20-Something Korean American Seeks Connection

It was one of those nights that you can only have in Korea. One of those nights that begins innocently, with a cocktail or two at a reasonable hour before moving to a pojangmacha “for a drink” where one bottle of soju turns into six and you’re reaching for the cab door at an hour that is no longer reasonable. One of those nights where you come home and play a live concert clip of Kanye and Jay-Z’s N*ggas in Paris and act like you’re actually there in person, rocking out, screaming Again! along with Jay-Z so you can do it all over again. One of those nights that eventually cedes to the dusky light of dawn and you start to slide down off of the alcohol and you sit in a strange lull where loneliness and horniness meet, and think, Why don’t I post an ad on Craigslist? You know, one of those nights.

You’re probably heterosexual and think sites like Match.com and OKCupid are less creepy ways to meet strangers on the Internet. You’re right.

I know what you’re thinking: Ew, Craigslist? The bathroom stall of hookup sites? You’re probably heterosexual and think sites like Match.com and OKCupid are less creepy ways to meet strangers on the Internet. You’re right, because on Craigslist, people post pictures of their penises and talk about being cumsluts and abusing tight holes and domination. They use words like clean, discreet, and sane, which suggests that they are anything but. It is like a hidden basement that has the damp mildew of desperation clinging to its walls. But it is also a place hidden away from public view, where you feel safe enough to ask for things that you wouldn’t otherwise ask for out loud: humiliation, kink, love.

However, if you’re a gay man like me, you probably already know this, because for gay English speakers in Korea, Craigslist can be a way to meet your kind – our own private basement. Or, you think: Ew, Craigslist? Don’t you have an iPhone?

So I put up a post on Craigslist, where I tried to convey in roughly 150 words that I was a fun, interesting person looking for other fun, interesting people. I wrote that I was open to anything from hooking up to dating to making friends, but, in the migraine of the morning (okay, afternoon) I realized that I was not actually open to the invitation of a “warm mouth” or becoming the second lover of someone who has “a thing for korean americans. ; )”

You can probably sense a certain ambivalence. It has been over four months since I was in New York and my first relationship came to an end. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t replay moments that we had and wonder what could have been. As for Craigslist, I am not looking to be shaken to my core, and do not expect – nor want – to find my next great love. I am trying to take each day as it comes, to “move on” as we like to call it. Maybe then, eventually, I will begin to feel ready for the kind of intimacy where you can completely inhabit your own skin, and he in his. For now, I’ll start with a coffee date.


Happy Ivan

About Happy Ivan

Happy Ivan is a writer living in Seoul. He enjoys long walks in the city, conversations about postcolonial theory and organ meat. You can email him at heppy.iban@gmail.com.

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