Asian Girl Problem #126: More Research and Rationalization Of Yellow Fever

It’s about time! Remember when I used to have a bullshit job where I got paid to eat snacks, surf the www waves and blog? Now I have work that actually does the definition of the word justice, and I can’t bear using any free time to come here and check in. It’s dumb.

I’m still getting hundreds of visitors on this blog every day, thanks to that website’s mention of my article about nose straightening/narrowing, and desperate requests to share where one can find such an apparatus. Not the point, but it does give me more motivation to fuel this blog with a steadier flow of posts.

Well I’m back to continue the endless interracial dating conversation. The White male/Asian female thing that I see every day and am guilty of perpetuating. I’m not trying to change who people find attractive–I just want them admit it, understand how it makes half (according to my surveys) the population uncomfortable/upset, and attempt to analyze it deeper. Out of genuine interest or respect or whatever. If your preferences and actions represent a larger trend that upsets the objects of your affection, you should at least also put yourself in a difficult and awkward place, out of solidarity.

The documentary Seeking Asian Female tackles the problem in all its complexity pretty well

Two relevant experiences from the weekend.

The first was hearing from an Asian girl friend who gave her white guy friends kudos for finding a girlfriend when he taught English in Taiwan. When I expressed my disgust about guys who have an “Asian thing”, she couldn’t relate at all. She skeptically asked if I dated all races, and I had to again face my guilt of never having had a true relationship with an Asian guy. A guilt that hits particularly hard at the moment, when I’m casually getting to know a Chinese guy who has every. single. quality. I would like in a boyfriend. (e.g. He has a badass creative job, amazing style, physically hot, a good combo of dorky/sweet/edgy, knows Chinese, great at banter, is self-aware but not jaded, and denounces gender roles) But why am I not excited to see him each time, or eager to jump his bones? Ugh, shelving this stressful topic for now.

Speaking to a close friend (okay, a friend with benefits) with a self-diagnosed “Asian thing” who’s trying very hard to fight it by dating all kinds of women, I heard a new theory I haven’t considered before–that maybe he has the preference because he has grown up so inundated with white beauty, and has no gauge for beauty when it comes to other races. (Of course we know that Asians set their standards of beauty to the Western world, but let’s just consider the standards that are more dialed into commonly-occurring Asian features.) So basically, he thinks  he’s less discerning about what makes an Asian-looking person beautiful, so can more easily find them attractive. Put in the most offensive terms, the theory means that we get a handicap for looks.

I have no opinion on this, for once. Having grown up seeing and being told about the subtleties of physical Asian beauty and White beauty, I can’t draw from personal experience. I have my own preferences, based on a mystery cocktail of looks and style and poise and element X. Plus, I was taught to worship young Aryan-looking guys way more than anyone else, so it kind of makes sense if my gut and vagina respond more positively more immediately to them.

What do you think?

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Asian Girl Problem #101: The Bright Side to Yellow Fever

Over the weekend, I hung out with a girl who is totally chill with being fetishized for being Asian. Granted, she is from the East Coast and only 21 years old, so perhaps she hasn’t had enough negative experiences to have the same reaction I do when I hear those two dingy words: yellow fever.

Back story: our dads were best friends and college roommates for four years, and we spent several childhood years together when our families lived in Ohio. We’ve always gotten along despite being complete opposites (she’s the first person I’ve met to be my complete Myers-Briggs opposite). 15 years later, she’s still the bubbly, flirtatious, attention-loving and highly confident girl I knew. Still obsessed with boys and talking about sex too loudly in public (or in our parent’s car at seven years old). After re-meeting each other during the holidays last year, we exchanged numbers. I promised to show her around the city sometime. Since she was living with her parents and didn’t want them to know about her online dating life, I agreed to be her alibi. I’ve always wanted to be an older sister–even if it was to a girl who had twice the amount of sexual partners I’ve had.

