I suppose it's the same in any culture:
In 1984, after living in a Korean boarding house in Los Angeles for a year and then spending 3 months visiting a family in Korea, I had returned to the US. I was 24 years old and had a rudimentary command of some Korean phrases, my pronunciation was also good, but I was extremely shy about speaking. Anyway, about that time I was invited by a friend to the grand opening of his new Korean restaurant, located just a few miles from my house. I gladly accepted the invitation.
It was a grand celebration and best of all the food was free. We were seated at long tables that had been arranged magnificently just for this special occasion. Many of our Korean church members were there, and many other guests that were new faces to me. Directly across from me sat a beautiful Korean girl about my age and our eyes met several times, nothing I initiated, it just happened that way. Did you ever get that feeling someone was looking at you? About the third or forth time I looked up and saw her gaze fixed on me I decided to say something:
"당신은 매우 아름답습니다" I said with some trepidation, after swallowing a mouthful of food.
"Ah... haha.. I - '''SUPPOSE''' - I - HAVE to say thank you." She replied in English with a sarcastic cackle.
I was shocked. Hurt. Dumbfounded silent. I couldn't even enjoy the rest of the meal.
I was no wolf.. I wasn't trying to 'hit' on this girl. But ah.. I don't think I was such a bad looker back then - you can see what I looked like in 1984 in this photo http://members.dslextreme.com/users/ptrper/aging.jpg
what would I answer if I could go back in time? maybe: "오 ~ 마음까지 곱지 않으니 아무말 안해도 돼" or maybe I'd just say nothing in the first place...