Thursday, October 15, 2009

Filthy Whore

Last week, I was hanging out at a convenience store drinking with my buddy Martin. It was 3:30 in the morning. Predictably, a drunk middle-aged Korean in a suit came up to us. “Excuse me, you English teachers? See, my son is, um, studying the English, and...”

There’s a funny phenomenon over here. It’s illegal to give private English lessons with my visa type. Actually, it’s illegal to work any job other than the one I have, but I don’t think most employers are too concerned about whities like me picking up shifts at the Hyundai factory, so the law mostly boils down to teaching private lessons. Everybody is aware of this law, foreigners and Koreans alike.

Most neighborhoods in Korea are, at minimum, 99% Korean. My neighborhood, particularly my block, is unique in its prevalence of non-Koreans. We have an obscene amount of English academies here, and thus a big foreign population. The continued existence of not one, but two decent bagel places on my block speaks to this fact. Plus, this is also the only neighborhood in the country (to my knowledge) to boast a Pizza Hut, a Domino’s, and a Papa John’s. Hell, my hood in Chicago didn’t have all three. I’d venture to guess that upwards of 3% of the people in my hood aren’t Korean, making this a hotbed of English study. As a result, my block is a magnet for Koreans who want their kids to learn as much English as possible.

This juxtaposition of factors often results in me feeling like a whore. I don’t mean a selling-out to the man, corporate shill kind of way here, I mean a fucking streetwalker. I may as well get a micro-mini and clear heals. Selling English on the side is illegal. Lots of people live on my block so that they can get their kids maximum English. Thus, I have no shortage of propositions.

The Johns are just the type one would expect. To return to my original anecdote, the drunken businessman in question didn’t come right out and ask us to teach his son. He beat around the bush for a while. We’re wearing our micro-minis and clear heals in the form of our English conversation and white (it doesn’t have to be white here, just not Korean) skin. He doesn’t know if we’re undercover cops or if we’re the real deal, so he has to initiate conversation with us in a subtle way, but in a way that’s obvious enough that any proper working girl can pick up on his intentions from the beginning. Unfortunately, he took the wrong tack. See, Martin and I aren’t whores, we’re sluts. Buy us a couple bottles of soju without bringing up all the prepositions you intend to dangle, and we’re yours for free, at least for the night. Start asking about what we charge before we even offer you a seat, and you can keep walking.

As I’m writing this, I’m siting by myself at a table in a bar down the street from my house. Some random drunken businessman in a suit walked up to my table. “Are you here alone?” Yeah, I’m working. “Is it urgent? You should come to my table, drink there. By the way, you English teacher?” Maybe I will, only because I’ve wracked up a bit of a bill, and if I can have somebody pay it just by feigning interest in an English study proposition, well - a girl’s gotta eat, right?

3 comments:

Geneva said...

I don't know why, but I'd kind of like to see the photos of you in micro mini and clear heels...disturbing and yet...oddly hypnotic...

Paul said...

Like your punch line. Very good story.

janmarie said...

One of your funniest blogs ever!

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