Fu Man “Who?” – Understanding The Complex Emotions Of Being An Asian-American Man

In a lot of ways our computers, video games, and homework have all been a great distraction for us Asian Men. A porcelain tub we lean back in with eyes closed, dunking our cold and pale bodies as the water blurs our vision and capsizes our eardrums till we can’t hear or see the outside world’s bullshit. We log in, check out, and let all the voices of society silence themselves to sleep while we level up our way to emotional bliss. We escape the pain.

Asian guys are nerds who stay on the computer all the time.

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I hate watching American sitcoms, they so rarely reflect the families us Asians grew up with. Most of us Whiz Kids were crafted in a factory that churned out star children; PhD machines who studied and calculated their way to an American dream that wasn’t even ours, but our parents’. It isn’t the dream we wanted but we still did it. Robots aren’t trained to think or decide for themselves. If you aren’t taught to value your own opinions and aspirations then what use is there in having feelings of your own? Feelings get you in trouble because feelings get in the way of The American Dram. You can’t do that.

My Asian ex-boyfriend never opened up to me.

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Asian American boys: the bastards of America. Our fathers are off on different shores in distant countries with wives and kids we never met, or up to their necks in TsingTao till their eyes turn red, or buried under a hundred other “gook” bodies that litter the the soils of the Korean and Vietnam War. So you take these fatherless children and expect them to become men yet you deny them the opportunity to see any Asian father figure on the T.V screen they’re cemented in front of. The screens they spend hours and hours in front of. To America it’s a mirror but to us it’s a screen that doesn’t look back. We keep looking but we still can’t find ourselves.

Why are Asian guys so weak and timid? They need to man up!

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What happens inside those tiny glowing screens? Like the sight of a thousand Chinese railroad workers hammering a steel nail into the ground the American message is simple and repeated over and over through caricatures and violent acts of racism: your father was no man, you are no man, and your kids will never be a man. Go home, little boy. You do not belong in the land of giants. Your voice does not matter because your voice isn’t loud enough.

This Asian guy I like won’t tell me if he likes me back. Why isn’t he speaking to me?

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The problem with being an Asian American Man is that you are stuck at a fork in the road but you’ve been told to stay still: while America tugs on your sense of identity and masculinity you want to push back and voice your concerns. But how do you teach a group of men to SPEAK UP when they were raised to politely raise their hands? How do you untangle these robot wires and let these men feel? We may ace and code our way to a middle-class but given the open floor beneath our feet where no one is willing to see us– not Asian women, not other men, not even Asians from Asia – what difference does it make what we think? It’s like we’re still on that railroad pounding away at the ground. This is our life.

I give up on Asian Men. 

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Asian Men are a complex and intricate group of individuals. Our own mental and emotional struggles are folded under our pillow by our unrelenting desire to succeed. To prove our worth to our parents that we can do it. That their efforts to cross those seas were not in vain. Dad, I can do it. Mom, I’ll make you proud. But when the the duty of your family pulls us to the right, the hunger to find our own identity yanks to the left, societal pressure drags us down, and the women who love us want us to stand up, we are bound to rip apart like a paper doll being fed into a room with paper shredders on all four walls.

I don’t understand Asian Men.

And you never will…

Because we don’t understand either.

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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?

Do Asian Guys Like Thick/Curvy/Big Girls?

Let me guess: you’re single, ready to mingle and you’re ready to say hello to the brothers in yellow. Unfortunately, despite your love for Asian guys you constantly look in the mirror and ask yourself, “will an Asian guy be able to love and handle all my love handles? Can he handle all of this meat?! WILL HE STAND TALL AND ERECT WHEN I STRIKE DOWN UPON HIS BODY WITH MY THUNDER THIGHS?!!?!” In other words…

DO ASIAN GUYS LIKE THICK/BIG GIRLS?

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Generally speaking, most people tend to go after and date those who have body types similar to their own . If you take an anorexic, sucked-up guy with arms as thin as noodles, chances are, he’ll end up with a girl just as noodle-like as himself. On the opposite end, a guy with a beer baby sloshing around his gut will probably go for a girl who also has more to love. Of course, there are exceptions and unfortunately, you’re more likely to see a bigger guy with a skinnier girl as opposed to a thick girl and a skinny guy.

