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A White Man’s Guide to Dating Asian Girls

“A White man seeks Asian woman not for her immense beauty or intellect, but for her tiny cooter.” – Confucius 1

Hey, white guys. You probably know by now that having an Asian girlfriend is a rite of passage for all white men. “Date an Asian chick” has become akin to “Go skydiving” or “Live in New York” in the veritable white guy bucket list.  Of course, dating an Asian girl is very different from dating your typical Nancy or Betty 2.  So, in order to snag yourself a little pre-op Mulan, I present to you a White Man’s Guide to Dating Asian Girls.

STEP ONE: Finding an Asian

Asian girls typically hang out at one of three places: the mall, the library, or Pinkberry. When you get there, look around: the best Asian girl to pick up will be the one wearing a hoodie and heels (there is always one).  When you approach her, ask for the time. As she takes out her phone to tell you, you should make a nice comment about her phone flair (Asian girls always have some bedazzled jank hanging off their phones, like a cartoon duck or a jade tiger). And with that, you’re in.  Asian girls will go on a date with anyone if she can tell a cutesy story about it later: “And then, after he saw my Keroppi keychain, he asked me out at Pinkberry! Pinkberry!”

STEP TWO: The First Date

It doesn’t matter where you take an Asian girl on a first date (as long as it isn’t Wendy’s 3). You can impress her by simply sticking to the following topics of conversation: food, fashion, and making fun of other Asians (“So, did your friends just stay in and do math problems all night? They are so bad!”).  If, by the end of the night, she giggles into her napkin/hand fan, you’ve got yourself a second date.  However, no matter what you do, don’t step on the yellow-fever land mine that is acknowledging the Asian fetish.  Yes, we all implicitly know what’s going on here–Why else did America go to war in two Asian countries4 last century?–But don’t say it out loud. Us girls all like to pretend that we’re your first Far East foray.

STEP THREE: The Relationship

If you get to the point now where you want to date an Asian girl (like… really date her), you better understand where she’s coming from. Given our immigrant roots, most Asian girls endure a latent insecurity about everything from our boobs to our patriotism (both things that are just slightly there).  We never quite think we’ve assimilated into American society… and sometimes, we’re right. So, as her white, Jewish (80% of the time), totally-secure-and-normal boyfriend, you better be prepared for when your girlfriend mistakes “Soup or salad” for “Super salad” (“Yes, I want the super salad! What is wrong with this Sizzler waiter?!”).  And since Asians have eyes like gravy boats, her crying jags are bound to extend late into the night.  Just FYI.

STEP FOUR: Locking it Down

If you’ve made it this far, then you know all the dirty secrets of dating an Asian girl. You know we hate animals.  You know we pretend to love drinking, even though we turn into full-blown red-faced injuns when we do. Oh yeah, and you know we are racists. Your saintly self just goes with it.  But how can you tell if she feels the same way? Well, you know you’re “in” if your girlfriend takes you home to meet her parents. In Asian cultures, meeting the parents is practically an engagement. Asians don’t let people meet their parents, ever.  (I’m pretty sure I told all my friends in high school that I was an orphan.) But once you’ve broken the seal, you better put a ring on it within 5-7 business days. If you don’t, then you risk alienating the parents. They’ll start asking questions. Getting involved. Calling you at work. Once you’ve met the parents, in Asian cultures, you are now part of the family. And they own you. So just man up and fucking 6 do it.

Lastly, you should know that in Chinese wedding traditions, the groom pays for the wedding. Therefore, my parents want me to marry a Chinese guy and my brother to marry a white girl. It’s just good fiscal policy.

FINAL THOUGHTS: A Bit of Encouragement

Yes, some of this sounds terrible.  But, having an Asian wife does have its perks. Even if you’re uglier than Pau Gasol, your half-Asian children will be adorable.  Plus, you’ll get to be the peacekeeper (and favorite parent) while your wife turns into an evil-witch Tiger Mom. Finally, if you’re ever attacked by a pie-wielding assailant, your Asian wife will be sure to leap out of her chair and protect you, even if you totally deserve it. Because even though we may be high-maintenance and needy, Asians are nothing if not loyal… Well, except for the 1/4 of us that was in Tiger Woods.

