Sunday, April 03, 2005


Readers of this blog know that I don't drink.

Tonight I went bar-hopping* in Itaewon. My first time ever bar-hopping. I'm not sure what the charm is. Maybe that's because I was the dude with the Coca Cola.

I was with two buddies of mine-- a Korean guy and an American guy, both of whom have been my friends since 1994, both of whom remember the shit I went through when I sued my first hagwon boss for several million won back in '95. One of my buddies (I won't say which) is separated from his wife; the other has a good but often rocky marriage. I listened and sympathized as they ranted about women. I also learned a few things about the going rates for getting two (or even three) women in a hotel room with you, if you're ever in the Philippines. Yikes.

Me, I'm just not that kind of guy.

I don't normally do bars. I've never had the faintest desire to rent a hooker. I'm not the type to grab a pretty ass or tit. Sure, I'll ogle. What man doesn't? It's what we're wired for: women are works of art, and unless you're gay, you're going to appreciate the art gallery when it jiggles and sways by. But there's a big difference between looking and touching. After listening to tonight's conversation (I was mostly quiet the whole time), I know that straying from a significant other would be repellent: something inside me curdles at the thought. I can understand what might drive a man to stray, but I don't think I have it in me to do so. Loyalty actually means something to me.

Itaewon isn't my place, either. I go there only when necessary, only when invited. It's not a place I choose to visit on my own. Too many fuckin' foreigners. Heh.

It was wussy bar-hopping, too: three mid-30s guys schlepping from place to place for only three hours before I decided to wimp out and call it a night. For all I know, my friends are doing Round 4 or 5 now. At EC, my former hagwon, I kept hearing from Korean teachers who'd stay out until 6 or 8AM, stumbling home to bed and sleeping a bit before dragging themselves back for the evening shift. That's nuts.

I prefer quiet. Can't stand the fucking noise. Booming music. Loud patrons. Having to shout in order to have a conversation just isn't my thing, and when you add drinks to that, it seems almost pointless to converse: what the fuck'll you remember the next day? One friend mentioned waking up in hotels with strange women, not remembering how he got there. Damn, man. You're lucky not to have lost your wallet. Some lady could learn everything about you and have you by the cojones.

Seoul's a noisy place. There's no escaping the buzz of humanity if you're in the city. I've never been a lover of cities, but I always end up in them. Maybe that's why I remember my year in Switzerland with such fondness: I was living in a village, a miniature suburb, just outside a small, quiet town (Fribourg was more town than city to me), with nature all around me. I've never had another year like that year.

I also feel guilty this evening for having skipped out on Namsan for the first time in over a week. Weight loss has definitely plateaued: I either need to start hitting the mountain twice a day (won't be possible once I start at Smoo), or I need to make the "stairs route" up Namsan my new standard routine. I confess: I didn't hit the stairs the other day; I merely did the normal, easy route.

My head's still buzzing, even though all I had was Coke and Dr. Pepper. My friends told me they'd "failed in their mission" tonight: I can only guess that their purpose was either to get me drunk or get me laid. They don't know who they're up against: my freshman year roommate in college swore he'd have me drinking by the end of the year, and I never touched a drop. Yeah, I'm a fuckin' prude.

A fuckin' prude who's off to bed.

*Although I think the Brits are cool, I'm not an Anglophile like my old friend the Maximum Leader. Nevertheless, I prefer the British term "pub crawling" to the Yank locution "bar-hopping." It's a more accurate description of what's actually happening, especially in the later stages.


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