Saturday, October 24, 2009

Who Wants to be an Ajumma?

Here's the question:

Halloween is next week and I want to be an ajuma. Any ideas on how to
make me the world's greatest ajuma?

Aside from snark in me that wants to chide you for not being very original, morphing into the world's greatest ajumma takes years and years of line-cutting and subway-pushing, but there a few accessories that can help.

To start with, I assume you're talking about a 할머니/아줌마 hybrid. These are usually the one's who people dress up as because they are typically the funniest.


If you don't have a perm, then you're not an ajumma. It's just that simple. There are many different styles you can sport though, so I would recommend heading to the local 주부 hairstylist in your neighborhood and start scoping out what works for you. The curlier or more dyed the better, but remember, there are varying degrees and forms of the ajumma. Your perm says a lot about you.

Eyebrow Tattoos

This one is simple. Even though the lady in the photo above didn't go for it, you should. All ajumma's must have temporary eyebrow tattoos. It'll run you about 80,000 won, but it lasts for a year.

Tacky Shirts

Take another look at that hybrid ajumma. That is pure ajumma goodness right there. She's got the furrow, the umbrella, the electric-looking collared shirt, the perm and the eyebrow tattoos. She's amazing. Finding the perfect shirt is very important. Flowers, bright stripes or animal-prints are a must and if you combine the shirt with baggy, black or purple pants with an elastic waistband, well, you might as well just move to the front of the line. You've earned it.

Active Ajumma

Have you ever seen an ajumma just resting? Doubtful and if you did, they were likely hitting their backs, stretching or getting ready for a fully decked-out hike around Seoul Grand Park. But most of the time, they're carrying bags of fruit or getting ready to dig around in some roadside soil looking for roots, but they're always on the move. The point is that you need to look busy. I would recommend buying some gloves, carrying heavy bags or maybe you could even prepare some vegetables just in case you find a good place to setup on the sidewalk.

Protection from the sun/wind/air

The hybrid ajumma hates the elements. She doesn't like earth, wind or fire, so she protects herself. She might have her entire head and face covered or she simply might be going for the sun visor.
The rest of it is up to you. I would suggest that you should head to Dongdaemun. There's a lot of great finds out there. For ajumma behavior, I think a visit to the authority on ajumma-related subjects would be worth it.

Any readers want to add something?


Roboseyo said...

The Mountain Ajumma can be seen on trails and paths, particularly around northern Seoul. She is distinguished by neon socks that go up to her upper calves, and a walking stick.

Practice speaking in a low voice. Even if you're male, and practice making overly personal comments to the people around you, like "Why aren't you married?" and "Why don't you eat better" and "Your skin is so dark -- you look like a farmer's wife!" and "When will you end your family's shame and get a more prestigious job?" as well as complaining about either the price, or quality, or both, of everything around you. Even free stuff and gifts.

Chris in South Korea said...

Don't forget about the one with the humped back - years of walking with bad posture and too much stuff on your back will do that.

Just don't be like that to the other foreigners at your local party...

The Expat said...

Or the blanket wrapped around your mid-section with a baby in it.

ZenKimchi said...

Halloween 2005. Done.

Brian said...

This one does get done to death every year.

I've got a great idea for a costume, but I won't tell you until November 1st because I don't want anybody stealing it.

Anonymous said...

아줌마s also go overboard with the sequins and diamonties, don't forget ;)

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

What you really need are detachable sleeves ajumas wear with Tshirts. Bright Flower patterns would be a good choice.

Don't forget the sun Visor... with blings on it.

MATINA said...

I was diagnosed as HEPATITIS B carrier in 2013 with fibrosis of the
liver already present. I started on antiviral medications which
reduced the viral load initially. After a couple of years the virus
became resistant. I started on HEPATITIS B Herbal treatment from
ULTIMATE LIFE CLINIC ( in March, 2020. Their
treatment totally reversed the virus. I did another blood test after
the 6 months long treatment and tested negative to the virus. Amazing
treatment! This treatment is a breakthrough for all HBV carriers.