Gentlemen’s Dignity

38. Do-jin’s Love Manual

In the episode 11, time 18:41, Yi-soo is shocked to hear Do-jin’s proposal, “What?” Calmly, he asks her, “You want me to repeat it?” She tries to calm her frazzled nerves by taking big gulps of the cola. She sets the glass down and looks at him like the world around them has just collapsed. He chides her, “You don’t have to make such a big deal out of it*, especially on our first date.” *

She asks him why he wants to do this to her when she has finally stopped her ill-fated unrequited love and was looking forward to real love (“live pink-hued life”). “You want me to go back to jjak-love again?”

Innocently, “Yes, because I didn’t get to experience that from you. You only did that for Tae-san, you know.”
Looking incredulous, “You’re not, by any chance, jealous, are you?”
“What? Just because a guy is older and not unpleasant looking, you expect him to be a saint?”
She sounds shrill, “How can you ask me to do something like that now? You should’ve asked me before I confessed.”
Very maturely, “And that would benefit whom?”

She becomes speechless at his juvenile rationale, but blissfully ignoring her, he spews out his mandates for the proper etiquette for unrequited love according to Do-jin’s manual:

1. All day long, you shall only think about me. Without eating or sleeping.
2. In the event that I don’t answer or return your call, you should feel hurt and anxious*. *(Jun-jun-gung-gung, 전전긍긍, is a fun word, and it means to tremble with fear and worry.)
3. You shall linger around my office or my house in desperate hope to somehow run into me.
4. Even if you happen to see me, you’ll just endlessly gaze at me with tender longing from a distance*. *(Mun-bal-chi, 먼발치, is a short distance away and still in the visual field.)
5. If I’m talking to another woman, you shall be blinded with jealousy and entertain the idea of rear-ending her car.
6. You shall obtain my school graduation picture and carry it in your purse.
7. You shall now and again abruptly show up unexpectedly at my house to thrill me.

He concludes the list, “That’s it, for now.”

Her expression ranges from astonishment, incredulousness, frustration, self-pity to despair during his oratory session. She whimpers, “And if I can’t do it?”

“Then you want to go on a vacation trip with me?” Indignant, she abruptly gets up and gives him one good reason why she can’t go on vacation with him, “I have to go teach my fifth period class right now, you know!”

The way she got up so exasperated, I thought she was going to give him an ultimatum of some kind. This is one funny and peculiar lady.

39. Yooni loves…

This next scene is a touching testament as to whom Yoon’s heart really belongs in the episode 11, time 20:40. Yoon comes into the Mango café, and Mae Ah-ri is behind the counter.

She looks at him with longing while he orders mango banana and mango coconut. The fact that he orders two shakes doesn’t escape her. She looks at him sadly for as long as she can, and then she dejectedly turns to prepare his shakes. Now that she’s no longer looking at him, Yoon finally allows some of his sad longing to show on his weary face.

When she turns around with the two shakes, he turns his gaze, pretending to read the menu. She hands him the order, “Your order of mango coconut and banana are ready.” He grabs the handle and tries to turn to leave, but he realizes that she’s still holding onto the paper box tray.

Tethered together momentarily by the paper tray, he’s forced to look at her, and she petulantly asks him, “Why are there two cups? You’re going to give the other one to lawyer Gang?” The lady lawyer who works with Yoon, the one that Mae Ah-ri loathes. He gives her his patented mind-your-own-business look and walks out the café.

Outside the café, Yoon runs into one of his staff members, and he gives the shakes to her. She thanks him but asks him why he bought two, and he answers, “One is too short, and three would be too cowardly. So, I’ve got two.”

Of course, she’s clueless, but he means that the time for Mae Ah-ri to make one shake would be too short a time spent with her to emotionally satisfy him, while three would be too obvious thus cowardly. He loves her, but can’t freely express his love for her yet.

40. How Sweet Art Thee

The sweet and official dating ritual has begun for our senior love birds in the episode 11, time 37:04. Yi-soo texts Do-jin, who’s standing by the window talking to one of his staff in his office: About how far is Mun-bal-chi? (Remember “from a distance”). He turns around and sees her smiling from a distance outside the building, wearing a mini-skirt. Smiling back, he calls her and gives her a pithy instruction: “In the 7 o’clock direction, two steps backward.”

