Gentlemen’s Dignity

25. A Chinese spoon

Here is a rare show of public affection for Mae Ah-ri from Yoon in the episode 4, time 58:08. Mae Ah-ri is busy looking for something in her house, and she finally finds it in the form of a spoon. Excited, she calls, “Yooni oppa!” After briefly listening to his response, her expression falls, “I know you’re busy.” Looking at the spoon, she tells him that there is something he left at her house. “I’ll bring it to you. Where are you right now?” Her expression does a nosedive again, “Whoa! I’m serious, you know. If you don’t have this now, you could die.”

She excitedly waits for Yoon standing on a deck in the middle of a park, and she sees Yoon approaching her. She quickly checks to doubly make sure she’s presentable, turns around, and waves at him enthusiastically.

As soon as he comes near her, he asks her, “What did I leave behind?”
Disappointed. “Not even a small gesture of greeting, just get right to the point?”
“You have any particular greeting in mind?”
“I’ve lost over 30 pounds, but do you know that you haven’t said once how pretty I’ve become?”
“You were better before.”
Shockingly dismayed. “That’s ludicrous. Oppa, don’t you remember how you’ve teased me every day, calling me a grunting pig?”
“I remember.”
Feeling justified, “Then, how can I be better then? At least I’m not a grunting pig now.”
“You’re now just a thin grunting pig.”

She gives him an eyeful, and he asks her again, “What did I leave behind, something that I might die without?” She takes the spoon with a bowtie out of her bag, “Viola! It’s oppa’s, right? I may exaggerate, but I don’t lie.”

“That’s not mine.”
“You’re lying. This is yours. This was the only thing that was different (among other utensils).”
“That’s from a Chinese restaurant.”

She becomes crestfallen, and he asks her, “Is that why you were so excited, to find that?” Now getting miffed, “Why? How come you didn’t return this?” To the restaurant.

Finding her irresistible, even for a self-ordained stoic man, he smiles and ruffles her hair.

Overjoyed at such unexpected demonstration of affection, “What did you just do?”

Yoon tells her to go back home because he’s busy. Excited, she ruffles her hair. “Did you just ruffle my hair like this, because you like me?” He smiles at her affectionately, turns around, and while walking away, tells her to “Go back home soon, because in the dark someone might mistakenly think you’re beautiful and kidnap you.”

Affection-starved Mae Ah-ri, in the meantime, literally jumps with joy and happiness.

26. Collarbones, my XX

In the episode 5, time 10:50, Do-jin asks Yi-soo a question that she apparently never thought of before, “I’m sure you’ve had more than ample chances. How come you’ve never confessed to Tae-san before? Was it because you were afraid to hurt Sa-ra, or because you were afraid of getting hurt?” She ponders that for a long time when alone.

Ah, why is it that flattery will always get men something? Not that I’m complaining or anything, but I guess there’s a reason why women are known as being more emotional rather than logical. What do I mean? I’m talking about her collarbones in the episode 5, time 33:33. Having just finagled a renovation job, a birthday surprise present in the form of a home mini-bar for Sa-ra from Tae-san, ulterior motive-minded Do-jin is in hog, ah…, prairie heaven just at the thought of spending more time with Yi-soo.

Just the thought of being in the same house with her turns Do-jin’s world fresh and green, but he’s sarcastic as usual when Yi-soo opens the door to let him in her house, “It must be customary in this household to open the front door without knowing who’s on the other side of it.” Emotionally flat, she tells him, “That’s because I’ve already gotten a call from Tae-san.”

He comes in and closes the door, “Were you waiting for Tae-san?”
Annoyed, “You know that’s not what I meant. Sa-ra’s not here.”
Looking around the house, “That’s why I’m here, because I’ve heard that Suh Yi-soo is all alone.”

She frowns at that, which doesn’t deter him at all, “I’ve thought that if I show up unannounced, maybe I can catch you right out of a shower or something.” She frowns even deeply at that. “You do what you have to do and leave quietly, please.” And then she goes into her bedroom, while he grins mischievously.

In her bedroom, she’s busy working in front of her laptop, when her computer screen suddenly turns into the dreaded blue. The instruction on the screen proves to be very helpful, however: Contact your system administrator, your technical support group, or Bill Gates for further assistance. She pounds the keyboard and talks to it like it’s one of her students, the sound which apparently even Do-jin from the living room could hear, because he yells, “Unless it’s something you have to break right now, I would like to see you out here for a moment.”

Annoyed, she comes out of the bedroom, “What is it?” Holding a tape measure in his hand and standing in front of a chair, “You want to climb or hold?” After assessing the situation, she gets low and holds the chair, “I’m going to hold.”

“Do I scare you that much?”
“I meant the tape measure, not the chair.”

He tells her to put the zero mark on the floor, and he gets up on the chair to measure the distance to the ceiling as he asks her, “What’s troubling you (in there)?”

“My computer.”
“You want me to take a look at it?”
“That’s okay.”
“Leave it to me. You’ll definitely thank me later.” Self-confidence, this guy doesn’t lack.

“I said it’s okay. By the way, how long do I have to hold this?” Straining to talk while squatting with arms stretched out onto the floor. Smiling, he replies, “Just until a moment ago.” Then he guns the tape back into the holster, holds his index finger like an imaginary gun, and walks away. She is now highly annoyed, “Ah, that guy…”

Not letting a small thing like lack of her blessing deter him, he walks into her bedroom to check on her laptop. He asks her if it’s like this after rebooting, and she tells him that she has word processor third degree certificate (whatever that means), so if he’s going to tell her to format (the hard disk), he’d better put down the mouse.

He makes a snappy diagnosis, “Computer usually does this if you watch too much porn.” She frowns, “What did you say?” Pointing at her coffee by the laptop, “Why don’t you get me one of these, too?” Reluctantly, she goes out the room, while he reboots the computer. Seeing a message about the previous session, he clicks the restore button, and her mini-home page pops up. He clicks the photo tab, and as he scrolls down through her collections of photos, he comes across a photo of Yi-soo in a bikini.

His eyes about to bulge out, he not only enlarges the photo, but gets up from his chair to peer over her cleavage to get a better look. (Do you see now why it took me so long for Do-jin to grow on me.)

It is at that defining moment, when he hears her voice, “What are you doing?”

