Full Circle: Looking Back Into The Past

After a two month sabbatical and extended hiatus, it’s good to be back. During my period of non-posting, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time reflecting upon our whole AMWF journey at AMWF Love. When I revisit my first few posts on AMWF I begin to wonder how I ever managed to write those topics. The majority of my compositions come purely spontaneously. It began with just Laura and me posting a collection of writings that soon turned to some form of formal blog. While we may never know our actual reach to our audiences, we were grateful enough to receive feedback from our supporters.

It was great to know that there were other people who expressed their mutual interest in interracial relationships involving an Asian Male. In fact our scope reached out to not only Caucasian females, but also to many other visible minorities including those with African or Latin origins. This was not our intent at AMWF Love to exclude these populations, but to share our thoughts and real life experiences online.

With Laura and I having a Caucasian and Asian background respectively, we elected to talk about AMWF because it would most accurately reflect our thoughts and feelings. I could not speak from an African-American perspective or from a Latin American viewpoint either. Instead I believed it was important to discuss principles of relationships through the perspective of a Westernized Asian Male. At AMWF Love we strive to discuss topics regarding AMWF as well as cultural, emotional, and social issues relating to Asian Male and Non-Asian female relationships. These principles can be also used for Asian Male Asian Female relationships or any other possible combination as well.

So back to the full circle reference – what does it mean? I see it as a way of evaluating progression of interracial dating with emphasis on Asian Male Western Female. Times have changed, and even a decade ago I probably would have a significantly lower chance developing a long-term relationship with a non-Asian female. While I did run into my former girlfriend (AMWF) who I haven’t seen in over seven years, I found out she is happily married (non-AMWF) with a caring husband and son.  Fast forward to present day 2012, I would say instead of getting the automatic rejection from a non-Asian female, there are times when I do get a warm response. Nobody said it was easy, but we are making progress one step at a time.

What about the plans for 2012? Well, we will be discussing more current and present day issues of AMWF relationships as opposed to the prior years of diving deep into historical reasons for typical Asian Male behavioural responses. Things are constantly changing, and clearly what I remember about Asian societies from my elementary social studies classes do not accurately reflect present day society. In the meantime, if you haven’t read some my principles to Asian Men, you are most welcomed to read topics regarding my TCAI model. Happy reading!

Stuck in the Comfort Zone

Do you have your comfort zone? Maybe it was under the bed sheets as a child, or It’s really hard to depart from a comforting familiarity. Everyone has that place, whether it would be the people, objects, or environment. This is the refuge we create when adversity strikes. It is almost an automated response manufactured by our habits.

While this is universal, I find it very interesting when applying this to relationships of Asian Men and Non-Asian women. As I have mentioned before, a relationship such as AMWF may face more challenges because there are different societal and cultural upbringings between the two parties. I would not say this is a setback, but it requires a different approach compared to an Asian Male Asian Female relationship. Regardless if the female is White, Black, Hispanic, or of another ethnic background we have to understand that these relationships are more of a complimentary paring rather than a similar (compatible) matching.

Both may value family (similar/compatible), but the Asian approach may have more family influence with children over a Western mentality. Weekly Sunday dinner visits to the parents would be almost expected – only to have a mundane conversation of work and weekly updates.

Now back to the comfort zone. What I find most striking looking back at my Asian upbringing was the creation of an environment where I was mostly unwilling to venture off to the unknown. I approached things when I was sure the results would exactly meet my expectations. Working hard would result in good grades and minimal scolding from an over controlling father. Video games provided a virtual challenge that failures would be less embarrassing. Not only that, I soon surrounded myself with like-minded individuals who enjoyed video games, computers, and other technological devices. Life was good.

There is only one problem with spending so much time in the wonderful comfort zone, relationships such as AMWF is next to impossible without some form of compromise and understanding. Traditionally Asian Men are measured by their social status and economic contribution to the family – so a car, house, and job would deem him dating material and additional cars and houses would make him even more attractive, and probably more respected by the Asian public. Don’t be surprised if an Asian Man makes gift giving gestures to signal his financial status.

