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First of all, I was very happy to see my prediction come true. The protagonists kissed each other. (chapter 14) Thus one might wonder if something in episode 14 caught me by surprise. But yes, despite everything, I made a shocking discovery. But I was not the only one. Both main leads made shocking discoveries. Since I couldn’t finish the essay before the publication of episode 15, I am now including episode 15 as well. But let’s start with the doctor.
1. The physical therapist’s shocking discoveries
First, Kim Dan was shocked, when he saw Joo Jaekyung with a huge cold pack on his shoulder and surrounded by many people. (chapter 14) Coach Jeong Yosep even looked worried while talking to the athlete. Imagine that the night before, the doctor had met the champion, and he had showed no sign of pain or distress. So this scene must have shaken him deeply to the point that he felt guilty.. (chapter 14) Yes, guilty, because he has a drop of sweat on his face. He is feeling uncomfortable, for he didn’t take the situation seriously. Why? It is because in his eyes, Joo Jaekyung has been acting like a spoiled and immature child until now. Only in that moment, he started worrying very much about the athlete. Park Namwook’s words must have come back to his mind:
“I’ve never seen Jaekyung like this before, doc. He’s really going through it…!” (chapter 14)
However, the moment the sportsman asked the crowd to leave the room, Kim Dan made a new shocking discovery!! (chapter 14) Joo JAekyung grabbed him with the arm whose shoulder was supposed to be the issue! This means with his action, he exposed the lie. 😂 He could move his shoulder perfectly. That’s the reason why the author added an interrogation point with a exclamation point as Kim Dan‘s reaction which is not visible here. The irony is that no one noticed it and could detect his lie. Imagine that only after the match the athlete confessed the truth to his manager and huyng Park Namwook. (chapter 15) Thus Park Namwook must view the athlete as a spoiled child again. How could he do this? But let’s return our attention to Kim Dan’s first shocking discovery: the deception from the fighter.
Under this new light, it becomes comprehensible that the doctor began questioning the champion about his health issues. (chapter 14) Notice that he employed the expression “I heard” indicating that he was starting doubting the manager’s words. Maybe there had been a misunderstanding or an exaggeration from Park Namwook. But instead of answering his questions, the fighter replied this: STRIP!! (chapter 14) Once again, this must have deeply surprised Kim Dan. I would even say that such a request must have horrified Kim Dan. (chapter 14) The manhwalovers can notice that the protagonist’s face became blue with shock! 🥶 This order came like a bolt from the blue! Who on earth would make a doctor travel for 4 hours for just having sex? In his eyes, the champion must have appeared like a crazy, sex obsessed and immature child!! So in this scene, the young doctor’s negative perception about Joo Jaekyung must have reached a new peak. He was acting like an irresponsible and unreasonable person. Therefore the doctor still tried to divert the champion’s attention on something else.
Kim Dan: “But aren’t you… unwell?” (chapter 14)
Maybe he had felt a discomfort before, and had forgotten it. This scene shows that Kim Dan is not taking the champion’s jinx and belief seriously. Then at the end, when he asked the main lead to be more gentle, he never expected to be kissed. Yes, this was another huge discovery. (chapter 14) That’s the reason why he had his eyes wide open. And naturally, we have to envision that this represented the doctor’s first kiss. This interpretation is confirmed in episode 15. (chapter 15) He has no idea how to kiss, and his notion of kissing is based on prejudices. The sudden change definitely caught the doctor by surprise for two reasons. First how could he become more gentle, after punching the door like that? (chapter 14) Besides, for the first time, the fighter had listened to his plea (chapter 14) contrary to the past. In my eyes, when Kim Dan was grabbed by the chin (chapter 14), he thought, Joo Jaekyung would warn him again, like in this scene. (chapter 12) Because of his unpredictable behavior, the champion must appear in the physical therapist’s eyes as a powerful but uncontrollable teenager. Nevertheless, in episode 15, Kim Dan made another huge discovery: (chapter 15) By watching the