Sometimes, seemingly odd combinations work well

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Sometimes, seemingly odd combinations work well

Out of the vast array of distinctions that exist to define individuals in this world, we are still stuck with the classic division that identifies us as men and women.
It seems strange sometimes that we as humans are meant to choose partners based on our sexual preference. Why shouldn’t it be based on sharing the same occupation, or preferences in the way we hold our chopsticks or crack the eggshells when we make scrambled eggs? Or why do we have to choose at all, when it’s such a pesky business to select our partners and then blame ourselves for not having made better choices later on?
Okay, I may be starting to sound a bit bitter.
The only logical reason I can think of in a heterosexual relationship at least ― aside from the obvious purpose of producing offspring ― is that we are meant to choose our partners based on sexual preference because there is practically nothing in common shared between the two sexes. It seems as if men and women have been brought together by chance because they are extreme opposites.
It’s absurd especially to think that couples like my parents, who are as different as water and fire, have remained married for 25 years without ending up poisoning each other. Actually, they were responsible for my brother almost being poisoned once.
To stop them from fighting, he swallowed five antacid tablets and said that he had consumed an entire bottle of sleeping pills. The strategy was too weak, of course. But on our parents’ recent 25th anniversary, my brother and I were tempted to give them a pack of Virginia Slims as a gift with a card saying, “You’ve come a long way, baby!”
They’ve probably spent 20 years of their life together screaming at each other. Until my friends related their horror stories of being caught in their parents’ vigorous fights, marriage, for me, never seemed like an ideal option when I was growing up.
Yet I do believe that in some lucky situations, life does get better for some couples.
On my way back to the car from an ice cream parlor on a recent weekend trip with my parents, I spotted them walking on a pier, holding hands. I’ve probably seen them hold hands before, but somehow the moment made me stop and stare for a while.
If it had been a scene from a film, it could have been a disaster, considering that it was late afternoon and the sun was setting behind them. But it was real, and the scene seemed inexplicably relieving.
Of course, when such moments are gone, reality returns. But I can’t say that, after all these years, their endurance for putting up with each other ― whatever their reasons ― was worthless. At the same time, I question why most of us have to go through such a distressful phase before we finally have some real peace.
Maybe this whole idea of a man-woman match was a big accident. Or let’s put it in more generous terms. It could have been a coincidence, an experiment.
Maybe we were put together as pairs because men and women ― out of all things in this world ― stood out as the most notable distinction, in the way that kimchi and bread were put together by some quirky marketers at a fast food chain to invent odd combinations like a kimchi burger.
The strange thing is that when odd ingredients are put together, the taste mingles in an unusual but discernible way. If one were to raise the question, there is no way to logically explain why it works. But in some cases, it just does.

Kimchi Sandwich

Ingredients (for 2 servings): 4 loaves of bread, 4 kimchi leaves, 2 eggs, 30 grams minced pork, 2 teaspoons diced green onion, 2 teaspoons bread crumbs, 2 teaspoons milk, 2 teaspoons diced garlic, 1/2 cup flour, oil, butter, salt, pepper, sesame seeds, mayonnaise.
1. Remove the stuffing from the kimchi and squeeze out liquid.
2. In a bowl, combine minced pork with green onion, garlic, sesame seeds, salt and pepper.
3. Mix flour, milk and bread crumbs and spread on the kimchi; spread seasoned pork on top.
4. In a greased frying pan, cook the kimchi pork over medium heat. Scramble the eggs and add to the mixture, cooking until pork is done.
5. Lightly spread mayonnaise on a loaf of bread and place the pork mixture on it. Top with another loaf and cut into desired serving size.

by Park Soo-mee
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