While Western females recognize this, many also realize there is much more to life than just the collection of material items. Comfort to them is being able to finally take down the emotional barriers and be able to express their feelings candidly with a positive feedback. As a result, we realize that there are adjustments that have to be made when dealing with these kinds of relationships. Otherwise the woman views the Asian man as unresponsive or indifferent.

So how do we change our comfort zones? The simple statement is hard work, and the longer explanation is to create and develop a new environment which will result in a new comfort zone. It takes a lot of time to change behavior and habits, but it is possible – but not easy. Remember, nothing risked is nothing gained.

Asian Social Gatherings and Arriving Late

I have always noticed and wondered why in Asian culture arriving early for any type of social gathering never seemed to happen. Over the years I have been involved in many events and I always noticed that when I was asked to arrive at say 5:00pm for a party, I would be reminded by those around me that it meant I should arrive at 5:30 or 6:00pm.  Huh?! I never understood this. As the years have passed I thought and observed this kind of what I would call an Asian “secret code” that has been passed down for generations.  Everyone seemed to know but me that I should be arriving late. In western culture, I was taught that when I am invited to a party etiquette dictated that I arrive at the requested time, maybe even 5 minutes early in fact. So as I began to see this happen at every event with no one having a problem with it, I began to wonder why.

As I have spent so much time involved in Asian culture I have come up with a few reasons why I think that it’s appropriate to arrive late to gatherings:

Diffusion of Attention- By arriving late, they accomplish a diffusion of attention meaning that they can avoid awkward greeting or being particular noticed by others at the event. In a collectivist environment why would you want to stand out?

They May not Want to be There- They are either there because their family wants them to, appeasing their girlfriend/boyfriend, or something of that nature. I would therefore make sense that they would rather come later then not at all because the social etiquette says they just should be there regardless of personal feeling or interest in the event.

 There for the Food- Asian parties always have an excess of food. It’s always good and there is always plenty of it. Everyone loves free food and Asian people are no exception. At the end of a party everyone takes out the zip-lock bags and snags the left-over food for home. Why show up early when the best part of the night is what you get at the end!

So to me it seems that Asians all know that being late is customary, and no one takes offence.  In the Western style, everybody wants to make everybody else happy and show respect to the host by arriving on time.  Is one or the other better, I don’t really know for sure, but at first it seemed really strange to me.

 

A Reflection on Self-Efficacy

Have you ever had the situation where you believed in something so strongly that it happened? Were there times you didn’t take any action because you could not properly predict the outcome? Just like all the Asian Men out there, I too have experienced many times of being humbled.

Do you remember the first time your dad took off the training wheels on your bike? I still remember it. It was the time where I felt supremely invincible. Well maybe not that invincible, but I was able to pick myself up from any pain or adversity endured. The first time I fell off my bike merely moments after those two little rear wheels were taken off. It was the first time I realized you had to keep pedaling to stay balanced or come tumbling onto the pavement. I remember the tears that came along with the minor cuts on my knee, but I wasn’t crying because I couldn’t do it, it was simply because I was in pain. I fell for a second time because I didn’t know how to properly ascend a sidewalk from the road, and a third for not properly counterbalancing my turning. Yes it hurt, but I truly believed that I was capable of riding a bike.

In other words this was the beginning of building my own self-efficacy. Now you may confuse this with the term confidence, but this much more than the strength of belief in a particular outcome. I would describe self-efficacy as a belief that competencies are attainable, regardless of the setbacks that occur along the way. Now everyone will choose different skill sets and interests, but they tend to gravitate to areas where there are levels of success.

Who would enjoy doing something that you always lost at? For every sport, video game, or interest we experienced some sort of success that kept us going forward. There was just the right mix of challenge and skill that kept our interest levels up. We knew there were opportunities to improve and eventually achieve a high level of success.

The biggest problem for Asian Men is that societal expectations and popular culture does not emphasize self-efficacy, but place a perceived value on a pseudo-confidence that borders arrogance and selfishness. There is no secret that a tall athletic built male with a chiseled jaw line can be forgiven for his bravado, but is that a true qualifier for Asian Men to be attractive? Certainly it is an uphill battle, but the most important thing is not to be discouraged. I simply say this is because the “confidence” that mainstream society is accustomed to perceiving is not as readily apparent in Asian Males, and thus they may seem less desirable.

