Economics of Dating in South Korea: Netizens Tell Us How

While the cynics among us might argue that when it comes to love, we all pay, when it comes down to cold hard cash at the end of a date, who should cough up?

A recent article in Asia Economics has had netizens responding in their droves [most commented of the week on Nate] over the the economics of Korean dating, also known as “sogeting,” where people are introduced by a mutual friend and then go on several blind dates, usually to find a marriage partner.
The article, first published on May 22, revealed the results of a survey carried out by Daks Club, a ‘VIP marriage information company,’ in which 412 single men and women were asked a series of questions, the first of which was:

On the first meeting, who should pay for the date?

The results of the survey were then split according to gender. The key finding, according to the article, was that seven out of ten men said that while they would pay for the meal, it would be good if the woman paid for something like coffee afterwards.

But that was not all the survey uncovered. Although 68% of male respondents agreed that the man would pay for the meal and the woman should pay for coffee, more than half of the women questioned – 51.4% — said that they thought the man ought to pay for everything, while 33.9% agreed that a woman should at least fork out for a hot drink. If netizen interpretations of the world of Korean blind dating are anything to go by, a woman trying to snare an unsuspecting gentleman really ought to think about treating him to something a bit stronger.

That should loosen him up...

But most controversial of all was that not a single person replied that the woman should pay for everything. The survey also asked participants:

Who should pay after you’ve dated a few times?

47.4% of men responded as they had to the previous question, that the man should pay for the meal and the woman for the coffee or tea, and 65.1% of women agreed, indicating that the better women know their partner, the more likely they are to pay out.

Finally, the male participants in the survey were asked what they would think if a woman offered to ‘go Dutch’ on the first date. Three out of four men were not averse to the idea and demonstrated support for this. On the other hand, 8.2% responded that the woman might be misunderstood:

It would seem like she was ignoring me and it would hurt my pride.

Cheon Su-hyang, a marriage consultant at Daks Club explained:

Going Dutch is not something that is a grand gesture of affection or care on the part of a person; if you have some concern for your partner, it is something that you can cope with more effectively.

Netizens clearly have very strong feelings about this seemingly innocuous article, with issues of gender equality, in particular the supposedly privileged position of Korean women, coming to the fore. But what do you think? Are Korean women being too demanding, or is it simply the consequence of a well-established patriarchal culture? Should Korean couples split the bill, or simply split up?

From Nate:


The reasons women are in the wrong:
1. They go to a nightclub [different from the Western sense of the word. A nightclub is where men share drinks and invite girls to their table, often resulting in a hefty bill] without a single penny, and if they go to a booked table [and get introduced to men] they try to make an impression…if they go to a private room, it’s like they got the room themselves, they cross their legs, ask for a cigarette.. Like they’re princesses. Whatever.
2. They buy brand-name bags twelve months of the year…but they ride the bus or the subway.
3. They go to clubs in Hongdae [one of Seoul’s nightlife areas], and though they’re all grinding up on guys they reckon they only go to the club to dance.
4. They go to import stores and spend 200,000 to 300,000 won on clothes, and they’re all shit arrogant but they’re always calculating what man has on his feet or what clothes he was wearing.
5. Though they get about 1,500,000 won per month for general office work, they look at what a man makes in a year.
6. If men flirt with them they’re happy, but they’re not flirting…they only flit from one man to the next.
7. Even though they only drink water, they say that they’re getting fat. If you see what they shove down their throats, meat hamburgers and other stuff etc.. They won’t pay out themselves.
8. They go for coffee that costs about 5,500 won that they don’t even know the name of.
9. If they think a man has talent and money, they open their legs in a flash.
10. If they manage to pick up a guy, they marry him.
11. Before the wedding, the man seems good to them, but after the wedding they get fed up so they claim alimony and begin divorce proceedings.
12. After getting divorced they re-marry. They try to live once more with this man…but it seems like they can’t live the life they want. So they get divorced again.


The inconvenient truth that in Korea 51.4% are ‘beanpaste girls‘.


Woman: Look, oppa [what girls call their boyfriend, who is older in age]….You know that I’m such a brainless woman that I pay 3:7, right?……..These brainless women are everywhere now, I guess>


It’s not to do with bad-mouthing people. This is a phenomenon created by men who are a bit dim. If they don’t pay out in front of women they have an inferiority complex that they appear as though they have no talent. And they have dirty minds, like today they want to try out this woman. This is why they’ve ended up with these consequences.


68% of male respondents say that ‘men should bear the cost of meals and it’s appropriate for women to share in paying for something like the cost of tea.’ 51.4% of female respondents – more than half — said it’s appropriate to pay for everything. I’m also a woman, but wow….Are about 51.4% of women really brainless? What’s so important about being a woman? Even if they can’t pay out a lot, should they have to pay for something like coffee, at least? The idea that men should unconditionally pay out – where does that come from, I wonder? Seems like these days men really have it tough.


The reasons men are in the wrong:

1.They go to a nightclub and waste money to buy expensive Western liquers so that they can try to sleep with a woman once.
2. If they go to a club in Hongdae they dance and grind with girls but the only thing they think of is getting laid.
3. If a woman only even slightly glances at them, then they’re happy, even if she doesn’t mean it. The woman was only looking.
4. Though men waste money paying for PC bang, booze and fags, the fact that women go for coffee, they say is indulgent and they call her a doenjangnyo.
5. If there is only a hot girl, they’ll waste money on presents and stuff, but if she doesn’t put out they talk shit about her.
6. Even when the time comes to get married they only look for a young beautiful woman, and so they end up on the shelf.
7. After they’re married and they see the woman without make-up or looking rough they think it’s perfectly natural to cheat on them. Right, but if the woman then goes out and cheats, he can’t forgive her.
8. If a woman sleeps around she is a crazy slut or a user, but if a man sleeps around it’s thought of as being a natural sexual appetite.
9.They think it’s crazy and brainless that a woman might like tall men, but that it’s reasonable that they like women with big breasts. And so on and so on. That’s enough. If we calculate things one by one like this, then it’s all pretty baseless. Just as not every man conforms to this, not every woman is rubbish either.


