38. Teaching English Overseas

I get it. You have an Arts degree. You don’t know what to do with your life; no particular career path in sight. You enjoy traveling and experiencing other cultures. You’re really into photography, architecture, music, geography, politics, history and ethnic cuisine. Yeah, you already told me you have an Arts degree.

In many ways, teaching English is like working in a restaurant. You can cling to whatever shreds of youth you have left. You can make decent cash without putting in too much of an effort. You can plug away, take time off, travel, not have a mortgage. Surround yourself with other people who are young or want to stay young. You can screw your co-workers without all that drama. It’s a good life.

This guy is a huge pimp in Korean nightclubs.

This guy is a huge pimp in Korean nightclubs.

I’m not against it. I’ve done the restaurant thing and more than once, I’ve considered teaching English abroad. I have family members and close friends who have done it or are currently doing it. Still, you have to admit it’s become a cliché.

I’ve decided there’s a three-year shelf life for teaching English overseas. You can’t really keep doing it forever. People your age are getting on with their lives back home. Unless you’ve reached true enlightenment (i.e. abandoned your native social pressure toward adult responsibility) you eventually have to hang it up, come home, attend to your ailing parents, get a real job, etc.

Becoming enlightened requires you to let go of your former self, to become a new, more confident person. There are a lot of “fresh starts” on the English teacher scene. Band, drama or Magic Card nerds starting anew on foreign soil. Misfits who dig Indie music (and wear skinny jeans, scarves, Chuck Taylors, etc.), who didn’t really fit in in high school, some of whom got bullied and are still bitter about it. Virgins.

Many of these people flourish overseas. Finally freed from the judgement of the “cool people” they grew up with, they can party their faces off and convince new groups of people they are actually cool.

Some of these awkward, newly-minted swans not only lose their virginity overseas, they actually start scoring quite a bit. This is especially true for guys. White guys, however homely they may appear, can become rockstars. I’ve seen the goofiest-looking geeks rocking primo arm candy in Japan. These guys are macking on girls way out of their leagues — girls of this caliber back home wouldn’t give them the time of day. (On the flip side, Japanese girls might be the female version of Hal from Shallow Hal. Where we see a hapless loser, they see Brad Pitt.)

Many of these nerd macks enjoy their newfound swagger so much, they never come home. That, or they lost their virginity to a pretty Japanese girl who cooked them breakfast the next morning and they thought, “I could get used to this,” in which case they married the girl and stayed in Japan forever. Their parents back home, instead of being dismayed that their son will indefinitely remain a million miles away, are ecstatic that a pretty girl actually gave the bastard the time of day. They sometimes worry the Japanese bride will figure out she’s been duped, but they quickly dismiss those suspicions. Their kid is happy.

Besides, nerdy white guys cannot resist Asian women. My buddy, who is a hard-core F.E.T. (Far East Talent) man*, often likened himself to John Lennon. Not that Yoko Ono was super hot or anything. Frankly she freaks me out, but anyway, you know what I mean (see SWPL.com or Yellow Fever). Woody Allen and Nicolas Cage are a couple other celebrity examples.

*He actually came up with the F.E.T. acronym, too. A real pioneer.

I feel like I’m getting way off topic, but am I, really? This is all part of the Teaching English ritual.

Unattractive girls do it, thinking they can get a fresh start, too. Not in Japan, honey. Your male counterparts are too busy having a heyday with skinny/tiny/ageless/pretty/subservient Japanese girls. Meanwhile, the Japanese guys don’t wanna mess with your man hands and cankles. (Heaven only knows why Japanese guys don’t  fall for less-attractive white gals the way their countrywomen do for the aforementioned nerds.) It’s frustrating as hell, I know, but don’t worry.

You’ll only have to deal with it for three years, tops.

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14 Responses to “38. Teaching English Overseas”

  1. mike says:

    You kinda took it easy on us. That guy in your pic looks like he’d be a pimp in any nightclub ’round the world. It gets a lot worse than that out here. The funny thing is.. a lot of good looking guys have trouble picking up in Asia and would have an easier time with easier girls back home. It’s the ugly guys that seem to score in bunches. Don’t forget too that a lot of Asian chicks with white guys are considered just as ugly in their country as the guys they’re with are considered back home, but we don’t see it. White guys dig the mysterious slanted eyes, a tad bit of meat (110 lbs), and don’t mind a slightly bigger nose. Asians hate that shit. Asian girls also dig ugly asian guys sometimes because they’re less likely to get played, more likely to have the power, and probably the guy’s got money. In the white guy’s case, a passport. Not to be negative, some Asian girls dig a white guy cuz he’s a way out of their sometimes oppressive cultures. No more fuss with overbearing mother-in-laws, etc. I have yet to meet a Korean that doesn’t cheat, and have been here 4 years.

  2. Lacey says:

    “Unattractive girls do it, thinking they can get a fresh start, too. Not in Japan, honey… Meanwhile, the Japanese guys don’t wanna mess with your man hands and cankles.”

    You are a douchebag… ;)
    But really.

  3. mike says:

    One mo thing… it’s actually not that fat white chicks can’t score in bunches out here…. it has more to do with white girls not digging asian guys because of their own stereotypes. Almost without exception, the white girls I know who’ve dated asian IN ASIA have been very happy, but the other 70% of white girls who refuse to give it a shot are more than happy to tell you how horrible Asian guys are in relationships. Ironic.

  4. Poon says:

    Thanks for the insights, Mike! I never thought about the Asian girl dating the white guy to escape her own oppressive culture, or dating the ugly Asian guy to have more control, but both cases totally make sense. I agree, there’s a lot of irony at play here.

  5. Gillian says:

    I think I know exactly who the ‘nerdy’ F.E.T acronym pioneer is… :)

    Greg, if you’re reading this…it’s almost bevie on the boat season…bonus, I’m in Esquimalt harbor now!

  6. anonymously handsome says:

    At the end of the day who wants to mess with man hands and cankles, regardless of ethnicity?

  7. Poon says:

    Exactly. That’s precisely the irony. Who wants to mess with computer nerds, regardless of ethnicity?

  8. khalilah says:

    wow you are an ass and ignorant at that. Maybe I can count your blog as readable when you can make a post without using a thousand generalizations. I know of some great looking women in Japan and who are you to judge? Why dont you show us your picture prick.

  9. khalilah says:

    “Unattractive girls think they can get a fresh start in Japan…” lmao… what a fucktard… Is there some unfortunate girl that you managed to kidnap to be your girlfriend?

  10. Poon says:

    In case you didn’t notice, Khalila, the entire blog is about generalizations. There isn’t a single post without them.

    Of course, there are exceptions to every statement, but stressing those just wouldn’t be as fun, now would it?

    You want my photo and my relationship status? If I didn’t know any better, I would interpret that as a come on.

    Thanks for reading and enjoy!

  11. lavidaloca says:

    english teachers are ugly, miserable drunks who happen to speak 2 words of english & capitalize on it.

  12. Johanna says:

    I haven’t had this much laugh in months. You’re a very funny guy ! I saw your blogs being discussed and linked on Travelblog.org (http://www.travelblog.org/Topics/26176-1.html). So you’re probably having quite a lot of traffic on your site lately. Who knows, it might make you famous and get a book/sitcom offer out of this. ;> ha ha !

    I noticed that you seem to have an aversion against Aussie guys. The ones you encounter whilst backpacking are probably the young and immature ones who are just out to have fun. I must admit that I found my Australian boyfriend (now husband) obnoxious at first when we were just dating back in college. To my family and friends dismay, I still married him. So yeah, I guess I dig fearlessness, boisterousness and cheese :). He has changed since then. He’s now domesticated, responsible, a good husband and a father.

    Looking forward to more of your posts !


  13. din says:

    You’re too kind. Three years?? 7 months, tops!! They start to become irrelevant by month 4.

  14. Micky says:

    You’re doing a great injustice to Indie Rock ‘n’ Rollers i’m afraid, I myself am one, am also a model and am most certainly not a virgin - (Beenou) - I’m sure you having spent time in the UK will appreciate that they are the cool kids (Apart from the geeky ones who dress poorly) around these parts rather than the ‘Hip Hop’ monsters who are ridiculed on a daily basis…… To be honest I’m actually offended… ;o) (Joke)

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