A Single’s Guide to Surviving Relationship Season in South Korea (Part 1)

A Single’s Guide to Surviving Relationship Season in South Korea (Part 1)

Judith Villarreal

There are so many things to love about winter in South Korea. The single fact that everything from coffee to lip balm becomes sugar cookie flavored when the cold weather starts to set in is enough to elicit a happy dance from even the grumpiest of Scrooges. Christmas lights begin to twinkle from the windows of every shop while bundled up patrons stroll along the snow kissed pavements soaking in the new season. There’s a magical and cozy feeling that comes along with winter. The warm fuzzies people experience during this time is probably why the season has been deemed “relationship season”. I get it, and it does make sense why so many relationships start during winter. Cold weather is good cuddling weather, after all. But what do you do when you find that everyone around you has suddenly partnered off, and you’re left alone like that odd kid in science class who had to partner with the teacher during frog dissection day?

Being single during this time when you see so many others begin to couple up can be difficult enough back home, but what does it feel like when you’re single and abroad? Everyone’s experience will be different, so I can only speak for myself. With that out there, let’s just say my nights spent at home with spiked hot chocolate and trashy reality television have gotten a tad more frequent than I’d like to admit.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a bitter singleton who thinks we should take all happy couples and relocate them to a remote island where we never have to witness their hand holding or Eskimo kisses ever again. (Unless a place like that already exists. In which case, I’ll start rounding up the couples in South Korea.) Even though I don’t hate couples, I do prefer to avoid couple infested public places so I don’t have to feel the “oh no she’s alone” pity stare from a hundred happy couples.

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Fear not, fellow singles living in South Korea. I’ve chosen to share with you the 3 hotspots to tread through carefully if you wish to avoid being the 101th wheel while you’re out and about in the city being your single, sexy self.

Themed coffee shops tend to have a high rate of being overrun. Have an itch to walk into that cute Hello Kitty café down the street and get yourself a pink latte? Don’t you dare scratch that itch. Not unless you want to be hoarded by caffeine wired couples, the scariest type of couple that exists because they never leave or sleep. They just stare into each other’s coffee glazed eyes for hours. During winter, I choose coffee shops in which to enjoy my cappuccinos much like I would choose where to take shelter during a zombie-pocolypse. Look in through the windows to check for any zombies couples. If the coast is clear, head on in and have yourself a nice latte.

Next place to be wary of on our very short list is the aisle seats in movie theaters. Ok, I know this sounds very specific and maybe even a tad silly, but that’s because you don’t know about “couple seats” yet. That’s right; couples can have their very own private seats off to the side in theaters. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to hear when I’ve escaped the winter chills in a cozy heated movie theater is the slurp of kisses from the new couple next to me. When choosing a seat, I usually clutch my popcorn bag, refrain from making eye contact, and make a beeline to the area farthest from the aisle. I advise you, fellow singleton, to do the same.

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The last place I’ll warn you that is usually crawling with pairs of humans attached at the hip is open markets at night. Truth be told, I love open markets (I even wrote an entire blog post on open markets.), but at night they are packed with couples who wait in line by the fortunetellers’ stands. They shiver together in the cold as they giggle and whisper, trying to guess what the fortuneteller cards have in store for their future. Are they a good match for each other? Will their first child be a boy or a girl? Will they still be together after they graduate high school?

From what I’ve learned from my Korean friends, young couples going to see fortune tellers is quite a new trend, but it’s definitely a strong one. If you’re brave enough to venture the open markets at night, steer clear of fortuneteller tents.

There they are, friends. The top three places to be aware of when navigating the South Korean Relationship Season as a singleton. Be sure to check back here next week. I’ll be sharing the best places to hang out in South Korea with your likeminded unattached friends. Stay warm, stay strong.

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