As part of the healing process for breaking up with a boyfriend of almost five years, I went on some OkCupid dates with a boy who was funny and charming enough but distant. The meaningless sex got depressing quickly (for me, anyway) and we pretty much stopped texting each other, no hard feelings. About two months after our last hookup, he came up in a conversation with my roommates about OkCupid, because ohmygod we love talking about that shit.
It turns out one of my roommates’ girlfriend works with that guy. This tickled my roommate to no end, so he mentioned this connection to other people he knew from this workplace through his girlfriend. Through his gossiping, my roommate gleaned that this guy is apparently a big womanizer. And not just any kind of womanizer:
“You know a girl who dated him?!” – Mutual Friend, Also From This Workplace
“Yeah, my roommate.” – Gossipy Roommate Of Mine
“Is she Asian?” – MF,AFTW
Wow! So that was my first time confronting the actual fact that someone I’d done had a confirmed Asian thing. Maybe it’s not so surprising for others, but this realization was like a bucket of ice water to my face. “Me? Being a ‘fix’ for some white guy with an Asian thing?” I wondered. “But… I’m not… a typical Asian. Fuck Margaret Cho! I went to Bennington! Look at my fucking hair!” (My hair is thick, coarse and curly for some reason.)
See, for a good part of my life I’d operated under this assumption that I was a special kind of Asian girl. Part of it was my coping mechanism for those strange sadolescent feelings kicked up for not being as effortlessly skinny and straight-haired as my Korean peers. Physical appearance aside, I was quirky! I spoke no Korean! I didn’t care for math! I did stupid man-on-the-street performance art with white friends! It didn’t take much time after graduating from my tiny liberal arts college and moving to Brooklyn for me to grasp the idea of other cool Asian girls who don’t aspire to be a pharmacist or a banker or a pharmacist or banker’s wife. And with some pain, I came to terms with the fact that this growing crop of cool Asian girls was getting younger, fresher, skinnier, more in touch with music, and the outfits they wear are just awesome, or at least just so revealing of their great bodies that they just qualify the whole thing as unfathomably awesome. (I’m looking at you, Greenpoint Asian cool girls of the summer, in your loose flowing tunics with your cool bra showing! YOUR BRA IS SHOWING! But, God bless you, mine would be, too, if I had both your figure and fashion vision.)
Anyway, this incredulousness over the Asian thing evolved into anger over the player thing. (Guys, if you want to stick your dick all over the place, go ahead. Please just leave the smart, funny girls out of this, because when they feel shitty about themselves it’s a lot more devastating than when a shitty stupid girl gets fucked.) Then it finally mellowed down into indifference. Like I said, this guy was funny and I thought (and still think) we could be friends. While I joked about the whole situation with my roommates, taking to referring to my Asian-ness as my “meal ticket,” I still felt that my guard was officially up and on alert for sufferers of yellow fever.
That is, until I found myself willingly bedding a boy from out of town, who I would say has an Asian thing. As in, spent-the-last-5-years-teaching-English-in-Japan Asian thing. As in, the-last-time-I-saw-him,-at-this-party-before-he-left-for-Japan,-I-asked,-with-a-wicked-glint-in-my-eye,-“So-you-have-the-yellow-fever?”-and-he-said-yes-and-I-proceeded-to-try-to-set-him-up-with-this-hot-half-Japanese-friend-of-mine-and-he-was-totally-feelin’-it-and-they’re-actually-Facebook-friends-now Asian thing.
I wasn’t expecting it; I was just being a good host and seriously it’d been like over four months and shut up. I did what any girl in my position would do. (That position being, on my back and having things done to me that felt great.) I broke the dry spell and had sex with with a white guy with an Asian thing. Said guy is now back to his life in Japan and things are cool.
I’d like to think I can go back to being on the lookout, ready to swiftly and soundly eschew the next boy I meet (okay FINE probably from the internet again) who is looking for a kimchi fix. But the reality is I might find myself in a situation with the same or a similar guy, antsy to break another dry spell, or maybe it’ll be another guy I meet and kind of like so far but he secretly has yellow fever and I don’t know it yet.
I guess, without explicitly going through someone’s ethnic sexual history, it’s hard to really know. And even if I did, is it any more deplorable than my preference for, say, boys with facial hair? I’ve never hooked up with an Asian boy, or any other color really; just white boys — What if I have a white thing?
I’m curious to hear how other Asian girls feel about this. Do you not even care? How about you skinny hipster Asian girls with your bra showing all cool? Does it ever bother you, or are the guys you date equal opportunity studs who like you because you’re you, and that’s funny and stylish and you really just have it all?