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:

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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 #76: Why I Like Jerks

I hate assholes but I date assholes.

I broke a personal record by going out with a guy I met online for the fifth time. I liked him a lot because he was interesting and witty and “got me.” He is also immature and broke and entitled and vain and unaware of others and not particularly attentive to what goes on in my life. He likes conflict and control and one of the ways he gets his kicks is by negging people. Why is he still in my life? I’ve dated other versions of him before. At 22, it was understandable. But 26? Way too old for that shit.

I wonder why I wasn’t 100% inclined to break it off. (Not to worry, I have. I’m too proud and principled to ignore the fact I feel disrespected.) And as usual, I look to my father to shed light on my preference for jerks. He negs all the time and can rarely be described as “agreeable.” Whether it’s schooling us or playing devil’s advocate, he’s always interested in posing an alternate view, which a lot of people (like my mother) see as a fundamental need to argue.

Now bear with me as a make a gross generalization and stretch between my family/culture and love life.

A lot of men I know who grew up during the Cultural Revolution in China are the same way. For them it wasn’t called negging or about getting a girl interested,  it was just being normal in a landscape that demanded it. Chinese marriage used to be based on obligation, sacrifice and survival. Headstrong refusal to accept defeat, even if it means sleeping in separate bedrooms and having a relationship that, at best, is just platonic. Instead of romance and emotions, my parents valued efficiency and honesty. If a girl was too fat or a guy came from too poor of a family, you’d just come out with it and move on to the next person. As unhealthy as it is, I admire the strength and restraint behind it. There were less feelings to avoid hurting. My childhood was absent of heart to hearts, crying or coddling, and that’s kind of how my romantic relationships tend to be. Doesn’t mean I have to date someone who is a bad boyfriend–but there is an understandably wide overlap between the two.

Give me a few days to get over it. But in the meantime, I am telling myself: I do not have to be my parents. Nor are they necessarily related to all my issues with dating.