The car’s interior was a landscape of black leather and scarlet stitch work. The ceiling was upholstered in red and black diamonds, with a cut-glass disco ball where the dome light should have been. It was like a prop for a reality TV spinoff: Pimp My Hearse. “Erin,” the man beside me whispered huskily, his breath warm on my neck, “What’s your blood type?”
“My blood type?” I wanted to look him in the eye, but couldn’t move. “Um, well, I’m A negative. I think.”
“Ah.” He nodded, as though this answer had great significance. He was leaning in close—closer as the car whipped around a sharp corner and swung him into me. “Oh, I am so sorry,” he apologized hurriedly, giving an anxious shoulder-up bow and trying to put some space between us. He had no place to go; there were three of us wedged in a backseat built for two. The poor guy was pinned against the window and I was all but on his lap. It was a much closer squeeze than Korean social standards generally allowed, but some leeway was given because we were all married and wanted to get home.
“No problem,” I hissed back. Carpool protocol required us to whisper so as not to disturb the other teachers' Angry Bird games. It also prevented me from scootching any farther away for fear of getting fresh with the third grade teacher on my other side and probably throwing him off his game. This was less than ideal. “So, why are we talking about my blood?”
It turned out his interest had less to do with vampirism than with psychology. In Korea, your blood type is the equivalent of your zodiac sign. It’s a personality indicator. And it’s a little weird.
Korean tradition says there are four main personalities, determined by blood type. Type As, like me, are supposedly stick-up-their-butt perfectionists. We follow all the rules all the time. (This is eerily similar to the Type A personality stereotype in America, the eerie part being that the two are unrelated.) We’re patient and conscientious, but also sensitive and a slightly indecisive. Sometimes. Or always. Maybe.
If you have Type B blood, you’re a creative, exuberant rule-breaker (again with the eerie correlation to western personality archetypes). Bs are also inexplicably irresistible to the opposite sex, a trait they are generally thought to exploit. Os are super confident, athletic, and natural leaders. Type AB, as my co-teacher put it, “is either a genius or an idiot,” which seems like a high expectation to live up to either way.
The long and short of it is that a Korean asking your blood type is as threatening as a bleach-blonde hippy asking your star sign. Ok, so possibly very threatening, depending on your comfort level. But it doesn’t mean they’re vampires or anything. Actually, they don’t seem to have vampires here. Except on TV.
There are toilet ghosts, though.
Want to read more about the traits for your blood type and how it may affect future relationships? Here’s an article on the subject from the BBC.
And another kindly provided by the Korean Tourism Organization. (I’m delighted to report that Sam and I have the most compatible arrangement possible.)
Oh wait, you actually wanted to know about toilet ghosts? My bad. Here’s a video that will tell you a little bit more. It also discusses that more feared and infamous of all Korean specters, the ghost of an unmarried woman!