So when we finally got together for reals so I could make good on my promise, the evening naturally turned into a gabfest about her relationships. Having never lived in a city with a large Asian population, she’s been overwhelmed with the amount of racially-charged attention she’s getting, and loving it. She recently started dating a college senior who’s in a fraternity, and swears that every attractive guy in his house has an Asian girlfriend. She insisted that every race has a thing for Asians, while I tried to argue against it–partly to deny her the satisfaction, and partly because I refuse to believe in a world like that.

She busted out this chart:

Image

 

Did I vomit a little? Sure. But after living in an area that ‘s hyper-aware of interracial dating, it was useful to be reminded that people can still have different interpretations of heated issues like yellow fever.

Later, the dude I’m dating (details later, maybe) joined us and was promptly bombarded with many embarrassing affronts from my tipsy family friend, ranging from asking him for dating advice to giving him shit about not learning Mandarin because it’s “better with parents.” There is one thing she said which I didn’t mind, though–

“[Asian Girl] doesn’t usually like white guys.”*

Out of all the awkward moments from that hazy night, that moment remains the most vivid. Each time I remember it is like a nerve somewhere in me is being lanced. What she said is both true and false. I was mortified, yet satisfied. Maybe that’s how I feel about the whole thing in general, so it makes all the more sense.

*Dude’s response was a safe but genuine “I’m honored.”

Asian Girl Problem #82: Creepy Guys on OKC

Several people (including a few from OKC) have mentioned this creepy guys tumblr to me, so I figured it’s relevant enough to note here. Not a site I’d bookmark, but if nothing else, a sign of the times. Personally, I can’t complain about the quality of messages I receive, which I credit to showing very little skin in my photos and being super wholesome in my profile. But I did receive this gem recentlynjvlfklsd

Speaking of OKC,  last night I went on a second date and was caught off guard when at the end, he said “I’m not really good at this but I feel like I should kiss you.” To me, that translates to: “You’re aloof so I’m not sure if I’ll creep you out and I’m not that aggressive guy but I want this to be a date and not a hangout.” I don’t blame him because I know I gave off that “one of the guys” vibe. But our dynamic has so far been super platonic, not necessarily in a bad way. So I said we should just wait and I moved in for a hug, while he made a joke about being friend-zoned.

There must be some unspoken rule (in the same book that says you can’t call someone within 48 hours of getting their number and you can’t sleep with them before the third date) that says you should kiss a girl by the second date or get thrown into The Zone.

It kind of makes sense for those of us frosted flakey people with short attention spans. You never know if you’ll see each other again. So maybe kissing is a way to physically establish where you stand when you can’t yet express it in words (and how could you, on the second date?!) Or a way for less-than-suave guys to make up for their lack of prowess. Or an easy way to plant attachment on anyone. But for me the first kiss to me is a BIG DEAL. Everything after that is gravy. Yum. Yuck.

Asian Girl Problem #77: The One Time My Butt was Too Small

Online dating is the best and I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t for the horror stories I get out of them. Like yesterday, while walking to my birthday dinner, I just started cracking up in the middle of downtown Oakland, fitting in along with all the other cackling crazies.

This is obviously a continuation of my last post–about the same dude. On our final date we were talking about why he couldn’t enjoy intimacy, and in my rolodex of dates from hell, he will forever be the guy who had issues with the demure size and shape of my butt. Not because he doesn’t know how to please women (he doesn’t) or because too much porn has rotted his brain (it has) or because he has a remarkably small penis. (I didn’t want to say this because I try to be a decent human. These are just the facts considering his 5’11” stature. So honestly, I’m just worried about the dimensional logistics of his particular boner requirements.)

And I keep laughing when I think about about how, out of all the body parts I can get insecure about, my butt has never made the list. I’m not immune to the Kardashians or Brazillian booty workouts splashed over every magazine and website, but it just isn’t a huge thing to me (pun intended). And I kind of like to think that all the small-assed, apple-shaped women who came before me and bestowed me my humble but efficient butt are applauding me in their graves. Because they never thought big butts were attractive…”Too sexual…Not classy…Good luck finding pants…” they’d say. And it was one area I didn’t ever get encouraged to feel bad about, which means a lot to me. To each their own, but in this case, I’m into what I have.