Having only a few seconds to decide, he pours her coffee all over the screen, thinking that the black coffee should hide the screen from her view. Well, the coffee turns out to be light brown at best, and she’s not the least bit bashful about the bikini photos.

In fact, she tells him that she so starved herself to achieve the figure that since Spring, she cried more than an owl.* *(This bird, I think may be indigenous to Korea, but looks like an owl and cries mostly at night. This line is from a poem titled “Next to chrysanthemum” by Suh Jung-joo, and the line goes, For one chrysanthemum flower to be bloomed, how much an owl must have cried since Spring.)

When he sees that she’s more worried about her computer than the coffee & bikini-adorned screen, he laughs. She asks the inevitable question, “Why are you laughing? It’s not like you did anything commendable here.”

“I’ll get you a new computer as soon as possible, but I think we have to privately discuss the cause and effect relationship.”
Perplexed, “What cause and effect?”
“Sexology is in school curriculum, so you know about it, right? That a healthy man’s night is different than a healthy woman’s?”
Now sounding apprehensive, “So?”
“You’ve told me not to jjak-love, don’t meet other women, but at the same time, you’ve forbid me to touch you, so this” pointing to the laptop, “is the consequence. All this from a woman with such fabulous collarbones. I’m going to go now.” She actually looks affected. (It is simply amazing to me that this stuff really works on women. I mean, come on, did she really believe that he was ogling her collarbones)

As he passes her, he affably tells her, “Wait for my calls. And if I call, answer them already.” He leaves her with a smile, and visibly tense Yi-soo relaxes, but then she begins to check her collarbones in the mirror.

Engrossed in the intimate process of collarbone self-adoration, she jumps when she hears his voice from behind, “Don’t you think you should see me out…” Suddenly conscious of her bare collarbones, she pulls her top up to her neck, leaving her midriff bare for Do-jin to leer at.

He smiles at her knowingly, and realizing what she has done, she covers her umbilical cord, and realizing that’s not enough, she turns around – all this with a whimper, “Please leave. I now can’t leave this room as long as I’m alive.”

Smiling warmly, “I don’t want to go, but I’ll force myself to leave. .. because if I stay longer, I might do something bad.”

27. Seeing Red

In the episode 5, time 59:50, due to the cascade of events starting with Mae Ah-ri sending her a red mini-dress, Yi-soo getting stranded in the streets of Shin-sa Dong without any money, Mae Ah-ri not answering her call because she locked herself in a bathroom stall, so as a desperation move, Yi-soo calls Do-jin to barter with him to pick her up for the price of a new laptop.

As is his usual style, he spews ambiguity, so she’s not certain if he’ll pick her up or not. When Do-jin finally gets there, he sees much more than red… dress. He sees her leaning over, laughing and talking to someone in the car front of him. All reasoning or logic leaving him, he turns into a mini-bull, and he rams his car into the other car from behind. It turned out that Yoon happened to see Yi-soo while passing by, and that’s why she acted so happy because she didn’t expect to see anyone she knew in her time of need.

Even though on the surface this may seem like something a lunatic might do, and it is, but let us not forget that this lunatic has broadcasted to the world, by his very action, that he now values Suh Yi-soo more than his beloved Betty. For he so loved this woman that he gave up his one and only… okay, I’ll stop being sacrilegious, so long as you get the point.

Do-jin tells Yoon that he hit his car on purpose, because Yi-soo appeared to be on the verge of getting in the (other) car (with someone else). Now, in the episode 6, time 05:49, sitting next to Do-jin in his car, Yi-soo wonders out loud how he could hit a car on purpose.

He explains, “Because the situation merited the action.” Moved, she looks at him in a different light. Looking at her expression, he quips, “It’s okay to say you’re touched.”

Sighing, “Do you consider demolishing someone’s car touching?”
“I was talking about coming all the way over here to pick you up.”
Begrudgingly, “For that… I thank you. (But), I can’t compensate you… for the car.”
“I’ve never asked you to. Headed home, right?”
“Ah…I can’t go home.”
Smirking and giving her an once-over, “Are you trying to seduce me?”

Realizing that she’s dressed to kill, she tries to cover herself with her tiny little pocketbook and explains her situation to him that Tae-san and Sa-ra are at home and that her own plan got cancelled. Undaunted, he tells her, “Hey, we can still salvage the night. Let’s go to a hotel, then.”

Appropriately shocked, “I’m telling you, I’m not trying to seduce you.” She asks him to take her to a nearby jjim-jil-bang (Korean hot tub). Still teasing her, “You like it hot? Then, I’ll up the temperature in the hotel room for you. You can even put the hotel key around your ankle if you want.” Like they do in jjim-jil-bang. Sounding like she wants to bite him (not sensually), “Ah, really…”

Refusing her request to lend her $30, he takes her to the residence hotel affiliated with his company. Getting out of the car, she asks him if he doesn’t need to look over the car damage, he nonchalantly replies that it’s not that big a deal. But then it occurs to him that she’s talking about his baby, Betty. He turns around, telling her that he’s just going to take one look, and bracing himself, he squints open his eyes and almost drops his jaw to utter despairingly, “Betty.”

Enjoying herself immensely, Yi-soo can’t keep this vital info all to herself, “Aaaa…so, her name is Betty.” When she can no longer contain the laughter, he sharply calls out her name in a reprimanding fashion, “Suh Yi-soo!”

When she turns toward him sheepishly, he introduces her to Betty, “She’s hurt, but she’s brave.” She looks at him like he has just escaped from the asylum.

28. I love you

In the episode 6, time 12:40, my heart wasn’t fluttering like crazy when Do-jin tells Yi-soo, in essence, that he loves her. Yes, it was romantic, they were all alone in the bathroom, and he was trying to smash his “dusty and sweaty” bare chest into her face, but, for me, something was missing. I just didn’t feel that overwhelming chemistry or palpitating presence. Maybe it’s because they are in their thirties and forties, but being inexplicably attracted to each other physically just doesn’t sound as plausible or as pleasing as connecting via their minds, wits, and souls. But who knows, maybe I would’ve felt differently had it been Yi-soo, not Do-jin, half naked.

But I did sense her starting to feel something for him when she finds out that he keeps her photograph of her in his wallet, his rationale being, “Yes, it reveals the true essence of my jjak-love,” although it was more of a calculating move on his part.

