Asian Girl Problem #122: The Best Photo for Your Online Dating Profile

…is not one that invokes fear, pity or confusion in potential dates.

Now that I’m back in the pixel jungle of online dating, it’s become another heated topic of conversation between me and my girlfriends. Here are some basic, largely un-baiased tips on how to approach the most important aspect of your profile–your primary/default photo. Lezbehonest, a solid profile photo covers a multitude of sins. Don’t hate the player, hate the game. Or play the game by increasing your chances.

In a nutshell, post a main photo in which you’re a reasonable distance from the camera, looking at the lens and smiling.

Most of the people I look twice at have this in common, although we all make our exceptions for personal weaknesses (mine would be glasses, creepy mustaches and long hair, to name a few). I’d say at least 60% of people don’t follow these simple rules when making their profile. I know it’s tempting to use your LinkedIn photo, crossing the finish line in the Spartan race, or that great night with friends on your Eurotrip, but I don’t want to procreate with the people in those photos. I don’t get hard for people I want to hire or run quickly away from, but if you do, I could point you to some other social sites where you’d get much more mileage.

So yeah! To anyone wondering how to make the most out of that prized profile photo real estate, avoid ones where you’re:

– wearing sunglasses
– looking into the distance
– skydiving/rock climbing
– with your entire soccer team
– chillin with the hottest female you know
– in front of the computer with your cat, in the dark
– playing with that niece who isn’t your daughter
– last minute mirror selfies
– showing parts of your body without your face

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Sidenote I saved these screenshots from last year when I was browsing this dating website that rhymes with Okay, Stupid. I promise that each guy is individual, of different ages and from different places, but somehow they all showed up on one page and I really thought they were the same person covering his bases. I’m the worst.

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Asian Girl Problem #121: A Top-Level Guide to Breakups

Subtitle: Sweet, sweet solitude.

The only details you need to know: My boyfriend broke up with me, it wasn’t a surprise because we’d been fighting for a couple months, and he did it in a very ungraceful, hurtful way.

Don’t want to put the wagon before the horse, but I think the worst is over–and the worst really wasn’t all that bad. Maybe that’s what happens when two people should break up–the aftermath is downright pleasant compared to the tumultuous shit storm before the separation.

Now it’s one week later, and we’re chillin’ platonically. I’m feeling quite pleased at how “maturely” I’m handling everything. Not ready to hear about his sex life, but I’m prepared for that day.

So here are some tips, more applicable to relationships that have ended with a mutual understanding, with both parties still wanting to be friends:

Problem: You’re mad at him, dog tired, not eating, sleeping, or working out.
Most of the pain is coming from the last three issues. Everyone says physical health precedes mental, for a good reason. It’s literally impossible for me to feel that bad when I’m getting good sleep, food and running/downward doggin’ all day. Yeah it takes a few days to get back in the swing of it, but then swing you shall. Not having a boyfriend frees up to do these things, thus helping you feel and look like a bag of money. Win-win.

Problem: You’re trying no contact, sad that things remind you of him, but also sad when you’re not reminded of him.
A favorite band might remind you of him (for us, it was Alt-J) but hey oh yeah, they are a fucking popular group, not you and your ex’s personal minstrels. Get excited about them with anyone else in the world. Alternately, take the time to bust out the breakup songs you never usually care for. Lykke Li and the XX were waiting in my computer for YEARS before I got to enjoy them again (aka I haven’t been through a breakup since 2011) and I count that as a win, too. Finally, I know everyone disagrees, but when I want contact, I contact. Sure, it might hinder the process, but it goes with the theory of learning from your own mistakes instead of listening to others. You’ll never believe the stove burns until you touch it yourself.

Problem: All advice says there’s absolutely no closure in meeting up to talk.
…unless the stove doesn’t burn you. I was angry and requested contact after one whole day of radio silence. Guess I just can’t stay quiet. We set up a time to meet up a week later, me hoping to get that mythological closure they speak of. By the time we actually met, I wasn’t upset anymore. Just wanted to tell him what he did was not cool, as a boyfriend or friend. The best case scenario I hoped for was an apology/acknowledgement. He understood and knows he has to build up some trust and make it up to me if he wants my friendship.

