I admit I've been watching k-dramas for a few years now. Sometime after I came back from Hong Kong I discovered one on channel 18 (for non-LA people, that's the Korean/Chinese/Vietnamese channel that rotates shows from those countries) when I was trying to fill the void in my heart left by my beautiful temporary homeland. Since it had subtitles, I ended up watching til the end - and I was like "HOLY CRAP THIS IS KIND OF AMAZING." Thanks to Netflix and their large library of foreign television and films I soon was able to watch them every minute of every day and dream of the magical life I'd have when I moved to Korea and had (at least) three guys fall for my nerdy, quirky charm.
K-pop is newer in my life. I honestly don't remember what got me into it, but it was only about two years ago and at first it was only one particular girl group - 2NE1. I'm pretty sure it was via music video on YouTube because sweet shit, Korea drops some wicked crazy budgets for music videos. I desperately wanted to uproot my life and become a k-pop backup dancer.
Minzy, Bom, CL and Dara
So maybe I listened to them on repeat in my car for months and know all the words to their songs (in Korean), and maybe I'd super geek out if I got to hang out with them. And just maybe I started following some blogs/websites that posted about k-pop and sometimes k-dramas.
Now here's where the difference between American culture and Korean culture comes into play. I may love Melissa McCarthy, and go see her movies and watch her when she's on talk shows, but I don't know her birthday, relationship history, home address and/or what she had for breakfast. If I saw her somewhere I might go up and say hi, because she seems like she'd be nice, but there would be no mob of people following her begging for her autograph. Even people who might want to do that with, say, Brad Pitt, wouldn't actually mob him for his autograph. Celebrities here (excluding the young ones who get into shit and have embarrassing photos taken in clubs) are generally respected and treated as normal people even if you're secretly geeking out so hard on the inside.
Well, in Korea, likely because their number of true celebrities is much smaller than ours, they get stalky. I'd read maybe two articles about my lovely 2NE1 ladies before I knew that Bom and Dara were born in 1984, CL's birthday is the day before mine, and that Minzy owns a professional dance studio in Seoul. The articles on these sites would literally report on a celebrity being spotted at the airport and followed out by a giant mob of creepy fans who somehow knew they'd be there ahead of time. They'd report on what someone's instagram post meant. Whether because these two celebrities were with 4 feet of each other WERE THEY DATING?? Like it got ridiculous. But I bought into it ALLLLL.
Fast forward to a year and a half ago when CL started debuting solo songs in the US, via YouTube music video. I started watching other videos on YouTube, since it selects something "relevant" to play after your chosen video is done. I watched all the 2NE1 videos. ALL OF THEM. Multiple times. I started thinking, "man, I wish they'd come play here in LA, I know there are enough k-pop fans to fill an arena." THEN MY DREAMS CAME TRUE. In November of last year, CL did a solo tour and I bought tickets in ONE MINUTE, as well as a long sleeved T so everyone could see HOW BADASS I WAS. I went with a Korean coworker, who sat on the other side of the arena from me, but still, IT WAS SO AMAZING. I FANGIRLED SO HARD. I mean LOOK AT HER.
Sometime in this general time period, my Korean coworker went to Seoul and I told him to buy me something cheap and dumb. He came back with this:
I was blessed with this adorable pack of socks for the boy band, Big Bang. I'd never listened to them, but I knew they existed.
I figured I should get to know Big Bang since they were going to go with me on adventures via my sweaty feet, so I started looking up their music videos. I'd never really been into k-pop boy groups because they all seemed like tiny children and it made me feel like an old lady. But it turns out Big Bang has been around for 10 years. And even the least educated k-pop fan has heard of G-Dragon, the leader:
I mean, sweet shit, look at that jawline 😍
I basically decided to watch all their videos, because well, k-pop videos. I highly recommend you take a viewing of "Fantastic Baby" because the thing is practically fucking art. It's so colorful and fills me with such joy. After a binge-watch of a good handful of Big Bang videos, many of which were from the new album that came out in December, YouTube treated me to some random backstage footage of the boys. Then there was a clip of them on a variety show. Then more clips of them doing normal things. Like literally, these guys have cameras on them 24/7. Unlike American celebrities, you really feel like you know Korean pop stars - they're so accessible to the public that you honestly feel like you know them personally after watching a few shows.
