Sorry, but you're not my type

Sorry, but you’re not my type: Pity the poor South Korean man who is blood type B, pegged by pop culture as a selfish, mercurial cad.
Jon Herskovitz, Reuters.

Copyright 2005 National Post. All Rights Reserved. National Post (f/k/a The Financial Post) (Canada)
April 19, 2005 Tuesday. Toronto Edition

SEOUL – Lee Sung-san is a 24-year-old South Korean student looking for love and hoping the women he is wooing don’t ask for his blood type.

Genetics and pop culture have teamed up to make Mr. Lee’s love life miserable. He is blood type B, which nudges him near to the nadir of the dating scene in South Korea.

“I’ve had women tell me flat out they don’t date blood-type-B guys. They say we are selfish and hot-headed,” he said.

South Korean magazines, TV shows and Internet chat rooms have been buzzing about blood types for years. Although scientists say there is no link between blood type and personality, that hasn’t stopped self-proclaimed experts from declaring that type-B men are likely to be cads.

While type-B women seem to have escaped the wrath of pop culture, the rap on type-B men is that they are selfish, mercurial and absolutely useless as caring and devoted boyfriends.

Last fall, a song by singer Kim Hyun-jung called Type-B Men soared to the top of the charts with lyrics suggesting type-B men are quick to get angry and quick to make up, but in the end, they will break your heart.

Author Kim Nang has been ringing up steady sales of her book, Dating a Type-B Man, in which she lays out strategies for dealing with the pitfalls and pleasures of relationships with such men.

Another assault came earlier this year with the release of the romantic comedy My Boyfriend Is Type-B, about the frustrations of a type-A woman who falls in love with a type-B man.

The man in the movie makes his girlfriend wait for hours in his car so he won’t have to pay for parking. On a date, his head is constantly swivelling to check out other women.

The movie, made for about US$2.5-million, took in more than US$10-million at the box office and is to appear on Japanese screens this year.

“Bashing is too harsh a word to describe what is happening to blood-type-B men,” director Choi Sukwon said. “For women they are seen as bad boys, but they are also appealing because they are charming and attractive.”

Mr. Choi said the more he investigated the subject of blood types, the more conflicting information he received.

In Asia, linking blood types to personality took off with the 1927 publication of a series of articles by Japanese scholar Takeji Furukawa called The Study of Temperament Through Blood Type.

The concept hit pop culture and mass media in 1971 when Japanese writer Masahiko Nomi expanded upon Mr. Furukawa’s ideas and wrote Understanding Compatibility from Blood Types.

Type-O people were described as outgoing, expressive and passionate, type-A were introverted perfectionists, while type-AB were unpredictable and distant.

And then there were type-B. They were branded independent spirits with strong personalities.

Mr. Nomi’s works and other similar books have been translated into Korean. At most major bookstores in Seoul, there are works from Japan on such subjects as how a type-A mother should raise a type-O son.

South Korean women’s magazines and Internet sites dedicated to trends seem to be fixated with the subject of romance with type-B men. According to a recent nationwide survey conducted by Internet portal site xyinlove.co.kr, type-B men were considered to be the most difficult type to date and about 40% of women said they did not want to marry a type-B man.

The Internet message board at the blood clinic of Seoul University Hospital has postings such as one from a woman seeking medical advice on whether it is true type-B men have more extramarital affairs than men of other blood types.


GRAPHIC: Black & White
Photo: Chung Sung-Jun, Getty Images; Members of the Blood Type B Club toast a drink in Seoul yesterday, commiserating in the fact their society believes type-B men are difficult to date and generally unsuitable for marriage.

LOAD-DATE: April 19, 2005
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. A2
LENGTH: 585 words
DATELINE: SEOUL
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