**This post has been written with the express permission of an Asian American and is in no way meant to demean, defame or stereotype Asians or Asian Americans in any way.** …Except the stereotyping part.
Two years yesterday I met Christine. I had only been in town a week or two after accepting a promotion and transfer to North Carolina. I still have no idea how it happened the way it did but I’m glad because, as different as we are in some ways, I’ve come to find that we are (at least for now) two perfectly paired misanthropic souls. However, there were some things I needed to learn.
1. Learn to love rice.
This would seem barely worth mentioning except that I have never had rice made correctly. I actually consider myself, not a “Foodie” (as that tends to hold a negative connotation), at least enthusiastic about food. Still rice has always been more of a perfunctory side or filler for the main course. However, in the hands of a master this starch is transformed into a production with it’s own accoutrement and ceremony afforded a proper ingredient.
-Nah, it’s just fucking rice but get used to it, it’s a part of your life now.
2. Take off your shoes in the house.
I don’t have a problem with is. It’s actually a great idea and I wish I had thought of it sooner. The Texan part of me still loves being barefoot. Also, it saves lots of life on the carpet and is so commonplace that I probably didn’t need to mention it either.
3. Do NOT try to console her over an A minus.
This is not about you. This is not about an unfair teacher. This is not an “at least it’s passing” or even an “at least it’s not a B.” This is about not blowing the curve for the others and being the smartest in class. Let her go to bed early. That way she’ll be well rested to spend the next week studying the same material should the campus burn down and all Finals have to be retaken.
4. DON’T be the Asian fetish guy.
I didn’t actually know this was a thing. My first eye witness account of this was at the pool when a neighbor approached her. It went something like this.
Guy: Where ya from?
Guy: No. I mean, where are you from?
C: Kansas, but I’m Korean.
Guy: I love Asians. Check out my Tats.
(At this point, he proceeded to point out the various Japanese and Chinese related images stenciled onto his arm, I assume, while he a ward of the state. There was like a Samurai and a wok or something.)
5. Expect to be judged.
Let’s face it. Most parents have ideas of what types of people they want their children to end up with. With Asians, I’m pretty sure it’s Doctor or Engineer. I’m neither.
Also, there’s that moment when you’re at the local Pho King Good restaurant and you look around, becoming acutely aware you’re the only white guy in there. Even though everyone else is happily using forks, you’re still fumbling with chop sticks because you think it’ll make you fit in. Not really sure who is doing the judging in that one.
6. There is probably a stringed instrument.
This is incredibly sexy. Violin, cello or piano, this stereotype holds up. Hey, we could start a band except I don’t know any Bach and you can’t do “Every rose has it’s thorn.”
7. Feelings are not a topic of conversation.
This is clearly a cultural thing but was rather new to me. You’d think, as a man, this would be a relief. Soon you realize there’s been a power dynamic different from every other person you’ve been with. Now you’re the one who initiates conversations about your relationship. You ask her how she’s feeling. She says “Hungry.”
You make her rice.