Cross-border age confusion

Today I met up with someone I went to grad school with back in 2010-2012 for coffee and some sight seeing in Seoul. While walking around we talked about the abundance of skincare products in Korea, aging in Korea vs. in Europe, and difficulties in estimating age. Background information: We were born in the same year.

Over lunch a little bit later, the following then happened. After ordering our food, my friend went to use the bathroom, which the 아저씨 next to us used as an opportunity to interact a little.

아저씨: Is he your son?
Me: Pardon?
아저씨: Is he your son?
Me: Oh, no-no-no-no!
아저씨: Friend?
Me: YES!
아저씨: Boyfriend?!
Me: … Friend…
아저씨: He just looked so young… I thought maybe middle school or highschool student
Me: [smiling awkwardly while thinking what he was implying about me]

Time for a Korean face mask and going to bed early tonight!!!

2 thoughts on “Cross-border age confusion

  1. Someday Korean

    lol that’s horrible! A similar situation happened to me once — my brother had gotten dirty playing outside at school, and when I dropped some clean clothes off at the office for him, they thought I was his mother. I was only a freshman in college! Terrifying.

    1. Mai Post author

      I guess people see what they want to see… But that doesn’t make it any less traumatising hahaha. I’m glad I’m not the only one having such experiences in some form 😀


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