She does what he tells her to do, “Here?”
He smiles, “Yes, right there.”
“Do I look like a severely deranged woman to you right now?”
Taking a critical look-over, he makes the sane diagnosis, “You look like a woman who has fallen for me badly.”
Laughing merrily, she acknowledges his astute observation, “I can’t deny the charges.”
He wants a reassurance, “How do I look from a distance?”
“From a distance… uhmmm… you look debonair.”
“I should, because it takes a lot of effort to look debonair just standing. Come on up, (because) I look better close-up. And breathtaking if you were to examine closely.”
She giggles like a school girl, drunk with happiness.

Yi-soo gingerly walks into his office to find him grilling his secretary. In the midst of the grilling, he throws Yi-soo a question, “Are you looking for Tae-san?” Momentarily thrown off, Yi-soo asks, “What?” Then realizing what he’s doing, she gives him a wifely admonishing facial expression all women appear to innately possess.

Do-jin goes back to grilling, but short time later throws Yi-soo yet another question, “What are you doing, because I’m waiting?” Yi-soo, “What… are you waiting for?” He whispers loudly, motioning to his secretary, “Jealousy.” He wants her to act jealous.

Yi-soo grimaces from supreme embarrassment, while the secretary tries to hold back the chuckles. Yi-soo tells them to go ahead working, and the secretary takes the chance to tell Yi-soo that the whole office knows of their romance. She then catches herself and tells her boss that she did not tell a soul of the rumor.

Do-jin takes offense, “Why not? I am the one who spread the rumor. That way, I can leave early from work. I mean, you guys date within the office and get to do all kinds of unsavory things in the emergency staircase.” He’s grumbling because he doesn’t get to do those things.

The secretary wisely makes a hasty retreat, and Yi-soo can’t help but give Do-jin evil eyes for the jealousy debacle. Smiling, he just walks up to her, and thinking he’s going to kiss her, she pounds his chest telling him that he must be crazy to even think about doing it in the office, but she then realizes that he was just getting his bag. She bashfully asks him, “Are you leaving the office now?” Grinning, he asks her, “What? Should we go down the emergency staircase?” Embarrassed, she covers her face and runs away, while he just gets a kick out of embarrassing her.

In the episode 11, time 43:30, Do-jin and Yi-soo are on their way to rendezvous with Tae-san and Sa-ra at her place for dinner. In Betty (sounds funny, right), Do-jin can’t help but ask Yi-soo, “You have more will power than I thought.”

“What do you mean?”
“How were you able to hold out all this time if you liked me that much?”

She chuckles and lightheartedly shrugs her shoulder, “Well, it was because I wasn’t crazily, desperately, and hopelessly in love with you.” He shrugs right back, “That’s impossible.” For her to feel that way.

She asks him where they are going, and he tells her that Tae-san is having a home bar open party at Sa-ra’s place. She leans forward to turn on the radio, but he stops her, “Let me do it. Betty isn’t used to your touch yet.” Irritated, she spits it out, “Do you like Betty more or me?” He faces the conundrum head on, “The traffic is surprisingly not congested.” She barks the question again. Treading softly, “I’ll tell you when we get out (of the car).”

Whispering loudly, “Because Betty can hear.”

Watching Yi-soo at a time like this is a bit like watching the various stages of bereavement: at first there is incredulousness (denial) that turns to anger, and then she finally settles for acceptance, except she goes through this process over seconds to minutes rather than weeks to months whenever she’s with Do-jin.

Once in Yi-soo’s house, they find out that Tae-san and Sa-ra had a fight and won’t be joining them. Yi-soo’s suggestion to put his jacket in her room so that his jacket won’t absorb the cooking smell leads to his witnessing the color coded assortments of her brassiere and panties showcased on her bed for his unintended amusement.

During the ensuing melee, he remarks that they seem too big. She momentarily stops her effort to shoo him out of her bedroom to point out that’s not the case. It’s hard to be absolutely certain whether he meant the size of her panties or her brassiere. But as if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, he wants her to make a mental note that he doesn’t care much for corsets or garter belt because they just get in the way. Of course, he gets a lot of physical abuse from her for giving her such highly informative recommendations.

During dinner, she thanks him for liking her, with and without her knowledge as well as in front and behind her back. She’s referring to the audio files in the Do-jin’s secret folder. Of course, she later kicks him out of the house for answering her questions about his previous women. She asks him, but she blames him for telling her. Sometimes I’ll never understand women, and apparently even a playboy like Do-jin doesn’t understand why she’s miffed at him.