Remember Eun-ji? The woman he slept with and the one he gave the shoes to. Well, she returns the shoes to him in the episode 6, time 22:35, because she knows the shoes were really not meant for her. We get a glimpse of how much Do-jin loves Yi-soo here, because apparently he has given up all his ‘slutting’ (as my daughter would say, because she thinks it’s unfair not to include men in the definition of the word, slut) for the love of one good woman. Eun-ji, however, doesn’t leave before giving him a parting shot, “I hope your object of jjak-love hurts you,” like he has hurt so many women before her. “Tell her I’m rooting for her.” For Yi-soo to hurt him.

29. She kisses him

Not Yi-soo. Not yet. Mae Ah-ri meets her nemesis in the episode 6, time 29:40, when the woman lawyer comes into the Mango café and orders mango kiwi and mango coconut, acknowledging that the coconut order is for Choi Yoon. The lawyer tells Mae Ah-ri that she’ll take the buzzer device that will let you know when the order is ready, but Mae Ah-ri holds the device as well, saying that she’ll bring the order to them, “so that I can (at least) see oppa’s face.”

Now, if the lawyer is a truly nice person, that shouldn’t be a very difficult request to grant, but she refuses, “That’s okay. I’ll come and get it.” Smiling sweetly, Mae Ah-ri pulls the device toward her, pleading almost that she’ll bring the order over. During the ensuing brief tug-of-war with the device, the lawyer slaps Mae Ah-ri’s hand, causing her to lose the grip on the device, and then tells Mae Ah-ri, “I told you it’s okay.” Then she forces a smile and sits down by her table.

Having grown up, I’m sure, like a rich princess that she is, Mae Ah-ri walks over to confront her. At that moment, Yoon walks in, and Mae Ah-ri tells him that the woman had just hit her. The woman lawyer blatantly lies, “I just bumped into her slightly.” To Mae Ah-ri, “If I had hurt you, then I’m sorry. I apologize.” She then extends her hand to Mae Ah-ri. Astounded, Mae Ah-ri ignores the hand, “Ah-ju-ma! You know you’ve just hit me, really hard.”

Yoon scolds Mae Ah-ri on her choice of salutation, and Mae Ah-ri tells him that the woman had hit her on purpose. Yoon reminds her that everyone’s staring and that she works here. That quiets Mae Ah-ri, and he tells her to go back to work, to which the woman tells Yoon not to scold her anymore because it was a misunderstanding.

When Mae Ah-ri goes to Yoon’s law office in the episode 6, time 39:30, to ask him why he believes the woman but not her, he tells her that it doesn’t make any sense why the woman would hit her. At this, Mae Ah-ri kisses surprised Yoon on the cheek and tells him, “Why do you think I’ve just kissed you, oppa? Why would a young, beautiful, and rich woman like me kiss you? Does that make any sense to you?”

When Yoon asks her why she’s acting like this, will she behave only when she’s scolded, she tells him that she’s not a 7 year old kid who has just scribbled on his book. “If you really don’t like me, then formally reject me as the 24 year old that I am.”

30. When you come to me…

In the episode 6, time 53:10, Suh Yi-soo borrows Sa-ra’s jacket to get takeout dinner, opens her front door, barely misses hitting Kim Do-jin, but not realizing until she’s almost to the gate. She turns around to face Do-jin, “You startled me. What are you doing there?”

Coming down the steps with the shoes, “I was about to knock when the door opened, so how startled do you think I was?”
Laughing, “That must’ve been funny.”
Finally noticing the shoes, she asks him, “What are those shoes?”
Lifting the shoes a bit, “I’ve been thinking about the jjak-love rules you’ve been talking about.”
Looking like a proud mother hen, “So you’ve prepared something under $100?”
“No, I’ve got you shoes that are more expensive than the one before.”
Not amused, “What are you trying…”
Interrupting her, “Knew what you’d say, so I purchased them on a 14-month installment plan. It’d be $100 per month. I wanted to be faithful to your rules as well as to my taste in shoes.”
Moved but still oh-so-practical, “I can’t wear shoes this extravagant.”
“Then, wear them not extravagantly but practically.”

He then squats down low placing the shoes in front of her, “Wear these when you come to me.” Standing up, he looks at her with his ever present confident grin, “On a clear day, looking pretty.” He tells her to come see him when she feels the same way about him as he does her.

At that moment, Tae-san comes behind her and hugs her, mistakenly thinking it’s Sa-ra due to the jacket.

A melee of sort ensues when Sa-ra comes out of the house, and Do-jin, noticing catatonic Yi-soo not responding to Tae-san’s apology, quickly takes the jacket off Yi-soo and gives it to Sa-ra telling her that, “This jacket was the problem.” He points to Tae-san, “That’s the extent of his architectural skill set.” Do-jin’s trying to make a light of the situation by referring to Tae-san as being superficial, but that may not be all untrue.

Do-jin gives Tae-san a friendly advice, “Don’t go around advertising. We might have to close down the company if you do.” Then Do-jin takes Yi-soo away to…

31. He kisses her

…walk on the Cherry blossom lane in the episode 6, time 57:04, and he asks her, “Are you okay? You’ve must been even more flustered when Sa-ra came out. And don’t think so badly of Tae-san because it was an honest mistake.” Looking dazed, she replies, “I know. I know he mistook me (for Sa-ra), but it seemed so real.” At this he turns to look at her, but she goes on as if spellbound, “Even now, it feels like Tae-san is behind me. The sensation feels so real that I feel like I’m still being hugged.”

Looking at her spellbound face, first anger then determination flashes on his face, “If reality is what’s troubling you, then let’s do this.” He dives and kisses her fervently, and although shocked and wide-eyed, Yi-soo does not push him away. She waits until he’s satiated (with the kiss).

He then takes his jacket off, and despite her protest, puts it around her shoulders, “How do you feel? Now, you have a newer reality to anguish over.” Trembling with uncertainty and sense overload, Yi-soo just looks at self-assured Do-jin doe-eyed.

In the episode 6, time 01:00:31, his jacket still around her shoulders, Yi-soo stares at the shoes on her walkway for a long time. Later lying in her bathtub garnished only in white opaque bubbles, she reminisces all their unforgettable moments together including the kiss. Especially the kiss. She touches her lips, as if she can still feel his lips.

