By: Sarah Chrzastowski
I just finished watching You’re Beautiful, and I don’t think I’ve been so invested in a love story since Rose told Jack she’d never let go. Or since City Hunter, the choice is yours. It’s not like Tae Kyung and Mi Nyeo’s love story was ultra-epic. Oftentimes their relationship took a backseat to other plotlines, like Mi Nam’s secret gender-bending role in A.N.Jell, the fact that she was on the path to nunhood, various parental mysteries, etc. Still, I loved, loved Tae Kyung and Mi Nyeo together. At first I couldn’t figure out what made these two stand out to me as such a great couple. Perhaps it was Tae Kyung’s Mr. Darcy vibe, or the way Mi Nyeo made that cute piggy face in a useless effort to curb her crush. Then it hit me - The reason I was so convinced Tae Kyung and Mi Nyeo were soulmates?
He held her hand.
To be clear, I’m not talking about holding hands and strolling through the park. I’m talking about Tae Kyung taking Mi Nyeo by the hand in situations that would usually elicit a wrist or arm grab. Typically in kdramas, a man will grab a woman by her wrist, either to stop her or drag her off somewhere. Even if he’s dragging her to a secluded place to kiss her or confess his love - it’s always by the wrist. In fact, the wrist grab is so prevalent, when I first saw Tae Kyung take Mi Nyeo by the hand, my heart stopped and I squealed like a love struck piggy rabbit.
I’m kind of bothered by the wrist-grabbing trend. When I see a man grab his love interest by the wrist and drag her off somewhere - usually without saying a word about where they’re going or why - I can’t help thinking of a caveman dragging a cavewoman by her hair. It also makes the relationship between the grabber and the grabee very impersonal and distant, which is odd, since usually those in wrist-grabbing situations share romantic feelings. Seems to me the wrist grab is a good way to make someone stop liking you.
Because of the lack of hand-to-hand contact in most dramas, when Tae Kyung held Mi Nyeo’s hand, I immediately swooned. Sure, we see couples in dramas hold hands all the time, but usually it’s after they’ve confessed their love and are an official couple. Tae Kyung holds Mi Nyeo’s hand before they’re a couple, and even before he admits he likes her. Who’d have thought I’d find hand holding a heart-breakingly romantic gesture? But I guess that’s what dramas do to you. Seeing even the slightest physical contact between the two leads makes your heart go aflutter. At the beginning of the show I couldn’t see how those two crazy kids would end up together. But with a simple gesture Tae Kyung went from a mean, poorly coifed grumpus to the guy who made my (and Mi Nyeo’s) heart grow three sizes too big.
In fact, Tae Kyung’s affectionate gestures made Mi Nyeo break up with her other boyfriend, God. Since Mi Nyeo was a nun in training before joining A.N.Jell, she was on the path to be married to The Big Guy Upstairs. She leaves the convent not only to help her twin brother, but also to discover her true path in life, a la Maria in The Sound of Music. In fact, there are a lot of similarities between You’re Beautiful and The Sound of Music, but that’s another post for another time. Let me just say that if Maria took the plunge and held Captain Von Trapp’s hand he would have dumped the Baroness in a hot second.
It takes a real, true love to get a wannabe nun to leave her calling for a guy. I’m convinced hand holding is what motivated Mi Nyeo to leave the convent for Tae Kyung’s lovin’ arms (and hands). Sure, there were other factors that contributed to their coupling up, but Tae Kyung was the only guy that broke the mold and held Mi Nyeo’s hand. His limited use of the wrist-grab set him apart from other guys, and cemented his role as the only object of Mi Nyeo’s affections.
Let this be a lesson to all kdrama hunks out there: You can grab a girl’s wrist, and she may love you eventually… Or you can hold her hand and make her fall head over heels immediately, and make all the ladies watching (like me) fall for you too.
Sarah Chrzastowski writes about the things she loves at Itswhatyouneed, and is @sarchrz on Twitter.