Later in the episode 11, time 01:02:05, fondly reading the Do-jin’s Unrequited Love Manual that she has copied from his phone text, she underlines the number 7: You shall now and again abruptly show up unexpectedly at my house to thrill me.

And, like a good girlfriend, she tries to fulfill that particular mandate, having decked out in the red high heels that Do-jin gave her, but she runs into a little mini-destiny named Collin in front of Do-jin’s place. In the episode 12, time 06:56, Do-jin apologetically sees her off promising to tell her about Collin later, but he also tells her, “The shoes look beautiful. And today’s day was nice, too. Bye.”

Despite the poor timing, Do-jin acknowledges her intention, which is to declare to him that she has now officially become his girlfriend.

But he doesn’t call her all day the next day, even though he’s fully aware that she must be waiting. In the episode 12, time 24:20, Do-jin checks his cell phone, and seeing that she hasn’t called, he makes an amused comment, “She’s reining in her curiosity very well.”

Well, she’s not handling it that well, because she checks her cell phone only about every few minutes all day long. Now it’s nighttime, and she’s tossing and turning in her bed. She checks her cell phone one last time. But now certain that she won’t be able to sleep, she gets up, turns the light on, and starts to pace the floor of her bedroom. Worrying sets in, and she looks out the window into the dusky evening through opaque curtain in the episode 12, time 27:00 when she gets a text from him: You can’t sleep, right? I came abruptly, so be thrilled only a little bit and hurry on out. I’m right in front of the house.

She opens the front door and comes out to find him standing sideways on the walkway. He turns to look at her with a faint smile, which causes her initial apprehension to dissipate into a faint smile of her own. But being a woman, that doesn’t stop her from asking him reproachingly, “How can you not contact me even once?”

Smiling, “I wonder who just sent you the text message.”
“I mean, all day long.”
Teasingly, “Did you think about me a little?”

She just gives him an evil eye, and he goes on, “You were hurt because I didn’t call, you also did some worrying*, and did you do some resenting, too?” *(Remember jun-jun-gung-gung, 전전긍긍, shaking with fear and worry)

Emphatically, “Yes, I did.”
Smoothly, “You must have discovered clinging vine nature in yourself, as well?”
“Absolutely.” She returns his sarcasm.
Smiling, “But even so, it never occurred to you to call me first?”
Frowning a bit, “Are you trying to be vengeful? Isn’t it common sense for one who sent me away like that to call first?”

He smiles affectionately at that, “You want to walk a little?” Thinking he’s trying to change the subject, she glares at him a little. Teasing again, “If you don’t want to walk, we can go vacationing together.” This is one of his recurrent juvenile but endearing comebacks. She makes a face, “Now, really.”

He shrugs his shoulders good-naturedly and walks away from her. She looks at him resentfully, but he stops right outside of the open steel gate, and without turning around, he sticks his left arm out with the hand open – a universal sign that he wants to hold her hand. She debates for a few seconds, but happily jumps to hold his hand when he closes and opens his fingers for her to hurry up.

This simple gesture says volumes about both characters. One, despite his juvenile language and behavior, he understands women’s sensitive nature and tries to preserve her self-respect. Two, like the Kenny Roger’s song, The Gambler, she knows when to hold and when to fold. Three, he fulfills one of her wishes, which was to hold hands in public the next time they meet.

While walking hand in hand, he asks her, “You’re curious as to whom Eun-yi is, right?”
“Of course I’m curious. If for no other reason than because of the all four men’s shocked expressions.”
“(That’s because) she was the foolish cause of a potential crack in our friendship.”
“Was she really your first love?”
“Who does first love at twenty years of age? That’s something you do when you’re 12 years old.”
Good-naturedly but also sarcastically, “I’m sure you did*.” *(Uh-ryen-ha-da: 어련하다, means undoubtedly, naturally, goes without saying)

“Twenty years ago, I liked someone. Somewhat seriously. They say he’s her son, that kid last night.”
“Up to that point, I know about.”
“That’s all there is.”
Making a face, “That can’t be all.”
Amused, “Just what is it that you want to know?”

Tentatively, she asks him, “You… still can’t forget her?” (She means do you still love her, but Koreans like to use the word “forget” in this scenario. Don’t ask me why. I’m just an innocent writer) He looks at her for a while before answering, “How can I forget (her)? I just don’t think about her every day, (now).”

