Women I prefer to keep at a distanceWhen I returned to Korea after living in London three years to attend school, my parents allowed me to choose between going to an all-girls institution or a coed high school. I had heard only good things about all-girls schools in Korea from my Korean friends in London. So I naturally chose the former.
At first I really did not fit in. The way the girls behaved was so foreign to me. But since my entire life revolved around school, arriving there at 7:30 a.m. and leaving around 11 p.m. most days, I eventually adapted and started acting like all the other girls. There was nothing girlish about the way we did things. We would scream at the top of our lungs in the classroom, race to the cafeteria when the lunch bell rang and stuff unbelievable amounts of food in our mouths. The girls I went to school with were just as sincere and friendly as they were loud and outgoing, and I fell in love with the craziness of the school. In the end, I was really proud to be a part of it. The memories of those days are still vivid in my mind.
Having adjusted so well in high school, I had no fear of going on to college and was looking forward to new kinds of insane fun there. But my college is coed, and I never thought that throwing men into the mix would so drastically alter the behavior of my fellow female students. Unlike my friends in high school, the women at my college act like weak, fragile babes in pink skirts. Walking across campus on my first day of school, I was in shock: guys carried girls’ bags for them, while the girls sashayed down the paths. The girls’ irritable, twangy voices made my eyes roll as they pouted and posed for their beaux.
My cousin who grew up in Germany came to Korea last summer for a visit and was completely turned off by the pathetic behavior of the girls she met at my college. She spent most of her vacation complaining to me about them; she even threatened to never see me again if I turned into one of them. After her visit, I mentioned how I felt about my fellow coeds to some close guy friends from church. I was disappointed when they confessed that they would rather go out with one of those pouting bimbos than an outgoing, fun-loving girl. I felt let down because they were the ones who always praised my lively spirit.
I am in my third year of college, and I still have not been able to accept what I see most of the women around me doing. Even if it means 20 more lonely single years, I’m going to be myself.
by Park Eun-sil
Ms. Park is a former JoongAng Daily intern.