———————

1. Confucius probably did not say this.

2. These names are so white that they went out of style years ago. Do you know anyone under 30 named Nancy or Betty? Neither do I.

3. Yes, someone took me on a first date to Wendy’s. I know what you’re wondering… Chicken nuggets and a baked potato.

4. Counting only the Korean War and the Vietnam War. I would’ve mentioned Japan had we not nuked the place.

5. My parents started learning English by watching Braves games on TBS, so I grew up loving the Braves tomahawk chop. I would do it everywhere… which unfortunately, out of context, looks very much like a Hitler salute. Assimilation fail.

6. I just started a new job and I’ve learned that “fucking” is the best adverb to use when trying to make an emphatic point. So there.

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Growing Up Asian

“Do you… speeaaaak… English?” – Pizza Hut waitress, 1990

It was in kindergarten when I first learned I was Asian.  Sure, there had always been signs–I was nearsighted, loved rice, and caused an unfortunate tricycle accident at age 3–but I’d always just assumed it was typical of American families to speak two languages at home and get insulted by employees at Pizza Hut.

It all changed when I arrived at KinderCare, a veritable child’s paradise full of apple sauce, alphabet books, and… other kids.  While I had certainly seen other children before, I’d never seen so many in the same place, all looking somewhat different.  One intrepid boy finally gathered the courage to welcome the new alien in their midst, coming up to me and saying, quite eloquently, “Ching chang ching chong choo.”  Ever the clever linguist, I responded by smacking him on the head with a Tonka truck.  I had to sit in time-out for the rest of the day.

Despite my crude introduction to ethnicity, I never thought much about being Chinese… mostly because there weren’t any other Chinese people around.  Growing up, there was only one other Asian girl in our elementary school, Lisa. The fact that we had rhyming names made it a lot easier to mix us up, even though she was Vietnamese and stood a foot taller than me.   When her family moved to California in the fifth grade, my mother celebrated – now that we were the only Asians left in the school, she didn’t have to introduce herself at parent-teacher conferences anymore. Everyone knew she was Teresa’s mom.

Of course, assimilating into American culture wasn’t always easy.  When our Pizza Hut waitress found out we did speak English, she proceeded to ask if we celebrated Christmas too.  But the cultural learning went both ways. When I was twelve, I accompanied a friend to Mass.  I had never been inside a church before, so I had no idea what to expect.  “Don’t worry,” my friend whispered. “Just do everything I do.”  So I bowed, I prayed, and I followed her up to the altar where I proceeded to grab the cookie out of the priest’s hand.  It was not very good.  Only later did I find out that I had just spit out the body of Christ.  Suffice to say, that was the first and only time I’ve taken Communion.

WHERE ARE YOU REALLY FROM?

I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked, “Where are you from?” followed by, “No, where are you really from?”  I usually say I’m from Boston, but I’m really from Indiana, where I was born.  And even though I look like I could regale you with stories of Confucius, I’m probably better equipped to tell tales of my adventures to Dairy Queen.  Of course, no one asks me about that.

There are certain expectations that come with being Asian.  We are good at math.  We are socially awkward.  We know kung fu.  We are terrible drivers.  All these stereotypes are interrelated–We are good at math mostly because our Tiger Mothers read calculus textbooks to us instead of Goodnight Moon.  This, in turn, ensures that we are poorly socialized and ostracized by our classmates, so we do kung fu (usually in a cave) to cope with our loneliness.  After honing our kung fu skills to master gravity, flying from rooftop to rooftop, we recognize the banality of on-the-ground transportation. Thus, we never properly learn how to drive.

Obviously, these are mostly harmless stereotypes.  But the uglier stereotypes of Asians–that we are cheap, bigoted, and cold-hearted–are not necessarily true either.

This winter, our family took a trip to Taiwan to visit my grandparents.  In Taiwan, the first thing we did was go to Costco, to buy a gift for a family friend’s engagement party… which is being cost-effective, not cheap.  In Costco, we passed by a huge display of Black Man’s Toothpaste, the best-selling brand in Taiwan… which is reverential, not racist.  When we arrived at the hotel for the engagement party, we were greeted by a beautiful ice sculpture, which prompted my dad to say, confused, “What does L-O-V-E mean?” …which means that Asians have daddy issues too, just like everyone else.

