Elwood 5566

Laura (1) Korean Teenagers

Posted in bathhouse Ballads, Comparative, Gender, Korean children, Korean Clothes by 노강호 on May 27, 2010

Not suitable for pumpkin people

If there’s one thing I love about Korean teenage girls, it’s that you rarely meet one who is a slag.  No doubt slags exist in Korea and no doubt there are examples of Korean 15-year-old girls who trowel on make-up, wear Satan’s panties and are promiscuous, but I haven’t met any. In the UK, unless you teach in a top girls school, and I was fortunate enough to have taught stints in two of the top schools, notably Colchester Royal Grammar School (a boys school) and Colchester Girls’ High School, a large percentage of the girls are strumpets.  Many of them were good students and decent kids but they still dressed and behaved in a way I didn’t think appropriate: obsessed with their bodies, with looking sexy, obsessed with sex, with behaving in a sexual manner and in flaunting their undeveloped bodies all of which comprised to denude them of personality.  From childhood recollections to my more recent experiences as a teacher, being a slapper, in the UK at least, drastically improves a girls popularity among both other girls, and naturally, among the boys. My sister is convinced that had she been in those elite ranks, she’d have had a more interesting life. Amusing though this comment is, I’m glad she wasn’t.


High school students in the 2nd grade. ( aged around 16-17) Absolutely no make-up at all was permitted in this particular school.

Laura, one of my Korean students, is 15 and totally adorable and like many Korean teenagers, a country with the lowest rate of teen pregnancy in the world, she is, in the cute Korean way, ‘innocent.’ Laura definitely has an interest in boys and one of our regular conversation topics centers on which boy band she is currently into and which boys she finds attractive. Recently, she has started using perfume which I would imagine she applies  after leaving her school and before she comes to the haggwon in which I teach. The ‘safest’ place for her to do this is probably on the elevator up to the third floor, where the school is located. Her perfume predilection started about 2  months ago and in the initial stages of pioneering application, I think she doused herself in it.  The smell was ‘in your face’ and strong enough to remain in class and around the school, long after she had left.

To compliment the perfume, she has also started wearing the faintest traces of make-up, basically lipstick and some mascara. The make up isn’t applied in the manner many English strumpet’s apply it, which is by slapping it on in the manner a plasterer might plaster a wall. I’ve seen plenty of young teenage girls with such thick mascara it looks more like cladding and usually little pebbles of it will be stuck to their eyelashes or  face and will occasionally flake off like little pieces of a crusty, albino scab. The art of teenage make-up,  like their interest in sex, is uniquely British, which is to say, is an overstatement and hence pots of mascara and eyeliner and all the other accouterments of teen tartery are used with as much subtlety as that of a circus clown. For the most part, Korean teenage girls, certainly under the age of 18, are discouraged and often forbidden from make-up and so when a little is used, forced into subtlety of application,  it often enhances their features. You probably wouldn’t notice Laura’s make-up  if it weren’t for the fact that when applied, she’s incredibly sheepish and self-conscious. As for her lipstick, it is so faint I imagine it’s simply lip balm with the slightest trace of added colour.


One particularly common style of British teen make-up

Discerning how much make up Korean girls do wear, is difficult as girls, like children everywhere, will ‘push the limits’ and hence I hear stories of girls wearing ‘short’ skirts to school or who wear make up but in Korea a ‘lot’ of make-up is actually very little and a ‘short’ skirt doesn’t mean you can see their knickers.

In British schools, I often saw tell-tale signs that girls were wearing a pair of Satan’s panties and it wasn’t unusual to see that flimsy bit of ‘string’ riding above a girl’s waistband. This is a sight  I’ve never seen in Korea and Korean adults are often mortified to know that western girls, often not yet teenagers, are permitted to wear, or even want to wear, such sexualised clothing.  Indeed, in Korea, I’ve never caught glimpse of a girls knickers.  While it is solely an opinion based on my observations, and which doesn’t include routing through the children’s underwear section in my local E-Marte, I would imagine that Laura’s  knickers, like those of her friends, are void of the translucent panels, little bows and lacy frill edges  that are used to sexualise the bodies of little kids. Her knickers probably reach to her navel and  are styled like the baggy blue things, British girls were compelled to wear for PE in the 60’s and 70’s.

I mention knickers, panties and thongs, not for any perverse reason but to highlight the divergence of social values between Korean and western societies.  How children ‘choose’ to adorn their bodies, the extent to which this adornment is encouraged or tolerated, how it is subsequently received by societies both at home and abroad, expresses and exposes important attitudes and values. In Britain at least, there is a difference between ‘knickers’ and ‘panties;’ ‘knickers’ are functional  whereas the purpose of ‘panties’  is two-fold, to induce arousal in the observer and a sense of sexiness in the wearer. Satin’s panties take this to a totally different level. In Britain, many girls, will tart up their twat with ‘sexy’ panties or a thong while still children and often before using make up.  In Korea, while a little experimentation with make-up might occur whilst still at school, the transition from knickers to panties, from innocence to awareness, probably occurs at about the same time a girl becomes an adult.

Over the duration of a week or so, Laura’s perfume gradually mellowed until it was actually quite pleasant and on a few occasions, when it hung faintly in the air, I was reminded of my mother who always wore floral type perfume. It has become a regular habit of hers to hold her wrist under my nose and ask for my opinion on her latest scent. I then discovered, from her brother, that the  various perfumes  she  parades,  are her mother’s and are sneaked on when no one is at  home.


3 Responses

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  1. Jane said, on May 27, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    I used to work at a middle-class/lower class middle school in Daegu where makeup was supposedly not allowed. In reality girls wore makeup all the time.
    You’re right about the majority of them only applying a minimal amount but I did teach a few ‘slappers’. Some of them even had a horrible line on their necks from where they hadn’t blended into the skin.

    Interestingly, the girls who displayed the most interest in boys and ‘tarted around’ were girls that didn’t wear any makeup at all. I suspect that my heavily done-up girls were far too interested in makeup to have time to be concerned with the opposite sex.

  2. Nick said, on May 28, 2010 at 1:17 am

    I don’t pay lots of attention to girls’ make up. I suspect if I looked closer, I would find more wear it than I currently assume don’t – though obviously in a minimal fashion. I have met no girl I would call a ‘slapper’ though I have seen older girls, probably of university age, that definitely meet this criteria.

    Strangely, I know one girl who is quite boy obsessed and recently told me she goes ‘boy hunting’ at weekends. In school at least, she is a model student and wears no make-up.

    In UK schools, most I suspect, many girls are members of the ‘budgerigar club’ and will sit preening themselves and starring inanely at their physog in a mirror. This would undoubtedly occur in Korea if girls were permitted make up and accessories in school. No school kid should need to or feel compelled to tart themselves up and school is certainly not the place to do it. Under 18 – ban it all along with Satin’s panties! Just my opinion! Thanks.

  3. yakuri said, on October 6, 2011 at 6:23 am

    Those are 16-17 year olds?? holy mother, they look like they’re 13!!!

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