Man Crush Monday: “Cinderella’s Sister” Hong Ki Hoon

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After our time traveling fun last week, we’re toning it down and sinking our roots in place for this week’s Man Crush Monday, which features Chun Jung Myung‘s Hong Ki Hoon from “Cinderella’s Sister.”

He first won me over as the optimistic man with an easy smile in his younger years, but solidified his crush worthy status after returning to us a tougher man due to an eight year civil war with his family. Hong Ki Hoon certainly isn’t without flaws and weaknesses, but I’m a firm believer that nobody is perfect, so he has plenty of good qualities to balance out the negatives.

Let’s take a look at those positive features, shall we? (spoilers ahead.)

1. Hong Ki Hoon remains cheerful despite his burdens.

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One of the very first scenes that made me realize his worthiness came early on when Song Eun Jo was still weary, suspicious, and angry at the entire world. He smiled one of his boyish grins and invited her to join him for some late night snacks and conversation.

Song Eun Jo: Is there something you want to swipe from me?
Hong Ki Hoon: What? Swipe?
Song Eun Jo: Why are you smiling? I don’t have anything worth swiping, so don’t smile.
Hong Ki Hoon: Do you only smile when there’s something worth swiping? I have never heard such gibberish in my whole life. You smile at something funny. Or pleasing. Or delightful. Or good. There are so many reasons to smile. Why do you say that swiping something is the reason for smiling?
Song Eun Jo: Why are you smiling now?
Hong Ki Hoon: Huh?
Song Eun Jo: Is something funny? Or pleasing? Or good or delightful? Why the heck are you smiling now?
Hong Ki Hoon: Am I… smiling now?

His easygoing nature was apparent here and you would have never known about the weight he carried on his shoulders if he didn’t have his secret moments of vulnerability. Being able to appreciate the small things in life that brings you the slightest joy is a trait to admire and Hong Ki Hoon definitely has that down pat.

Even after eight years of additional burdens, he never lost sight of the potential for happiness and always tried to grasp it when it was in sight. A man who doesn’t wallow in negativity and self-pity, or can at least dig himself out of that deep hole, is definitely a crush worthy man.

2. He can give as good as he gets.

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His family situation is truly the darkest shade of black, but it’s nice to see that Hong Ki Hoon isn’t the type of man to just take each and every blow without question. Give him an uncalled for punch? He’ll give you one right back. Snatch the brewery stocks out from underneath him using dirty tactics? He’ll blackmail you to return it to its rightful owner. Take him hostage and give him a good beating? He’ll attack you when you least expect it… and sic an angry woman seeking vengeance on you while he’s at it!

Hong Ki Hoon can have the kindest heart or the most vindictive streak. It’s two aspects on completely different ends of the spectrum, but it’s really the best of both worlds. He’ll treat you well with that kind heart since he loves you and protect you with that vindictive streak since he’s all about justice. Great, huh?

3. Hong Ki Hoon is empathetic.

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Wow, look at all that empathy! Contrary to what he might want you to believe about how tough he is, Hong Ki Hoon actually possesses an incredibly gentle soul. His ability to feel your pain, to share in your joy and sadness, to know your anger or frustrations – it’s not easy, but he does it so well. It’s like he takes all of your emotions to lessen the burden for you and feels it twice-fold for himself. There were times when Song Eun Jo cried and he cried along with her, times when Goo Hyo Sun shed tears and he shed tears with her. His father’s difficulties were his to bear and so were a portion of the duties and well being of the brewery. He shouldered the stress, the pain, and the chaos of two step-siblings when they failed to unite as a family.

During Hong Ki Hoon’s college years, he even felt Song Eun Jo’s physical pain when she was determined to become numb – both with the stitches on her knee and the bamboo lashes to the legs. He’s a man with a lot of feelings and that’s a different kind of intensity to send your heart pounding.

4. He’s supportive. Always.

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Well, unless you’re an adult acting like you’re still a child, in which case, no, Hong Ki Hoon would not support you or that kind of behavior. He would, instead, scold you as harshly as possible to wake you from the delusion that the world revolves around you. He would verbally force the common sense you lost back into your brain, but in all other situations, Hong Ki Hoon is an extremely supportive man.

When the brewery appeared to fall apart in shambles around them, he reassured both Song Eun Jo and Goo Hyo Sun that everything would work out favorably in the end. He never lost faith in Song Eun Jo and her abilities, as well as her determination, to find the exact fermentation method in order to properly reproduce their brewery’s rice wine. He always believed that Goo Hyo Sun’s friendly nature would unify the brewery’s workers and solidify a positive partnership between everyone involved. Hong Ki Hoon chipped in with his assistance when needed, but one of his greatest strengths is being a strong and sturdy pillar for them, Song Eun Jo and Goo Hyo Sun, when they fall weak or temporarily lose faith in themselves.

5. He’s a great storyteller.

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Oh, how great it would be if history could rewrite itself at opportune times! But since that’s not possible, let’s leave it to Hong Ki Hoon to fictionalize the past that he would have wanted with Song Eun Jo now that they can step forward and embrace one another. Rather than the eight years of misunderstandings, yearnings, and hatred they both suffered, he played a game of make-believe and erased their negative past with new, positive memories. He starts back in May of 2002 and every ten minutes equals another year until they reach the present.

So Eun Jo’s voice over: 4:30 in the afternoon. He says that in the year 2002, I’ve just enrolled as a freshmen into the college that he attends. This person is my college senior who carries my books for me every day. It’s the year 2006. This person has just graduated and will go straight into grad school instead of working. He says it’s because he’s afraid that once he’s not around as much, I’ll start dating other people instead of focusing on him. It’s the year 2008. I’m graduating from college. That means that I haven’t been apart from this person up until now. It’s the year 2010, 5:20 in the afternoon. This person finally got a job. This person has done nothing wrong thus far, and so this person who has not even the slightest guilty conscience towards me has just proposed to me incredibly naturally. Instead of answering right away, I’m planning on making him wait with bated breath as I think on it.

I certainly think Hong Ki Hoon has what it takes to make a girl swoon with his story telling. He’s bound to keep things amusing and fun if he does this on a more frequent basis.

Bonus Reason

Hong Ki Hoon is warm and offers a sense of familiarity with the simplest of actions. It can be a little unsettling at first, but more often than not, it’s a great source of comfort, especially for someone like Song Eun Jo.

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One of the downsides to “Cinderella’s Sister” was that the original teasers turned out to be a false alarm. The drama that ended up airing for these 20 episodes were completely different from what was advertised and although this was a pretty good journey, I still can’t help but wonder how Hong Ki Hoon, Song Eun Jo, and Goo Hyo Sun’s life would be different in that alternate plot. The teasers seemed to embrace more intensity and the curiosity always burns at me whenever I think back on it. Would Hong Ki Hoon have been as loveable? Would there be more reasons to find him crush worthy… or less?

I suppose we’ll never know, but for the version of “Cinderella’s Sister” that we saw, how would you rate Hong Ki Hoon? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and remember to get in those last minute nominations for our Mystery Reveal taking place next week! I’m super excited and curious about who will be our surprise feature. Are you?