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I recently dated a Korean guy who was impressed with my knowledge of Korea/Korean pronunciation/Korean culture. One day we were talking and he asked me if I knew what I would call him and I responded, "oppa." (He was older than me.) He seemed to really like it, especially because I pronounced it correctly.
My question is, what would be your/an average reaction to a white girl calling you "oppa"? (Sparingly, of course. I do not plan on running up to all older Korean men with a greeting of, "oppa~!" just because I can, haha.) Would you like it? Would you think it's weird? Would it upset you? Catch you off guard?
Megan, She Who Loves the Oppas.
The Korean has previously written that Korean men are men before they are Korean, and there is no super-secret way of seducing them. But you just might have something that disproves the Korean. For some Korean men, the term oppa is known to act like a kryptonite.
Oppa means "(a woman's) older brother", but now it has evolved into a term of familiarity used by a woman for men who are older than the woman. Because the majority of relationships involve older men and younger women, the woman in the relationship frequently calls the man oppa. Such term has carried over even after marriage, eliciting frowns from traditionalists/purists (such as the Korean). Passionate girl fans for a male celebrity are often referred to as oppa budae ("oppa troopers"), because whenever a celebrity appears, a horde of girls run after him screaming "Oppa! Oppa!! Oppa!!!!!"
Personally, oppa totally works on the Korean, perhaps because being called by that term is a rare occurrence for the Korean since he has no younger sister. (Knowing this, however, the Korean's non-Korean dude friends sometimes call the Korean oppa, stirring up murderous rage.) So far, it has not made a difference if the term came from a Korean or a non-Korean. However, the Korean has also heard from other Korean American men that hearing oppa from a non-Korean is actually a turn-off.
This probably just means that the Korean is easy, but Korean men readers, have your say at it. Does oppa work on you?
Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at firstname.lastname@example.org.