After the bath, she’s in a little chipper, more conciliatory mood in the episode 7, time 03:45. At first, she curses him out, then she rationalizes that what happened wasn’t so earth-shattering because she didn’t open her mouth (as in French kissing). Then while looking for her kitty panty, she complains that he kissed her without “(a) teaser” first. (I guess she means without some sort of warning or preamble, more so than some sort of foreplay. This is where the same word means slightly different depending on the culture. The word, tease, comes from English, but at least in this case, the word doesn’t have a whole lot of sexual or erotic connotation)

She then makes a sarcastic joke that he must think of kissing as some monthly event, akin to monthly savings bank deposit. (From my recollection, this is their first kiss, so she ends up sounding like she wishes he would kiss her on a more regular basis. Although I think she meant that since he’s a playboy, it must be something habitual, something that occurs frequently for him, and definitely something that he’s not going to obsess over, like she’s doing now.)

Then as she puts on her brassiere, she complains that when she loses weight, it seems to start with her breasts, not realizing that everything she has uttered aloud has been recording in Do-jin’s little recording pen nestled oh-so-furtively in his jacket pocket.

32. Magic Pen

Well, kissing Yi-soo couldn’t have been that stressful, so it must’ve been the spellbound display of her undying devotion to Tae-san, because Do-jin gets up the next morning in the episode 7, time 06:45, having complete amnesia of the past 24 hours or so – the first such incidence in the past 18 months. In his frantic search for the recording pen leads to Yi-soo, but along the way he finds out that over the past 24 hours he has given Yi-soo not only his jacket and his pen, but also the “beautiful” shoes. Do-jin must be a modern-day Jekyll and Hyde, because he wonders why he was so generous when she didn’t do anything “sweet” to deserve all those.

Having no clue that Do-jin has a short-term memory lapse, Yi-soo cannot believe he can be so nonchalant the day after he had kissed her. When handed his jacket in the episode 7, time 15:40, he asks her if it was warm, and when she’s speechless, he suavely tells her, “I’ll assume that it was.”

She asks him if she should act like nothing happened, too. When he continues to “act” clueless, she admits that to her what happened wasn’t trivial, and she’d never expected this kind of response from him. At this, he asks her if they slept together last night. Seeing her indignant response, he acknowledges to Tae-san who just called that he’s apparently being “stupid” and tells him that he’ll listen to his pen. He departs, asking her to discuss this tomorrow.

Dumbfounded, she locks the door angrily, but then it occurs to her, “Listen to his pen?” She gets the whole story behind his amnesia from Yoon in the episode 7, time 18:41. She tells him that she would’ve never suspected that from him, because Do-jin seems to exude self-confidence. But then she becomes hysterical when she finds out that the pen can record up to 48 hours.

At that very moment, Do-jin gets a clean bill of health according to the brain MRI, and his doctor asks him if he has been feeling “angry, uncertain, or depressed” lately. Contemplating only for a split second, he tells the doctor, “All three, because I’ve decided to jjak-love.” The doctor seems rather delighted to arrive at the diagnosis. He tells Do-jin that there is nothing more stressful than love, that love is a disease, and that before it becomes “chronic” (meaning debilitating), he should find a cure. Love doctor this guy is not.

In the episode 7, time 21:57, Yi-soo multitasks rather nicely here. She walks frantically toward his house, calls him repeatedly on her cell, all the while grumbling under her breath, “Why does he carry his cell phone around if he’s not going to answer? Answer, please answer…”

Do-jin’s not answering because at that very moment, he is too busy smiling, smirking, and savoring all her private moments in the comfort of his own house… in loud Dolby stereo surround sound and in 3-D high-definition holographic images. But his laughing stops abruptly when his favorite holographic image drops her bathrobe and starts to put on her panty and her brassiere right in front of him. His private viewing enjoyment is interrupted when the real image rings the bell. He takes the pen out, remembers to reset the time, and puts it innocently on the speaker.

She becomes visibly relieved when he lies to her that he had listened only to the point of their kissing. In fact, she becomes quite excited, “Yes! We even rained Cherry blossoms…” She stops, realizing she shouldn’t let him know how much she enjoyed it.

He slyly asks her, “My lips must have done something splendid yesterday?” She pretends to be irritated and professes to be busy, so where is the pen, she asks. Of course, he doesn’t cooperate that easily, and in the midst of a tussle for the pen, they both fall onto the sofa with her on top.

He smiles rather contently and holding her sweater, he won’t let her up, “It’d be best if you don’t move, if you want to stay jung-sook.*” *(정숙 means for a woman to be quiet in her demeanor and kind in temperament. It also means to be virtuous or chaste. Both definitions may apply here.)

She tells him to let her go, but he puts his other arm behind his head, “I have no intention to let you go. How can a woman repeatedly not see an inch ahead of her like this?” Agitated, she warns him, “Don’t do it.”

Smugly, “Do what? Something I’m going to do now or later?” She threatens to report him, and he tells her that she’s being too harsh for a patient, because if she had already listened to the pen, she should have some idea about his condition. “So don’t misjudge me, because I wasn’t pretending. I really didn’t remember… that we had kissed yesterday.”

Feeling somewhat embarrassed, she tells him that she understands so let her go and starts to get up, but he pulls her down onto him again, “That’s not a good idea, because your kitty panty might show.”

Stammering, “What? You’ve listened to all of it?”
Smiling, “You’re exactly my style, because I prefer Cat Woman over Wonder Woman.”

She suddenly goes into mini-hysteria, and after pounding on his chest a few times, she buries her face in her hands and in his chest to hide her embarrassment. Not expecting this cute and totally voluntary “embrace,” his heart stops for a moment. Realizing what she has done, she abruptly lifts her head and starts to get off him.

He suddenly grabs her wrist, and she looks at him bewilderingly. Looking at her tenderly, but talking gruffly, “Ah. This woman is such a headache .” Then he slowly lets go of his hold and tells her to, “Go.” But she hesitates, he tells her, “Go already. If you don’t leave now…” She bolts up like a speeding bullet and heads for the door. He sits up on the sofa, “I didn’t finish…” She interrupts him, “I know. You were going to say something like, ‘If you don’t leave now, I’ll never let you go.’”

