Last Friday when my colleague IM-ed me and told me he had something for me, I assumed that he had finally figured out a solution to the work-related problem that has been plaguing me for months. I was perplexed when he showed up at my desk with a box of Godiva chocolates instead and told me that it was to thank me for all the sweets I’ve treated you to (for the record, I distribute my sweets equally amongst my peers). I was glad I was too busy on the phone for further potentially awkward conversation beyond a simple thanks.

Afterward, I spent a good hour or so analyzing what the chocolates could mean with my girl friends. I even tried very discretely to ask my guy friend what it generally means when a guy gives a girl chocolates. Is it just a nice, thank you gesture as he said? Or does it mean more? My girl friends squeled and gave me knowing looks, while my guy friend told me that he generally doesn’t give a female friend chocolates in case they “got the wrong idea.” In the end, I decided to stop thinking about it and take it at face value, since that is what I want to believe. See, I was just complaining about him the other day to my friends, about how he acts like a whiny little kid when he is clearly beyond the age for it. I know that he is probably used to being coddled, being the only boy in an Asian family of many sisters, but in the real world, people really don’t care (or want to know) if he has a mouth sore or not and how he takes care of it. I’m his friend, not his mom.

But then I was talking to a friend in Hong Kong and she mentioned that this weekend was White Day i.e. the Japanaese/South Korean/Taiwanese version of Valentines day. I thought it was strange that he’d chosen white chocolates since they’re generally not anyone’s first choice and I’ve never expressed a preference for them (in fact, they’re not my thing). I thought maybe they were on sale. But now everything makes sense.

“Traditionally, popular White Day gifts are cookies, jewellery, white chocolate, and marshmallows”

The skinny jeans, the man bag and the swag in his walk (if I didn’t know any better, I’d have thought he was gay)- all signs that he worship the Japanese culture. No wonder he also celebrates the Japanese Valentine’s day! But while I am very flattered to be the recipient of his Godiva chocolates (it is a very sweet gesture of very good taste), I’d frankly really rather have a solution to the work-related problem that has been plaguing me for months instead as a thanks. If only my cute Korean colleague had given me white chocolates….

A word of advice to other guys who wants to give a girl chocolates on White day but doesn’t live in Japan, S Korea or Taiwan- other girls (who are not of the three origins either) may not be as astute as I and be confused by this random gesture.