K-Pop Changed My Life: How K-Pop Taught Me How To Be Asian American

In many ways, K-Pop has changed my life.

HOW

You see, K-Pop isn’t just a plate of abs that look like inverted ice cube trays or ridiculously stylish dudes singing god knows what. To me, it means more. To us, the Asian American community, it means much, much more. The arrival of K-Pop on American shores serves as a watershed moment in which Asian Americans were finally able to look down into a puddle of airbrushed idols and superstars and ask themselves…

Is that… me? Is that what I look like? Is that… who I really am?

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Growing up I never had Asian action figures. Mine were always beefy White men with marble sized eyes and noses shaped like arrowheads. I idolized the manliness of Don Draper from Mad Men and wished I were as tall and beautiful as Adam Levine. But I never thought about it from a racial point of view. I didn’t have to question it because I just accepted it. Because that was just what men looked like. That is what the hero looked like. That is what a masculine, sexy man did: he rappelled down a building, all 6 foot 2 of himself, and saved the day with his super White self. And I loved it.

So when K-Pop came around I was confused. I wasn’t used to seeing Asian people in such high production videos and films. I wasn’t used to them taking off their shirt, or kissing other women, or acting sexy. That’s not an Asian Guy! Where’s the Kung-Fu? Where’s his calculator? He’s the sidekick of some taller White guy – where that guy? Is this a mistake? It must be a mistake! To see nothing but effeminate Asian Men growing up was quite damaging. I saw it all and wondered if I was destined to be half a man, but what made it worse was the rest of the country seemed to agree.

AGA

It’s funny. If you look at this blog and go back far enough, you will arrive at a place where there are no photos of Asian Men or K-Pop stars. You know why? That’s before I knew about K-Pop. And why did that suddenly change to a bright splash of yellow? Simple: When I discovered K-Pop and realized the endless supply of people who looked like me, in non-stereotypical ways, with emotions and expressions and styles that represented who I was, I made a promise to use nothing but Asian Men in my photos. I don’t plan on going back either.

"Go back? BISHHH, SWERVE!"

“Go back? BISHHH, SWERVE!”

In all honesty, I actually dislike most K-Pop music. Not because of something inherent about Korean Pop, but I just hate most Pop in general. I’m more of a Jazz Man. Nevertheless, I will be forever grateful for those dancing and singing machines half-way around the world because for the first time in my life, they made me feel like I was something more. More than just a side-kick, more than just an owner of a Dry Cleaners, more than just a caricature. I can be the hero who rappels down the building, all 5 foot 7 (and a half!) of myself to save my girlfriend from a sneezing cold or my career from spiraling into an expected heap of Nursing, Engineering, or Accounting.

K-Pop changed my life, and the lives of many Asian Americans, not because it gave us a new standard, a new identity to aspire to…

K-Pop changed our lives because it wiped the white tile clean, painted it yellow, and said, “here… now it’s your turn.”

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Dating TIP For Asian Men: How To Show Non-Asian Women You’re Interested In Them

AHEM! ATTENTION ALL WOMEN:

“Omg! Isn’t that that Asian blogger guy?!”

If you could please excuse me, I would like to take a moment to speak with my fellow Asian male brothers. We have a few business proposals to discuss. Oh, don’t worry, this won’t take long. Please, enjoy the buffet of healthy salads that we set out for you in the lobby! See you all very soon!

Me: Alright, are they gone?
Handsome/Buff Asian Security Guard: Yes, sir!

“Ma’am, will you please stop stroking my pecs?”

Alright guys, we need to talk! You see, I’ve noticed a lot of you trying to get out into the dating world. That’s fantastic. I’m proud of you — no, really, I am. However, I’ve been looking around and some of you don’t seem to get it. Some of you still feel like you’re trapped in stereotypes and that no non-Asian girl will ever date you. And to some extent, that’s kinda true. But look at your damn self! You, in the back! All you do is play Diablo 3, watch Anime and listen to K-POP – what the HELL makes you think you’ll ever get that Black Princess of your dreams?!

AND YOU!

