Ask MsCaroline

Yes, dear readers, it's that time again, when I, MsCaroline, answer your questions about expatriate life, blogging, homemaking, parenting, skin care, and social etiquette in Seoul, based on my  seven weeks of residence extensive experience here in the Land of the Morning Calm.  It's been a busy time here in Seoul, as we approach the end of  unceasing rain and gloom the summer,  prepare for our first party in the new apartment, and gratefully outfit Son #2 for a return to the classroom.  This week, our virtual question bag is just bulging.   Let's dive right in, shall we?

Question:  Why is everyone bowing to me? 
Answer:  Bowing is a sign of respect in many Asian cultures, and is used widely in Korea in many forms, from a deep formal bow to a simple nodding of the head.  It is one of MsCaroline's favorite aspects of Korean culture.  Contrary to what you may have thought, bowing in Korea is not limited just to social introductions, but is also widely used as a greeting, farewell, and general acknowledgement.  Whether you are entering the parking garage, walking into a department store, or just leaving the elevator, you can rest in the knowledge that a bow is always the correct response.  MsCaroline finds the practice charming and courteous and has embraced it with great enthusiasm, especially on days when she is having delusions of grandeur.

Question:  I  am considering trying a Korean product called "Foot Peeling" which promises to give me baby-soft feet.  Would you recommend it?
Answer:  MsCaroline, while a herself a fan of  both baby-soft feet and foot peeling, cautions potential peelers to carefully coordinate their social schedules before embarking on any peeling activities, especially when using such products for the first time. Keeping in mind that, in Korea, shoes are removed upon entering a home, it is prudent to give some thought to exactly when the peeling action will begin and end, especially before engaging in social activities in private residences.  Specifically, this means  you should not use Foot Peeling products just 6 days before hosting your first party in your new apartment, since the peeling action does not actually begin until day #5 and lasts for several days.   You will spend the days directly before the party frantically exfoliating, soaking, and scrubbing - in vain, I might add - to try and speed the peeling process so as to avoid  leaving a trail of sloughing skin in your wake as you welcome your guests and attend to your hostess duties in a culturally correct barefoot manner.  Do not count on support from your husband and sons in this matter, either; expect to be subjected to any number of snake, dandruff and  leprosy jokes as you dash through the apartment, vacuuming up the evidence of your flaky shame. Do not ask me how I know this.

Question:  I am a blogger who is interested in increasing my readership.  Can you give me suggestions for keywords and/or topics that will yield the largest possible number of search engine results leading new readers to my blog? 
Answer:  This question is difficult for MsCaroline to answer, as she blogs purely for the joy of writing and the desire to enrich the lives of others, never even thinking about how many people are reading her blog, although she assures you that more people than just her family are reading it sometimes.  Reducing the fine art of blogging to a simple numbers game through coarse attempts at increasing your readership can only cheapen the beauty and integrity of your blog.  However, if you are determined to pursue quantity over quality, it is recommended that you use the phrase "penis fish*." as often as possible.

Question:  I have been blogging for several months now and have begun receiving some strange advertisements in my inbox, most recently one in Russian, entitled, " видео порно онлайн."  What does this mean, and why is this happening?
Answer:  MsCaroline is sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it appears you have been attacked by a 'spambot:,' a harmless but annoying resident of the blogosphere.   The 'spambot' is an automated email program that combs the interwebs for blogs containing words that somehow relate to whatever the spambot's owners are trying to peddle, such as, say, diet products, travel services, or pharmaceuticals that claim to enhance tumescence.  The spambot then cleverly posts an advertisement in the blog's comments section, where the blog owner (and, hopefully, the blog readers) will see it and - just maybe - buy the product, based on what the spambot believes to be a shared interest in topics it has spotted in your blog.  In the case of the above spam, MsCaroline's knowledge of the Cyrillic alphabet (which is pretty much all she remembers from college Russian) has allowed her to slowly and painstakingly sound out the title of this comment, which transliterates to 'Video porno online.'  The spambot has no doubt targeted you as a likely consumer of its sleazy wares because of your repeated use of the phrase, 'penis fish.'

*MsCaroline knows this only because MrLogical's post "Betcha Won't Eat This", containing the words, 'penis fish' continues to get almost daily hits from Google search.  Not that MsCaroline pays attention to things like statistics and Google search hits, but it is obvious that she, too, could get lots more hits if she stooped to the gratuitous use of that sort of juvenelia.  


Karen said…
But are your feet baby soft yet???

I wish people bowed here as I seldom get to enjoy delusions of grandeur and all that bowing would almost certainly help me along. It is hard to get THAT deluded when endlessly waking up truculent teenagers and forcing them to engage in social activities separate from their computers. Very humbling!

Good luck at the party, bet it will be a blast! What happens when you talk about penis fish in the comment section?
MsCaroline said…
Karen, you are so right. Being bowed to all day is extremely good for the self-esteem. No wonder all the Koreans seem to be peaceful and happy. No advice from this corner on the teens, mine are similarly truculent.
Re: feet, I have no idea, since I am still in that disgusting peeling phase. Final report pending.
Re: pfish: No idea, but at least the spam will be for me and not MrLogical bwahahahahaha..
Barbara said…
I wrote a post about laundry in which I talked about how it's not acceptable to have the laundry lady wash your panties. I titled it "Washing my Panties in a Bucket," and it has brought in Google searches for strange stuff like "washing her panties." I previously had no idea that there was some non-laundry aspect to this!
MsCaroline said…
Amazing the number of weirdos out there, isn't it? I simply can't envision who the people are who google some of the terms that end up leading them to my blog, especially after this last one. I'll bet the panty-googlers were some interesting folks...
Unknown said…
Love this post for both it's style & content. Hilarious, expert advice. Thanks!
MsCaroline said…
ianandebe -thanks for your kind comments and for visiting. Lucky you, living in Berlin - What a fun place in which to be 27ish!

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