They only want me for my linguistics

This article was first written many years ago while I was teaching ESL in Korea...

I had heard before I arrived in Korea that the social customs and mores here were rather traditional. I knew that dating and romance took much more time than in the USA. I expected, too, that I need to adjust to the life of a monk for an extended period of time. However, never did I expect that I would be wanted for my linguistic ability. Korean men, women, children, adolescents and even the elderly, simply want me for my English speaking talents.

Now, I know that I am no longer that thin 165 pound blond guy that I was in high school or even that 175 pound muscular college guy who claimed his fair share of co-eds. I'm not even the 34 year old graduate student who was still attractive in body (at 185 lbs.), sense of humor and spirit. Yes, I'll admit it: I've gained another 15 pounds as sedentary employment and middle age have taken their toll on me. But never, I mean never, did I expect everyone from toddlers to retirees to exploit me just for the perfect English sentence! Married women call me up to practice their sentence structure; college students suggest a rendezvous at all hours of the day or night to brush up on their vocabulary. Not only that, but also, I'm regularly accosted by construction workers who whistle at me (from tall buildings under construction or from street level) as I walk by. They shout: "Hello, where are you from?" in broken English. Never once have these people expressed sincere interest in wanting to know my real feelings, hopes, dreams or life experiences as a human being!!! Instead, all I get from them is: "How do you say this in English or that in English?" I'm afraid to admit that I often sell myself short for a cup of coffee or a ride to Haeundae Beach. I, of course, believe they really want to know the real person inside. But no, they only want me for my linguistic skills. If only once, they'd tell me I was intelligent, attractive, sexy or even funny, then I'd feel less used and abused. What's a lonely, middle-aged American English teacher to do when new to Korea and has left his friends, family and support system back in "The States"! Well, excuse me, I must get my front door - - I hear someone mumbling something in broken English about lessons!!!!!!!

©2010, Michael Shaffran

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Mike Shaffran is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Psychotherapist with over 30 years experience in the mental health profession. He's worked most of his time in outpatient Psychiatric clinics where he has provided individual, couples/marital, family and group therapy. He is trained in multiple therapies, including: Psycho-dynamic, Gestalt,Structural-Strategic Family, Solution focused, Brief Therapy, and other methods. He is trained in EMDR ( a type of therapy for PTSD), hypnosis, meditation and guided imagery also. Mike is committed to ongoing seminars, workshops and trainings to keep current with the latest therapy to provide the best services possible to his clients. www.sanluisobispotherapy.com or E-Mail

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