This Is Why You’re Single: “I Can’t Date Someone Outside My Culture – They Won’t Understand Me!”

You know that strange sixth sense you get when you can feel all the eyes in a room watching you? Like a giant spider peering into your soul, the room grows silent and all you can hear are a thousand eyeballs moving as you think to yourself, “goddamn, what the HELL are you all looking at?!” I knew I was the only Filipino in that Vietnamese restaurant, but damn, did I look that out of place? Then I realized something: they weren’t looking at me – they were looking at my girlfriend…

My Black girlfriend.

But I’ll get back to that story in just a minute…

One of the laziest excuses I hear from people uninterested in interracial relationships is their need to satisfy their culture. “How can I date a non-Indian man? What about my culture? How will he like my food?” “But, I’m a Black woman! There are things that only a Black man can understand about being Black and I need that in my Black life! How the hell can an Asian man understand what I’ve been through?!” “Aye dios mio! Yo soy Mexicana! Esta chino? PORQUE, NO!”

I get it. I really do. You value your heritage and your connection with your culture is so tight not even a TSA agent with a latex glove and a bottle of Astroglide can get through. You know your religion and interests are important so you feel like dating someone of the same background will be easy. A stress free relationship where you don’t have to explain why you do the things you do to a person who, in your mind, simply cannot understand “your people.”

“OMG like how can I date a guy who won’t understand my passion for corny Bollywood films? I AM NOT WATCHING IT WITH SUBTITLES!!”

But you’re wrong.

Since when have ANY of your damn relationships been easy? Most of the shittiest relationships I’ve been with were Asian women themselves who I shared the exact same culture and heritage with. The problem with the culture argument is that it assumes all relationship problems exist for culture reasons when truthfully, it’s almost always a personal issue.

Many moons ago I dated a Filipino girl who had a Filipino mom, Japanese dad, she ate rice and liked listening to R&B slow jams – basically your standard Asian girl. Unfortunately, she cheated on me and my 14 year old self was overly jealous. It was an epically disastrous relationship equivalent to Satan shitting on the Hindenburg just as it fell from the sky. But guess what? All of those reasons had nothing to do with our culture, it had everything to do with her infidelity and my insecurity.

“It’s OVER, Tyler! I don’t care if you slept with my grandmother! How could you NOT like the Red Sox and Mayonnaise as much as I do?!”

Now ask yourself this: does the success of a relationship truly hinge on whether or not your boyfriend likes Salsa dancing? Will your relationship crumble if he doesn’t know how to properly roll a Pierogi and shop for deli meats for your Russian family? Is he less of a man because he can’t fully understand the struggles of being a Black woman in modern society? Will you care for and love him less because he can’t speak your native language?

No.

“I’m sorry, ridiculously chiseled and immaculately styled Asian Man that is making me hot and heavy, I can’t date a man that hasn’t even attended a single Barmitzvah! GO AWAY, COMMIE!”

Believe it or not, culture can be taught. We as humans can learn to adopt and learn to understand and learn how to cook the way your grandmother does. Those are things you can teach a man. But honesty, loyalty, a sense of humor, a taste for an unexpected road trip or a passion for corny scary movies? THAT is something you cannot teach. Those are the beliefs that make your relationship great. Those are the true values that erect the foundation for a healthy love that lasts. If you can find those key qualities in a man and he just so happens to be Asian, or Black, or Sri Lankan, why not go for it? Why let that ONE thing get in the way of an amazing relationship?

When I sat in that Vietnamese restaurant earlier today, with all eyes on my girlfriend as she masterfully rolled and ate Banh Xeo with all the veggies and fish sauce intact, I completely forgot that she was Black. All I cared about was, damn, my baby got skills. She may not look Asian or have experienced life as an Asian, but she’s willing to understand my life and my interests while also teaching me hers. Because at the end of the day I didn’t choose her for her culture or heritage, I chose her for her heart, her mind, and our shared love affair for trying something new.

