Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Weekend pics (stay on till the end) . . . and a story.

I had two interesting classes in the last week: see, I have two free-talk classes, which are the highest level we offer at my school. One of them is what my sister-in-law calls a "clam bake" -- that is, the opposite of a "sausage party," an all-female class. It's actually a wonderful class, and we've had some really lovely conversations about family, woman issues, whatever, as well as a few good laughs.

Well, one of my students came into class all steamed becasue her boyfriend (in very poor form) not just looked at a poster of a hot model in a bikini (which are rife these days, and which, being a guy, I would have defended him for doing -- those posters are specifically designed by advertisers to ensnare us dink-havers into looking, so it's difficult to say he was out of line for that. . . however, he also COMMENTED on it to his girlfriend, which isn't cool -- ogling whilst in the presence of one's girlfriend should ALWAYS be done surreptitiously, if at all.

Well, to balance that gripe out with a laugh, I told a story about a time I was out with girlfriendoseyo:

We were walking by a bus stop, and I spotted, as we approached, one of those long-legged, beskirted sort of specimens that keep some men in Korea way longer than they need to be. . . but I was with girlfriendoseyo, so I thought very specifically, "MUST. . . NOT. . . OGLE!" and focused my gaze with laser-intensity at the pedestrian overpass nearby.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Girlfriendoseyo giving that very same h-h-h-hawttie a big-old up, down, and back up again.

"LeeeEEEEEEeeerrrrrr" would have been the sound-effect, if this were one of those old 1960s Batman TV episodes.

So I turned to her, with a hurt look on my face, and said, "Were you looking at that girl?" Girlfriendoseyo knew she was busted, so she nodded.

"Do you think she's prettier than me?" I said, and made my chin tremble.

We had a good laugh then, and had another good laugh with my all-ladies class, and we started talking about girls checking people out on the street, which is a conversation I've never had before.

(ps: Magnetic Fields is playing as I write this, and they just used the word "unboyfriendable" -- sweeet)

So, anyway, here are the things I learned, and sure, it's only a sample-size of four, so I'm not going to be writing any scholarly papers, but it was interesting nonetheless:

1: Women look at other women more then they look at men, when they're out walking the street. (Usually for the sake of comparison.)

2: In the street, (at least these) women's attention isn't caught so much by a man's looks, as the way he acts: particularly, a women's attention will be caught by a guy who's acting sweetly to his girlfriend. (talk amongst yourselves as to why this might be; for now, it was interesting enough just to learn that)


3: When watching TV, women look at the men more than the women. At least these ones did. That was interesting, too.

We theorized as to why that might be, and we came up with this:

Women (to be broad-brushy) are more interested in a man's character (though we all know men are generally more visual); the men seen on TV are generally celebrities that (these) women have seen before -- they get a chance to kind of gather a series of impressions about the men on TV, to get a feeling for what their characters might be like, which makes them more interesting to watch, while the men passing in the street are probably impossible to meet, impossible to get to know, so the mere look of them isn't as interesting.

Anyway, that's what we hypothesized that day. It was a really interesting class, and I learned something about women. Cool.

Next: I had ANOTHER free-talk class which (that day) was all men, and we talked about drinking (may as well throw a proper sausage party, you know?) The two men also REALLY got a kick out of my teaching them the phrase "sausage party". Well, I mentioned how I love Korean drinking culture -- you never see Korean men more friendly and jovial than when you're drinking with them (and if you can somehow dodge being goaded into drinking WAY more than you planned to, it's a fantastic experience). I've argued here before that I'd love to see Kora's drinking culture separated from its business culture, for various reasons (though I'd be sad to see Korea's drinking culture vanish completely).

And one of my students asserted (without any prompting), "I don't like drinking culture as much these days: it seems more extreme, and there's more rudeness and violence in drinking districts than I seem to remember when I was younger." Such a frank admission was really refreshing, and then he followed that up by saying, "But my boss is trying to curb that kind of unhealthy alky-culture: he's encouraging us to be more moderate during office dinners" -- a pair of sentences that filled me up with hope and happiness.

Then we got back to telling hangover stores.

aaaand. . . pictures.

From the Puk'hak expressway, where I went with Girlfriendoseyo (avoid the Italian restaurant at the lookout point there: the service was awful. Not the worse we've EVER experienced, but definitely the second worst. [you have to ask nicely if you want to hear those two stories]):

look at all the colours of green (pics from my flickr account)

. .. a mulberry tree?

The weather on Sunday was the most perfect I think I've ever seen. Just look at that sky.
I climbed Buram mountain with Matt in the morning:

We could see all the way to Gwanaksan (way south of the city) from Buramsan (way north of the city)

And, for good measure, there in Gyungbokgung station. . . a naughty horse from the Shilla Dynasty. I guess we know what was on their minds back then. . .

