In spite of the fact that Koreans rarely engage in public displays of affection, it usually isn’t very difficult to spot couples. There is a growing trend among couples to match. I’ve seen it most often with young people but several middle-aged teachers at my school have confessed to owning “couple clothing.”
Sometimes it will be something discreet, like matching baseball caps. Usually however, it is more obvious, like jackets, sweat shirts or T-shirts. I have actually seen couple bathing suits. Take this picture for example:
This picture is from the marvellous Babo shirts website (http://www.baboshirts.com). The couple looks faintly silly but undeniably sweet. (The shirts say “Sarang hey yo” or I love you. I have no idea why they’re wearing touques.)
I do wonder at what stage one introduces matching clothes to a relationship. And who introduces it? Does the girlfriend/wife give the clothing in question to the boyfriend/ husband who then feels obliged to wear it? The men never have that “I’m only wearing this because I have to” look about them. Perhaps they choose their outfits together? Do they wear them every time they go on a date, or just for special occasions?
I couldn’t ever see myself wearing matching clothes but I could see the appeal for Koreans – it makes them look cute, and identifies them as being part of a small, two-person group. In a group society, one must always fit into some sort of group. 😀
And then I saw these and my theory was blown.
(photograph courtesy of the lovely Katie DeGraffenreid whose marvellous blog you can read if you’d like a different view on Korea! She teaches at a teacher training facility in Ulsan: http://korea.kdegraff.com)
There was nothing cute or group culture oriented about these! They were not on display in a lingerie store for swingers. This was just an ordinary store on an ordinary street.
I guess even if nobody else can see them, nothing says ‘I love you’ like matching jaguar print, glitter-covered his & her undies.