Can a cash machine become a boyfriend?It will take at least a month, during which time you’ll need to be patient but often-present. You should bring gifts now and again, but not yawners like roses or chocolates. And you’ll need to keep your grabbing hands to yourself.
That’s how you, Average Joe Foreigner, can get that elite bar girl you’ve become infatuated with to consider you for a long-term relationship.
This is according to two local “it girls” ― Bo-mi, not her real name, who works the Hill, and Ji-sun, which is her real name, who works at Mia Fiore, next to the 3-Alley Pub.
Bo-mi, asked what a man truly after her heart should and shouldn’t do, was quick with a list of no-no’s, mostly having to do with the come-ons that bar girls like her hear umpteen times a night.
“You should never say that you want to be my boyfriend,” she said. “And don’t give me your phone number and tell me to call you when I’m off work.”
That might work for a fling, if she thinks you’re good for that. Otherwise, let slip such commonplace lines and she’ll file you in her out-of-contention drawer forever.
Ji-sun also said ― right away ― that the “I wanna be your boyfriend” line is a red flag: “We girls talk, and we know you said the same thing to a different girl the last time you were here.” To get her to trust you, she said, the most important thing is “don’t be pushy.”
But while avoiding personal fouls, you’ve still got to be around. “The guy should come to my bar every day,” Bo-mi said with a vixeny smile. “That’s how I can be sure he’s serious.”
A cynic might question such a tip ― even suggest that it’s tainted by income-specific motivation. No doubt her income picture will be prettier if you’re always around and splashing out for a juicy drink or four.
Ji-sun was more candid: “You know how this bar works,” she said. “I’m working, and I’m here to make money. So if a guy buys a bottle of wine or whiskey [an expensive one], that shows me something.”
Besides buying drinks, you’ll probably be bearing gifts. To wow Bo-mi, you’ll have to be creative. “I’m not impressed by chocolates and flowers. Those things are childish.”
So what would be more effective? “Something like a music CD ― jewelry is usually too much,” she said.
Bo-mi, 29 and commanding the sharp wit of an Itaewon bar veteran, has already had a relationship or two with local non-Koreans. But she’s available now and seems ready for another.
The wholesome Ji-sun, a mere 24, has never had a foreign boyfriend. She only began working at Mia Fiore a couple of months ago, after graduating from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (major in Chinese) and finding “real jobs” depressingly scarce. Romancewise, she’s on the rebound after a rough breakup with a Korean guy, and says she’s now willing to consider a foreign beau.
If he does the right things.
by Mike Ferrin