She emotionally reels as his words come crushing into her, and when she doesn’t say anything, he looks at her and sees what he has done. He does an admirable recovery job, “I haven’t forgotten my friend who ruined me, the staff who had to leave then, my high school teacher, a restaurant owner who let me pay monthly during my college years, and the weather of the first day Betty came. I remember them all. Even the woman whose dress thread got caught up in my bag that day.”

He stops and turns to look at her, and she faintly smiles, coming to an understanding as to what he’s trying to say. He makes sure of that. “Twenty years from now, even if a woman named Suh Yi-soo is no longer with me, I think I’ll remember everything about her.”

Smiling more fully, “That makes sense (since you put it that way).”
Teasing her, “How can you halt jealousy that prematurely? I even rear-ended a car (in the name of jealousy).”
Smiling, “What’s the use? How can I hope to erase the memory of one man’s first love? My only recourse is to make you remember her less and less frequently, because out of all the memories, only I have the distinct advantage of being in the present.”

Reflectively, he muses, “Then, what do you think about being my future?”
Grinning, “Umm, one minute future? Okay, that long, I can guarantee.”
Grinning back, “I don’t remember seeing, be sarcastic*, in the Jjak-love manual.” *(Ting-gui-da: 튕기다: means being coy, pretending to be the opposite when she really loves him)
Enjoying the banter, “It’s just that I have a unique way of extrapolating* things.” *(She means going beyond what’s written to find other hidden or related meanings)

She asks him, “Where is the child now?”
“At Tae-san’s house.”
Surprised, “At Tae-san’s house?”
“He wanted to go there. Eun-yi really must have liked Tae-san the best. (I don’t get it, because) she really didn’t think much of him back then.” Collin went there because he likes Mae Ah-ri.
Without thinking, “I’ve told you. A lot of women think Tae-san is charming…”

He’s not amused, and realizing her faux pas, she covers her mouth in nervous laugh. Seeing his deep frown, she gives him a quick kiss on his cheek and walks away.

Visibly mollified, he can’t seem to hide the growing smile. But, he still pretends to be irritated, “What did you just do?”
Still walking away, “That was a temporary patch job.”
Walking toward her, “Even though you’re going to pay for it when I catch you…”

In the episode 12, time 32:09, we find them in her bedroom. Do-jin’s sitting on one side of her bed stroking her hair gently, while Yi-soo’s hogging the whole bed by lying down diagonally. She sleepily tells him, “Why don’t you go. I don’t want to chance Sa-ra seeing you.” Coming out of her bedroom so late at night, she means.

Still stroking her hair tenderly, “So why did you ambush kiss me like that without realizing the consequences?” He actually used the words, “…like that without fear.” He continues, “Do you feel the tension in my hand? I’m dispersing my lustful desires this way. I’m going to caress until I have no energy left.”

“I’ll be bald by then.”
Teasing, “Then I’ll have to break up with you.”
Seriously, “Don’t, because I’ll love you even if you become paunchy.”

He stops the stroking, obviously touched by her sentiment. He suddenly asks her to move so that now they are lying side by side, and she protests by pointing out that Sa-ra could wake up.

“As long as Ms. Suh Yi-soo stays quiet, Sa-ra won’t wake up.” She urges him to leave, “Hurry!” Feigning to be dense, “Hurry, what? Like this?” Then he tries to hug her.

She gets up and tells him to get up. Smiling, he asks her, “To go vacationing?” She then tries to hit him with a cushion, but he grabs her wrist and pulls her down so that her face is right next to his.

Surprised to find his face so close to her, she holds her breath. He tells her, “Sleep already. I’ll leave when you fall asleep.” When she’s still not sure with her head suspended in air about few inches from the bed, he puts his two fingers on her left forehead, and gently pushes her head down onto the bed. He then gazes at her eyes while smiling faintly, and she, now finally relaxed, returns the smile. He begins to pat her shoulder with his left hand that was already around her shoulders.

They look content to just looking at each other, but he breaks the silence gently, “Which heart is beating crazy fast like this?” Not wanting to confess, she denies it, “It’s not my heart, you know.”

Looking earnest, “It doesn’t matter whose heart it is.”
She smiles, “But then, it could be mine.”
He chuckles, “I’m glad that you don’t act experienced.”
Innocently, “It never occurred to you that I could be acting innocent?”
With assurance, “I like that part of you, too.”

