I know it’s hard to believe, but I’m American. Well, I was born in China, but for the past 19 out of 20 years of my life, I’ve lived in the United States. Now, I get it--dating is hard. You’re trying to impress me, relate to me, and maybe you’re a bit nervous because of my sparkling personality. Still, nothing turns me off more than you treating me like an outsider. The worst dates I’ve been on always seem to include the casual racism of things like:
5. “Wow, your English is so good.”
Thank you, I am aware. I know you’re trying to give a nice compliment, but I grew up in the Midwest. English is pretty much my native language. Culturally speaking, I’m not that different than most Americans despite my ancestry. Honestly, my Chinese is pretty crappy. Speaking of which. . .
4. “Do you speak Chinese? NI HAO.”
Yes, I do, but I don’t want to hear your feeble attempts to pronounce it. I’m also pretty good at French, but I don’t think anyone has ever asked if I could speak it. While I don’t mind teaching people a little Chinese if they’re interested, please keep in mind that it doesn’t impress me if once in your life you looked up how to say “hello” on Google.
3. “You’re really pretty for an Asian girl.”
Or, alternatively, “I’m not usually attracted to Asian girls.” Again, I know you mean it as a compliment, but what you imply by saying that is you find most Asian girls unattractive even if you don’t mean to. While I like being told I’m pretty, I don’t respond well when it’s racially charged.
2. “Can you date someone who’s not Chinese?”
The last I checked, interracial marriage has been legal in the U.S. since 1967. So, I assume it’s not illegal or anything. The last three people I dated weren’t Chinese. As far as I’m aware, I can. Do my parents care that I’m not dating someone from their homeland? Hopefully not as much as they care about me being happy. Honestly, I don’t often think about the race of the person I’m dating and it’s not something that affects my decision in choosing a partner.
1. “So, where are you from?” “No, where are you REALLY from?”
By far, I am asked this question the absolute most. For whatever reason, anywhere in the United States is not an acceptable answer. It just seems like to you, the nineteen years I’ve spent in America don’t count. I can’t ever really be American simply because of how I look; my U.S. citizenship is invalid because of how I look. Yes, I’m proud of a rich cultural history I inherited, but I don’t think it makes really great date conversation.
I’m reminded constantly that I’m exotic, foreign, different, or mystical when all I want is to be treated like another human being. Dating should be a connection of people, so why highlight the differences? There’s no real trickery or ancient Eastern secret to picking up an Asian chick, just treat me as an individual instead of a representation of an entire race. It’s really as simple as that.