Culture does not define you – you define it.

 

Asian Guy Confessions: I F*CKING LOVE My Black Girlfriend’s Natural Hair!!!

Oh, me from 2010. So young, so inexperienced yet so full of optimism.

I remember three years ago I wrote a blog called “Asian guy speaks: I think Black Women have Sexy Hair!” which became an instant hit. Black women from all over the internet came flooding my way to thank me for speaking my mind and being so candid about my feelings towards their natural hair. So what do I think now, now that I actually am with a Black woman who has natural hair? Are my opinions still the same or do I have any hidden secrets woven in between?

My Natural Haired Goddess

LOOK AT HER GORGEOUS HAIR! Now look at mine! Don’t our hairstyles make a cute couple? HELLL YEAA THEY DO!

This is my extraordinarily gorgeous girlfriend, Livi.

Livi has been all natural for most of her life and as her boyfriend I couldn’t be happier. I love the way her hair catches the light in the sun, the fruity smell from the products that she uses (well, most of the products at least) and I especially adore the variety of styles that she manages to pull off. You see, some guys don’t have the patience for the whole ‘girls spending hours and hours on their hair’ kind of thing. However, I’m an Asian guy who actually cares about not looking like William Hung so I devote my sweet minutes to curing and crafting my head of hair. I blow dry it, comb it, add product, style it more, add more product then top it off with hair spray. In many ways, Livi can actually be faster at doing her hair than me — which she teases me about.

Unlike me and my sacred hairdo ritual before school, Livi spends most of her time preparing her hair the night before. Jojoba oil this, argan oil that and a host of creams and butters that would make Paula Deen salivate. Sometimes it can get a bit messy with her products all over the counter but it’s not a big deal, I’m used to it. She truly does spend a good amount of time on her hair but I get it — natural hair is far more high maintenance than Asian hair and I actually respect the fact that she knows what she’s doing. Living with a natural haired woman might seem like it would eat up the time you share together but in reality, it’s no more than an hour each day.

Touching, Feeling And Playing With Her Hair

Livi enjoying a cup of “expensively rich and decadent” hot tea from IKEA.

Prior to dating Livi I was under the impression that I would be put into a headlock had I touched or THOUGHT ABOUT TOUCHING a Black woman’s hair. Hey, that’s cool! Back when I had Asian spikes, if you so much as grazed a single spike by accident, LORD HELP YOU because I would have dragon punched your spleen out. But with Livi, she made it clear from the beginning that she didn’t mind me touching her hair. Hell, I could even play with it if I wanted.

I‘d like to think I’m not alone on this but honest to god, I LOVE playing with my girlfriend’s natural hair. I love how soft her hair feels, the way the curls slide through my fingers tugging softly at my fingertips and the sensation I get from it. When we’re watching T.V together on the couch I’ll occasionally turn her back towards me and massage her head with my fingers, making her neck tingle as her shoulders relax and drop. This, to me, is incredibly sexy and is even relaxing for myself.

“Baby, your kitchens are like a lily pad floating on an ocean of happiness on a river bank…err…something like that…”

Though, my favorite thing to do is play with her kitchens. Apparently, kitchens are the smaller hairs on the very back of a person’s natural head that tend to grow in random directions, much like a cowlick, and are often shorter or more curly than the rest. This is my playground. It’s like I’m a child again as I curl, uncurl and even smell the damn thing. Kitchens are damn cute and curse you if you ever try to make them go away! LEAVE THE KITCHENS ALONE, DAMMIT!

The Straightening Of The Hair

It’s an unfortunate reality that the American job market is biased against Black Women. Livi has been on a number of job interviews and although it isn’t scientifically tested, we’ve noticed that most of the interviews that went well were when her hair was straight while the not-so-stellar interviews happened when she wasn’t. Now, we can debate the validity of straight hair vs natural in a job interview but when you’re trying to find a new job to pay for the things you need, hell, you’ll do anything to give yourself that edge even if it means frying your hair under a flat iron (no, she doesn’t relax it — thank god.)