After searching his face for a while, she asks him, “I have a favor to ask. Before I stop liking you, don’t stop liking me first.”

Right away, “Okay.”
Surprised, “Are you sure?”
Teasing, “I don’t know why women are so suspicious.”
“That’s because most men say one thing, and then say something else the next day. But the problem is that they truly mean it on both days.”

He offers her a solution, “Then, what about this. What I say will be so today, tomorrow, and the days afterward, at least up to a month from now?”
Smiling, “That’s a little better.”
Smiling back, “Okay. Then, let’s say that I’ll love Suh Yi-soo for about a month. Whatever comes after that I’ll let you know in a month.”

Laughing, she doesn’t seem displeased that “I’m (just) your one-month future.” He shows a fleeting disappointment to be reminded in words of the short future with her, but tiredly she tells him, “Go now. I’m sleepy. I’m so sensitive that someone moving ever so slightly next to me will wake me up…” He interrupts her by singing a makeshift lullaby while tapping her shoulder with his left hand. She smiles at his effort and visibly relaxes as she closes her eyes to sleep.

After she falls asleep just like that, he good-naturedly chides her, “So you’re sensitive, huh? And you can sleep when I’m by your side?” He means that since he’s the ultimate gift to women, she should be all over him instead of dozing off as if she’s completely bored.

He smiles fondly at her sleeping form, slithers his arm from under her, and places the blanket on top of her. He then happens to spot a bag containing the fateful red yarn, which he takes with a gleam in his eyes.

41. My Second most favorite scene

In the episode 12, time 42:25, Yoon drops by Mae Ah-ri’s house to see Mae Ah-ri with an excuse to talk to Collin. After a brief talk with Collin, Yoon comes down the steps, just as Mae Ah-ri’s walking up with a tray of refreshments.

She’s not happy, “You’ve already finished your conversation?” Yoon makes a rare uncoerced conversation with her, “What time does your shift start?” Still holding her tray, “In the afternoon or after lunch.”

“Today, it was unusually congested. Maybe you should leave early. It’s on my way, so I could give you a ride…” Mae Ah-ri doesn’t even let his sentence finish. She hands the tray to Collin, and faster than a speeding bullet, she goes into her room, gets her handbag, and stands attention in front of Yoon with a blooming smile. Even Yoon seems impressed with her efficiency.

While riding in his car, Mae Ah-ri appears to be on cloud nine, “I go by this way every day, but today, it seems like a fairytale.”

Yoon tries to keep his emotions in check, “So, did you think about what I’ve said?” About not letting her lifetime dreams of what she wants to do be derailed by her obsession with him. (In the episode 11, time 32:05, Yoon told her to not let him get in the way of her occupational dream of being a designer. Tearfully, she told him then that, yes, her dream is to be a designer, but her destiny is him and that destiny can just go by her if she doesn’t try. He replied that if he is her destiny, she cannot avoid it, so she should concentrate on her dream)

Miffed and spiritedly, “Huh! I was wondering why you weren’t bringing that up again. Of course, I’ve thought about it. Because I think about oppa all the time.” She says the last sentence defiantly but sweetly.

Almost melancholically, “Then you must have also reached a conclusion.”
“Of course I did. (I’ve concluded that) when oppa wants to utter insensitive words, he uses that kind of expression. When he wants to deliberately hurt me even more, he uses that kind of tone.”
In a frustrated tone, “What I meant was…”

“I know what you meant. To sum up, what you said was, don’t be a smarty pants and scram. So, I’ve thought long and hard (and it came to me). Ah, if someone hurts you badly, then you can’t help but keep thinking about that person constantly. So, if I want someone to keep thinking about me, I should hurt that person, too.”

Frustration evident on his face, “Hey, kid*. You know that wasn’t my point. *(Im-ma, 임마, is a derogatory way of addressing someone, but if used with someone you know well, it can be an affectionate term, but it should only be used for someone younger than you)

Derisively, “You think I’m doing this because I don’t know what your point is? You’re not exactly a spring chicken, you know. Also, you have a past (a widower), and you’re not handsome like Do-jin oppa. (So,) I don’t know where you get your self-confidence. (I mean,) I must’ve been blind. I don’t understand what I saw in someone like you. I’m just completely dumbfounded.”

The whole time Mae Ah-ri was laying it on thick, Yoon’s crestfallen face was a picture of shock and disbelief.

