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Why do I love Park Seo-joon?: A “scientific” study

Observation: Alexa play “Your Type” by Carly Rae Jepsen

When I was under 20, I had a type: the too-mysterious, lanky, confusing (soft? sensitive?), weirdly reserved artist in wire-rimmed glasses and Chucks with an Instagram account as vague as his personality—probably everything Park Seo Joon wasn’t. Bonus traits: He doesn’t know how to smile. He has self-pity tendencies.

“Your soft boy radar is strong,” my friends often teased me, realizing a similar pattern in almost all the guys I liked (and continued to attract). Honestly, it wasn’t my intention to succumb to the toxicity of these hard-to-decipher creatures. Heck, I spotted “Tom” as the villain of “500 Days of Summer” early on. But whatever the reason my 17-year-old self got into that dream, believe, Soft Boi philosophy, I can’t blame her.

Meanwhile, another group of friends would tease me about my unintentional fixation on bad boys—which makes sense because I always root for the scruffy and boastful villain-looking lead who bulldozes your peace and thinks TikTok is uncool. They’re the Dao Ming Sis, Patrick Veronas and Landon Carters, which explains how invested I am in push-push meet-cutes. And yes, I did have a short-lived crush on a “bad boy” in high school. As expected, it did no good.

 

Question: Why do I love Park Seo Joon?

I mean, really—how did this happen?

Just like you, I had my fair share of crushes this quarantine. But what rules my phone’s lock screen and social media algorithm is 31-year-old Park Seo Joon. 

See, it’s not my first time to meet Park Seo Joon. I’ve been aware of his existence years back but didn’t really detect his charm. I passively watched “What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim?” before with my aunt and checked out the teasers of “Fight For My Way.” But again, he was just a blip in history. 

 

Research: Going ✈️  no sleep

The indifference changed when quarantine started. I decided to hop in the rabbit hole of KDrama again—like a 13-year-old who has too much time in her hands. At present, I don’t really have that much time. But I found myself losing hours of sleep trying to watch Park Seo Joon’s series “properly.” Since then, I wanted to believe that time is relative.

The first was “She Was Pretty,” which I actually watched not because of him but for the plot. It’s about two childhood friends who meet again after a couple of years in a magazine company. The catch? The guy is unaware he’s working with his friend. Blame the drastic change on their looks.

Not long after, I dedicated the rest of my late nights to “What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim?,” “Fight for My Way” and “Itaewon Class.” As the metaphorical leader of the Short Attention Span Social Social Club, this is absolutely unbelievable. 

From there, I started locking my eyes on Park Seo Joon. (Not two-way, okay. Of course I’m the only one looking.)

Hypothesis: Um, taste unlocked?

If Park Seo Joon isn’t my type, then why is he in my search engine?

My sudden interest in the Park Seo Joon blueprint is probably just rooted in the dynamics of this quarantine. With the deafening isolation, we’ve probably unlocked parts of ourselves we often overlooked pre-pandemic.

In my case, I’ve finally pursued cooking seriously, redecorated my room, and even applied better makeup on my face. All of these were long shelved wishes I only got the chance to work on now.

So is it the same with my taste? Am I just bored—romance-wise—so it was easy to develop a crush on the lead of “She Was Pretty,” the first KDrama I’ve watched after a long while?

 

Experiment: (I guess?)

Watch other KDramas with leads that fall under my previous types. 

Result: It was fine. I went back to “Fight For My Way” shortly after, and started “Hwarang.” Park Seo Joon’s hair was pretty cool there. 

Watch other shows with genres I haven’t explored in a while. 

Result: No new crushes recorded.

Watch other non-KDrama shows with my previous types.

Result: I felt the same feeling when I was a teenager. But I’m 22 now, so in a way, it’s also different.

Unfollow Park Seo Joon on Instagram for a week. 

Result: I couldn’t even press the freaking button. 

Try to have a crush on real people. As my cousin says, “Get a damn tangible crush.”

Result: Well, Park Seo Joon is still my wallpaper.

Data Analysis: (I guess? Part 2)

The experiments, frankly, were pretty funny. If anything, they helped me accept what I need to accept: Park Seo Joon is a real crush. I shouldn’t keep my track record of past types get in the way. Like any other feeling, it’s all fleeting—so why not welcome a new source of serotonin?

Park Seo Joon is an independent, muscular, dog-loving guy who enjoys TikTok videos and goofing around. I may not know him personally, but he has that “what you see is what you get” vibe that leaves unnecessary mystery at the door. He’s not scruffy or afraid to be vulnerable. In his video, he won’t leave you headaches or heartaches. He’ll supply warm feelings and genuine laughter. Above all, he smiles. A lot. (And yes, I’m talking about his roles, too.) 

These are everything out of the Soft Boi and the Bad Boy archetypes. Wire-rimmed glasses and Chucks are okay. But Park Seo Joon’s wardrobe rotation of coats and polos is fire.

Conclusion: Park Seo Joon. That’s it. That’s the tweet. 

Unlike science, love really can’t be analyzed, so pardon the lack of figures in this essay. But my takeaway? Just like my crush on Park Seo Joon, my interests change as I grow. 

Maybe I no longer want the blueprint who gives mixed signals or drains the hell out of me or keeps myself from growing. Maybe Park Seo Joon himself—and his portrayals—taught me that there’s a more fitting type for my 22-year-old self. There’s no such thing as an OG type, anyway.

 

Report: Changing your type is normal.

…even if you’re fresh out of the bad boy saga—or the dream, believe, survive, Soft Boi philosophy. Now, give me all the Park Seo Joon fancams. 

 

Read more:

How my thirst for Howl cured me of my softboi fixation

‘Itaewon Class’ is the underrated, diverse K-drama you’re looking for

5 K-Dramas that are more than just love stories

 

Art by Yel Sayo

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