The international K-pop community is a wonderful thing to be a part of. It allows us to indulge in our passionate love without fear of judgment. Of course, we do have to leave the Internet and interact with non-fans for things like jobs or school or waiting in line at the DMV. And when we venture into the normal world, we take our K-pop fanhood with us — listening to Sistar on the bus, checking Taeyeon‘s Instagram at Panda Express, or watching Marriage, Not Dating during physics.
But when we do that, we often incite curiosity in those non-fans, particularly if you’re of a non-East Asian persuasion. What are we listening to? Do we speak Korean? Is it like “Gangnam Style”? These questions, and the many others, can take quite a bit of time to answer. As much as we want to spread the wonder that is K-pop, sometimes you just want to grab your lunch and go. To that end, here are five ready-made answers you can use the next time you want to avoid the whole yes-that’s-a-guy-yes-he’s-in-lipstick-seriously-he’s-a-dude thing.
1. Clicked on a YouTube Sidebar
YouTube sidebars are some of the weirdest things in the world. If you like listening to Fall Out Boy‘s “Atavan Halen”, why would you want to listen to the soundtrack of Dreamgirls? For this reason, they usually end up ignored. But sometimes you get curious. You decide to click this new and unknown thing with no actual idea of what you’re watching. And the next time you’re indulging your VIXX feels and the guy behind you asks what you’re watching, tell them that. You don’t honestly don’t know. It was in the links; you were feeling adventurous. It’s an easy sell, too — how many of us ended up where we are because of this exact phenomenon?
2. It’s a Friend’s Hobby
Everyone has done things for friends they wouldn’t have done otherwise: Eaten food you don’t like; seen a musical you loathe because your best friend is in the pit orchestra. Hell, every K-pop fan has the friend who lets you ramble about how much you love G-Dragon. So be that friend. The next time you face an interrogation on why you listen to music from another country in a language you may or may not speak, respond that you don’t. Your best friend in the world just loves (*check your phone*) Big Bang, and you want to understand and support their new love. Sure, there are a couple of songs you like, but you just want to be able to remember who’s who when they’re spazzing out.
3. Language Immersion Tool
In this global day and age, speaking multiple languages is a serious advantage in life. And people will do the weirdest things in pursuit of this goal. Of course, the fastest way to learn a new language is through immersion. This works particularly well if the second language has little in common with your mother tongue. The next time you’re asked why you’re listening to songs whose lyrics you don’t understand, explain that’s the whole point. You don’t speak a lick of Korean, but you’re learning by immersing yourself in the language. You watch dramas in order to learn the colloquialisms. Variety shows without subtitles aid by forcing you to pick out words you know and figure out the rest from there. Hey, it’s more fun than Rosetta Stone.
4. Hipster Mode
What’s hipster mode? You don’t know? Hipsters are the utterly-identical banes of the modern world, the modern plague. As god-awful as it is to deal with these indie-worshiping trend-followers, they have given the rest of us the gift of hipster mode. To use hipster mode, just act appalled that someone is actually asking what you’re watching. After all, if they’re worth knowing, they wouldn’t have to. Alternatively, make it clear that the asker wouldn’t know what you’re watching even if you told them. Scoff and roll your eyes, but give your voice a note of pity to really sell the bit. It must be warned though that anyone who encounters your hipster mode will look down on you for life, so use it sparingly.
5. It’s For Research
There is nothing in the world that cannot be explained by conducting research. Well, except the voluntary consumption of cheap vodka. Other than that, there are no limits. Eating a whole can of frosting? Study for a local dental school. Stamp-collecting? Putting together a comprehensive list for reference purposes. Having your friend slap you with a fish? Testing the effectiveness of everyday objects as weapons. The next time someone asks what you’re doing when watching the “Gee” MV, tell them it’s for research. A modern Asian history class, beauty perceptions in various countries, you’re planning a vacation; any reason will do. Just make sure to provide a specific reason. The exact phrase “It’s for research” is somewhat akin to a dog eating homework.
So there you have it. Five easy-to-remember getaways for the next time some guy on the bus wants your whole fan history, and you don’t have time for that. Any go-to excuses you like, readers?
(Images via SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment & Starship Entertainment)