champion’s victory live, he was forced to admit that the man is more than just a spoiled and immature child. HE is above all a celebrity, someone people admire. He is a serious athlete. (chapter 15) In this scene, he is reminding of reality. While many readers thought that Kim Dan was falling in love with Joo Jaekyung due to the heartbeat and his facial expression, (chapter 15) I come to a different interpretation. Kim Dan is simply realizing that he is standing in front of his idol. There’s no doubt that he has always admired the man, since he watched his fight on his cellphone. Then he idolized his body and his attitude during the training. For me, Kim Dan was reacting like a stan in front of his idol!! That’s the reason why Mingwa drew such a panel. (chapter 15) For the first time, he was able to watch his fight live… something he could never afford before. Right now, he is standing far away from the ring, but slowly he will move closer and closer to the ring. Yes, this scene moved not only Kim Dan, but also me! Why? It is because I felt that the doctor was slowly moving on from his prejudices about the athlete. He is more than just a childish, sex obsessed and self-centered man. Hence it is not surprising that he thought about his own responsibility. (chapter 15) This implies that Kim Dan is now taking his job seriously and as such the athlete’s jinx. We could say that as his “stan”, he desires to work properly, as his doctor and sex partner. Under this new approach, it becomes comprehensible, while at the end, the doctor made the following request to Joo Jaekyung:
“It’s just… if you could let me know in advance… I could, um, prepare myself a bit better ? Uh… emotionally… (chapter 15)
Kim Dan has the intention to do his “job” properly, he will act as his stan, he has no intention to get emotionally attached. This means that the young man no longer views himself as a “whore” which is a good thing. But admiration is something different from “love”. A fan might adore a celebrity, but the person always separates his life from his idol’s. Therefore I don’t think that the doctor will fall in love with the athlete first… quite the opposite! These positive emotions represent an obstacle.
2. Joo Jaekyung’s “crazy behavior”
I am sure that many readers felt the same way than the doctor while reading episode 14: Joo Jaekyung appeared as a self-centered and brutal “child”. Who would f…k like that just before a fight? (chapter 14) It was rough to the point that Kim Dan was in pain and even scared. It was, like Joo Jaekyung was fighting against Kim Dan. The sex resembled to a boxing match. But the most terrible aspect is that the athlete’s mind was elsewhere. He was recalling the affront made by the boxer Randy Booker. (chapter 14) This means that Joo Jaekyung is separating the body from the mind. How? It was, as if he was not sensing his own body. This explicates why he didn’t notice that he was hurting Kim Dan while having sex. For me, the fighter had lost almost all his senses (touch, vision, smell). He was only brought back to reality, when the doctor whispered to his sex partner: (chapter 14) The weeping sound and his voice reminded him of the doctor’s existence and presence. He was not with Randy Booker, but with a weak creature who could die, if he kept behaving like that. Joo Jaekyung didn’t feel pain or heard the sound, when he punched the door. (chapter 14) As you can see, only the doctor could bring him back to reality. Hence we could say that the physical therapist had become a surrogate of Randy Booker. That’s the reason why Joo Jaekyung never hugs and embraces his “lovers”. He is fighting in bed, they replace the “fighters. But why was he so upset in the end? For me, it is related to the rival’s words. (chapter 14) He insulted him by saying that he was a little baby. I believe that this was the worst offense for Joo Jaekyung.
2. 1. Joo Jaekyung: A baby or a man?
For me, there is no doubt that the athlete has a different perception about himself. He views himself as an independent and mature man. Yes… you are reading it correctly. Let’s not forget that he is a successful athlete. He takes care of his health (balanced meals and abstinence), and he makes sure that he lives in a decent house. This is perceptible, when the manhwaphiles pay attention to his behavior towards Kim Dan. (chapter 9) (chapter 10) He acts, as if he was the mature one next to the doctor. He gives him advices (chapter 13) and makes some reproach. (chapter 11) In episode 15, he even seems to be all-knowing.
