Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wednesday Night 회식

회식 with the 택견 gym folks
Oh, 회식 (an evening out for co-workers or members of a formal group, meant to foster relationships). Good for building , bad for everything else, it seems. As tomorrow is Teacher's Day (스승의날), the folks at my taekgyeon gym decided to go out for seafood and drinking instead of training tonight. It was ostensibly to thank 관장님 and 사범님 for being awesome teachers, but it was also because Koreans love seafood and drinking.

I tried half-heartedly to get out of it. I mean, it's Wednesday night. It's a school night -- I have class tomorrow! Also, I want to exercise, not eat shellfish! But although I dragged my feet and made excuses, eventually I made it to the restaurant; I felt badly for my reluctance, too, since 회식 is actually very culturally important, and I didn't want to seem like a flake.

Well, even though I'm smiling in the photo, it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows tonight.

Pro: admittedly amazing seafood / Con: my stomach hurts
Pro: got to hang out with fun people / Con: 10pm-12:30am on a school night
Pro: a chance to practice Korean / Con: a chance to suck at Korean
Pro: when they get tipsy they tend to compliment me a lot / Con: aggressive heteronormativity

And I mean aggressive. Like, "You're so handsome! Why don't you have a girlfriend? Why? WHY? WHY???" Later, "That girl in your profile photo is your girlfriend right? No? Liar!" Later, "So, why don't you have a girlfriend? What, do you like men? Do you? Do you?"

"부끄러워요," I said. I'm embarrassed. Please stop. And eventually they changed the subject.

Con: we went Dutch
Con: I didn't exercise tonight
Con: have a lot of work to catch up on
Pro: built 정

So where does that leave me? 회식 can be extremely uncomfortable sometimes. I enjoy it for what it is, but when I'm already not feeling up to extended, alcohol-fueld social interaction, it can veer perilously close to being a total trainwreck. I, just... on a school night! I should have been asleep by eleven. And here I am blogging about it past one. Yo, Andrew, get your priorities straight.
This, by the way, was what we ate. That is an entire octopus! Also scallops, severl kinds of clams, mussels, cuttlefish, shrimp, crab, and abalone that were still alive when this platter was brought to our table. Would've been great for dinner, but midnight snack?


  1. Out of curiosity, does the aggressive heteronormativity go both ways? That is, are women subjected to the same questions? Or are you not in a position to know? Or maybe you've mentioned this already, and I've forgotten.

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