If I reapply this to our TCAI Model at AMWF Love, the expected behavior will differ depending on the primary archetype of the Asian Male:

  • Technophiles will be more assertive with themselves – stepping out of their comfort zone
  • Comedians will take a chance to say something funny – a natural swagger
  • Ambitious will depict a bold masculine presence – a dominating approach
  • Individuals will listen to their own heart – just being themselves

So be sure what archetype you identify with – that goes for both ones looking for an AMWF Relationship or who are already in an AMWF Relationship.

 

She Only Dates Asian

 

 

I found this illustration (asiandatingcoach.com) and thought I would elaborate for you on the topic of the types of women and whom they choose to date, and why. I wanted to make it simple because dating and relationships can often be complicated at times. As a man I can understand that you often must wonder, when you see someone you are interested in, if she may even be open to the idea in general. If somehow you only knew, then you could confidently get to know her in hopes of it becoming something more.  Although there is no way to really know how she feels about it you, there are some things to keep in mind when it comes to the way women think about dating.

Looking at the left side of the graph (red) you can see that here will always be a small percentage of women who just won’t be interested for many different reasons.  These women won’t try and date you, so you won’t date them. End of story.

On the far right (green) you can see that there is a small percent of women that will exclusively only date Asian men. Now these women (and I can say this because I am one of them) come to two forms. They are either the type of women that has a fetish, or they are the types of women who have dated both Asian and non Asian men and from experience found that they prefer Asian men more. I would suggest that you go for the women that don’t have some crazy fetish with Asian things, like anime or dramas, because it often turns out that they have unrealistic expectations of being with someone Asian. Women who have dated Asian men before and have dealt with and are prepared for some of the cultural differences that can often go along with it and it can make things much easier on your relationship. But these women are harder to find, because there are less of them to meet, or they already are with someone to begin with.

In the middle of the graph (gray) is where the largest percentage of women are found, and the key here is that these women are all open to dating anyone, and they may not even know it yet. Most women only require a man to be good to her, care of her, love her, and with a little charm and grace on your part she will be happy. It really does not matter what race you are, but that you are a good match for her.  She may not know much at all about Asian culture, foods, etc… or even have an interest in it, but if you’re the right type of man for her, and you show her that you are, she will be happy

So guys, don’t worry if she may or may not seem to be particularly into things Asian because that’s not an indicator that she would or would not consider you. Instead go after what you find attractive, physically and mentally, and she will be receptive to you. In reality you can open her eyes to the possibility of dating Asian men, when she may have not even considered it an option before. So go for it!

 

Asian Men, are they for me?

I always try and look that the good in everything, and perhaps at times that means I am overly optimistic about the AMWF relationship. I would love to think that every woman feels the same about Asian men as I do, but in truth not all of them will. I realize although that in part, personal preference is a contributor. There are women who just like white men, or back men, Asian men, or whatever. Just in the same way there are Asian men who really prefer Asian women, over white, black, or etc. That’s great right …everyone has the right to choose who they want and what they prefer. Even with this personal preference although, there are times when a women may be intentionally or unintentionally overseeing Asian men. Why? Well after much thought and asking guys what they feel might be keeping women from seeing their good intentions, I have the following reasons to present to you:

 

Physical Appearance:

 Your Height and Body Build – You maybe have wondered if that fact that you stand a mighty 5ft 6inches tall, if that’s going to be good enough for your WF. In truth many women like taller men because of the idea that a taller man is a stronger man. It’s just ingrained in our DNA to be attracted to men who are tall. Now not all women care of course, and there are many WF who are taller than many men and are fine with it. Asian men often fall under the stereotype of being short, which in fact is not always true either, but that alone might stifle her interest in Asian men. Asian men also stereotypically are viewed as skinny and not particularly strong. Some women would think that Asian men could not meet the standards of their white or black counterparts and therefore be seen as less attractive.

