The Hanboks Are Here and I Can’t Bow

Today Good Man and I got to pick up our hanboks. Although we bought them at the market, for some reason we had to pick them up at a small boutique near Banpo. Good Man thinks that the boutique women may have been the ones who made them, though we bought them from the market. I’m not sure, but we were told not to mention the price we paid.

When we got there, an engaged couple was in front of us. They looked so unhappy. I mentioned it to Good Man after they left, and he said, “Well, marriage is a duty here.”

The woman who helped us was really nice and friendly, very kind. Also, I understood all of her Korean and we were able to have a conversation. I’m not sure when that will ever stop feeling good.

She took me in the back room and taught my how to put the hanbok on. Wow, it really did compress my chest. And I got to use the word 젖꼭지 to indicate where the tassel hangs from. The hanbok consists of: white pantaloons, white underskirt, pink skirt, blue jacket, thick white socks, red shoes, and a pink purse. Instead of wearing the pantaloons, she just had me keep the silk skirt I’d worn on. She also taught me how to tie the bow, though I think I’ll need to practice that quite a bit.

When I came out and looked in the mirror I said, “임신한 버섯인 것 같아요.” I look like a pregnant mushroom. The woman nodded and said all women look like that.


Good Man put his entire hanbok on over the clothing he was wearing. His hanbok consists of loose pants that are folded and then tied across the front, a cream shirt, the peach vest, and the peach jacket. Apparently there’s some sort of neck sash, but it’s rarely worn and he didn’t wear it.

After Good Man put on his hanbok, the woman—in typical ajumma fashion—hit him on the stomach and told him he needed to lose weight. Oh, and I need to lose weight, too, she said. I knew she was just being an ajumma so I played along. “회식 많이 있어요.” He has a lot of wayshiks.

She nodded, “회식 문자예요.” Wayshiks are a problem.

Good Man

At one point some woman walked by, saw me in the hanbok and just stopped and stared. Her mouth was wide open. She started to say something and I expected it to be, “Why is the foreigner in a hanbok?” but instead it was, “How much are hanboks?” The woman said that women’s hanboks are 500,000 and men’s are 560,000. We paid…well, let’s just say that our discount was substantial!

Notice Our Hands and Which One is On Top

After we were both in our hanboks, she taught me how to bow. She taught me essentially what Master did, but said that I cross right foot over left. So right hand over left hand (left over right if I were male), hands at eye level, then cross right leg over left (reverse if I were male), slowly sink to ground, sit cross-legged (and that feels weird because I naturally sit down in a left over right cross-legged position!), slowly bend forward to lower palms against the floor, forehead nearly touching hands. In order to get back up, I’m supposed to plant my right foot flat against the ground, rock forward, and stand up. This is a big bow, 큰절.


That’s an interesting idea.

“OK, I Got Down.”

“Now I’m Supposed to Get Back Up?”

Oops, Used My Hand…

I tried the whole thing a second time, but the woman was so funny I couldn’t stop laughing.


Covering My Mouth While Laughing;
I Am Turning Korean

Would the third time be the charm?



“What’s Next, Now?”

Still Impossible

So! I didn’t make it back up. Guess I need to work on that. Since I’m not Korean and don’t know when I’ll ever have to do a big bow, I’m not too concerned.


Patch Detail