I know it’s widely acknowledged as racist when someone says that all people of a certain ethnicity look the same to them, but real talk, sometimes I can’t tell the difference between any of us Asian. I was just thinking this when I walked into a Japanese restaurant last night to meet my Asian beezies. Errbody there was one, and you know when you forget your glasses and end up looking like a creep squinting into people’s faces–that was me last night. I gave each table a long lingering stare to see if they were my beezies.
Maybe it comes from having a weird name, but whenever I hear any vaguely Asian name (short, usually with a long vowel, uttered hesitantly by a non-Asian) called out, I think it might be directed towards me. Sure, Yin kind of sounds like Bing which kind of sounds like my name. I turned around to face a college kid stuffed in the corner clinging to his phone. I assume he was there for a first date.
It was a heavy, loaded no. A “tighten it up and stand up straight for your date” no. A “if you’re gonna date an Asian, remember what she looks like” no. A no meant to reject everything about this person blocking the door and encroaching in my space.
“Oh, sorry! You look just like her.”
Moron, I wonder if you said that about every person in the restaurant. Also, there is a big world outside this door–why don’t you stand outside and wait for your date like a normal person.
I immediately felt real guilty. Maybe she really was a doppleganger. I gave him a smile and turned around to write my name on the waiting list.
Heard my name again, this time a much closer version of it.
Turned around to see an ex-coworker out with her Asian beezies. We had a grand time catching up for ten minutes, while the restaurant got more crowded. Until all of us, including the guy waiting for his date, were practically in each other’s faces. I needed to escape.
“I think we’ll go somewhere else because the wait is so long,” I told them.
I exit the restaurant and a haggard guy with a limp and a lazy eye asks, “Are you looking for Japanese food?”
Again, my mouth reacted before brain got a chance.
Luckily, my friends were less insane, and we eventually took him up on his suggestion. And I apologized profusely when we walked in and saw him sitting in the restaurant. And he apologized even more, despite not having done anything wrong. I still feel kind of guilty about that.
Other legitimized angry moments this week:
Was having a nice chat with a neighbor until he asks “What are you? Chinese?–Yes! I knew it! I always get it right!” “Well congrats. Later.”
Hearing some drunken, disembodied voices (two male, one female) outside my window talking about “Asian gas station attendants” fucking up their order because they don’t know the names of the colors of American Spirit boxes, the “hot Asian IKEA girl” who one voice feels is just “aight” because she’s a “bitch” and “her fake contacts…I don’t like” and he’d “much rather have Southeast Asian girls.”