 Asian Eyes- those lovely deep black/brown eyes, with their unique almond shape. Ahh yes, the signature Asian eyes. To me they seem wonderful and exotic, but they also might seem a bit odd when the rest of the men she knows have eyes that are varied in color and larger. It’s not to say that women really have an eye color or shape preference, but that they might find it out of the ordinary.

 

Language:

 Your Communication with Her- let’s face it, if you can’t speak the same language , or you have a really thick accent that makes you hard to understand, then it’s not going to make it easy to get to know each other.  Having the ability to communicate well means you can express your feeling to her, and that is really important. If you are not used to, or your language does not have the words to express how you feel, she may take it as you are not interested, even if you truly are interested and have the best intent.

 Your Family/In laws- It’s also obvious, but if her future in-laws won’t be able to speak to her, then she will  be uncomfortable and perhaps she might feel that I would never work out well with this difference. Although there are many women who in fact will learn Chinese, Korean, or etc in order to better communicate and create a bond with her in-laws, not all women would want to.

 

Social Culture:

 Asian Foods- odd food and textures can often be found in Asian, comparatively to the west. For example Asia has porous meat products, jelly soups and drinks, boba in their tea, fish sauces, chicken feet, and whole bunch of crazy textures that you won’t find in the west. Although many women would love to try new foods and flavors, sometimes these can just be too outside of our comfort zone.

Family Obligations and Expectations- This might be the most difficult of all the reasons for your WF. Asian family’s often come with more obligations then the average Caucasian women’s family.  Her parents won’t expect you to visit every weekend, have extreme expectation about who she should marry, nor would the tell her what kind of wedding to have, what she should do for a career ,and etc… So when she meets an Asian mans parents, or has heard that his parents may have the almost unreasonable expectations, it would defiantly make her think twice about wanting to enter into the relationship.

 

For many more reasons then I guess I would care to come up with, there will be women who are just not into Asian men, just as much as some women are. But the point is that these things should not be seen as an obstacle for your choice in mates.  Whatever your preferences we should not let others opinions influence are choice and it should not stop you from going after what you want. Things like physical looks, food preferences, and family obligation are only a few things that “could” be an issue… yes “could be” but you never will really know unless you give things a try. Every relationship will be filled with successes and struggles, but it’s the important things like your values, working together, common interests, lifestyles, and who you are as a person that will keep the love and happiness between the two of you alive and strong. So I encourage women to try something new, give those cute Asian guys a chance, because you might be surprised that the things that you worry most about, are only small things that can actually make your relationship more unique and that much stronger.

The Mysterious Asian Male & Passion…Where Did It Go?

I was most fortunate enough to have exposure to an Asian and a Canadian lifestyle growing up. Not only did I learn particular mannerisms and behavior from popular culture, I had my Asian friends and family to relate to as well. These days I have come to wonder if there is actually a distinct difference between Western and Asian perceptions of passion and emotions.

The prototypical Asian tends to have some form of subdued behavior. He is courteous, yet has a quiet and gentle presence. I wouldn’t go as far to say he would be shy, just a slightly more reserved. It’s almost as if he’s ensuring that everything is comfortable and safe before placing himself in harm’s way. I can even relate myself. Growing up, I was the regular Asian kid, hanging out in my big Asian group of friends. We hung around each other because it was easy. All of us had some form of strict parents. We went through the piano or violin lessons as a child, had some form of liking to Sanrio (I had Badtz-Maru and Keroppi), and most of all multiple video game consoles (no surprise there). When I was in my comfortable group, I could open up with ease. Hence why large Asian groups are loud (aside from the fact that it is very loud in urban Asian cities) it’s easy to share jokes and relate in their native tongue.

This is a significant contrast in comparison to Western popular culture where there’s a considerable amount of body and facial language in conveying passion. Their eyes will light up in excitement and their face will give a beaming smile. Amazing charisma is infectious. Somehow I don’t quite get that same captivation when I relate to my Asian side.  I would remember when my parents would have their eyes glued to the television watching the latest Chinese prime time drama. For those unfamiliar with the format, it is usually some 25-40 episode series that runs nightly.  It usually centers on a love triangle filled with jealousy, and family dialogue often at the dinner table or living room sofa.  By the end of the series, the virtuous male ends up with the love of his life. How typical.

