Both my mom and dad would tell me this silly Korean expression, that I truly believed as a child, whenever I would cry and then start laughing. They used this phrase to make me laugh harder after crying, most likely to help me feel better or to just poke fun at me. They used to say it in a sing-song manner, implying that this is something that people would say to each other as a joke. This is a saying that my parents’ friends used to say to each other as kids.
울다가 웃음은 똥꼬에 털난다!
Ool da ga oos uhm myun ddong go aye tul naan dah!
Cry and then laugh then butthole hair grow!
“If you cry and laugh, your butthole will grow hair!”
This little saying is probably not true, but I think that it can be interpreted as more than a joke. Even though this phrase is usually told in a playful way, it has some serious implications in its underlying meaning. It seems like a light-hearted way of telling someone that they should not be so fickle about how they feel. Crying and laughing can be considered opposites to each other, as crying implies sadness, while laughing implies happiness. So at the most basic level, it does not really make sense for those reactions to occur one after the other. Growing butthole hair could be viewed as a “punishment” or a repercussion to having almost “bipolar” reactions.