I recently came across the seedy Korean manga SStudy by Husky-Nom and Edge-Edge, which has been translated as Sunggi’s Study Group. I quite enjoyed it. During its three seasons, which total 77 installments, we follow a group of young Korean men and women whose life is in limbo. They have finished high school, and their goal is to enter the public service. For that purpose, they have enrolled in an academy that prepares them for the entrance exam. That something is off becomes clear quite quickly, as the reader is introduced to a bunch of busty chicks with a rather pronounced appetite for cock. Yet, if you read “SStudy” as the equivalent of pornography, which is a perfectly fine way of consuming it, you may miss out on the fact that it captures one of the biggest dangers of the adolescent male: getting led astray by women. I will talk a bit about “SStudy” itself before I move on to drawing parallels to the real world.
The title “SStudy” is a contraction. Probably, the intended title “Sex Study” was too explicit for the publisher. The story is about a bunch of very attractive young men and women who put up a front of wanting to prepare for the entrance exam for the Korean public sector. Yet, none of them takes studying seriously. Indeed, the leader of that group is a well-off handsome devil in his early 30s who uses his influence to bang one hot chick after another. The protagonist at first joins that group to study. Yet, on their first meeting, there is plenty of alcohol involved, and no studying at all. Alcohol leads to sex, and before you know it, you accompany the protagonist on an entertaining and very explicit wild romp. On that note, the quality of the drawings is decent, but it is, in my opinion, not good enough to jerk off to, if that is what’s on your mind.
While there is plenty of titillating content, the protagonist is ultimately only wasting his time, and only slowly getting aware of it. (I somehow felt reminded of the protagonist of the book series Sleazy Stories.) What I particularly enjoyed is that in between all those pornographic scenes quite a few mature topics were covered. Indeed, SStudy serves as a critique of hookup-culture. For instance, the protagonist is unable to make the relationship with his girlfriend work because they both not only want to keep their options open. They actively cheat on each other. What I found very well-made was that the reader gets only vague hints that the girl is cheating, too. In the end, it is revealed that she has been dating her ex-boyfriend behind the protagonist’s back, while the cheating of the protagonist was only no-strings-attached sex. Consequently, the actions of that woman are shown as worse as she actively leads on her supposed boyfriend when she is already steadily dating a new guy.
At first the protagonist really wants to study. He also faces pressure from both his family and his friends to make something of himself. Yet, he is an unemployed loser who just does not want to grow up. There is a hint at a happy ending in the last installment, but it could go either way. In the end, the protagonist goes to a different academy, spends another year preparing, and finally makes it through the initial hurdles. He also bumps into the woman he has had the biggest crush on. Still, the author is seeding doubts, so it is not clear that the protagonist is able to finally turn his life around. Meanwhile, back in his old study group, people are still drinking and fucking, and flunking their exams.
In the real world, you probably will not ever get laid as easily as the studs in SStudy. Yet, the risk that sex, or the mere prospect of sex, will derail your life is very real. This is hardly ever the topic of Western books or movies. I recall a few light-hearted comedies along the lines of Van Wilder whose eponymous main character repeats his senior year in college over and over. Spending some time at university, in particular in a country where tuition fees are rather unheard of, tempts too many young men. Concretely, when I studied in Germany, it seemed that there was no end of both guys and girls who thought that their degrees were little more than a front for one big party. That attitude was particularly pronounced among people in bullshit degrees.
Your party may indeed last for a few years, but sooner or later, your bad decisions will catch up with you. The reason I am writing this post is, in fact, due to two acquaintances of mine whom I thought of when reflecting on SStudy. There was a guy I used to hang out with back in the days. He was by no means stupid, but he just loved to party. He banged a ton of women. In the end, he dropped out and entered a roughly decade-long tailspin. His finances were in shambles because he kept up his partying life after financial support by the government had run out. He had a long string of jobs, with bouts of unemployment. Through mutual friends, I have learned that he is nowadays making a living by stacking shelves. He no longer has any luck with the ladies.
Another old acquaintance of mine ended up in hardly a better place. That guy has not been speaking to me for about a year. I have no idea what I have done that upset him, but that’s life. He also got side-tracked by women, albeit to a somewhat lesser degree. The eventual outcome was that it took him a decade or more to finally graduate, but at least he got his degree. In his case, you cannot just blame him chasing after women for that, but it certainly was a factor. He has been struggling financially for quite a bit recently, after quitting a stable job in order to chase after some dreams. One consequence of that was that his girlfriend whom he has been dating for a few years left him. From what I gather, he has been slowly digging himself out of his hole, but without women, his life would have been a bit easier.
Those two guys are mere anecdotes. Yet, I could tell you plenty more stories of guys who were led astray by women in a crucial phase in their life. Probably you have been to high-school with some “cool kids” who preferred banging the easy women in your cohort and who did not pay much attention in class. Or maybe you have young colleagues at work who sometimes show up in a bad shape because they just had to party during the week, which affects their performance at work. That problem is all around you. If you look a little, you will find guys who quite literally screw themselves out of opportunities in life because they are chasing after women.
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