Ask your girlfriends or your Gender Studies professor why there are all those creepy white guys with "a thing" for Asian women, and you'll probably get a couple of interesting opinions. But if you ask my Chinese-American boyfriend why there aren't loads of white women lusting after Asian guys, he'll explain his theory with self-deprecating humor: "We tend to be short."
True: tall, dark and handsome can be an alluring combination, but in my opinion, so can jet black hair and a shy, boyish smile. I told my boyfriend that on one of our early dates, and he asked if I'd dated other Asian men. I admit that, yes, my previous boyfriend was also Chinese-American and could almost pass for his twin (a fact that my friends tease me about repeatedly).
Then he asked it. "What, do you have some kind of Asian fetish?"
"No, of course not!" I sputtered. But admittedly: I think Asian guys are hot.
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It's not like I only
date Asians. (That'd be creepy.) I just happen to -- like a lot of people -- have a physical type that a lot of Asian guys fit. Still, my boyfriend actually liked my answer. "Could you tell that to all your friends? Be sure to mention that we don't get hair on our backs. Or go bald." I told him I'd get right on it.
Open Mouth, Insert WASPy Foot
I admit, I grew up in a WASPy upper-middle-class family. I try to appear worldly and sophisticated, but early into my relationship, I revealed my suburban-white-girl tendencies when he once suggested Thai food for dinner.
I was disappointed that I couldn't show off my "mad chopstick skills" because the waiter didn't offer any. I wondered aloud if it was because I'm white, and my boyfriend informed me that they don't use chopsticks in Thailand (oops!) but that a lot of Thai places offer chopsticks because people expect them. People like me, I thought to myself.
Going Both Ways
I thought that I'd been so oblivious because I'd never dealt with cultural ignorance or felt like an outsider. But looking back, the first time I ever dated an Asian guy was the first time I ever felt it cut both ways. I was supposed to go to homecoming with a cute, shy boy from my AP history course. One morning, he showed up to class looking upset.
"What's wrong, Dan?" I asked, ready to play the supportive pseudo-girlfriend. He explained that his parents weren't satisfied with his SAT scores and felt he needed to spend more time studying. In retrospect, I know the real reason: They didn't want him to go with me
To this day, I don't know if it was because I'm white, which still bothers me. I like the way my boyfriend looks, obviously, the same way some girls like blonde hair or tattoos. But that's why you talk to somebody initially, and not why you're with them. I guess I've experienced a little bit of what it's like not to know whether people like you or don't because of your race, so I hope that my boyfriend -- and every other guy I date -- knows that I like him for him, and not because of my "thing."Beth Brennan is the collective pseudonym for Lemondrop's sex and relationship bloggers and their more "sensitive" stories.