It makes me sad that she has to straighten those beautiful curls and when she does, I feel like a part of her physical identity is temporarily removed and a more “family friendly” and “socially accepted” version is replaced. I know it’s still my girlfriend but I just can’t help seeing it a bit differently. It saddens me even more knowing that deep down, she doesn’t want to do it either.

On her 21st Birthday we went to Bouchon, a Michelin starred restaurant just north of Napa Valley.

On the other hand, there are moments when stylistically, she wants to straighten her hair. Moments when she’s going for a certain look — maybe it’s 60’s themed or perhaps she wants to sweep it to the side — and in those cases we’re not so sad. I still prefer her natural hair but luckily, she actually styles her hair damn well so I’m always a fan.

My Love And Hate Relationship With “The Bonnet”

Shower cap or bonnet? THE WORLD WILL NEVER KNOW!…. nah, jk, that’s a bonnet.

The Bonnet. Most call it a bonnet, I call it: a chef’s hat, an ice cream cone or a Princess Leia. The first time I saw her wear one I was like, “Waddahayl? Why do you have a shower cap on?” to which she replied, “It’s a bonnet! Black girls wear it to bed to protect their hair.” And when she says she wears it to bed I’m saying she wears it to bed EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. Some days I think it looks like a silly little hat, other days it looks like a cute cupcake head and other nights, as in, those nights I feel a bit more strongly.

My girlfriend has gorgeous hair and seeing it tussle and move is a turn-on. So when we’re getting intimate, the last thing I want on my mind is a damn ice cream cone let alone Princess Leia with an ice cream cone on her head. It’s too damn distracting! Worse yet, bonnets seem to come in only three colors: black, hot pink and some ugly ass butterscotch color. How can I focus on you when I’m starting to think about some damn sweets?! Although, the most important reason why I dislike bonnets during these moments is that to me, bonnets signify that you’re done for the day and that you’re sleepy. So there’s competing messages between the actions being made and the bonnets being worn — catch my drift?

So yea, tip of the day: bonnets are cool except during intimate times.

But THIS is okay during intimate moments :oD

Natural Hair Is Beautiful Because?

Natural hair isn’t beautiful on Livi because of the style or the texture or the even color — even though they are. To me, natural hair is beautiful on Livi because natural hair is… (brace yourself)… NATURALLY HOW HER HAIR LOOKS! It appears exactly as it should and despite being hard to maintain and moisturize and style, she does it. She cares for her hair and it is a symbol of who she is, what she is and how she wants to be seen. And yes, her hair texture is very different from other black women but according to Livi, her hair used to be more fro-like when she was younger before it became color damaged. So her hair is part of her identity and history and if it means that much to her, if it means spending hours taking care of it and wearing bonnets and applying tons of product then HELL YES, it means that much to me too.

You see, I don’t have anything against Black women who relax their hair, straighten or dye it, wear wigs, weaves or braid it, I have no problem at all because I GET IT. I get that society has a fucked up expectation of beauty that has been developed over the years and unfortunately, natural Black hair isn’t always a part of that ‘blonde and beautiful’ story. So when I see a Black woman with relaxed hair or a Black woman with a weave on, it makes me sad. It makes me sad knowing that she has to do that to herself. She has to change part of WHO SHE IS and what is a part of her own genetics in order to feel beautiful, to feel accepted and to feel like herself. It truly does make me sad.

I see it no differently than Jewish people who try to remove the bump on their nose, Asians who pay for double eyelid surgery, pale White people that spend hours tanning or dark skinned brothers and sisters that try to bleach their skin. Sure, these are all things that can make you feel better and less insecure but the question isn’t about, “does it make them feel confident?” but rather, “why do they feel insecure to begin with?” And in my eyes, no one should have to feel like who they truly are and how they are born is anything less than perfect — especially Black women struggling with accepting their natural hair.