Chuckling, “I was going to say, if you don’t leave now, you’re going to get stuck in traffic.”
Chagrined, “Really?”
Smiling fondly, “Go.”

Biting back the embarrassment, she salutes him and hurriedly leaves. Filled with longing, he murmurs, “Of course that wasn’t it.” Leaning back and sounding wistful, “Ah. Hate to see her go.” This is part of what Yi-soo hears later that convinces her of his true feelings for her.

Continue reading >>> Page 6: Milestones

34 thoughts on “Gentlemen’s Dignity

  1. Dear Michael and CJ,

    First of all… WOW, what a labor of love and what a special treat!! Thundie’s Prattle is not worthy!

    Thank you, both of you, for collaborating on this amazing review and recap. When I first saw the draft, I wondered what motivated you to write 46,000 words (!!) on a drama that hasn’t been blogged about much (but what do I know, this cave dweller who has finished all of one drama the entire year). But as I read one scene after another, the story began to grow on me and pretty soon I was lapping up every word and eager for more. I had no idea this drama was so cute and funny and also super romantic; no one told me until now!

    For the untold hours that you spent writing and screencapping, for being so thoughtful with the numbering (that made it so easy to follow the plot), and for friendship, patience and everything else, thank you!!


    • Hi Thundie,

      We are thrilled that you liked it so much. The dialouge was what attracted me to the drama initially, but it felt laborious early on, because it took a while for me to like the Do-jin character. More than once, I wanted to scrap the whole project because I just wasn’t warming up to the Do-jin character, but I couldn’t because I’ve already amassed so much Q&A material intercontinentally with CJ. I didn’t have the heart to “waste” all the work CJ did for me, so most of the credit should go to CJ.

      And thank you, Thundie, for all the behind-the-scene work that you do to make this post a reality.

  2. Second the WOW! It was enjoyable reading about a drama that was definitely one of the highlights of the year! Why? Because the characters, in age, not maturity were closer to mine so I enjoyed every moment! Amazing screencaps and write-up! I wish I could be as eloquent! Good job to both of you!

  3. Could a sweet TP reader post a link to this review on Soompi (Gentlemen’s Dignity, Jang Dong-gun and Kim Ha-neul threads)? Thank you so much! I know fans of the drama would really love this review because it’s so compelling and delightful a read and is full of helpful notes on the meanings of words, etc. Please help spread the word, muah!

  4. This is why I adore your reviews! I fell in love at this drama, not at the beginning I have to admit, but later after few weeks of awesome intros and more awesome JDG. It came like summer breeze, and stayed as flower ahjussi. At 1st it was all about fun, and JDG made it happen with his pals. I loved intro for every episode, it was clever way of showing, family ties aren’t only ones, friends can be more then right family. Drama was super cute, funny, well acted, romantic and warm.
    Thanks girls, for amazing review and smile on my face right now! Keep up, good job!

    • Thank you, mtoh. Yes, I also loved the intros for giving us not only funny moments like the Girls’ Generation cameo appearance but also using the intros as a vehicle to give us insights into the F4 characters.

  5. Wow Michael, you and your cousin CJ really did an amazing job with this. It took days to read through all of it. You can tell this was the work of two people cuz of all the details. Thank you both for all your effort in putting it together – so glad you decided not to abandon it. You are right – it would have been a pity to lose all the hard work your cousin put into this. I love reading about dramas from your perspective cuz you always add your masculine touch by noticing things women wouldn’t – like for example that scene when her skirt unravels. I laughed when I read about how you wondered why the sales vendor wouldn’t complain or question why he wanted the table cloth and just hand it over to him. I can tell you it’s cuz he looks like that and probably gave her a smile as he asked. If he gave a wink, she would have handed over her entire stock I bet. I never did finish watching this drama all the way through and only caught a few scenes here and there on cable reruns. I had the same problem as you and had issues with the lead male character DJ. How can he go from being a womanizer to someone who is willing to go so slowly in the relationship overnight – it’s just not realistic. Out of all his friends, I liked Yoon the most just like you. The other two sort of bugged me with their choices in life. TS should have fallen in love with a woman worthy of his love and I still say he chose poorly. As for that other playboy friend, his best scene was when he sang over the intercom to his wife as she walked through one of her stores and made her cry. His motive for doing that might have been off, but at least he gave her a moment of happiness she deserved for staying with his cheating butt all those years. My biggest problem with this drama was Yi Soo. Her character annoyed me at every turn. Everything she did and said the first few episodes frustrated me and it only got worse as the series progressed. That whole scene you described where she doesn’t notice DJ right in front of her cuz she is so “one track minded” was the most ludicrous of all – more so cuz DJ finds that amusing. I know I shouldn’t compare, but I had a hard time believing this was the same writer for SG. She dropped the ball in this drama if you ask me cuz the characters she created here just didn’t measure up to the ones in SG.

    I started watching cuz I am a huge JDG fan, but it turns out my interest in him must have waned over the years cuz I didn’t last very long after the drama started – partially cuz he is a family man now and he has aged a lot. Instead of marveling over his looks, I started counting all his wrinkles and questioned just how many botox injections these guys must have had to keep up their appearances. That bathroom scene where he pins her against the door by merely hovering over her still traumatizes me cuz I noticed wrinkles on his upper body no fan should ever have to see. That scene literally hurt my eyes and I had to look away in sadness muttering about how cruel time is on some people. As his fan, I should have avoided watching this drama cuz now I look at his photos in magazines wondering just how much they photoshopped his wrinkle lines. Arghh…ignorance was bliss before AGD came along.

    Anyway thanks for giving us something interesting to read for those who didn’t follow or catch this drama. If I knew this was coming, I would have waited just to read this and skip the drama itself.

    Hey Thundie – bet you are happy cuz after reading all these pages, you can count this as another drama watched for this year. 🙂

    • Hi Softy,

      It’s sad getting old, right. I think if they made this a more of a sophisticated F4 group involved in a story that is mature, intelligent, and yet have smart repartees that I know the writer is capable of, then it would’ve been great. Trying the same physical attraction formula with aging stars without a whole lot of substance just didn’t cut it for most part.