Yes, you, the Asian guy reading this! You say you want a German girlfriend yet the only thing interesting about you is your high score on XBOX Live? Do you guys get what I’m trying to say? No? Let me spell it out for you:

Women Want Interesting Men

Daniel Henney: Korean actor, likes to sing Jazz and is also a country boy at heart. Touche, brother, touche…

As an Asian man, you are expected to like and participate in certain activities: attend anime conventions, play MMORPGs, listen to K-POP and drive a Honda Civic. Now, I’m not trying to say that you should quit playing World of Warcraft nor am I suggesting you burn your collection of Big Bang CDs. What I am saying is that in order to be an attractive man – inside and out – you need to be attracted to multiple things. You need to have depth and variety to your interests. Think about it like this:

Which Asian Guy sounds more attractive?

Ben - a Chinese guy who works for Google, enjoys hiking, loves Ramen and is a fan of Naruto? Or…

Josh – a Chinese guy who works for Google, enjoys Boxing at the gym, loves sweet potato pie and goes Salsa dancing every week?

I know the question is subjective but the idea is that often times, your interests and experiences will dictate who you will end up dating. You like all things Asian and hate trying new foods yet you dream of dating a German girl? TOUGH SHIT. Unless that German girl just so happens to like playing Minecraft as much as you, you probably won’t catch her attention. The idea behind all of this is to make yourself worldly. Be the type of man that is unpredictable with his interests. Be the type of man who can listen to Latin Jazz on Sunday with his Mexican coworkers and go fly fishing with his White friends on Tuesday.

When I was single, I had absolutely no idea what type of girl I would end up dating. I didn’t know if she would end up being White, Latina or Black. All I knew was that if the right girl came into my life, I wanted to be ready. I wanted to take her out on dates and show her that I can relate to her in some way. She’s a Jewish Southern girl who likes going to Country music festivals? Great! I just spent a month learning and listening to Garth Brooks! She’s a Black girl from Brooklyn who sings Soul music in an Indie band? Fantastic! Sam Cooke is my new favorite artist!

So go out there! Listen to music from all over the world (from Bossanova in Brazil to Indian folk music), try all the cool restaurants in your city (the Polish deli downtown, the Ethiopian restaurant near school) and take an honest interest in various cultures and the issues and topics of interest within those cultures (Black women and their hair, Indian women and arranged marriages, etc.) You want to build yourself up, make yourself better and create the kind of man that you yourself would want to have sex with if you were a lady.

When it comes to dating, we all have our own checklist of what we want and what we’re attracted to. So what’s going to happen when a girl sees you and decides to check her list? When that time comes, are you going to fit any of her categories? Are you going to appeal to her love of watching independent films? Are you going to appreciate the writings of Langston Hughes like she does? Or are you just going to keep doing what you’re doing, not interested in other cultures, not interested in trying anything new and not interested in learning about the cultures that you so desperately wish to date. You decide.

Asian guy at a shooting range with his girlfriend.

Remember, as an Asian man you already have a lot of stereotypes going against you. People expect you to be shy and quiet. People expect you to be socially awkward and good at playing video games. But when a non-Asian girl expects to see all of that and you, an already cultured Asian man, tell her all about your adventures and interests, she’s gonna think, “Holy shit, this Asian guys is AMAZING! He’s full Asian yet he can cook authentic German food, he owns a ton of French films and he’s part of the Jamaican club at school?! DAMN, BOY! TAKE MY BODY, NOW!”

So go ahead! Go off into the world! Gain depth and experience! Run with he bulls in Spain and dance with the women at Carnaval! You don’t have to stay at home and watch Anime all day. You don’t have to be the Asian guy that everyone expects you to be! You are the goddamn master and creator of your own identity and if you wish to date Black women, go do it! If you wish to date European women, take it! Your experiences will be a bright signal that communicates, “Hey! Date me! I’m open minded!” You must understand that in order to find a worldly and intelligent woman, you need to be an equally intelligent and worldly man. Because if a non-Asian girl sees that you’re not open to other cultures, she probably will think you’re not interested in her. So please, my fellow Asian brothers, PROVE THEM WRONG!