An Ahjussi Engineer’s Sarang-hae

By @tiger457_stv from Soompi

For many, the word Saranghae is spoken as a show of affection, of strong feeling, of even great infatuation. However, to many the consequence of that word is not well thought out when it is spoken.

To someone older, wiser, an Ajusshi one may say, the word Saranghae does not only mean strong feeling, strong desire to be with some one, a strong… love, one may say. It also means commitment to that loved one, duty toward that some one, a strong chemical bond with that some one.

For an Ajusshi Engineer of principle, to speak the word Saranghae, he must believe that these conditions are met:

1)  He must truly feel love for the other person… not lust, not middle life crisis infatuation, but some thing that is likely to endure.

2)  How he feels must be reciprocated by the other person, especially if she is young and vulnerable with possible hero worship, with infatuation, being grateful for what he has done for her.  What does the statement “You are the first person who did not run away after 4 meals…” sounds like to Soompi Members?

Dong Hoon chokes up over his phone conversation with Ji An.

Is that a declaration of love, or of gratitude? This reader is not sure!

3)  Can he provide for her, protect her, keep her safe from the harms of the world??… This is the old-fashioned duty that a Man is the food provider, the one who protects the family, keeping it safe….The Norms of Mankind during 10s of thousands of years!…
until the 21st century, where because of the new economic dynamics… women have gained economic freedom, and many times become more successful than their men (lawyer is more successful than her spouse), and this old-fashioned ideal has gone away with the wind.

But Ajusshi Engineer is a dinosaur, living in this 21st century…. He probably believes (like this reader) that Love means Protection/Provision/Performance.
Soompi Members remember how he did the house chores for his wife so that in her busy schedule (as if he is not busy himself), does not have to deal with these mundane matters…. Powerless he is to provide for her economically (she makes more than him)…. this is his way of providing for her… the pathetic bower bird carrying a useless twig to his mate….!  The modern cave man reduced to cleaning the household for his successful spousal food provider!

Dong Hoon doing household chores

In case of the vulnerable Ji-an, who is young, destitute, with so many issues of the world on her thin shoulders, the Don Quijote in rusty armor Engineer must fight the modern windmill: The police, the corporation and the justice system on behalf of his damsel in distress!… the modern equivalent of a fairy tale!

From episodes 1 until 15, there has been a gradual development of affection between these 2 dispirited souls which slowly found each other, coalesce and grow under the surface ever stronger, to the point where they start to erupt from the cold surface, the facade that both try to keep.

In episode 14, they sincerely said farewell, Ji-an realizing that it would be for the best of the other… but they failed!  During that time, the agony that is expressed on the hunched shoulder of Engineer, with his heavy sighs speak plainly…. he can’t go on without her (presence). Ditto for her.

What kind of goodbye has so much pain and longing?

But in romance, he has failed… every day staring at his failure, when he goes home.

Where’s the love?

He won’t say saranghae, until he is truly able to freely say saranghae!

Episode 16 will tell us if he could??? Probably a time jump will be needed to resolve all this mess!!!


3 thoughts on “An Ahjussi Engineer’s Sarang-hae”

  1. PDH doesn’t need to say the magic word saranghae. The pair speak in codes, like many old couples do…. (Well, I have not said the magic word “love” for some 25 years now. Every time I tell my wife “I hate you to (till) death”, she simply replies “I love you to (till) death” or “I know you love me to (till) death”.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That reminds me of the story of the old couple where the wife says, “You never tell me you love me anymore,” and the husband says, “I told you once at our wedding. If anything changes, I’ll let you know.” Haha.


      1. That’s right old fashioned guys uncomfortable to express certain feelings (at least in certain cultures/societies). The old story highlights that well. However, it sounds like the wife does not understand (decode) the husband well enough.

        In contrast, when PDH speaks in codes, apparently LJA understands his confessions perfectly (and “answers with confessions”). The uncertainty is not so much about understanding his feelings/love, but rather knowing if he has made up his mind (ie finally in a position to move forward).

        Liked by 1 person

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