So to the 2010 version of myself, I congratulate you for writing that awesome blog and (hopefully) leading the way to more Asian guys falling MADLY IN LOVE with Black women and their natural hair. As for the 2013 version of myself, the one head-over-heels for a beautiful Black woman with luscious, delicious, beautiful, cute, sexy and perfect hair? What lesson should I give to myself? Well.. perhaps I’ll save my words of wisdom till Livi and I have cute little Blasian kids and I’m the one hunched over the couch combing my son or daughters hair as I cheerfully play with their kitchens.

After uploading an image of myself and Livi to this website, the site generated an approximation of what our future child “might” look like. I KINDA see it, yea?

The Love Life of an Asian Guy – Ep. 4: I Liked It, So I Put A (Promise) Ring On It

Haven’t posted a vlog in awhile, despite the fact that I’ve been sitting on video clips from both my Birthday AND our 1 year anniversary. Oh, did I mention that Livi and I have been together for over a year, and still going as strong as ever?

Yeaeaa buddyy! 😎

Interracial Dating Rant #5 – How I Feel About Jealous Black Men

Being in an interracial relationship, in a way, is almost like being a celebrity: all eyes – Black, White, Asian, or Brown – are on you. Curious eyeballs are whispering salty nothings into each other’s ears as they speculate the big question that is on their minds: “why is SHE with HIM?”

If you’re strong, you’ll toss that bullshit out the window faster than a cocaine dealer flushing down hisstash when the cops come knockin’. You block out the gossip and remember that, when the lights are low and it’s time to hit the sack, you aren’t sharing a bed with your girlfriend and the chatty baristas at Starbucks. Only your opinion, and the opinion of your mate is what counts. If you’re not strong enough to do this, if you care too much about what he says or she said when you, a 28 year-old Latin woman walked by with your Malaysian boyfriend, then maybe interracial dating isn’t for you.

Luckily for me, I’ve become a pro at blocking out “observers” from my field of vision. Even for me, when random guys eyeball me and Livi, or they actually say something to us (one guy asked Livi if she was with me for the “Guap” – aka, money) I find myself chuckling all the way home. Although, it must be noted that although guys have said many things, one group of guys says it the most: Black Men.

Jeebus! Ranier, you must hate Black Men for being such haters, right?!”

In all honesty, despite the many things that random Black guys have said to us – including but not limited to: “Does he pay you a nickel for every time you say ‘I love you’?” and “REALLY?! (in front of our faces)” – I seriously don’t. The fact of the matter is that no matter what ethnicity you’re dealing with, there are always men in that group who feel like they own all of the women from their race. Men who act as if their women are betraying them, even though they themselves are in a relationship.

Men will be men and for as long as a piece of floppy skin dangles between their hairy legs, they will always be overly possessive, and utterly illogical. Furthermore, it’s not like all Black Men have a problem with Black Women dating outside their race. The guys that do tend to think this way are often times, in my experience, ghetto men. Not even ghetto black men, but ghetto guys altogether. I’ve had a couple random Latin guys make annoying comments about us too.

So to answer that question stated above, no, I don’t hate Black Men. Even before I found an interest in AMBW dating, I was always an advocate for the empowerment of Black Men and Women, and minorities in general. If for some reason you do hate the men/women of your girlfriend’s race, then good luck to you when you have to meet their parents…

Goodbye 21, Hello 22: Looking Back At The Best Year Of My Life

There’s something about Birthdays that makes me feel incredibly… clean. It’s as if this past year was a spread of cookie crumbs sprawled onto the kitchen counter, ready to be swiped down at the strike of midnight. Now, as I sit in my boxers and a furry-like robe watching Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, I cycle through the mental photo album of this past year.