“Tell me something I don’t know. “ (chapter 15)
Furthermore, he often listens to his huyng’s advices and opinion. As you can see, he perceives himself as a mature and reasonable man, while for him, Kim Dan seems so irresponsible!! That’s the reason why he could only get infuriated by the insult from Randy Booker. But there is more to it in my opinion.
2. 2. Rejection and admiration
I detected another cause for his outburst. I would say, rejection! He hates not being accepted! This was particularly perceptible in chapter 15. You could sense his sense of satisfaction, when the crowd called his name. (chapter 15) He was smiling. (chapter 15) He looked happy there. This can only reinforce my interpretation that the athlete was neglected in his childhood. Through his fame, he is compensating the lack of attention in his childhood. This explicates why he looks out for his reputation (chapter 13) and met “lovers” in club, which is something secretive and private. Therefore the manhwaphiles can comprehend why the athlete is hiding his homosexuality in the end. He fears rejection, a sign of abandonment issues, hence it explicates the origins of his rage and violence. He doesn’t desire to be reminded of his own past. Therefore it is not surprising that he couldn’t forget Randy Booker’s insults (the spit in chapter 14) and retaliated the same way after his victory. (chapter 15) He seems to live by the principle “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” (“lex talionis”, law of retaliation).
In addition, I think the words “little baby” triggered such a strong reaction, for he hates being a child. But why? It is because he has been neglected in his childhood, like mentioned above. He doesn’t want to be seen as a kid. He wants to forget his childhood. It was, as if he was erasing his own youth.
Nonetheless, because the champion was no longer sensing his body and using his senses while having sex, I started researching about the origins about such a behavior. And this is what I discovered: Somatosensory affectionate deprivation, SAD. But what is it exactly?
“During my tenure at the NICHD (1966-1980), I formulated a novel developmental brain-behavioral theory of emotional-social regulation to explain the pathological depression and violence that results from maternal-social deprivation or the social isolation rearing of infant animals. This theory involved the cerebellar-limbic-frontal lobe complex where I proposed that the cerebellum has a major role in the regulation of sensory-limbic (emotional) brain activity which also integrates (or not) this activity with higher brain processes (frontal-temporal cortex). I established a number of basic research programs to evaluate this theory and with other scientists documented that the failure of “mother love” results in developmental brain dysfunction and damage which underlies the depression, stereotypical movement disorders (e.g. rocking behaviors and self-mutilation), hyperreactivity to sensory stimulation, particularly touch with, paradoxically, impaired pain perception; social alienation, rage and pathological violence against other animals that have been commonly described in isolation reared monkeys and in other isolation reared animals. Quoted from http://www.violence.de/prescott/pppj/article.html
“Thus, it was proposed that affection deprivation would be associated with the sensation of physical pain as well as with poor-quality sleep. Three studies involving a total of 1,368 adults from nearly all U.S. states and several foreign countries revealed significant associations between affection deprivation, physical pain, and multiple facets of disturbed sleep.” Quoted from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/305695316_Affection_Deprivation_Is_Associated_With_Physical_Pain_and_Poor_Sleep_Quality
I had already outlined that the athlete wouldn’t sleep much. SAD would also explain why the manager desired his champion to have a physical therapist. Consequently, I assume that the champion grew up in an environment, where he was surrounded by men in my opinion. This explains why he calls Park Namwook and coach Jeong Yosep “hyung”. The absence of women in his world caused him to become rough. He had no feminine role model. And now, you comprehend why episode 14 represented a huge discovery for me. Joo Jaekyung was forced to change his behavior, because Kim Dan symbolizes the “child”… something he actually “hates”. This explicates why he was shocked (chapter 14) by the tears and the shaking voice from the physical therapist. (chapter 14) He was reminded of the seriousness of the situation. He couldn’t act like in the past. That’s how he remembered the advices from his chingu doctor. This scene exposes that Joo Jaekyung is relying more and more on the doctor. I would even add, the athlete needs him, because thanks to him, he could feel pleasure. For the first time, he could blush and make unusual facial expressions…. (chapter 12) In other words, he is rediscovering his inner child, something he deeply repressed.