51.4% have communicable disease.


The girl from Nate who left the comment via mobile ‘I’m not like that???????’ Where the hell do I have to go to meet a Nate girl?


The comment left via mobile was funny..the fact that women are always shouting about gender equality isn’t right..They’re always pretending to know, shouting about gender equality, when in reality they act like they’re


Women of Korea, there is nothing free in this world. The meaning behind why men pay for everything is because of the strong desire to eat you! The most frightening thing in this world is compensation mentality. Mark my words!


Strange… If I go sogeting [blind-dating] then it’s not that the man buys the meal and I pay for the tea..Just that if the man pays the first time, I’ll pay at the place we go the second time…First we go for tea, and then if the second time we go for a meal, or go drinking there are times when I end up paying much more……..Really…What sin is it to be born a man? Honestly, using up money, creating the atmosphere….Are only women princesses? tut tut


Results of the survey: Approximately….51.6% are ‘beanpaste girls‘; 21.6% of men are pushovers. Korean men = Eldest son+ pushover+ a walking ATM machine. Korean women= plastic surgery+prostitute+beanpaste.


Doesn’t seem like the problem is how many times you meet. Even though I’m a woman, I was really surprised at the 51%. The term “going dutch” — really we need to have some sense about that. Since there are clearly men who feel that their pride is damaged should a woman pay, if it’s alright for the man to buy the meal and the woman to pay for the coffee, ‘then if they just say ‘Since you bought us a delicious meal, I really want to buy us some coffee, then what man could refuse? Honestly, we earn the same money, so why should men bear the cost? Are men just idiots who pay out? I really hate that kind of woman -ㅅ- What do they want, telling men –who have absolutely no clue– that they want this present etc. They do that, and then if they get the lot, then actually after two years of going out I have seen girls that will only buy them a pair of jeans…….they say buy me an MCM bag, buy me a wallet, buy me shoes…ultimately after they have received these things if you work in a factory they ain’t going to marry you…….Men…women…be careful. Really, truly ^^ ke ke ke ke ke ke


Dating = you know what to do, please pay. Going out for the first time = Please go Dutch. Asking for a date = the one who asks, pays. Ps Do this and it’s fine.


I’m loaded. Spread ’em, ladies.


Women who look at money when they go out with men can’t say anything if later on the men cheat on them….Why? As time passes, the man’s wealth will increase, but as time passes the woman’s appearance will depreciate…that is to say…when she’s young, the beauty of a woman’s appearance is the same as the man’s capability, but…if, as time passes, the difference in value between the two appears, then from the man’s position he is at a loss…I mean…in order for a capable man to preserve the difference, the women definitely can’t say anything about his cheating..


These Korean bitches shouldn’t be shouting about sexual equality. In Korea women’s rights have greatly increased, so on the contrary it’s now a country that is unfair to men. Politics? Under proportional representation, each political party allots a number of specialist positions to women. And when the supreme council votes, then they must select at least one female candidate without question. Even if the women don’t rank, I mean, there is automatic nomination. Military? A country like Israel, which also has security fears has a system that drafts both men and women into the army, but in Korea women don’t get conscripted, and women are respected, but they let them enter the military under the voluntary conscription system as non-commissioned officers. Education? Look at women in Islamic countries or other less developed countries. Even now, far from women not being allowed to enter university or go on to high school just because they are daughters, in Korea anyone who couldn’t go to university because she was someone’s daughter? Economic activities? Look at North Korea! There, whether you’re a man or a woman you all have to earn money, but in South Korea, Women earn husbands. Who talks shit about someone who is a full-time housewife who lives on the money her husband gives her? Work life? Women are certainly not made to do any work that is tough on their bodies, and we accept that women are the weaker sex, so they often do overtime. Even when they have their period, we give them the utmost consideration. Restrictions on conduct? Look at Islamic countries! The woman has to go around all covered up in cloth, she can’t wear jeans, it would be unimaginable for her to wear a bikini in summer; she can’t drive around. In Korea, do they tell women that they can’t wear jeans or drive? Do you get punished with lashes if you wear a bikini at a beach resort? Date? It’s perfectly correct for the man to pay on the first date, and it’s Korean culture that this is acceptable. Married life? In the conditions for marriage, the man’s annual income has to be higher, and it’s the reality that the man has to prepare a home for his wife. Owning a vehicle? It’s recognised that a man should have a car, and no one would question why a woman didn’t have a car. Though you live in such a good country like this one, isn’t it ke ke ke ke ke ke to say that men and women aren’t equal? In a country that is so good to live in, what makes you so discontent – why are you shouting about gender equality?


On the one hand, more than half of the female respondents (51.4%) answered that it was appropriate for the man to bear the cost of everything, but there was not one opinion that stated that the women should pay for everything……Still, do women on the internet often go Dutch? If you go outside, this kind of doenjang are scattered all around?? If they can’t go Dutch, then don’t be all crying out for equality and stuff, or about sexual discrimination. Seems a bit sick.


It’s someone you’re meeting for the first time. Buy them a meal, buy them coffee. It’s no big deal…


Please don’t go out with some loser who’s going to spend your money ke ke ke ke ke ke

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