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Find Yourself, Part 2: A Thesis on Themes

There’s still so much left to unpack in this show, but since we didn’t want to kill our readers, we took a snack break and now we’re back to dissect its themes and take a closer look at a few key scenes/plotlines that we really wanted to nom over.

It turned out to be a greater undertaking than we anticipated—we always joke “I could write a thesis on this show!” so…we kinda did. This is our thesis.

This post is definitely brim-full of spoilers! You can navigate around this post by just clicking on the titles in the contents table below. And just in case you missed it, don’t forget to go check out Find Yourself, Part 1: A Postmortem. We hope you enjoy reading these as much as we enjoyed writing them!

Love,

Saya, missvictrix, and Paroma

P.S. Make sure to take snack breaks of your own!

Contents

(Click on the titles to get to the segments)

I. Blind dates and expiry dates

II. Skinship, waist-massages, and kisses

III. Secret relationship

IV. The breakup, or: Luming’s scheme comes to fruition

V. Sugar Mama and the adjectives

VI. Bedrooms, privacy, and personal space

VII. Happy birthday to…WHO!?

VIII. Your romance is problematic

IX. Style and styling

X. Girlfriends over scumbags

XI. Office life and other lovelines

XII. The universally relatable and the culturally specific

XIII. Conclusion

I. Blind dates and expiry dates

Saya: What I find refreshing about Fanxing is how she’s totally fine with being single. Because she’s a certain age, she’s expected to trade in her personal hopes for upholding some invisible societal standard, and everyone and their aunt tells her to settle. But she offers her own bright-eyed response to that. “I want more than just a match. I need to like him.” I have literally said the same things, word for word, as Fanxing. Doesn’t get realer than that.

I also love her defence of the blind date. Usually, noona heroines hate them, but even though she clearly meets a lot of duds, Fanxing remains endearingly uncynical. Who’s to say she won’t meet a person she likes via a blind date? It’s only a mechanism, after all.

missvictrix: She’s also a cool #girlboss which I think helps colour in the fact that she’s an awesome, capable woman who doesn’t need to get married to be complete. But that being said, her office is filled with a) young women yearning for love and marriage and b) young men that need marrying. But Fanxing is the “mother” of the office almost—as the executive in charge of the staff, and the newbie interns too. She’s looked up to with a sort of reverence, but she’s also side-eyed a bit for being so very single.

Saya: She’s the woman that everyone thinks is amazing but nobody wants to actually be because her prospects are dead at the ancient age of 32.

missvictrix: I’m not sure if I’ll be able to explain it properly, but even though Find Yourself did look at the quick, get married! pressure, I didn’t find it upsetting to watch, if that makes sense? Sometimes in noona romances or stories about “older” single women, I find myself feeling dragged down after watching. Like Oh My Baby, for instance. For all the silly, the lightness, and awesome Jang Nara-ness, that drama’s first few episodes left me feeling upset. In contrast, Find Yourself left me feeling joyful (even if we do get a close look at what it’s like to be a woman in your 30s).

Saya: YESSS to this show not making it HURT. I think this is because Fanxing is essentially a joyful character, not a broken or beaten-down one. But I also love that the show takes some really good time to examine the fact that with age—shock!—comes ageing, and the struggle to accept a new type of “first times”—the first white hair, the first age spot, the first time you pull something in your back and can’t get up for a week. I mean, awkward waist massages aside, there’s an emotional weight to all of these things. I just can’t get over how fantastically authentic this show is on all points.

missvictrix: It really is! Oh, and yeah, even right down to the thrown out back (I’ve been there!). Let’s move onto that, shall we?

Saya: Sorry, can’t move, I think I hurt my back…

II. Skinship, waist-massages, and kisses

missvictrix: Yuan Song is working as an intern in Fanxing’s office when we first meet them, and we’re told they’re somewhat at odds. But when Fanxing sprains her back and little Yuan Song helps her out with a waist massage…things get interesting.

Saya: Oh that waist massage, haha! Cracks me up! It’s SO AWKWARD, but the seriousness with which it happens is so funny!

missvictrix: Yeah, I cracked up too! It was so inappropriate, and yet, somehow worked? It’s funny how that moment of touching was the catalyst for their romance. In fact, I kind of found that the skinship was super strong in parts of the drama, and yet missing at other points.

Saya: One of my very few complaints about this show is that there overall is not nearly enough quality Fanxing-Yuan Song time, and I sorely could have done with more. I mean, yes, I am thrilled to death that they are FINALLY together…but don’t serve me dessert and kick me out the door! Give me time to eat it! After everything I went through to see them together, I want to see them together. That running hug at the end x 10,000.

missvictrix: Also more kisses would have been nice. I felt a little robbed at certain points.

Saya: Hahaha, although that reminds me that I HATED the elevator kiss, that felt way too Secret Garden, blech. He literally pinned her to the wall and she was struggling O_O …I wiped it from my memory before but now I have remembered it and I am unhappy.

missvictrix: Wait, when did that happen? I’m drawing a blank.

Saya: You know when she leaves his apartment when Minmin and friends come and mistake her for the maid? She hurries out and he follows and then he kisses her in the lift? Super aggressive and frankly disturbing, though thankfully not a pattern, just a one-off. It was one of the only things that went totally unaddressed, which makes me think this is still an overall blindspot, culturally speaking, as it is in the majority of K-dramas. Also! How he joked right at the beginning that he would report her for sexual harassment if she turned him down? Not. Funny.

But to not end on a sour note here, the thing that guts me most is the way he looks at her. Luming got nothin’ on that.