Anyway, next on the agenda…first date tonight with a guy I knew from college (who doesn’t remember me). He’s half-Asian and a total cutie in real life, but all his photos online are ones that make him look white. Know that at 8pm, one drink in, I’ll be trying really hard no to bring this up.

Asian Girl Problem #75: Asian Girl’s Girl

Confession: right now the person who has the biggest “thing” for Asian girls just might be me.

Not romantically, but in just about every other way. In an assessment of my close friends currently living in the same area, I’ve counted 13 Asian girls, and a few of other ethnicities, mostly mixed-race. The blessing and curse of living in the Bay Area and being a straight up girl’s girl.

There are amazing benefits to having this network. I always have someone with whom to eat KBBQ, hit up a spa and go clubbing. I never have to explain why I have to take a call from my mom, why they need to take off their shoes in my apartment or why dating can be so weird.

As a kid, my group looked like this.

But other times, I joke (i.e. complain) about the trials and tribulations of having an Asian girl gang. Yes, they come from various backgrounds, in various shapes and sizes, with various sexual preferences. But they are all amazing and sometimes it feels like people are inquiring me about them all day, every day.

“I think I’m in love with your friend.” “Is your friend single?” “So…she’s adorable…” “Where’s your pretty friend?”

For a while, I’d hear this every time I introduced one of them to a guy I knew. It’s equal parts cute and amusing and profoundly annoying. Maybe, when I’m knock-on-wood in a happy relationship one day, I’ll give away free matchmaking services. At the moment, I can’t help but roll my eyes.

But there are also ways I unconsciously encourage it. Like inhabiting the tomboy role with many of my girlfriends. The girl who’s waiting for everyone else to finish their makeup, or complaining about dying a spinster. And when it comes time to actually play the “girl,” I falter.

CASE 1: When I was just starting to hang out with my first boyfriend, I invited him to a party at my apartment. I warned him that most of the guests would be girls, with a *wink wink, nudge nudge* look. He interpreted it as my disinterest and after that party, promptly texted me to say he thought my roommate was adorable.

CASE 2: On a first date a couple weeks ago, I got onto a topic similar to the one as this post, and said, “So, if you want to meet any single Asian girls…” and immediately regretted it. I swear, something else inside me is spewing this crap, and I can’t prevent it fast enough. He responded with the right thing, though.

Conclusion: I love my Asian beezies. I need to stop comparing us with one another. And I gotta stop unconsciously pimping them out.

Asian Girl Problem #70: My Ugliest Feelings about Interracial Dating

Ever since I became more sensitive and proud of being Chinese-American (about four years ago), I’ve developed a lot of issues with interracial dating. It never comes into play when other couples are concerned, but it affects my own dating M.O. in many negative ways. I hate that I feel these things and don’t think they reflect well on my personality or enhance my life in any way. But I can’t control them any more than I can control my skin and hair. Just a sampler:

– I want to “represent” by dating someone Asian. I think we look better aesthetically and probably have more in common culturally, but I rarely meet an Asian guy who’s a good match for me.
– If not Asian, dating a person of color means something similar to me. That I didn’t bow down to the white man.
– I don’t want to perpetrate the played-out Asian girl/white guy combo that is rampant everywhere in California. The times I feel this strongest is expressing PDA with a white guy.
– If a white guy says he likes Asian food or has taken any sort of college course on an Asian language or history, I want to run away.
– I can’t help but think white guys who have had a majority of Asian girlfriends are the worst.

“I can’t really control who I find attractive–it’s like being gay.”

A white guy I think I could really like said this on our second date last night, after we had made out on my couch, when I asked him if he had an “Asian thing.” He had a pretty good explanation for it, but this was the part that annoyed me. I know we were keeping the tone casual and he was being jocular, but the comparison unearthed a lot of my anger. All I wanted to do was write out a list of reasons why accepting a strong predilection for people of a certain race is not like accepting the decision to like someone of the same gender, and why you can’t ignore that this issue brings legitmized pain to communities.

I don’t know if I can ever wonder if part of why he likes me is for political/cultural/inborn reasons that I have no control over. Or feel like I’m in competition with every other Asian girl. Or what happened in childhood in his 90% white neighborhood led him here.

