Insomuch as different cultures have the ability to surprise, this uniqueness of this practice still fails to escape me: “Twinning.”
Most of us know the term, and it’s self-explanatory enough. When two people have very similar or even identical thoughts, behaviors, clothing, etc., it’s common to hear, “Twinning!” It’s a play on words – the hybrid of ‘twins’ and ‘winning,’ to imply strength through sameness. Well South Korea is fantastic at ‘twinning,’ and purposefully so.
After living and teaching in Korea for just over two months, I’m not going to pretend I understand the ins and outs of dating culture, but I’ve gathered that it’s a big deal. Apart from Valentine’s Day, there are 12 other couple-related holidays. I’ve learned that couples are less inclined to show affection physically through hugging and kissing. So instead, they ‘twin,’ which is to say they match their clothes to complement their significant other or flat-out dress identically.
Fashion is huge in South Korea, and many of the clothing items are androgynously styled and fitted. Dressing similarly or identically is not difficult. Young Korean couples tend to carefully plan their outfits as a way of saying, “Yes! We’re taken!” or “He/She is mine!” I’ve seen many couples match from head to toe, and I’ve seen even more couples match just the top or the shoes and socks. I’ve even seen older women matching each other, though that’s been much less common as far as I can tell. But still it makes me wonder how long they’ve been friends.
Matching apparel as the substitute for PDA is quite the cultural difference, and I can certainly appreciate it. I love seeing it actually, and I try to document it discreetly when I have the chance and stealth. While I don’t think I’d be keen on venturing the fashion statement just yet, romance is romance –and it’s made me smile many days.
Since it is Valentines Day I thought I would give you a brief inside into Korean culture and how couples express their love for each other and I hope you enjoyed learning about "Twinning" in Korea.
Linda Gaida was raised in Spartanburg, South Carolina and graduated from Washington and Lee University in 2016 with a degree in Romance Languages. While passionate about environmental studies and conservation, her interests now lean towards education! Her curiosities and studies have taken her to Romania, Portugal, Peru, India, and now South Korea, where she works as an English teacher for ChungDahm Learning in Busan. Deciding to teach abroad was an easy decision to make for Linda: while she gets to experience a culture foreign to her own, she is able to benefit the global society by teaching children English and helping them pursue their own ambitions. Linda is also interested in yoga, climbing, hiking, backpacking (anything involving movement), cooking and writing poetry.