I'm sure we are all aware of my lifelong love for Bradley Cooper, but even that creepiness doesn't begin to compete with the Korean celebrity creepiness. I have no idea when Bradley's birthday is. I think he lives in Venice and that's only because a friends saw him there. If I saw him in public I'd probably just drool until I was carted away. It's made very clear that Bradley and I are not going to marry.
Then, after watching a few videos, I take notice of one of the members. Hmm, he's pretty cute, I think. He also has a really low voice which is insanely attractive for some reason. He goes by TOP in the band, and we are going to get married.
WHO HAS CHEEKBONES LIKE THAT? I MEAN REALLY. JUST STOP. Then I watch the video "Bae Bae" (which was apparently banned on tv in Korea for excessive sexual innuendo...) and see this:
A purple suit, cane, weird contacts, goofy dancing - I fell desperately in love. Especially once I found out that each member had come up with their individual concept for this music video. He's so fucking weird and beautiful and he must be mine.
Now herein lies the problem - if he was an American celebrity I'd probably put him as my phone background (not saying I haven't anyway) and randomly find pics of him on Pinterest to post to my ever-growing board of hot guys. HOWEVER, these k-pop websites are dangerous. They want me to know more. There are literally stats pages, like height/weight/etc. Random girls out there know this guy's weight by heart. I don't understand kilos so I conveniently forgot. However, thanks to these websites (and the fact that I'm avoiding mainstream news), I've learned:
- his birthday is Nov 4 (he's a Scorpio, which generally means nothing to me except the fact that only two of the guys I've dated/had giant crushes on/etc in my entire life have NOT been Scorpios...)
- he's hilarious and ridiculous
- he loves MODERN DESIGN (OMG)
- as well as modern art
- he went into the Korean military, as is mandatory for all men, on February 9th and is working as a police officer at the Gangnam station for the next 21 months
***let me catch my breath here...police officer...😍😍***
Keep in mind that I did not seek out this information. It was literally all just posted as headlines on these sites. They even post when someone has a weird instagram update and people are confused. So of course I now follow them all on instagram.
**scroll friend's pic scroll vacation pic scroll OH HEY WHAT'S GDRAGON UP TO TODAY?**
Well if you really want to know, he's here in LA filming a music video (location undetermined) BUT I do know he's staying in the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel and I got that just from a pic he took out his window - because I'm a fucking detective I was able to locate one of the street signs and a store in the pic and pinpoint the exact location. I WOULDN'T HAVE DONE THIS 3 MONTHS AGO. I AM NOT THIS PERSON.
I'm the person that sits in Starbucks and watches Michael Cudlitz enjoy a latte on the patio multiple times because I think he's a badass but I'm also entirely too terrified to approach him. I don't have a clue where any celebrities live, other than "probably this general 5 mile radius." But for some reason I read articles that tell me where all these guys live in Seoul and I'm like WAIT WHY ARE YOU ENCOURAGING US? And to be fair I'm WAY less stalky than the people that live there. They actually go try to find these guys.
BUT SEE NOW I CAN'T STOP. I got on the stalker boat and it's going too fast and I can't jump off. WHY HAVEN'T YOU POSTED ON INSTAGRAM IN 3 DAYS? ARE YOU OKAY? Someone took pictures of TOP in his police uniform visiting an elementary school? Hot shit, let me see that. CL THAT LOOKS LIKE LA IN THE BACKGROUND OF THAT POOL SHOT, WHERE ARE YOU AND CAN I BE YOUR BEST FRIEND? And then the most important question of all...
Do you like blondes who can speak a little Korean (which is probably so charming, with my silly American accent)? I mean, just checking...