Who would have thought that, when describing the eligibility of guys, ‘speaks good English’ would be right at the top of the list?
This came up in a discussion with a good friend of mine said over tea the other morning, when I told her about, well, a guy. A Korean guy, to be exact.
And it’s true.
When discussing the merits of Korean men, who – let’s admit – are generally good-looking and well-groomed, appearance is not exactly at the top of the check-list. Ohhh nooo. The first line is always something like, “he spoke really good English”, or “he isn’t fluent, but he has enough English to hold a conversation”.
See, a good few months ago, my friend was just sauntering along, exploring the streets of our little town, when a Korean guy approached her, and, well, chatted her up. And yes, of course, when she told me about him she got around to what he looked like (which usually starts and ends with how tall the guy is), but his ability to speak really good English far outweighed any other characteristic.
Last week, at physiotherapy, one of the therapists took me to the rehabilitation centre to show me some strengthening exercises for my back. This is the first time this has happened, so of course I had no idea why I was being led into a room I’d never been to before. And to my surprise, the therapist spoke to me in really good English. And of course, this was the part I highlighted when retelling the story to my friend.
And these are not the only examples, but you catch my drift.
Korea, if nothing else, is a quirky, quirky place. And when it comes to speaking English, this is ever true. For a country that spends trillions every month on English education, there sure are a lot of school leavers who very quickly regress to having very little to no English proficiency at all. Who knows, maybe I’m wrong, and they’re all fluent but just refuse to speak to me. Either way, it isn’t a good thing.
But you know what? It makes for some interesting discussions!
When looking for an appropriate image to post here, I came across a blog written by an Australian woman married to a Korean man. Some of the most appropriate cartoons related to my post have been put together here and here. Here’s one I giggled at: