IN light of the international love-in at the Winter Olympics this month, Valentine’s Day couldn’t have come at a better time.
The people of Pyeongchang are all across the annual day of romance, which incidentally started in England before spreading throughout the English-speaking world in the 19th century and elsewhere later.
The South Koreans and Chinese spend more on Valentine's Day gifts than all East Asian nations.
In South Korea, women give chocolate to men on February 14.
Men, meanwhile, give non-chocolate confectionery to women on March 14 (White Day).
On April 14 (Black Day), those who did not get anything on February 14 or March go to a Chinese-Korean restaurant to eat black noodles (Jajangmyeon) and lament their “single life”. I’m not sure how I feel about this but, heck, it’s a night out with noodles!
The 14th of every month marks a love-related day in Korea.
From January to December they celebrate Candle Day, Valentine's Day, White Day, Black Day, Rose Day, Kiss Day, Silver Day, Green Day, Music Day, Wine Day, Movie Day and Hug Day. Seriously, who couldn’t do with a Hug Day?
With this in mind here’s how competitors in the Winter Olympic 15 official sports might celebrate Valentine’s Day in South Korea on Wednesday:
Alpine skiing or downhill skiing: These players rely on a lift to the top before they head express down to the restaurants. How is this not a perfect date?!
Biathlon: Combining cross-country skiing and rifle shooting, the Scandinavian tradition looks to the Norse god Ullr as both ski god and hunting god. Should your Tinder match be a biathlon babe, may the gods be with you!
Bobsleigh: Two’s company, three’s a crowd but a foursome is awesome.
Cross-country skiing: No lifts here; you will need to make your own way to the back country to meet your Valentine.
Curling: A sport of teamwork, strategy and friction. The only thing that may top curling for romance is spooning!
Figure skating: Spins, jumps, moves in the field, lifts, throw jumps, death spirals. It’s not necessarily everyone’s idea of a dazzling date night!
Freestyle skiing: Love is in the air for these experts. They rarely fall but, when they do, they fall hard.
Ice hockey: Fast-paced and physical with sticks to boot.
Luge: Face up and feet first, lugers go about everything at haste.
Nordic combined: While women will be allowed to compete in the Winter Olympics from 2022, Nordic combined is the most un-Nordic and least combined thing going around.
Short track speed skating: Short track speed skaters prefer speed dating.
Skeleton: This is essentially a singles club.
Ski jumping: While ski jumpers may like to launch into a date, there are always obstacles in their way.
Snowboarding: Often, but not always, too cool for romance school.
Speed skating: Refer to “short track speed skating”.
Four new disciplines were added to the Winter Olympics existing sports this year including big air snowboarding, mixed doubles curling, mass start speed skating and mixed team alpine skiing.
The possibilities are endless. However, if it all goes pear-shaped, there is always noodle night coming up in mid-April.