Many years later, what struck me was that there were very subtle differences between how Asians and Western cultures perceive passion.  As we have mentioned in earlier posts, Asian Males tend to express their feelings for a significant other through actions and gifts. This is also true when it comes to other forms of expression, such as passion. When I talk about passion, I talk about having interest in something, whether it is sailing, music production, cooking, or anything that involves you as a person; it is usually fueled by passion. So, by following this pattern, what will happen is usually the Asian male works harder, and makes sure things are done right – almost to the point of perfection. What is implied is that expression through facial, body, or tone is severely underutilized.  In no written Confucian conversation do I ever recall Confucius telling his pupil to “smile” or have “charisma”.

A Westerner would scratch their head in confusion. They can tell when someone clearly is involved passionately. It’s undeniable. They emit this kind of aura around them. Unfortunately there is one problem with popular culture and consumerism, is that passion borders sexual. The problem is that both can be very intense and often gets used interchangeably. Passion for art, sport, or whatever comes from a combination of challenge and skill. Sometimes we lose track of time and become completely involved. While this is true in a sexual nature, I would classify this as a subgroup of passion with an emphasis on desire than challenge and skill.

So do I believe if Asians can be passionate as well? Yes I believe they can. Unfortunately most of our expression is limited to our actions and not how we project ourselves to others. Instead of sexual attraction that is prevalent in Western popular culture, Asians tend to use jealousy and rage as intense emotions.

Now this becomes a serious issue when it comes to AMWF Relationships. The Asian Male needs to express himself beyond actions such as working hard or listening, while the Western Female has to be receptive to his good intentions despite the lack of expression. Initially I would say the Asian Male will have to learn to express in a way the woman will be receptive, but in a long-term perspective both parties will have to learn from each other. The passion was always there to begin with, but the approaches are different.

To my Asian Males: step out of your comfort zone, and take a chance.

To my Western Females:  understand his cultural upbringing, and don’t ever stop smiling – a soft gentle aura will warm (or melt) any Asian Male’s heart.

You Want Her, Go Get Her…But Don’t Be Too Reserved.

I find it really silly that when you watch Asian dramas or anime you often see men trying to win the affections of women in the following manner:

  1. You find an opportunity to meet them by finding a mutual connection, either a friend, common school, church, or anything that will bond you together in some way so that she notices you.
  1. Then you don’t particularly show any interest, just be around and maybe watch her from afar (if you haven’t been already).
  2. Then after while, you ask your mutual friend to invite her out to go eat, sing karaoke, club, or any other social gathering.
  3. After you’ve hung out a few times in a social setting you ask her to hang out one on one.
  4. After going on several dates, and talking about your career prospects, your family, and future, then maybe you get to kiss her and finally become a couple.

The culture and social etiquette may be very different in Asia and perhaps a more reserved approach might work well there, but what white women expect from a man is different. With White girls, you need confidence and you need to show it the first time you meet her, or you might find yourself in the dreaded “friend zone”. Guys once you are there, it’s really hard to get back, so I’d like to suggest a few things that will help you in winning that lovely ladies affection.

1.  Be a decisive decision maker, and be the one that others turn to for guidance. Your ability to assertive, confident, and wise, will make her feel like she can depend on you for anything.

2.   Always be well-groomed, fit, healthy looking, and make an effort to dress in a way that shows your level of social intelligence.

3. Read the verbal cues she is giving you.  As women we are attracted to men who understand us so pay attention to what her words, body, and subliminal signs.

4.  Its good to flirt with her as women are attracted to men who take charge sexually. Of course be respectful and polite, but I does not hurt help her feel that animal attraction that can make her excited.

5.  Don’t be afraid to touch a woman, appropriately of course. Hugs are perfectly acceptable, as well as linking arms or other non sexual signs types of touch. If she feels safe and respected around you, she will be more likely to trust you later when those actions may become more intimate.

6.  Get her to an emotional state in which she is most happy, and keep her there. Getting her feeling positive emotions around you will keep her wanting to come back to you time and time again.