Since I detected the contrast between Kim Dan and Joo Jaekyung, I am quite certain that Kim Dan has a huge advantage over his idol, he was embraced and kissed by his halmoni. (chapter 5) He learned what love is and how to display affection. He might have not kissed a woman before, but he knows sensuality (chapter 15), while the other views sex as a struggle. Since I detected the contrast between Kim Dan and Joo Jaekyung, I am quite certain that Joo Jaekyung had no woman close to him.
To sum up, because he was neglected in his childhood, he came to hate being a child. So from my point of view, he learned to become independent and act tough very early on. He internalized to rely on noone, as men are supposed not to cry and show vulnerabilities. Hence being called a “baby” could only represent the biggest insult for the athlete. It is worst than a child. He views himself as a strong, reasonable and responsible man. However, by meeting Kim Dan, he is discovering a new world, the lost childhood, thus he acts like a child (blushing, sometimes immature…). And now, observe how Joo Jaekyung reacted after their first kiss. He got upset, for the latter was not reciprocating the kiss. He felt like he was rejected. (chapter 15) He still viewed this sex session like a battle, that’s the reason why he observed the partner’s facial reaction. (chapter 15) He got shocked, when he realized that he could “defeat” the doctor with his kiss. (chapter 15) He truly enjoyed seeing Kim Dan’s blushing and ecstasy (chapter 15) As you can see, the doctor was teaching Joo Jaeykung something he didn’t know. The latter can have a good “fuck” (repeating the champion’s expression), if he is able to pleasure his partner too. Pay attention that he came to his climax, shortly after witnessing this face. (chapter 15) The doctor’s reaction aroused him so much that he started thrusting again, but this was really short. As you can see, the fighter discovered the positive aspects of kisses. He felt powerful, for he could still make his “counterpart” surrender to pleasure. For the first time, he was facing his partner. The champion still viewed this sex session as a fight, this explicates why he dropped the doctor right after. (chapter 15) He had defeated his “enemy” that’s the reason why he has always “abandoned” the young man after their intercourses. After this short but intense sex session, the fighter was now in possession of all his senses. He was no longer controlled by his negative emotions, thus he could plan a strategy how to defeat Randy Booker. But is he truly the winner of his “fight” with the doctor?
3. Victory or defeat?
While the athlete won the fight so easily, (chapter 15) I consider the sex session as the champion’s defeat. Why? It is because now they are kissing and facing each other. The distance is slowly diminishing, yet the champion is the only one who looks at Kim Dan which can only make him vulnerable. He called the protagonist a sleeping beauty, so imagine the effect that the man’s aroused and pretty face had on the athlete. (chapter 15) This can only work like a “charm”. Then the champion learned the following lessons. First, he needs to give pleasure to the physician to achieve his goal, defeat his enemy. Thus he has to become more sensual than before. Secondly the kiss implies the existence of emotions. But Joo Jaekyung is denying them. (chapter 15) Finally, he is confusing admiration with love. Observe that he looked at Kim Dan after hearing his compliment. (chapter 15) It shows that his words already have a huge signification. Moreover, since the young man blushed, the champion believes that he is getting “loved”. (chapter 15) However, admiration and love are not the same. Besides, since he bit Kim Dan, this means that he claims him as his “possession”. (chapter 15) This shows that Joo Jaekyung is falling more and more for the doctor, while the other is able to keep his distance from the champion, for he views Joo Jaekyung as his idol and his patient. He is able to differentiate between work and life. Thus he wants to be prepared emotionally. He shouldn’t get too much attached. This is only for the athlete’s sake and his career. However, this is not the same the athlete, for the latter is using his job to compensate his lack of warmth and affection in his childhood. He has long assimilated that admiration and fame are substitution for “love”. The young doctor might feel pleasure, but this doesn’t equal to love and affection. Thus I believe that the first one to fall in love will be the champion, and not Kim Dan. Like pointed above, his admiration and his sense of responsibility create a distance in the end, though it is not visible. Besides, who initiated the first kiss? JOO JAEKYUNG! Finally, he closed his eyes, a sign of trust! (chapter 15)
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