From the standpoint of a 21 year old, I actually drank very little alcohol this year. I could easily count the number of drinks I had with two, maybe even one hand. To me, drinking has never been an interest of mine nor do I plan on cultivating my “taste” for it anytime soon. I guess I was right: the first drink I had on my twenty-first birthday really did dictate the pacing of the coming year. The year of the sangria – sweet, a little bitter, and full of fresh fruit.

A notable accomplishment this past year was my transfer from De Anza Community College to the ever so hippy, San Francisco State University. It was a fun and lovely three years at De Anza but to be in State feels good – real good. The opportunities are as present as the smell of a dirty bum on the sidewalk.

The next milestone was my new job at Tory Burch. After almost two years of unemployed goodness (minus the fashion related work I did) I finally mustered up the wits to get off my ass and land a job. The surprising thing for me however was the speed in which it happened. One day, I literally said “I’m getting a new job” and by the next week I had already been hired. Call me narcissistic, but that impressed the hell out of me. That job came to me almost as fast as a virgin school boy comes during his first experience with oral sex.

Now, there were many other plateaus that were scaled during this past year (moving into a new apartment, getting a new car, etc etc) but none can ever compare to the one that matters most.

Olivia.

I may not be a believer of miracles or gods, but when I contemplate over the perfectly timed meeting between my lovely girlfriend and I, I really have to defog my glasses and ask myself “was this destiny?” Now, before you call the cheese police let me just say that I am honestly, and passionately in love with Livi. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill “love” that most twenty-somethings feel like they’re a part of after they have drunk sex and decide to actually call the damn person. No, what Livi and I have is laser etched in pure gold. I’ve tried, but I cannot think of a single thing that I actually dislike about Livi – neither can she.

So to go from six years of single-dom – mixed in with a tyrant of bad “dates”- to this GODDESS of a woman is absolutely unfathomable. That’s like taking a child from Ethiopia who has eaten mashed corn and dirty water all his life, adopting him, then feeding him Kobe beef steaks and champagne every night. It’s a shift from loneliness to rich, lavish love. I talk about it like it’s some sort of infomercial product that you MUST BUY NOW but in all honesty, actually thinking about it just baffles my mind over, and over again. She is perfect, and our relationship completely exceeds every expectation I had.

Our trip to Christmas in the park 🙂

I‘ll spare you the extra cheesey goodness but let me just end on this note: way too often, I hear coworkers, relatives, and classmates who whine and complain about getting older, as if it were a bad thing. To me, getting older is getting better. It’s about reaching that next level in your life where things change, mutate, and enhance. Maybe that glass of Sangria I had on April 13th, 2011 dictated more than just my year of 21, but rather, my life. Maybe my life is a bottle of wine that I must cherish and appreciate for the time it took to get this good. I should savor the sweetness of my life, learn to understand the bitter moments, and I should chew slowly and enjoy the chunks of fruit that my life has produced.

Life is amazing, aging is fantastic, every year is a miracle, and I sound like a fucking goober right now – which is why I’m going to stop.

So if you’ll excuse me, I have a gorgeous woman sleeping in my bed who needs to be snuggled and kissed.

YAY! Happy Birthday to me!

The Love Life of an Asian Guy – Ep. 3: Cars, Crepes and Coats

It’s weird: I’ve ALWAYS wanted to post vlogs on youtube but for the longest time, I always felt insecure in front of the camera. So to have this series actually progress and continue is quite a shock. I think what made me get over this insecurity was the reality that these vlogs are about US as a couple, and not me. From then on, it was smooth sailin’.

Anywho, this is just a little vlog on what we’ve been up to. Enjoy!

The Love Life of an Asian Guy – Episode 2: Sweets and Sushi

After the positive feedback from our last video, we decided to post another! I also considered one of the comments stating that the background music was too loud so for this one, I took it out while we were talking. Hope you enjoy this series of videos and all of the ones that are coming soon! Our posting schedule will probably occur once a week, maybe even more.

Enjoy! 😀

Don’t forget to watch in HD!