I didn't realize C&B stood for Cannon and Bells.
Now do I need to include the close-up, for any who doubt what it is?

Yeah. Surprising, unexpected appearances of phalluses occur in Korea from time to time (see here for more)-- you just never know when one will, um, pop up.

Anyway, that night, one more of that cute neighbourhood I walked around with Girlfriendoseyo


melissa v. said...

There is a lot of feminist writing pertaining to this phenomenon of women looking at other women that you discovered the other day in conversation class (at your clam bake...did you get yourself a clam, or did you just add some spice to the meal by being there?). The most feasible theory I've come across is that the cultural and media emphasis on feminine beauty trains us to look at the female form and evaluate it. The most compelling evidence to support this theory is that feminine sexuality is used to sell men's products and material goods to men, AND to sell women's products and material goods to women. Since culture emphasizes external beauty in women, and media plays off this and emphasizes external beauty in women, we're all trained to ogle women.

Generally, the assertion that "men are more visual" goes unchallenged. I would like to challenge it. I'm a very visual person. Sexy men cause problems for me. I can't be the ONLY woman on the planet like this. Anyways.
Some thoughts.

t-HYPE said...

melissa, are you an artist? Most of my visually oriented female friends have artistic tendencies! (I'm among them.)

I'm going to suggest that girls check out the guys on TV more than the girls because most of the guys in the movies, dramas, etc. look good. That certainly isn't the case for guys on the street! :D Also, it's the only environment in which women can safely check guys out. If a guy sees you checking him out on the street, he then assumes he has a chance and all sorts of tiring situations can arise out of that...

melissa v. said...

ROFL! Yes, t.v. is a safe zone to check out hot guys, that's for sure. And your significant other can't get mad at you for looking at pretty ppl on t.v., b/c we're SUPPOSED to be looking at the t.v. and there just HAPPENS to be a hottie on it!!
Yes, I'm an artist. I wondered if that had anything to do with it. I'm so strongly visual that if I need to memorize anything for school or work, I have to make it into a picture in order for it to stay in my brain.
I also wanted to add that, although visually oriented, there is probably a continuum, and I'm on the 'visual' end of the females but that (most) males are probably more 'visually stimulated' than most females. The reason I thought of this was because porn attracts so many men. Watching other people have sex is really not stimulating to me. It just makes me laugh at how ridiculous we look when we have sex! But really, how can any of us ever truly know what it is like for the opposite sex? We'll never know how things compare, because we can't leap out of our skin and into another, ever. All we have to go on is behavioural manifestations, which are so complex as to make diciphering them kind of like reading Ancient Egyptian Hyrogliphics.

Roboseyo said...

As for the clam bake, I just asked a few prompt questions and then listened, and the students know/like/trust me enough that they answered the questions honestly, or maybe they enjoyed each others' company enough that they barely noticed I was there (optimum conditions for learning stuff I didn't know before).

I think the fact men find porn more interesting than females is a pretty good demonstration of the fact men (in general -- I did make the broad brush qualification . .. I think) are more visual than women -- a magazine full of dudes in hanes with great sixpacks just won't sell as many copies as a similar magazine full of ladies in bra and panties. (Victoria Secret catalogue, anyone? Why do single men have those around their houses, anyway? And what is the point of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, really?)

T-hype: great point (also nice archery, guessing melissa's an artist in one shot). Most men would take an ogle as an invitation to approach, and then you've got a mess on your hands, where you'll probably have to be rude to him to get him to leave you alone -- what do women think when they spot men giving them the up and down? I didn't have a chance to ask my students.

On the other hand, that behavioural stuff (the way my class said their attention WAS caught by a man who seemed to be treating his girlfriend sweetly, for example) seems to demonstrate that (in general) females are more character oriented -- my brother calls movies like "The Notebook" ~chick porn~ --some sensitive guy's sweetness presented as baldly and emotionally manipulatively as a woman's "blurry bits" are presented in man-porn.

but Mel's right, too, both that people having sex does indeed look kind of ridiculous, and that in the end, we're best qualifying our generalizations, and stepping back in humility at the diverse mystery that is humanity.

melissa v. said...

see, the thing I didn't add to the porn=laughter bit is that it is only movie porn that makes me laugh. Picture porn turns me on. Weird? Probably.
Also, I think that you're onto something with the women porn thing...we like a story, a narrative, a relationship--throw in a graphic as icing on the cake and we're all as horny as hell. But we don't need the graphic or picture or movie. A good lusty description does the trick.
Different from your guy porn.

Anonymous said...

Magnetic Fields, awesome.