Here we go players, it’s time for the final installment in The Seoul Player’s Guide to Tindering in Korea: The Date. We’re going to go over the details, specifics, and logistics of taking out a Tinder date in Korea for a (hopefully) successful evening.
JULIUS: One of the best things about Tinder is that it skips the approaching and trying to get a woman interested in you and replaces it with a right swipe. In other words, you’re not there to work on that. That part has been done for you. So once you begin messaging and things are going smoothly, you’ll just have to figure out when and where to meet.
Some women might want to meet within the day of matching, while others wait about a week or so to see how you are as a person. Do not take the immediate meetup as a guarantee for hooking up; a few people just want to go on a blind date and see how it goes.
In my experience, location determines when and where you will meet your match. Being in Seoul is like a goldmine, with the largest number of potential matches and you can meet your match within the week, while say, living in the Chungnam-do countryside will present a number of problems with the relatively few prospective matches, and even a number of matches outright dismissing anyone that lives outside of the Seoul Metro area.
Although Seoul has its obvious advantages, in the countryside people are more likely to wait at least a week to see you, putting time on your side where you can get to know your match with the added ability to plan a date with no problem. With a Korean match, it’s not uncommon for your date to decide where to go as they would generally believe that you would not know the area as well as a local would. Use this to your advantage to discover new places.
Now that the hard part is out of the way, your main concern is to show your date a good time. In Seoul, there are a myriad of places to take a date to, like the endless stream of clubs, bars and restaurants in Hongdae and Itaewon.
Hongdae is known for being much cheaper than Itaewon in regards for dining and going out afterwards, offering a great and affordable experience for a date. There are a number of hookah bars (Gr8 Hookah), lounges, hip-hop or house clubs if you want to dance, American style bars (Thursday Party), or if you just want to hang at Hongdae Park and enjoy what makes it so unique.
If you want a more relaxed approach and a quieter time, I’d recommend Café the Bridge in Hongdae for a nice follow up to dinner for anyone that is familiar with the area. It’s a coffee shop that lets you stay in tiny little rooms with cushions and pillows for you and your date to have fun in. If that might be too soon for you they also have tables out by the window for you to sit at. Either way, you can kick back and relax with a beer in hand and take it from there with your prospect.
The same applies to whatever happening places may exist in Daegu, Incheon, Busan and the like. Just no smelly samgyeopsal places. Despite the delicious food and fair prices, you don’t want you and your date smelling like grilled pork belly and cheap soju.
Remember though, going out doesn’t guarantee complete success, but it does show that you are a hair away from achieving it. Play your cards right – know when to make a move. If you’re feeling that everything is going smoothly, don’t be afraid. You might end up in a DVD room because your date finds you so irresistible. However, don’t be a creeper (making a move within the first few minutes or expecting sex right away), be generous and be down to have fun while not pushing it too far (getting wasted).
JACK: Okay, so you’ve got her on the line. All you need to do now is reel her in. There’s a big difference between Tinder in America and Tinder in Korea, and this is where it really shows.
Nobody wants to meet JUST to hook up.
It’s a simple fact about dating in Korea – they are ashamed of sex and they don’t want to just come over to your place and ‘hang out’. Of course there’s probably someone out there who got that to happen one time, but let’s be serious… If that someone was you, you wouldn’t be reading this article, would you?
You will have to take her on a date if you want the good stuff that comes later.
Now that we’ve established this basic fact, let’s consider what to actually do on a date. Where should we go? What should we do? Should I hold her hand / try to kiss her / tell her she’s pretty?
Slow your roll, Rico Suave. Before we get to any of that stuff, we need to lay down a ground rule, a point on which I think I differ from Julius a bit:
You choose EVERYTHING.
I know that it sounds a little childish and like someone trying to unnecessarily assert their dominance, but to be fair, that’s exactly what this mating dance is. Men lead, women follow, and both are happier for it. Now this doesn’t mean to ignore her if she has a good idea, but even in that case it needs to feel as though she’s asking your permission to do something she wants and you have the prerogative to either grant or deny her request.
Protip: Never schedule a first date for a night when she has to work the next day. Don’t give her an excuse to cut the date short early.
As a general rule, I always do first dates at a place where I’m very comfortable. There are some different restaurants, bars, and pubs around the city that I know well, so these are optimal locations. It works doubly well if it’s a place she isn’t familiar with because she will be just a little off-balance and more open to following your lead. It also makes it easier for you to bail if the date goes sour because you’ll still know other places in the area to go hang out.
For me personally, I generally choose a chicken and beer place if we’re going to have dinner, otherwise a local dive bar or a room bar. There’s a chain of room bars all around Korea called Kunnori that are ideal for getting drunk together while having a lot of privacy. The room bars are like the cafes Julius described, but they’re not comfortable joints for lounging. It’s usually just bench seats on either side of a big table in your own little private room, which is more conducive to playing drinking games and downing soju quickly. The only downside to these is that it’s hard to initiate very much physical contact other than hands across the table and maybe a kiss due to the layout of the room. Remedy this by sitting on the same side of the table when you go in. The booze is cheap, and that makes it an ideal first stop in the evening before moving somewhere else.