FINDING MAURY

For some reason, men love Asian women.  All types of men… but mostly white guys.  As an Asian woman, I often wonder why. Perhaps it’s the allure of an exotic beauty. Or the promise of attractive, half-Asian children. Or it’s the fact that our feet are the size of normal people’s hands.

Today, it’s no longer just white guys who do the picking.  Asian women actively pursue non-Asian men too.  Every woman wants to find a Maury Povich to their Connie Chung.  This leaves me feeling bad for Asian men, who are often left with just their engineering prowess and no one to wrap their skinny arms around.

At the same time, it’s not all roses for Asian women either.  We have to deal with the freaks, the pervs, the tools, and the fetishists.  We have to answer questions like “Where are you really from?” which inevitably just makes the guy sound like he’s marking countries off a map.  And we also have to appease our parents and grandparents, because if we’re not married with kids by 30, our eggs will shrivel up and the bloodline will die with us.

I’m just glad that I have a brother.

TOTAL WORLD DOMINATION

Even with all the stereotypes, the William Hung references, and the occasional ignorant Pizza Hut employee, there are advantages to being Asian in America.  Since people can’t tell Asians apart, we can sneak into bars with other Asians’ IDs, find a stunt double to sit in for us at work, and get away with murder (good luck picking the perp in that all-Asian lineup).  Asian kids rarely get kidnapped (high-profile, baby kidnapping is mainly a Caucasian sport), and we don’t have to worry that much about identity theft–Unless another Asian has jacked our credit cards, the cashier would probably find something suspicious: “But you don’t look like the type who’d have three consecutive vowels in your last name…”  Thus, being Asian affords us peace of mind.

Of course, the one downside to being Asian is that it gets tiring to keep up the peace signs/bunny ears for every photograph we take.  But in spite of that, Asians in America have come a long way, and we haven’t peaked yet.  So watch out for us, because we’re taking over. After all, with our squinty eyes, straight hair, and aversion to sunlight, we’re pretty similar to vampires… and vampires are really “in” now.

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Half-Price Holidays

When you’re sixteen, getting your driver’s license is a joyous occasion, one which marks your journey towards relative freedom and adulthood.  In my case, the road to freedom was unfortunately pockmarked by a 1993 Toyota Corolla… or, to be more specific, a 1993 pink Toyota Corolla, which my dad had bought eight years earlier because it was the cheapest car on the lot.

The Corolla was an abominable car.  Its body was pinkish-grey, which made it look like a giant tongue on wheels (a tongue from the mouth of a lifetime smoker with severe halitosis).  A black rubber line ran across its midsection, as if having a ghetto racing stripe would somehow make a pink Toyota Corolla more stylish.  Even though my dad admitted that the car looked like Pepto-induced-vomit, he argued that the ugliness of its exterior didn’t matter as long as it could still do its job. Like Dirk Nowitzki.  So I ended up driving the Pepto monstrosity to school every day, all while trying to convince myself that having a car that looked like a blackened lung was marginally better than having no car at all.

The common stereotype is that Asians are cheap, and this is true of my family.  My parents have always been bargain shoppers.  My mom’s proudest moments include the birth of her two kids, followed by finding a $120 dress on sale for $19.  My dad has a similar philosophy, which results in him typically looking like the clearance rack at a TJ Maxx.  And even though my brother and I try to avoid the quasi-homeless look that constitutes my dad’s fashion sense, we’ve both become allergic to buying anything full-price.  I bought a full-price shirt from Banana Republic once — I stared at it in my closet for two hours before going to return it the next day.

Unlike other Scrooges though, my family is only cheap to one another. My parents never tip less than 20% when we go to restaurants, and they make it a point to give gifts with no obvious clearance tags.  Still, our in-family cheapness has become almost laughable. This year, my dad splurged on a Christmas gift for my mom: a pair of oven mitts from Marshalls.  In turn, my mom went all out for my dad: a six-pack of Hanes black socks.  Certainly the economy has turned around if my dad is getting six pairs of socks and my mom is getting two oven mitts.