7.  Don’t be afraid to talk about whatever you’re passionate about, if something moves you then tell her. If you cry she won’t mind at all. Women love men who can be in touch with his softer side as well as his stronger side. Be yourself and don’t be afraid to show it.

One thing I do want you to understanding that it is not just about money, looks, or things like that, because women are attract a combination of many different things that all men are capable of doing. No matter what culture you are in, being yourself and being confident will always give you the upper hand when it comes to getting a girls attention. When it comes to white women, if you are timid, passive, or very reserved she won’t notice you, no matter how great a guy you are. So get out there and show us what you got!

Only if the “Undo” Command Worked in Real Life

Our favorite geeky command – whether it is Ctrl-Z or Command-Z, this is the quintessential keyboard combination when things don’t work the way we want it to. Didn’t like the line you drew in your graphics program? No problem, “undo” and try again. Renamed the wrong file? There’s an “undo” for that too! This was the beauty of technology. In a way you could say this was a form of trial and error in a more unemotional and analytical procedure. Now only if this worked in the real world.

Just like many of you I have had my relationship blunders. I’ve been paralyzed by complete fear of messing up conversations, forgotten many important dates (uh oh), or came off a little too intense in relationships. While I am not proud of those moments, I look back realizing they were important life lessons. I have done it all. Missed the kiss on her lips because I prematurely closed my eyes? Yup, did it. Confessed my feelings to a girl who I thought was interested but got completely shot down? I did that too. Being completely oblivious to a girl interested in me when I ditched her to go cram for my final? Yes I actually did that.

As much as I would like to fix my embarrassing relationship blunders (good thing I don’t talk about the other things), there is no “undo” command.  I have learned to accept my tribulations with a smile. Then it kind of hit me. I was certain that I was not the only Asian Male in the world that royally screwed up things. Had I been raised in a very tradition Asian environment filled with shame as the social regulator, I would have burrowed deep into my shell to avoid contact with the public. Friends and family would endless harass me for my gaffes. Instead having guilt as a form of social regulation in Western Culture, I feel somewhat liberated sharing my mortifying moments in life.

Back to the “Undo” command, when it comes to actual real life situations, there is no reversal button we can press when we stumble.  This is very common with new relationships as well as long-term ones. For the Asian Male, this now becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy “No mistakes will happen if we take an inactive/passive position”.  Who needs to “Undo” things when there is nothing to “undo”? In other words, it comes back down to our favorite Asian Male inhibitor, fear. The fear of utterly embarrassing yourself and face a lifelong earful of shame from friends and family is definitely a strong deterrent for Asian Males when it comes to approaching women (and also while being in a relationship).

So what can Asian Males do? The first part is to realize that perfection in real life does not exist. While theoretical and analytical procedures allows us to create hypothetical models, that’s all it is, just theory. As much as we want that 100% in love and relationships, it’s okay, you aren’t going to get lectured by your Asian parents for the missing 2% when you get a 98%. The next thing is to go for it. Just give it a try. Yes you will stumble and blunder, but it’s still better than doing nothing. Finally, look back at the moments learn the important life lessons and try again (with the newfound knowledge). When you can look back and laugh about it, you will be fine – no Ctrl-Z or Command-Z required.

Another AMWF from the Past: Stanley and Emily Ah Foo.

In 1912, Chinese seaman Stanley Ah Foo arrived in Liverpool to start a new life. He soon fell in love with a British woman named Emily, but laws at the time meant that his bride was only able to marry if she gave up her British nationality and became a so-called alien herself. Stanley enjoyed a wonderful and free life in this family life, cooking Chinese foods when he was home from the often long periods of time he spent away from his family for work. Although, outside their home life, Stanley faced much discrimination such as being labeled as a “foreign devil”, and including the fact that he was forced to register with police and carry a picture ID photograph with him.

When I see stories like this, I am often reminded of how lucky we are to live today in a world where it makes no difference what race you are when it comes to finding that special someone to share your life with. I look at couples like Stanley and Emily and think, wow, how brave they must have been. How much they must have loved each other, to go against the social norm and to face discrimination together. To me that’s an amazing love!

 

 

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