I know, it sucks! HOWEVER, that’s just a general way of approaching the subject. When you zoom in a bit and focus on specific cultures, you start to notice that certain ethnic groups are actually open, if not IN LOVE, with thicker, more curvacious ladies. By now most of us are aware of the countries/cultures that are more likely to breed lovers of curves: Brazil, Mexico, parts of Africa and even Hawaii.

Here’s The Bad News…

“Damn you Asian culture! Why won’t you accept my love for thick women?!”

As a whole, Asian people tend to not like bigger people. Save for the Japanese Sumo Wrestlers who are all men, most Asian cultures have a standard of beauty that says the thinner the better. While some might say this is a highly superficial and vain way of thinking (to which I do agree) you also must understand why Asian people think this way. First off, based on the fish and vegetable heavy diets that Asians have, we are simply less likely to get fat by the logic of nutrition. Combined with the reality that much of Asia is actually VERY, VERY, VERY poor, the result is a population of people who simply do not have the money nor the diets to sustain any curves.

Second, Asians are incredibly conservative when it comes to social status. Everything they do revolves around maintaining and upgrading their status in society. Part of that is to be just as skinny as everyone else. As an Asian competing against other Asians, you have to drive the same expensive car, take your kids to the same expensive University and you need to be shopping at the same expensive designer boutique while wearing the same size dresses and jeans. To an Asian, being bigger and heavier is almost an automatic deduction in one’s social status, despite how much money you make —  especially for women.

Here’s The Good News!

“Hey there lovely lady, are you new to this buffet?”

Everything I said in the previous two paragraphs mainly applies to Asian-born Asians and not Asian Americans. Also, most of the discrimination against women with junk-in-the-trunk stems from OLDER ASIANS, aka, people in their 40’s and up. Asian guys my age (I’m currently 23) honestly don’t care too much about weight so long as you’re not double our size. So if we weigh 150lbs and you weigh 240… yeaa…. you might want to reconsider. But hey! You never know! He might wanna dive right into that body of yours like a scuba diver! It all depends.

Now, this is the part where I complicate things for just a second: relative to Asians, there are a few Asians that are more likely to discriminate based on your body weight and they just so happen to be the big three: Chinese, Japanese and Koreans. “OH NO! ARE YOU TELLING ME THAT I DON’T HAVE A CHANCE TO FIND MY OPPA BECAUSE HE WON’T LOVE MY LOVE DUMPLINGS?!” Ehhh…. kinda? You see, the big three just so happen to be some of the more conservative Asians so you’re MORE LIKELY to encounter Korean, Chinese or Japanese guys that won’t date big girls. That’s simply what I’ve noticed but as always, there are exceptions. If anything, try a Filipino, Thai or Vietnamese guy! They MIGHT be less critical.

THE BOTTOM LINE

BEHOLD!!

So if you’re wondering if having a big ass or wide hips will turn-off an Asian guy, I’m pretty damn sure he’ll love it. In fact, you might blow his goddamn mind with how attractive you are. How much will he love it? It depends on how conservative he is, if he’s been with a big girl before, what kind of Asian he is MIGHT have an affect, and most importantly, how husky is he himself?

When it comes to whether or not Asian guys date big girls, the deciding factor is YOU and SOCIETY. Exactly how BIG are you and how much does the rest of society care? The reality of the situation is that your weight shouldn’t matter in a relationship. Unless your weight affects the sex, your ability to go on activities with your boyfriend or your tendency to eat a certain diet that your Asian boyfriend doesn’t like, unless your weight negatively affects your relationship, you should be just fine. But you still have to define: how BIG are YOU? And are you too big for other guys who aren’t Asian? Do you also have trouble with Latin guys or White guys or Black guys? Because if you have had problems in the past with guys accepting your weight, then I can be certain that simply switching to Asian guys won’t exactly change things.

“Where can an Asian guy get some decent THIGH ACTION around here?!”

If all else fails, hire an Asian personal trainer, tone up, get fit, take him to the locker room, compliment his biceps, pretend to drop something, bend over, show-off DAT BODY and make him LOVE THOSE CURVES!

WERK IT!

AMBW Rant: Can Black Women ONLY Date “Ghetto” Asian Men?

From time to time, I enjoy perusing through the AMBW videos on Youtube for a good hour or two. Like an alumni of AMBW University visiting his alma mater, I look upon these videos with a judgmental eye, checking to see the bullshit that ementates from people’s mouths. Recently, Asian duo extraordinaire, the Fung Brothers, posted a video called “Do Asian Men Like Black Wom[e]n?” and all I gotta say is…

DUDE… WTF?