In the few weeks since I’ve been home, we’ve gone to Costco 8 times. Seriously. Eight times in fifteen days.  If I were the manager at Costco, I’d think we were casing the joint.  We now have enough toilet paper and vitamins to last us through the next decade.  Discount-diving has become a chronic family addiction.

So today, when I went off to buy a gift for a friend’s newborn, I vowed to keep an open mind about buying in-season, non-sale items.  I pulled into Babies R Us, looking fly in my dad’s “new” minivan: a 2001 Honda Odyssey which has 120,000 miles on it and a heating unit that only works if you crank it up to 85 degrees.  Once inside the store, I immediately found an adorable outfit with trains and a cute pair of conductor mittens… at a whopping $28.  Fine.  This gift is in celebration of new life, and there’s no way to quantify that.  But then, suddenly, unwittingly, my sale-seeking eye caught another outfit with a bright red clearance tag: a furry onesie with bear booties, 50% off. Less cute, but it wasn’t all that bad. He’d outgrow it all in a few months anyway, right?  I thought it over for a while before I finally made my decision:

If I can drive around for four years in a pink car, then this baby can wear a half-price onesie with booties.  You’re welcome, kid.

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The Minority Report

Last week, we celebrated “Diversity Day” at work, where our company CEO held a town hall and proclaimed his everlasting commitment to diversity.  That is, he’s working hard at it, but “we still have a ways to go.”  He then introduced an ex-NBA star who shared his thoughts on the matter: first, he told us that diversity “drives ROI”, and second, he told us that black people don’t eat scones.  It was a rousing start to our commitment to challenge racial stereotypes.  D-Day finally ended with a montage of clips, concluding on one where Michael Scott from The Office called us all “homos”… homo sapiens.   

There’s been a lot of talk about diversity lately, even outside of our company.  The buzz around the U.S. Census has somewhat validated the Harvard fluff class “Counting People”, because, apparently it takes $10+ billion to do so.   But once the Census Bureau tabulates the results (by Dec. 31, 2010), most people expect that diversity will be the theme: minorities will become the majority in two of the largest states (California and Texas)… more than 40% of children under 18 will be non-white… and there will be a lot more people who hate scones, including Hispanics and Asians. 

As a diverse, first-generation, scone-hating female, I’ve always felt an unusual relationship to contrived diversity celebrations.  On the one hand, I think it’s great to highlight (and promote) people with different backgrounds … on the other hand, I believe that differentiating diversity also cheapens it, feeding resentment from “non-diverse” folks who now have something to blame (“she only got the job because she was a woman”).  It’s the whole affirmative action debate, revived… If we have Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, then shouldn’t Diversity Day be followed by a Homogeneity Day as well?

So, to test out my theory, I tried to celebrate Homogeneity Day today.  First, I took the subway to work, because it’s the New York thing to do.  I wedged myself between the door and a homeless man and tried to look as crazy as possible.  Once I got to work, I decided to follow the lead of a co-worker and try lemon tea.  Yes, it looked like a cup of hot, steaming pee, but I drank it in the spirit of togetherness.  At lunch, I continued my yellow-only theme by eating a plate of macaroni and cheese with chicken, corn, and rice pilaf.  I even seriously considered reading “Eat, Pray, Love” while listening to Justin Bieber.  

But at the end of the day, I wasn’t sure that I had captured the true essence of American homogeneity.  Was the typical American a red-blooded teabagger who enjoys shooting guns and protesting healthcare reform?  Or was the typical American a society-minded idealist who eats kale and subscribes to progressive list-servs just to feel good about themselves?  Is diversity defined just by the color of our skin, or the money in our banks, or the links to our ethnic heritage?  Or, could it also be determined by our judgment of Tiger Woods (gross), or our opinion of goat cheese (gross), or whether we have a gag reflex to Sarah Palin (yes)?   

Diversity Day should be intended to celebrate and accept our differences — all of our differences, not just the noticeable ones.  But every once in a while, we should also celebrate our common thread of humanity.  Because like Mr. Scott said, at the core, we’re all just homos.  

