Final Friday in February, Hongdae, Club Day.

Looked first thing for Club Mansion, while not a part of Club Day, had excellent reviews online and the pictures of chandeliers and talk of an older, sophisticated crowd had me hooked enough to ask ten strangers and even go to the Police Station for directions: talked to six or seven officers, each new one more skilled at English, all clueless as to its location, saying it was new. They were friendly and appreciated my ever improving Korean, nodding and smiling when I answered, “Yes, I am alone.”

Decided fuck it, get a Club Day ticket and start drinking and dancing. Went to Q*vo, real hip hop, above M2. Only foreigner there, leaving after three Heinekens. Entranced by some pulsing underground house music, I was lured into a basement club—six or seven people including two people working the dancefloor, the dj and bartender. Introduced myself to the two foreigners, two Irishmen teaching English, one here two and a half years, the other six months. We each had another drink, then left together. Ended up at another club with a similar situation, some tall Irish guy yelling, “You guys are from Ireland?” I may be intense, but he was intensely CRAZY.

Left and went to another place, decided to settle there, hovering near the bar/tables/chairs. Met some guys from India and got their emails (not sure if/when I’d hang with them again) and then was rejected by every girl I asked to dance (in Korean, of course), two hands waving—just watching the action. Settled into a groove, talking to whatever girls approached. Really laid it out for one girl, telling her I’m a gentleman and she had to trust me because I’m always honest, until she said she missed her ex and showed me his picture on her phone—some blonde American—said he was too busy to see her.

“When did you break up?”

“Three days ago.”

Next! The Irish guys were like, “Yeah, man, you were talking to her for a long time, and I was, I don’t know, maybe forty minutes. Drank some more, talked to another girl, a third, I think, and then finally convinced the last girl to come outside so we could talk in private. Had her hold my beer as I pissed behind a car in the alley, then we talked for a while. I remember touching her face, which was when she didn’t think she was beautiful, said, “But I’m fat” which was not true at all. Asked if we were girlfriend/boyfriend and she said, “Maybe,” then yes (not like that really means anything), because, like last time, both of us were stupendously drunk. So drunk I couldn’t finish my beer before returning to the club, met some guy, her saying it was her boyfriend, then her brother, which is what I believe as he was extra friendly and liked me a lot. Then she said it was time to go and they got their stuff from a locker and left.

The Irish guys were gone, the Indians, everyone I had talked to, and I had no reason to stay. Got some juice from Family Mart and sat before the store, talking to a Korean girl who told me how utterly terrible Korean chicks are to foreigners, that they like the guys for a little while, merely fun for them, and they end it and break the guys’ hearts. Then these American guys came by with one of her Korean friends, and they were being nasty, “C’mon, baby,” and all kind of bullshit talk, one saying, “This kid’s about to pass out,” about me and that’s when my RAGE took charge: I stood up and told them to fuck off and get the fuck out. They left, and I told her I’d smash my bottle on the ground and no one would care and I did, I slammed it down hard, and nothing happened. She left with her Korean friend, wrote her name down to friend her on facebook—she’s already given me the inside perspective I’ve been sorely lacking.

Went to one more club and danced with absolutely every person on my Smile Crusade: motioning and telling them to smile as we danced, and they all smiled and I made the entire club’s night. Continued the Smile Crusade on the street to much less success, yelling, “Hey girls, smile,” and getting harsh reactions, some girl yelling at me in Spanish as we neared the subway, her friend translating (in case I didn’t understand, but I knew the majority of what she said), “I am smiling, mother fucker! (etc.)”

Happy to sit on the subway and relax and wear away the still-killer buzz. A few stops later a really attractive girl sat across from me and her friend beside me. I was looking at the girl next to me, extra concerned, as she seemed really out of it almost to the point of vomiting, and I said, “Is your friend okay?” and the first girl was nasty, “Why are you staring?” and I explained that I was worried and she said that her friend was just drunk.

Maybe it was the failure of the Smile Crusade 2: Street Edition, or maybe it was lingering sadness over some past crap, but my eyes suddenly swelled with tears, so much so that I had to take off my glasses and cry right there on the subway, silent-like, gushing.

The girl’s face displayed concern as her lips mouthed, “What’s wrong?” I dried my eyes and shook my head, getting off at the Express Bus Terminal stop, and her too—secretly ecstatic yet trying to be cool. She asked why I was sad and I explained it was about a Korean girl, and she said, “You were thinking about a Koren girl you liked?” and I said yes, and she seemed too pleased. We bought our respective tickets, and seeing that my bus was leaving in four minutes, asked the woman when the next bus was and she signed and stamped my ticket for the next bus half an hour later. The first girl, the one who spoke really good English got some money from the ATM and we went for a snack.

I said that the food had no taste (in Korean) and Angela was like, “Don’t say that,” because the worker ladies weren’t too pleased, but it was true. I told her how beautiful she was (which was true, stupendously gorgeous) and she said she thought I was beautiful too and she used my phone to call hers, told me to call her anytime. Told me she was 21 Korean (19 US), which only means trouble, and she hugged me, asked the bus driver how long it took to get from my town to hers (two hours) and hugged me again.

SUNDAY UPDATE:

New “girlfriend” called Saturday night at 1:30 AM, asking, after ten seconds of silence, “What are you doing?” and when I told her, “Uh, bed,” she hung up. I called back and she didn’t answer, then texted her to call me later and she did, ten minutes to be exact, only letting it ring once, so I couldn’t answer, nor was I inclined to do so. Since then she hasn’t responded to my calls or texts.

I called today Angela at one: “Bryan? What are you doing?” She was eating and said she’d text me when she available to talk, and she hadn’t by almost eight, when I called again. “Bryan. I miss you. Do you like me? Do you love me?”

“I don’t know you enough to love you, but I like you.”

“Then you need to see me.”

We made plans to hang out Monday, then she said, “Uh, hello?” and the connection was lost.

I called back a few minutes later and a guy answered, said he was her boyfriend and asked who I was (a friend), telling me she was sleeping and that I could call later.

Haven’t decided upon the next course of action regarding her, but did send January’s Club Day girlfriend a text, who I haven’t spoken to in almost a month, and she responded within seconds, “Bryan?” in Korean letters. A war of texts followed, but hers were hard to understand because they were in Korean.

Lesson from all of this ridiculousness: Nothing. Absolutely nothing, and I’m not against seeing any of these girls again, in all honesty. Especially Angela (and I’m sad I don’t know her Korean name, her actual one).

Can’t ask why people play games—I’m playing games now too (albeit my own versions).

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