      I agree that Tae-san should’ve gone for Yi-soo, but I thought this was a realistic depiction, because life is sometimes like that where you can’t help but feel attraction for someone when others think you shouldn’t. Even though Tae-san appreciates Yi-soo as a good person, I guess he really didn’t feel attracted to her, or maybe he didn’t think she would fall for someone like him as evidenced by his initial reaction when he finds out that Yi-soo likes him. The second rationale sort of makes sense, because both Tae-san and Sa-ra have a lot in common. They both have fiery personality, short fuse, basically inconsiderate to others, and somewhat egotistical.

      Regarding the other playboy, Jung-rok, he technically didn’t cheat on his wife, Park Min-sook, if we go by what he said. He tells his friends that he only drinks tea (or wines and dines, I forget his exact words) with other women, alluding that he never slept with any of them. His singing over the intercom was nice, but I thought his best scene with his wife was the bicycle scene, when he essentially tells her, when he thinks she can’t hear him because she’s listening to music, that she is not young or pretty, and the only thing going for her is her money, but she is still “sticky,” meaning that he’s inexplicably attracted to her despite all that. She smiles at that, probably because that may be the only time he was really being earnest and truthful with her.

      Over time, I grew to really like Park Min-sook character. Her love doctor ability aside, I really liked her straight, no-phony-allowed kind of attitude. I especially liked the scene when she forces the woman who slapped one of Yi-soo’s students apologize to the student, when she saves Sa-ra from the golf bully at the golf range, and when she stands up to Sa-ra, telling her in no uncertain terms that she has every right to give Sa-ra’s car that she was holding as a collateral to Tae-san because he is her husband’s friend. And that’s not counting the fact that she’s leasing one of her buildings to her husband’s three friends dirt cheap just because they are her husband’s best friends.

      I also liked the fact that not everyone gets to have everything. Yes, Min-sook is filthy rich, but she cannot have one thing that she probably would’ve have exchanged all her riches for – her own baby. Jung-rok and Min-sook probably would’ve become closer sooner if they had their own baby, but they resolve that problem eventually and become closer because of the adversity.

      But you’re right. The writer didn’t quite reach the same lofty standard she set with Secret Garden in this drama.

      • I still have a problem remembering all these names or else I could cite more examples in my response. Dummy me just realized Min Sook is my mom’s name so no wonder that sounded so familiar all this time.
        Despite its faults, you are right – this drama did have its moments. I totally agree with you about those great scenes, especially that one where Min sook lies that she is the aunt of that kid in trouble and how she “owned (put her in her place)” that snobby rich woman was priceless. Out of the 4 female characters, MS was my favorite cuz she had a good head on her shoulders.
        So her husband never cheated on her? I find that surprising cuz now I don’t get why the other 3 tried so hard to prevent her from finding out where he was every time he was with a new young woman. I thought it was pretty messed up that his bad behavior trained her not to trust him and lowered her sense of self worth and now I’m to believe that all happened cuz he had tea or wine with all those gorgeous young women. Yeah I don’t buy that at all. The man looked and acted way too guilty just for having some wine with a woman. Sorry, but no sane husband would risk his marriage over tea or wine.
        I just realized I left out some of my other fav scenes – the ones with Yi Soo and the student who had a crush on her. It wasn’t just her lectures to do better that got to him and made him change his behavior, but the fact that she cared enough to be there for him whenever he needed someone to believe in him. The other one was when an angry client threw something at one of the architects who work for DJ and he allowed himself to get hit and how it angered DJ so much he unleashed his wrath on the client and walked away from losing all that money. Totally loved how DJ cried over the lost income only after his anger subsided. On a shallow note, I thought those good looking architects at DJ’s firm should have come out more. 🙂

        • I think we are both speculating as to whether or not Jung-rok slept with other women after he married Min-sook. I admit that I really didn’t watch Jung-rok and Min-sook couple or Tae-san and Sa-ra couple scenes that carefully, so I could be wrong but I don’t recall anybody saying that Jung-rok committed adultery. Maybe that’s what the writer wanted, for the viewers to speculate.

          My take on Jung-rok, and mind you it’s a complete speculation on my part, is that he may have slept around before the marriage, but I like to give the man the benefit of doubt because we don’t have a definitive proof of his infidelity. I believe in being innocent until proven guilty. Maybe his habit of flirting with other women is hard to break, but what if he really couldn’t find it in him to break his wedding vows. What if it’s not insanity but immaturity, addiction of his old ways, and stupidity of feeling inferior to his wife are what he’s suffering from.

          Then why did his friends work so hard to protect him if he’s not really guilty? Well, you’re not his wife, and yet you don’t believe him. Imagine how hard it would be to believe him if you were his wife. And you’re much nicer and less scary of a person than Park Min-sook. And beside the friendship thing, his friends are financially vested in Jung-rok not to get Min-sook angry. And Min-sook doesn’t strike me as a person who would wait for something like definitive proof before getting angry or jumping to conclusions.

          By the way, you’re not the only one who doesn’t believe him. I asked my cousin, and her more or less exact words to me were: Based on his character depiction, I think he did sleep around.

          On a different topic, yes, your other favorite scenes of Yi-soo and Do-jin were mine also. But unfortunately, while Yi-soo’s character was more or less consistent, I thought that Do-jin’s was being incongruous and annoying, flipping between being mature and downright juvenile.

          • I’m totally in agreement with your cousin CJ on the idea that he cheated either before or during the marriage. It’s like that saying where there is smoke there is fire. I knew his friends covered for him cuz they were protecting their own interests, but at the same time, they genuinely cared for MS’s feelings and didn’t want to see her get hurt or angry so that’s why they covered for him. I inferred from their looks of disappointment every time they caught him with someone new that they believed something more than just drinks was going on. So even his friends didn’t believe in his innocence. Plus MS was a smart woman and since she was burned so many times, it’s no wonder she lost her ability to trust. I doubt she would have been relegated to such a state that she cant believe a word of what her husband says unless she genuinely believed he was cheating. Isnt there some kind of saying about how it’s semantics to argue about the degrees of cheating cuz even emotionally stepping out on a marriage is being unfaithful. I think what it comes down to is that it doesn’t matter how platonic his flirting was after marriage, just the fact that he sought out the company of all those young women was wrong. Whether he did anything to warrant all those accusations is not the point cuz based on his “wandering eyes” past, he should have kept his urges in check. Using the excuse that he felt inferior to her as a basis to cheat is just plain selfish. I can’t rememeber how this drama ended now, but I was happy when she decided to divorce him cuz that was a healthy decision for her so she can learn to get back her self worth. He shook up the foundation of their marriage so I thought it was a little too late in the game to make amends.
            Now I remember why I wasn’t able to sit through entire episodes of this drama. The actions of these characters frustrated me cuz I just didn’t get where they were coming from. I like my dramas to blur the lines of reality and not step over to the realm of improbability so often. 🙂

            • Ah, Softy, I love how you think because that’s how I view marriage and “cheating” as well. I think since Bill Clinton, the line became somewhat blurry as to what really constitute as sex, but regarding what infidelity should be, I absolutely agree with you that Jung-rok committed infidelity even if we assume that he didn’t actually sleep with other women.

