’t give up on her yet.”
“Text her again,” TTD said. “Ask her out for sometime during the week.”
“Is that a good idea? A post-rejection ask out?”
“It shows confidence. Do it.”
“All right,” I said. “Damn it I will.” I sent another message, asking her out a second time. She replied that she had just changed jobs and was busy. After that, she and I got into a little conversation about her new job. She said that she had become a graphic designer and that she was working on the colors for a project.
“What should I text now?” I asked TTD.
“Say ‘I like colors.’”
“I’m not saying ‘I like colors.’ That makes me sound like I have mental retardation.”
“I know,” she laughed. “DO IT!”
“Yup! I like colors!”
I had a decision to make. If I texted “I like colors,” things would obviously be over. There would be no recovering from that sentiment. “Tell you what,” I said to TTD. “Let’s give it a few more days. If things still look bleak, we’ll go out for some drinks and I’ll send Carol the ‘I like colors’ text. Now doesn’t seem like the right time.”
“I think you’re making the mature decision,” she said. “It might be too early to go for self-amusement.”
Ever since I’d gotten to Korea, I’d seen white men fawning over Asian women like 5th grade girls at a Justin Bieber concert. Sometimes a doofy white guy would suddenly have a lovely Korean girlfriend and everyone would wonder, “How did that happen?” There’s a misconception that any white guy can come to Asia and have his pick of Asian girls; the truth is it isn’t easy. Korean girls, at least the majority of them, want to be with Korean guys. Why wouldn’t they? They speak the same language and use the same amount of makeup. In a homogenous culture like Korea, dating a foreigner is really stepping outside the status quo.
And that didn’t seem to be a step my cool and stylish Carol wanted to take.
The next week there was really bad flooding in Seoul. Carol had not responded to my last few texts, and so I sent her a message that said, “Hey, haven’t heard from you in awhile. Did you die in the flood?”
“That’s a strange thing to text,” TTD said some time later when I told her. “I’m not surprised she didn’t respond.”
“Well, TTD,” I said, “obviously she didn’t respond because she’s dead.”
“If that makes you feel better, go ahead and think that.”
Maybe this is what I’ll do from now on. Every time I can tell a girl is losing interest in me, I’ll send a message that says, “Where are you? Did you get murdered?” Something like that. Or, “Have you choked to death on a chewy squid tentacle?”
Of course there will be no response. And then when someone asks me if I’m seeing anybody, I’ll say, “Man, I would be, but they’ve all died!”
I think I can deal with the tragedy of death better than the sting of rejection.
It’s a shame the interested ones always go too soon.
Rest in peace, Carol.