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I Will Be A Great Mom One Day (As Long As Someone Else Has My Babies)

I find it demeaning when people say that all women should want to have babies.  You know, that women ought to perform their biological duty and focus on breeding.  But not all women have an innate maternal instinct to become a mother.  And some would rather have kids the new-fashioned way: sticking their embryos into a lovely surrogate mother, and saving themselves the inevitable mama trauma.

To me, having a child is like getting a gift in January, and then being told that you have to wait until September to open it.  Not only do you have to wait an unbearably long time (I want to open it NOW!), but you have to endure something that you’ve tried to avoid your entire womanly life: you get fat. You get cankles.  And you get stretch marks so bad that you could practice calligraphy on the lines along your waist.

After being forced to learn about “The Miracle of Birth” in high school, I am traumatized by the entire process.  And honestly, I don’t understand how anyone can call birth a “miracle”.  How can you call something a miracle when it’s happened more than 6 billion times?  If this is the case, then you could call yawning a miracle.  And come on — you can’t control miracles.  I couldn’t pop a pill and stop the U.S. from beating the Russians in 1980.  A true “miracle” birth would be if I were on the pill, got knocked up, attempted an abortion, and still gave birth to a 100% Caucasian baby with the bone structure of a centaur.

Since I am Asian and not fond of horses, that would truly be a miracle.

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Asian Christmas

As we’re nearing the end of another holiday season, I would like to thank my parents for the wonderful gift that they bestowed upon me.   Ever since I was but a wee fetus, swimming around in an embryonic pool of placenta, I was blessed…

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for the gift of being Asian.

Oh, the gift of being Asian is a gift that keeps on giving.  Despite our shortness and bad vision, there are several reasons why it’s great to be Asian in America.  For example, one reason is that we don’t get kidnapped.  Have you ever heard of an Asian toddler who has gone missing?  No, because high-profile, baby kidnapping is mainly a Caucasian sport.  Why would anyone kidnap an Asian when you can easily buy one online?  Similarly, I don’t worry about identity theft, because unless another female Asian is jacking my credit cards, I’m guessing the cashier would find something suspicious.  “But you don’t look like a Jackie Chan…”  Ha, gotcha.  Thus, being Asian affords me peace of mind.

Going along with stereotypes is also a plus.  Overall, Asian stereotypes really aren’t that bad.  So, fine, Asians can’t drive.  But neither can women, so even though I’m doubly screwed, at least we have company.  Stereotypical Asians are also smart, hard-working, and socially inept.  The last one is actually a good thing, because our social awkwardness prevents us from being universally shamed, like Italian-Americans on Jersey Shore (yes, I Survived a Japanese Game Show was embarrassing, but I’m not Japanese… so it’s cool).  Also, given that stereotypical Asians are closet ninjas and kung fu masters, I feel pretty safe walking the mean streets of New York City alone.  If I ever do get mugged, I’ll simply do a few Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon backflips to escape.

Being Asian is also a gift because we can always pretend that we don’t speak English.  I could go into a store, shoplift some Hello Kitty merchandise, and if I ever get caught, just blame it on my Communist heritage.  “Oh, I thought we were all sharing… No speak Engrish.”  Then I will bow, say “Konichiwa,” and leave.

Honestly, if we wanted to, Asians could get away with anything.  We could walk out on a bill in a restaurant, and then show up the next day and get served, since no one can tell Asians apart.  (Sometimes I can’t even pick my mom out of a crowd.)  If you ever were accused of such dining and ditching, you could just respond back in perfect English and slap your accuser in the face.  God, discrimination is such a bitch.

The one downside to being Asian is that if you’re female, you have to deal with the fetishists.  And if you’re male, well, good luck trying to find anyone who will appreciate your skinny arms and engineering prowess.  It also gets tiring to keep up the peace signs/bunny ears for every photograph you take.  But despite these minor hiccups and the occasional embarrassing YouTube clip, the greater gift of Asian-ness must be celebrated.  And with our squinty eyes, straight hair, and aversion to sunlight, we’re pretty similar to vampires — and vampires are really “in” now.

So, thank you Mom and Dad, for the gift you’ve given me.  And for everyone else, Asian and non-Asian, I wish you a joyous holiday season and a very happy New Year.

Peace.

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