              This discussion all started because I wanted to point out that “technically” he may not have crossed the line of no return, because Min-sook does take Jung-rok back, telling him that they’ll live their lives with realization that they could divorce at any time, but that’s really no different than any other relationship.

              I think Thundie thinks we are fighting. Okay, Thundie, we are not quarreling anymore. You can take the blue background off, because I can’t read anything. 🙂

            • Hey Michael,
              This reply might go to the wrong spot cuz there was no reply button after your last one. Guess we commented too much. Hahaha I don’t think Thundie thought we were fighting since we were just having a casual conversation about AWG- I just assumed she was trying out a new christmas background on this theme and realized the one she chose just took over the entire page so she changed it back. I can see why you had a hard time reading the page though cuz I did too.
              I think cuz of A Wife’s Confidential, I’ve been on the fence about affairs. Before that drama came along, my stance on cheating was pretty firm, but that character’s situation made me realize sometimes in life people end up married to the wrong person. So when the right person comes along, what are they supposed to do – turn their back on potential happiness just to stay committed and be miserable. Once they discover who they were meant to be with, I don’t think it’s wrong to get a divorce and start over. This is all just based on that drama and not something I would do in real life.
              Anyway, it was very interesting to get your take on things cuz it cleared up a lot of questions I had about AGD. Glad we got this chance to share our thoughts. 🙂

              Hey Thundie, still working on the rest of those recaps, but it’s gonna be rushed. Hoping it won’t end up being too long. 🙂

  6. Thank you!

    This was great fun to read. I watched the show and though it was flawed I still enjoyed it. Reading your thoughtful analysis gave me some wonderful cultural nuances I had been unaware of and a smattering of the male perspective. I only wish I could have you around for all the dramas I watch.

    Again thank you for your hard work.


  7. Thank you, Amy, for reading. And for your wish. I know what you mean, because for me, having CJ around is great because I no longer have to listen to lines I can’t quite understand 20 times over. I just give her the episode number and time, and viola, I get my answer. 🙂

    • Can you loan out your cousin for those of us with no Korean relatives? Just kidding! You’re very lucky to have that resource. Thank you for paying it forward by giving us great read alike this.


  8. Hi Michael, CJ and Thundie!!!!

    Thank you all for your hard work and for this long recap / review. I am just halfway done and probably need a few more days to finish but I thought I should really thank you now. I love AGD. Really… love it. It’s one of the very few (*sad face) dramas I have watched and completed this year. Admittedly, this show is littered with holes in plot, theme and characterization, but there were also an equal number of LOL moments for me. From a smile to a chuckle, a guffaw to hysterical-back-slapping-rolling-tears kind of laughter, yup, this show did produce!

    In that sense, I would say that AGD was probably THE most enjoyable show I watched in 2012.

    I am really sad that there seems to be a dearth of good dramas to watch nowadays, especially of the romcom variety (*my particular brand of crack). I was just now looking at my viki list and was shocked that this year, I only got to finish 3, yes THREE! k-dramas (and one j-dorama, Rich Man Poor Woman). (I did drop many after a few eps) Pathetic! My love is not waning, but now I have been relegated to re-watching favourite dramas, AGD among them. (BTW, I am watching King of Dramas now, which I am enjoying so much, hence has a very good potential to increasing the number to 4 finished dramas in 2012! yey!)

    For me, AGD is really about the enduring friendship among the F44, the four gentlemen trying so hard to maintain, nay, nurture, their dignity. Their brotherhood, care and love for each other is a sight to behold – so precious and lovely.

    This is the first time I have ever watched Jang Dong Gun in anything, and just with this one show, he has shot up above all the other most-loved k-drama actors in my list to sit atop the throne to rule them all. Yup, now, I can understand the legend (and this is just a romcom!). I am so excited to see him in Dangerous Liaison, where just from the previews, he looks so hot!

    Michael, you know I am your fan, and I continue to savour your writing. I even take notes! (because I so want to understand the Korean language and culture). CJ, thanks for your help and adding more details. And Thundie, it’s always good to read from you. Thank you, thank you for hanging on… *hugs to all

    • Hi wits,

      You’re so right about the F4 brotherhood. I could’ve just as well written about the elder F4 and the young budding F4, because there was enough material there to rival this post. The most touching scene for me was when Yoon’s wife died, and all three of his friends instantly dropped everything to be with him. Their camaraderie was enduring and precious.

      In a recent interview, Jang Dong-gun said that one thing he regrets about this drama was that he was not in a better physical shape. That may be why he looked so gaunt in this drama. I may be wrong, but I think the last time he did a drama was “All about Eve,” and if you love Jang Dong-gun, you would love that one. I thought that was his best drama.

      And thank you for being one of my most ardent fans and my most diligent student of the Korean language. 🙂

  9. Hello!

    Thank you your post. I actually watched and enjoyed watching AGD when it first aired. I suppose I enjoyed the drama as the characters were my age and I actually have a group of male friends who continue to be bachelors. My boyfriend was on the receiving end of a lot of questions of “do guys really do that?”

    However, as I am not of Korean descent, I have to rely on the efforts of the submerse. As you know, a lot of meaning (spoken and cultural) can be lost in the translation. Reading your thoughts and explanations gave me a better insight into the AGD world. I teared all over again.

    Thank you, again!

  10. Hello again Michael and Thundie! Hi CJ!

    I watched AGD while it was on it’s regular run via cable (…yes, I had the Korean package installed to our monthly cable subscription, uhm..despite of the fact that I do not understand nor speak a word of Korean!) I solely depend on recaps and I patiently wait for English subs so that I could fully understand and enjoy the dramas.