But what is he supposed to do to repent? Learn everything he can about an Asian country to understand more? Racist. Only date within his race? Racist. Claim he doesn’t see color? Ignorant.

It’s not hard for me to like white men, at least before. For lack of variety, I had crushes on only white guys up until high school. When I went through a day without seeing my reflection, I felt like I was just as white as my classmates. But somewhere during my re-Asianification I consciously tried to program myself to like people of color, and it worked. Nowadays, 8 out of 10 guys I “like” on OkCupid are at least half-Asian and 100% are POC.

Giving someone less credit because they’re white feels really wrong on my part. So does giving someone more of a chance because they’re Asian. So I guess this week is all about feeling kind of wrong, because I eagerly accepted a first date with an Asian guy this morning, as if it would wash away my guilty feelings of dating a white guy with “the problem.”

I’m going to keep dating guy #1 because he has been awesome so far in almost every other way. But if it’s to go anywhere, I’ll need to change something inside.

Asian Girl Problem #5: Really The Ultimate Problem

If you’re ever feeling a lack of emotion and want to get riled up about something, fast, read a conversation like this one. I think it can strike a chord in anyone regardless of race or gender.

If you prefer to keep your blood pressure where it is, I’ll give you a quick summary. The Beijinger is a news/events/classifieds resource for English-readers in Beijing. A lot of users let it all hang out in the forums, and this is one of many conversations discussing the willingness of local women to jump into bed with any and every foreigner. The OP brings up that both sides are attracted to the exoticness of the other, and shows a little common sense at the end by acknowledging that it doesn’t happen the other way around, with Chinese guys in America. (Ha!  I can’t wait to represent some brothers in upcoming posts.)

One ignoramous isn’t worth getting offended by, but forums like this never fail to draw out all the other fools who would normally restrain themselves behind a paragon of modesty. Most responders call his bullshit or show some pitying disgust, but there are always a good amount of supporters. And the more validation the OP gets, the more his “kind” blurs together, forming another negative stereotype. He speaks on behalf of girls in Beijing, but by the end of the thread, readers like me have formed an image of him–pale, pudgy, $5 haircut under a fisherman’s hat, transition sunglasses, teaching English because they couldn’t get a job back home, small di–okay, maybe my imagination goes too far.

I’m not even directly angry at him–I put most of the shame on my own.

“It doesn’t matter who you are–if you look like you could be from a high status, plenty of people will kiss your ass,” my cousin told me when we were having dinner one night in Beijing. “You could be the biggest loser in your own country, but people here want you. You’re different and they want you to be their ticket out of their current situation.”

So part of why Westerners have a delusional view of China is because Chinese people perpetrate it. My dad’s coworker recently raved to us about a business trip he went on, where companies wined and dined him every night and treated his words like gospel. Coming back to America was like getting demoted. The same was true for a girl I met once to be a potential roommate–she had just moved back from five years in Beijing, and was terribly “homesick.” She spent her first week in Chinatown bars talking to old men. And she is a gorgeous girl by any standards, but the fact is, if you go to China and look like Barbie, you can get everything you want at the snap of the finger.

Even full-blooded Chinese kids like me who were raised in America have to keep their background under wraps unless we like having people  roll out the red carpet. I know some Asian guys who go to China and don’t want to leave because they get so much “model ass.” I know I’m coming from a privileged place when I gripe about this, but seriously. Worshipping the exotic is no different from fangirls thinking they’ll become a celebrity by commenting on their Instagram or getting their autograph or even sleeping with them. While that has its problems, it’s way more dangerous when you apply it to an entire race. That cycle just validates mofos like the OP of that post and every time they get an easy lay they have another personal testament to fuel their misguided view of a country. I got about a third of the way through the first page of comments before leaving.

Real people and relationships have nuances and contradictions. Those striving to fill a stereotype or fulfill a fantasy bring too little value to the table. The only way I can deal with it is to forget. Excuse myself. Click away from the forum. Put my head under a faucet. Find real people.