In Seoul, there are about as many bars and clubs as there are light bulbs in the neon signs that advertise them, but only a handful of go-to places that are really worth being scene at (get it? It’s a totally unoriginal pun). As long as you’re at one of these joints (think Heaven, and Mass when its circa 2009), celebrity sighting isn’t too difficult to do.
My girl Kristine introduces me to DJ Shine, formerly of acclaimed Korean hip-hop duo Drunken Tiger, who she’s hit on and danced with at a club before. (To her credit, she was blissfully unaware at the time of his prior fame.) This particular night two years ago, we’re at Eden, one of the hottest clubs in Seoul, a cigarette smoke-filled inferno stashed away in the basement of the Kangnam Ritz-Carlton.
It’s a bit evident Kristine doesn’t particularly care to associate too much with DJ Shine. Myself I prefer Tiger JK’s voice in rap, but being a big fan of “Because I’m a Man” and admittedly (hey, I’m not ashamed!) a tad star-struck, I decide to bask in the attention.
To my relief, DJ Shine is American, meaning I don’t have to slop along in my Korean, which turns absolutely unintelligible after far fewer drinks than it takes to actually bring this baby down. It’s embarrassing. Anyway.
So we’re talking, and the conversation is pleasant enough. We reminisce about driving around LA and the chill places to go to in NYC and how much we both miss not being in Seoul. Then out of the blue:
“So, when are we gonna fuck?”
I choke on my drink. “Excuse me?” I wheeze.
“Come on, sex. It’ll be great.”
“Ah, sorry, I’m not that easy,” I say, turning to leave.
“Okay, let’s do something else first then,” he says, grasping. “What you wanna do?”
“Um, I don’t know. Karaoke?” I say flippantly, realizing that my phone is ringing. “Hello?” I answer emphatically, hoping to deter my company at the moment from making any more passes at me.
“Hey, having fun?” It’s the boyfriend.
I’m about to respond, but to my chagrin, DJ Shine keeps blabbing on. “Yeah okay, let’s go karaoke and get drunk, then we can grab a room and have sex.”
“Who the hell is that?” the boyfriend demands. Crap.
“I’ll call you back,” I say and hang up. Turning to DJ Shine, I say, “Look, your plan sounds fun and all, but I think I’m cool for now.”
Luckily he doesn’t make a big deal of it. “Aite, aite, lemme at least get your number.”
“How bout I get yours?” I go, then scamper off to find Kristine as soon as I do. When I finally find her 10 minutes later, it’s unfortunately at the bar near where DJ shine is drinking with his posse. When he catches sight of me, he starts humping the air.
Five months later, I’m back at Eden drinking the most terrible vodka cranberry I’ve ever tasted with Jay when I realize DJ Shine is standing right next to us, alone and drunk. I point him out to Jay, who excitedly shakes hands with him and says what a fan he (used to be) is. DJ Shine obliges—more pleasantly as I would have imagined—but when his glazed gaze brushes past me, there’s no recognition there.