    Occasionally, I stumble upon rare treats. I have been your fan Michael, ever since your post on LTM. You made me appreciate the drama’s richness with your little nuggets of cultural wisdom. Up till present, that recap, stands to be the best one I have read…ever!

    Thank you for recapping AGD. It’s one of the dramas I enjoyed watching this year. Hehe, I have now rearranged my weekend schedule to accommodate an AGD marathon. Because of this post, you made me want to watch it again, this time guided with your language and cultural annotations!

    Ahh…AGD, I fell in love with it’s soundtrack…hmm, IDK, I even tolerated “High, high!” I discovered three actors Jang Dong Gun, Kim Hae Neul and Lee Jong Hyuk. I finally understood the hype around Jang Dong Gun, why he is considered “beloved” in Korea. When he’s together with KHN on screen, you can’t help but notice how charismatic they can be…truly. So, despite of his wrinkles and flab (err…yes, flab), I’m a newly minted Jang Dong Gun fan…oh and Kim Hae Neul’s too! Lee Jong Hyuk took a lot of getting used to because I knew him before as the villain in most of the dramas I’ve seen him in, (think: Chuno); in AGD, he was the worst in the lot, but to my surprise, his comedic timing was impeccable. I ended up laughing at his antics more. (I understand, LJH is currently enjoying a second wind in his career post-AGD, especially with CF’s.)

    Lastly, I love stories on friendships. I especially loved the mini stories before each episode – the prologues. The writer brilliantly used them to give us a hint of the episode’s content. They were like mini stories introducing each character and his quirk, that was a clever way to give us insights on the character’s personality.

    So I guess this is au revoir? I hope I don’t get to wait for another year for a new & awesome recap! Michael and CJ, your collaboration rocks! Really, really cool!

    • Hi drmjs,

      Lie to Me was actually much more enjoyable for me to write than this one, especially early on, but what makes it all worthwhile are comments like yours and others. Thank you.

      I think you may be psychic, because what determines when I write again depends on a drama and my work schedule, and unfortunately, for the entire year of 2013 I’ll have additional workload added to my already insane work hours, which means no time during weekends as well, so it would be almost impossible for me to write again until early 2014. See you then, unless, of course, I win a lottery or something. 🙂

  11. This is one of the best romantic comedy series ever. I like how mature their roles are but they still depict the natural humor of a true gentlemen. They all look so adorable and nice.

    • Yes, as romantic comedies go, this one was pretty good. And I’ll take your word for it, that the guys all look adorable and nice. 🙂 Maybe that was the problem for me.
      Compared to guys, there was a dearth of true ladies for my taste. Other than Yi-soo, Sa-ra was too coarse and selfish, Min-sook too bossy, and Mae Ah-ri too sassy.
      I know, I’m being two-dimensional and hypercritical, but hopefully I’ll come across a drama with female F4 to drool over sometime in my lifespan.

  12. I have a problem with dramas…why is it OK for the lead male character to be a jerk/immature/non respectful person in the first episodes and then turns out to be a good boyfriend later on? Is it OK for women to be “wooed” this way? Can’t someone fall in love without having been upset and looked down upon?

    • I agree with you, Mello. If I could, I would write nothing but mature, sophisticated, and interesting characters and plots, but some may view that as vanilla. Unfortunately, conflicts, angst, and generally despicable things have to co-exist to some degree with good, noble, and happy things to make it interesting. I guess that’s why they call it a drama. But you’re right. Too much of going to one extreme is not good. Kdramas, I think, tend to take it to an entirely off-this-world kind of level with this particular issue.

  13. Because I am a compulsive obsessive nerd, I just have to correct you on one particular: it was Hyun Bin in Secret Garden, not Won Bin.

    • Thanks, Jiamin, for being compulsive and obsessive. 🙂

      Just the other night, while I was in the midst of writing an important email, my daughter came into my room and asked me if I have a SD card. Not wanting to interrrupt my train of thought, I told her what I instinctively thought would be the best answer for her not to engage in any further conversation with me, “No. I don’t even know what a SD card looks like.” Which is partially true, since while I have seen a picture of SD card before, I have never used it, and at that engrossed moment, visualization of a SD card was the farthest thing from my mind.

      I couldn’t help but look up and smile at her though, when she replied, “What kind of a nerd are you, when you don’t even know what a SD card looks like.” She has called me a nerd a few times in the past affectionately, because she says while I’m obsessed with technology, I don’t understand technology.

      So, I guess I’m not even a passable nerd anymore. It’s so hard getting old. 🙂

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  15. These men look the part that they ought to be gentlemen. Are you sure they’re wack jobs interested in sex? I doubt it, I think they’re gansta type people who title themselves gentlemen, or maybe people call them gentlemen because they look so similar to one. I don’t know very much about pseudo, I might be a pseudo-poshie for all I know, I promise you no one is pseudo- anything on purpose, it just happens because the people do things a little differently or because of the white lies used as compliments about them, that’s all. A pseudo-normal is one who’s Catholic, thinks it’s the one true church, drinks iced coffee and does things people ”think” are a little odd sometimes. Same thing.

  16. Hi @softy, I don’t think you’re a JDG fan at all as you claimed you are. You’re most probably a JDG hater than a fan. What kind of a fan would say horrible things against her idol? So I don’t really believed you’re a JDG fan. Don’t you think some things are better left unsaid? Most especially if you don’t really what you’re saying. And who says no one doesn’t age? Everyone of us will reach that point whether we like it or not. But I’m sure JDG looks better than most of us as he aged. I’m sure even without the wonder of science, he will age gracefully. It was just so evident because it took him 12 years to return to Kdrama land. So most of our memories of him was his AAE days when he was just 28 yrs old. So there was really a drastic change in his looks (as he got older) but he’s still as handsome nonetheless. That’s probably the reason why you’re telling us that he has undergone aesthetic procedures or photoshopped looks. But how sure are you? Even without wrinkles, most celebrities featured in magazines are “photoshopped” especially if they don’t have flawless skin. And most Korean celebrities went under the knife and obviously most Kpop idols. That’s why they look so fake. But mind you, JDG is 100% pure and natural and was born with pretty boy looks. I should know because I’m an avid JDG fan for almost two decades now.

  17. Hi his is kinda of off topic buut I was wondering if blogs
    use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
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