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The Carletonian

Are we something?

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Since dating was banned in my high school in South Korea, boys could get kicked out of the school if they accidentally went to girls’ floors. When I was spotted by the dorm supervisor at the stairs with a guy in my club to exchange USB files just as the light sensor went off, I was accused of having a relationship with a boy. My friends started asking me “is there something between you and him?”, “something” referring to the subtle flow in a relationship more than friendship building up between a girl and a boy. Even though he and I were not even close friends, people started to call him my “someboy.”

“Some” is a new word developed from “something” to describe a relationship between a boy and a girl that is too abnormally close or affectionate to be called just friendship. “Some” can be the state of having relationship likely to become romantic. “Some” can also be the partners themselves. It captures the confusing relationship status before becoming official lovers and allows people to distinguish the level of relationships clearly. People would ask “is he your someboy?” or “are you on some with her?” The new coinage proved its firmly broadened root in our culture as a song, “Some.” The song became a big hit; the lyrics described emotions to a “some” partner with captive wit: “You feel like mine, but you are not mine, but seem to be mine.”

The fast speed of the word spreading shows how peoples’ understanding of dating has changed. Some people enjoy only “some” without moving into a deeper relationship. Love has been divided into steps that need to be achieved to go out on a date. “Some” represents the unstable romance of recent generations in Korea as they are giving up their chances of relationships because of the bad economy, getting jobs, or the zeal to end up with better academic status. As people become realistic about marriage, they only have “some” with the partner who does not satisfy their expectation. Dating is considered a losing investment of time, money, and emotions.

Relationships are becoming a type of fashion item in younger generations. “Some” is a much more informal relationship with less responsibility and little commitment. People enjoy the game. They push and pull the partner to keep the right distance. There are other new words in Korea like “iron-wall girl”, which means a fine girl who even refuses to be on “some” with a guy. Boys turn into “magicians” if they have never had any romantic relationships until 25. Many boys struggle not to turn into “magicians”.

The definition of relationships is atomized in a fun way. But atomization shows that the relationships are formed unnaturally, without effort and time. Light relationships are also fun but se- rious relationships can mean something more precious. Deep solitude can only be quenched by having the boldness to be painful in love, to cherish getting involved with someone. It is not always the words like “some” or “love” that define a relationship. A relationship usually begins without any words; we do not ask friends to become friends when we become friends. Whether it is the casual love of “some” or focused love of dating, the content of relationship comes first.

Ironically, I had to manage the artificial relationship with the designated “someboy” as I had to be an “iron-wall girl” to the boy and refuse being on a “some” with him.

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