Carrie – When my friend offered me her place to stay in Seoul and my credit card supplied me with free flights, I impulsively booked my four Asian-metropolis trip for May: Tokyo, Shanghai, Busan and Seoul.
We met interesting people along the way, that’s for sure. One night in Tokyo, we ended up at as the only two girls at this karaoke bar, where I proceeded to get serenaded and dipped by the big, burly bartender to Enrique Iglesias’ “Hero” (song is forever ruined).
Cue to my last weekend Seoul, where I develop what I will term “Seoul Goggles” which is essentially a “do it for the blog” mentality.
Mr. Korean BBQ
I end up meeting a fellow Canadian from Montreal at the War Museum where we end up with a private tour. He was cute enough, but it was more of a pity hangout when he invited me to eat a meal together because he hadn’t been allowed to eat Korean BBQ alone at a restaurant (PS Korea is the land of requiring a partner – no such thing as solo meals because you will ACTUALLY get told you won’t be served by the restaurant #truestory).
We end up spending the day together exploring, which was his last night. We go for some drinks and I… miss the last subway back to my friend’s house. What could have been potentially very sketchy sitch with the Canadian I had just met and his Korean contact who he had just met, the Canadian and I end up hooking up at a Korean guy’s house (not two feet away from his sleeping form). Luckily, I lived to see the day. I wasn’t all that into it if I’ll be honest, so I feigned fear that our Korean host would wake up if we had sex or I had to reciprocate. Frankly, I was just much more of a taker in that situation and he has been messaging me an alarming amount, asking to come visit my parent’s place in Toronto.
Mr. Special Ops
So on my last night in Seoul, four of us gals go out in Itaewon, a foreigner hub in Seoul. After a day drink at a South African rooftop braii and a hookah session with another five-girl squad, we all “join forces” and pre outside a convenience store before the bar.
Now there’s a ton of American military bases all over Asia, in Seoul especially. So when we were drinking outside the 7/11 (totally legal btw), the ladies begin to heckle some of the men walking by. We end up jeering at a group of relatively handsome dudes, who ask us where we’re off to. The drunkest of us giggle and tell them Thursday Party, a chain of bars in Korea.
There, I meet my bar boyfriend (a guy you meet at the bar and adopt for the night), Mr. Special Ops. Now he wasn’t the tallest nor the most handsome, but he had a buff military bod, pretty blue eyes, a sprinkle of freckles across his nose that crinkled when he smiled.
I had been talking to some other US military men and guessed their cities on my first try (guido slick hair – Miami; Oakley’s on the forehead, a fedora and an Under Armour shirt – St. Louis). Miami ploughed me with shots, St. Louis told my friend to tell me he liked me, and the yellow fever was too real with these boys. So when Mr. Special Ops and I start talking, I’m drawn to his less desperate attitude, his Matthew McConaughey-esque accent, and backwards cap. Things were going well so I kissed back when he leaned in slowly and it was one of the most seductive kisses I’ve had. Then… I found out he’s a Trump Supporter. I excused myself very promptly after he couldn’t give me a legitimate reason why. Exit #1.
When I return from the bathroom, my best friend is talking to Mr. Special Ops’ friend, who keeps buying rounds of Long Island Ice Teas for all of us. Special Ops is standing nearby and comes up to me, saying “don’t be mad babe; let’s not talk politics, we were getting on otherwise.” I explain to him that politics is tied to compatibility and hit him with a hypothetical: if we were to go home together, have sex, and I get pregnant, I couldn’t be with someone who supported a pro-life president. We had a lengthy discussion. Later at one point, he shows me his WhatsApp. Busted – I see a girl’s names and kissy emojis on one of his recent chats. I tell him he’s a fuckboy, has yellow fever, and leave again to dance with my friends. Exit #2.
Special Ops comes back with a round of those Long Islands for my friends and hands the last to me as a peace offering. I’m pretty faded so we start dancing and next thing I know, I’m making out with the devil himself: a Trump Supporter in USA’s military. And I was oddly, very oddly into it. Seoul Goggles, I tell ya.
There’s about three more Exits throughout the night – one for forgetting my name (Exit #3), another for chewing tobacco (Exit #4), and one more cause I knew I couldn’t abandon my friends in a foreign city so there was no point (Exit #5). I actually volunteered to be his wing woman at one point, but he did the classic “but I want you, my Canadian babe” puppy dog face. Despite my best efforts to resist, he kept coming back and I kept letting him.
I don’t know if it was his perseverance, my attraction to him, or my desire to be one of those 1940 soap stars where my military man comes back to me, but I definitely fell for his confidence. So I succumbed, hanging out with him all-night until 5 in the morning, when he bought me drunk food/breakfast as a group and we had our first date, right there in the Mr. Kebab.
He tried to take me home on multiple occasions. One version of me – the one who saw her new girlfriends go with guys to their cars and hostels, hook up, and then come back to the bar – was like “why not?” Another version very much understood it was Seoul Goggles and there was no future here. The romantic in me fell for it, just a little bit, when he told me he had a crush on me and asked me for my contact info. I wouldn’t give him my Snapchat or number but gave him my name on Facebook and told him to find me if he wanted.
Secretly, I am pining to see that Friend Request Notification one day. Secretly, I imagine myself running into him one day four years from now when the stars align in our geographies, Trump’s reign of terror is over, Miley’s “Malibu” is playing in the background to live out our “what ifs.”
I know this will only ever be a story for the blog. But sometimes there’s magic in spending one night with a perfect stranger.