Mae Ah-ri glances at him askance and haughtily asks him, “We are here. Stop the car, please.” Stunned Yoon slowly stops the car in front of the Mango café, and she unbuckles the car seat, turns around, and now back to her bubbly self again, she innocently asks him, “What did you think? You were completely hurt, right? Now you’re going to think about Mae Ah-ri constantly, right?” Beaming, she gets out of the car and tells Yoon sweetly, “Have a nice day, elder*.” *(Uh-ruh-sin, 어르신, is how an older person, like a father or grandfather’s age, is usually addressed)

Then, she sticks her tongue out at him cutely, and jauntily walks into the café. Yoon looks like a hurricane just went by him, but then he slowly smiles.

Why do I like this scene so much? One, because we get to see Mae Ah-ri’s uber cute side, her wits, and the confirmation that despite her awareness of his shortcomings, she’s truly in love with him. Two, she also lets him know, even if it’s only for a short time, that he could lose her, and based on his expression, we know that he rather not experience that feeling again if he can help it. And third, she finally gets to have the last word with Yoon.

42. Vacation

In the episode 12, time 50:55, the euphoria of being in love continues. Do-jin has never found shaving to be this enjoyable as he’s looking forward to possibly spending the night with Yi-soo. He picks her up in front of her house, and as she gets into his car, she cheerfully greets his inanimate girlfriend, “Hi, Betty!”

No longer smiling, he asks her, “What did you just say?”
“Because you are suddenly nice to her.”
Teasingly, “I intend to stay in touch with Betty even if we break up.”
Raising his eyebrow, “That sounds like a threat to sequester or something.” As in seize and hold Betty in case of their breakup.
Cheerfully, “I have to be friendly with the house, too. By the way, where are we going?”
Smiling, “You’ll see.”

Once on the road, she asks him again where they are going, and he, now wearing sunglasses, happily announces, “To a vacation spot.”

No so happy, “What?”
“If Ms. Suh Yi-soo is not happy about that, then let’s just say that she has just briefly accompanied me on the vacation trip.”
Getting irritated, “Why is it that you don’t ever tell me (something like this) beforehand?”
Not flustered, “I wonder how many times I’ve mentioned the word, vacation, before?”
“But I’ve never agreed to it.” Willing herself to calm down, “So, where exactly are we going?”
Enthusiastically, “Choon-chun!”
“Choon-chun? We are coming back on the same day, right?”
Excitedly, “Do I look like I would do something like that?”
Alarmed, she orders her newfound friend, “Betty! Stop this instant!”
He barks a completely different order, “Betty! Onto the highway!”
Yi-soo is not a happy camper, “Kim Do-jin!”

They are both loopy (talking to Betty like that, I mean), and I think they deserve each other.

Once they get to Choon-chun, however, Yi-soo finds out that he’s there on business. After the business meeting concludes, the two lovebirds walk side by side through the tall weedy prairie of the mountainous island in the episode 12, time 54:42.

Do-jin continues to talk business to Yi-soo, “Have you ever seen the world’s most unique amusement theme park sprawling 198,584 square feet with resorts and villa where you can swim and ski at the same time?”

“Are you boasting that you did?”
“I haven’t been there, either, because it doesn’t exist yet. This is where such complex will be built. This very part of the island that we are standing on, there would be resorts and town parks.”
Smugly, he leans toward her, “And who’s designing this magnificent structure?”
Teasingly, “Ha! I wonder how he managed to stay single for someone so magnificent.”
Reflectively, “That’s because I was too busy failing colossally and succeeding bigger than others.”
Coyly, “Although having complicated romantic relationship is your flaw, if I had known how eligible of a man you are, I would’ve gone for you earlier.”

While she looks down demurely, he looks at her meaningfully. He then suddenly wraps his arm around her shoulder, drawing her near him.

No longer smiling, she pretends to be irritated, “Drop your arm.”
Smiling daringly, “I can’t do that.”
Acting miffed, “Huh! Some nerve claiming to vacation when you really came to work.”
“Ooh, you sound really disappointed.”
“That’s not it, you know.”
“If not, you want to go vacationing?”
Shaking free from him, “Ah, really!”
Undaunted, he brings her back to him, “Then, let’s go vacationing.”
“Now, really!”

Continue reading >>> Page 8: Not Tonight, Honey

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. 🙂

  14. Hey there, my name is Roscoe and I’m a fellow blogger out of Sll, Austria. I’m glad to see
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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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