“Brah, you just went full racist!”

You see, I agree with a lot of what they are saying and not to toot my own horn or anything, but I’ve been saying the same damn shit for YEARS. But the part that rustles the FUCK out of my jimmies starts at about 1:30 when the Fung Bros talk about the type of Asian guy that Black girls should go after. Apparently, if you are a Black woman looking for an Asian man, you need to find an Asian guy “with a shaved head, a line-up, a fitted cap, snap-back, if he knows how to rap… if him and his friends use the ‘N-word’ amongst themselves.” In other words, go find a “ghetto” Asian guy.

Now of course, I do see the point that the guys are trying to make which is to say that you need to find the Asian guy who seems most comfortable around Black people, thus he will be comfortable hitting on you and willing to pursue a relationship — theoretically. However, I simply dislike– nay, I FUCKING HATE this idea. You see, the problem with this idea isn’t about the Asian guy being ghetto and that somehow I’m trying to associate ghetto with him being BAD. No no, the biggest problem with this idea is that it assumes that all Black Women are inherently attracted to ghetto guys.

WAIT, WHAT?

“But! But! I don’t even know how to twerk! I only know the cabbage patch!”

If you make the claim that the best type of Asian guy for a Black girl happens to be into hip-hop and saying the word nigga, then what exactly does that say about your expectations and understanding of Black Women in general? What? So Black Women shouldn’t pursue the Asian guy on the football team? What about the Japanese exchange student who listens to classical music? That type of narrow thinking is not just ignorant,  it’s a bit racist. This isn’t even something that is exclusive to the Fung Bros, this is something that, unfortunately, a lot of Asian guys are guilty of.

I‘ve heard of many horror stories from Black women who feel objectified and stereotyped by MANY Asian BOYS. Boys who think that just because they are approaching a Black woman, the doors of ethical behavior rip the hell off their hinges and an everything-goes mentality is put into place. These guys might grab Black women, cat-call them and in some cases, they even try and speak differently to them, as if Black women somehow only understand ebonics. This kind of bullshit infuriates me and for the Asian guy who thinks this is okay, please, brother, kill yourself.

“Oh god! What have I done?! Why did I say ‘waddup, ma?’ to that pretty Black girl?!”

My Advice To Asian Men Interested In Black Women

When you meet that special Black Woman you want to marry and have kids with, I don’t care if she herself “talks ghetto,” if you DON’T talk like that, there is no need to start pretending like you do. Act normal. Just because you’re with a Black woman doesn’t mean you need to stop playing DOTA 2 and League of Legends in exchange for NBA2K13 and a trip to the barber shop. Be your damn self. If she’s open to the idea of dating an Asian man in the first place, then she probably expects you to sometimes do things that are a bit “Asian-y.” Don’t be ashamed, brother, treat her with the same respect you would give to a White, Asian, Latina or African girl. At the end of the day, before being a Black woman, she became a WOMAN. So make her feel like a very, very special one.

My Advice To Black Women Having Issues With Ignorant Asian Men

Don’t listen to that nonsensical bullshit about you chasing after ghetto Asian guys. Could you use that advice as a reference point? Of course. The Fung Bros did make a good point, please do take an Asian American Studies course and talk to the Asian guys there. If they are willing to become more culturally aware of their own racial identity, chances are, they might just be open about other races in general. So go for it! If you think that buff and sexy nerdy Asian guy in your Art History class has a nice jawline that you’re interested in kissing, go up to him! Talk to him!

Don’t feel restricted by your stereotypes and the pressure from society to date a “type” of guy. You are not a video hoe, you are not a welfare queen and you are certainly not a cheap girl who deserves to be grabbed and hollered at. You can run this country if you want, be a software engineer if you want and goddamnnit, you can date whoever the FUCK you want, too! If an Asian guy comes up to you in a disrespectful way, wave his sorry ass goodbye and move on. Remember, there are BILLIONS of us Asian men out there, a new one, THE RIGHT ONE, is coming soon 🙂

(VLOG) Q&A #3 – My Asian Boyfriend Won’t Introduce Me To His Parents

What happens when your Asian boyfriend continues to not introduce you to his parents and family? What does it mean and how can you better understand the situation from his perspective? In my latest VLOG Q&A I go into detail about some of the reasons for this. Enjoy!