She’s got her shoes on backwards. – Korean Expression

“She’s got her shoes on backwards.”


My informant first heard this saying in her hometown, the urban city of Pusan, Korea.  It is duty in Korea for males to devote two years of their lives to army training.  The training is not optional but mandatory.  As soon as they were called, the boys would have to leave everything they were doing to move into a military base for two years.  “She’s got her shoes on backwards” is a common saying when a young man returns from his army training.  The saying means that his girlfriend before the army training would have married someone else by the time he returns.  She would did not faithfully wait for him.  Gwi heard this saying when she was in high school and her two older brothers were leaving for army training, and their mother warned them that by the time they return they should not expect their girlfriends to be patiently waiting because they would most likely “have their shoes on backwards.”

Apparently it happened quite frequently in Korea that a girl would not wait for her man to return from training, especially if she were faced with proposals from other men.  I can see how the saying originated.  When you have your shoes on backwards, your shoes point to a different direction.  Instead of walking to her man, she would walk the other direction to a different man.  If she has her shoes on backwards, she would walk away from her man.