Speaking of moving, how do you know when it’s time to change venues?
Always make sure the move is your idea instead of hers, and already have a second location planned out before paying out. Oh yeah, don’t be skiddish about paying the bill, if the date is actually going well then she will probably expect it. If she offers to pay half without you asking, take her up on it because she might be friend zoning you or getting ready to bail.
It can be hard to tell how much Korean girls are able to drink, but if she doesn’t seem shy about drinking, figure that she’s had a drink and a half for every one that you have.
Your ideal moment for the venue change is when you’re both straddling that nice line between tipsy and a bit drunk. Timing is important on this because if she hasn’t had enough, then she may feel like she hasn’t had a good enough time to go to a second place with you, but if she’s had too much you’ll have to hold her hair back as she pukes on the street. Nobody wants that.
Once you’ve made it out of the first place, it’s up to you to tell her where you’re taking her or not, but it’s important that it feels like an adventure to her. You’re not asking her where the good spots are, you’re not acting like a little kid tagging along behind her. You already know the next spot, how to get there, and you’re going to lead her by the hand to go there. If you don’t know places in the area, do some homework before the date. Don’t be lazy and skimp on this part, it will pay great dividends every time you go out on a date.
One of my favorite spots is around Jongro in central Seoul. There are plenty of restaurants that aren’t too cheap and aren’t too fancy, there are pubs and bars, and there’s a river nearby. There’s even a beer pong bar! Judging by the kind of girl she is, you can take her for a river walk (don’t worry, there are cafes and convenience stores along the river for beer), or teach her to play beer pong, or any other number of things there.
The point is actually not so much where you take her, it’s more important that there is alcohol and you’re both having fun. Fun is contagious, so take her to do things you like to do. I personally don’t like night clubs, so if I take a girl to a place like that I’ll be miserable and it will rub off on her. Same with the crappy blockbuster movies that make their way to Korea, I just steer clear because I know it won’t work out well for either of us.
Now, you’ve got some ideas about where to take her and how to control the dynamics of the date, but there’s still the question of how you should act on the date. Of course you need to read the situation and the girl on a case-by-case basis, but generally err on the side of too much.
She saw you on Tinder and swiped right. You talked to her and she agreed to meet up. You’re already further in than you would be after 3 drinks with a girl you meet randomly, so don’t be afraid to show that you are attracted to her. You know she’s attracted to you too, as long as she’s not just there for a free dinner and drink, so act like it. Don’t be afraid to hold her hand, put your arm around her, go for a kiss, etc.
And don’t you DARE shake her hand when you first meet! At least a hug, a kiss is better.
Don’t be discouraged if she seems shy about it at first, a lot of Korean women have problems with physical intimacy, especially in public places. In fact, if it seems like she’s resisting a bit, make a joke about it. I once met up with a Tinder girl for the first time, and I went in with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. She looked surprised and almost a little scared, so I just acted like I had made a mistake. “Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you were Sue from Tinder! You must be someone else, because I know Sue would like my kisses!” She laughed and it broke the ice, we went on to have a fun night.
At this point we can assume that you and your date are both having a good time, and probably getting a bit tipsy and ready to move to the final location of the night. If you’ve done your homework and planned your logistics well, you are meeting up near your place and not near hers (unless she lives alone, though that’s quite rare). If you couldn’t swing that, you’re at least hopefully meeting up in a place with love motels nearby. Hongdae and Itaewon have no motels, but in Hongdae you could also use a DVD room in a pinch.
The best situation is to be in walking distance of one of these places, but if you need to take a taxi, then just take her to the taxi and go for it. Let her get in first, you climb in behind, and tell the taxi driver where to go. If you’ve developed enough physical attraction at this point, she’ll just go along with you and not say anything. Now pay attention players because this is an important distinction:
Never try to make her go with you somewhere. If she wants to go home, you let her.
Your job is to convince her she wants to go home with you before going to the taxi. You do that by having a good time out together and developing your chemistry, not by trying to trick her into going with you at the last minute. Of course it’s always worth trying for it if you like her, but if she’s not feeling it, let it go. You can meet up again next time and you can try again.
The good news though is that if she goes with you, you’re almost guaranteed to get laid. Korean girls may feign innocence, but they know exactly what is going to happen if they go to a motel or to your home. From this point, I assume you know what to do…
Overall, you can sum all of this up into 2 main points:
- Have fun together, make it a night to remember.
- Don’t be a creep. Blackout drunk isn’t cool for either of you.
I sincerely hope that this series on Tinder in Korea will help you players out there. It’s not hard to do, but it does take some patience and practice to get it as smooth and efficient as possible. Don’ get discouraged, and keep on playing the game.
Now get out there and start going on Tinder dates!
This is the final part of our 4-part series on using Tinder in Korea. If you have more questions about Tinder or any other aspect of meeting Korean women, send me an email and I will personally get back to you with an answer.