Problem: You want to forgive someone but it’s fun to be mad.
This is the revelation that helped me feel better within two days of the breakup–not forgiving sucks for everyone. He made a snafu and I want to afford him the understanding I would to any other friend. We talked, he got it, and I’m letting it go. The relationship wasn’t working and it wasn’t for lack of trying or love (possibly not the case for other breakups, in which case none of this applies). It’s not about the other person–forgiving is self-love. And it’s addictive. See http://www.raptitude.com/2011/11/two-methods-for-dealing-with-negative-people/

Problem: Yay, you are “friends” now! But sometimes you still want to suck on his lips.
Some people can handle the FWB zone, and others can’t. I know I draw the line at an arm around the shoulders and a platonic massage (because FREE MASSAGE). Anything more, and I’m setting myself back a few steps in the healing process. In short, the healing process means ogling and going out with every guy I find attractive, and giving in to physical comforts with an ex makes it harder to do said ogling with gusto. Also, keeping this boundary lets me be a way more pleasant, relaxed friend to everyone involved.

Problem: You don’t know when you’ll see him next, and don’t want to be alone.
I simply fought this feeling with a dose of reality. When I see him, I’m a little anxious, wanting our time to last forever. But not only is that impossible, I remember that being alone has its own joy (one huge advantage to being an introvert!) I exist for no one else and feel fully, 100% myself. This means facing myself–the good and bad. I’m scared of what I might discover as a free agent. But when I force myself to take the first step, the rest comes naturally. It feels right. See http://space2live.net/2013/03/08/my-introverted-love-creed-if-we-cant-be-magnificent-and-independent-together-im-ok-alone/

All this was right

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 #85: How to Date Yourself

I’ve never been seeing someone or gone on a romantic date on Valentine’s Day, or cared. Once, a few years ago, I was on the cusp of dating someone, but spent the day getting high and going to a tattoo parlor with my roommates. I could use something like that this year–I’m tired of dating and my friends’ love lives. The Valentine’s ads and aisles of chocolate hearts are bleeding into my everyday life.

But the big pink day is tomorrow, aka as good as over, and my annoyance has lifted. To celebrate, I have several dates with my ever-reliable Galentines. Smart, strong, positive ladies who are in various stages of singledom and relationships. Many of them have taught me new ways to treat myself and be contently alone at the end of the day when all outside noise falls away. No matter how long we try to put it off, the noise will fall away. And those moments can be profoundly distressing or beautiful depending on the state of our self-love.

So at the risk of sounding like a Buzzfeed article, here are ways to date yourself, inspired largely by my Galentines. It might get a little sappy; sick bags will be distributed out on your way out.

Jewelry. Wear it, or get something you can’t resist. I used to wear this tiny diamond ring my mom didn’t want (long story) on my ring finger because that’s where it fit. The downside was that people thought I was engaged, but once, a woman at a party told me that I could be married to myself. After that, whenever I needed a boost, I’d look to that ring. Of course it could be more extravagant–one of my friends bought herself an understated but fucking exquisite band of diamonds for her 30th birthday.

Cologne. I caught on to this one early when I was in college when I realized the Prince of Persia would not be sweeping me of my feet anytime soon. But I kind of love the smell of Armani Code, which my friend who worked at the fragrance counter of Macy’s told me is the typical Persian man pick. I love wearing unisex fragrances so this was a no-brainer. I wear it a lot, except on days I feel more bummed than turned on by it.

Food. I was working this gig completely alone for a few months last year, and the best thing I got out of it was the delight in taking myself out to lunch. For someone who loves food, this was perfect, because I got to take my time relishing everything. Sometimes I’d go into a dimsum restaurant, where everyone was eating with groups and the staff was taken aback that I wanted to dine-in, but that was amusing too.

Sweat. They say that the same happy hormones get released in the body during a workout as the ones during sex. <—I totally made that up but who’s going to argue with me? Working out can feel like a gift especially when I’ve been stuck in a routine or don’t usually drop $20+ on a class. Hot yoga and hip hop are old standbys I like to revisit. Spinning and CrossFit when I want something new. When all else fails, a massage puts all of life’s grievances in perspective.

Kindness. When I wasn’t a happy camper last week, I took it out on my family. I wasn’t in the mood to see them, and tried to avoid talking much and left as soon as possible after a few hours. Other times, I’d go to my room and catch up on sleep. I guess it’s a safe move, but rationally I know that when I’m just a little more patient and sweet (even if it’s fake) with them, the overall mood always brightens up. Yeah, I can’t tell them about my dating trials and tribulations, but I should be able to silence those for a freaking day.

Peace. Or practicing aloneness, except in the damn fine company of yourself. Light a candle, stretch, read a book, put on some 90’s R&B., take a hot shower…they’re tiny luxuries, but each positive thought or thing leaves less room for negative ones. Some of the super busy people I know make time for serious meditation, whereas having more free time makes it harder for me to work on that discipline.

Of course, 26 years is a long time to date yourself. Regular ecto-dating schedule resumes after 2/14.