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!

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.

 

The Public and Private Life of AMWF Relationships

Despite my Western upbringing, I still retain some conservative tendencies when it comes to relationships. When I tried to trace the roots of my behaviour, I found it fairly muddled. I suppose the majority of the tendencies came from watching my parents as an example and perhaps the Asian notion of love in general. In any regard, what I wanted to focus on was the difference between the public and private lifestyle in relationships with a focus for AMWF.

Background Information

There should be no surprise with the onset of an Asian shame society; appearances play the number one role. I would take it another step further and say it is how you are perceived by others. Probably the very first thing people notice in an AWMF relationship is the fact that it is an interracial relationship but a lot less common than the WMAF variety. After the initial shock, they will probably think of “how” the relationship was even possible.

AMWF relationships also do come with a preconceived notion of White Females being hedonistic or at worst promiscuous. While it may be true for a small select proportion, it is simply unfair to label the entire population as such. Many of us forget the great strides White Females (and other minorities) have done to progress society for equal rights as well. They didn’t just think about it, they committed themselves to change, bonded, and took action. Back to AMWF – When it comes to a serious committed relationship, White Females also have the ability to involve themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. It means they are willing to establish a connection while also risking their own pain and suffering.

For the Asians, most of our ancestors have vivid memories of coming from impoverished and war-torn societies. The majority of the time was spent on hard work and survival and less on love and relationships. If anything our expression of love came from our actions – primarily through going out of our way as Asians to do something (with no expectation of reciprocation).

The Public Life

Dating is almost synonymous as intentionally being around each other (just the two people together) on an occasional basis. While this may not seem like much for a White Female, it means a considerable amount for an Asian Male. For the most part, they are looking for someone who they can introduce to their parents. When his Asian parents accept the relationship that is an incredible milestone, because not only does the Asian Male have to worry about public opinions, his parents are the most important to please. That being said, if you can have Sunday night dinner with his parents at a restaurant without a hitch that is something to be proud of.

While you may think you have to show your affection for your Asian Male constantly, there is nothing more Asian Males love having their White Female be present physically, and show commitment through attentiveness.  You don’t have to show how madly in love you are with each other in public (which you both should already know), but showing a willingness to be together is something that will make an Asian Male very happy.  In other words, the absence of hostility and the pure comfort about being around each other is really plenty. For the most part, being calm and well-behaved is exactly what the older Asian generation likes to see.  This does not mean you have to be weak and submissive, just refrain from being obnoxious and outspoken.

Again, I reiterate commitment is something Asians value strongly (especially the older generation). I would personally have to say one of the worst feelings about relationships is being in a limbo. When you aren’t really sure of things: “Does she really like me, or is she like this to everyone else?” Whatever you do to show that you care, it’s important to reconfirm it and make sure the intentions are clear.

The Private Life

As many Asians know already, expressing the word love in our native tongue is a very difficult thing to say. This is not quite like how we can use the word love in English. We may love chocolate or ice cream in English, but when it comes to Asian languages, I would say it really means more of a total commitment than anything else. This is probably why we tend to use some form of “like” in our language in contrast to utilizing “love”. Yes there is a “really like” and if I recall in Cantonese there’s a “caring by spoiling” word as well. What I mean by that is the nature of how Asian Males tend to use actions like gift buying to show that they really do care.

When it comes to communication in private, the truth is Asian Males really want to communicate, but it’s not something they will immediately warm up to. Sometimes I would say it stems from the whole family system of filial piety and authority. Traditionally we have to defer to high authority as our thoughts and opinions are replaced by the wants and the needs of the family. Sometimes it’s a really strange notion to wrap your head around, but for me, it was just second nature.

In all honesty there is usually one type of love that almost every Asian Male will experience, and that is motherly love. With the exclusion of the psychotic Asian mothers, they are often very loving and caring. Perhaps it may not be in the same way through words, but through their actions like making their favorite foods or deliberately doing all of the cleaning duties. A woman truly willingly to do things like that for her Asian Male will probably win his heart instantly. A White Female does not have to be a supermodel, but she has to be attractive in his eyes. Of course this is not always the case, but if he’s willing to do most of the household chores anyways, it probably means he’s head over heels for his woman.

How about physical intimacy? Well, I will leave the up to the discretion of each couple. It does vary, but we are definitely not against things like that “behind closed doors”. The toughest part is actually the beginning of a new relationship. By default Asian Males will play the conservative approach, trying not to be too touchy-feely, but with enough trust and communication, things can definitely change. Remember that nerve-wracking first kiss or hand holding? Yes Asian Males sometimes don’t take enough proactive action, probably because they are too busy trying to analyze the situation to see if it is the right moment or not (getting embarrassed is a really bad feeling).

Just like the public life, there is a certain level of bonding and commitment, but usually there are more opportunities to speak candidly about issues. Unfortunately if there are language barriers, it is a little more difficult to convey thoughts and feelings. Sometimes the pride of Asian Males also is something to be aware of. While females have a vast supporting network of close friends and family, Asian Males will tend to keep their own problems to themselves. While he may talk about the external stresses, like his oppressive boss, when it really comes to talking about the intangible things like emotions or spirituality, he’s usually at loss.

Personal Commentary

Nobody enjoys having retarded moments in life. This is especially true when other people witness and recollect your embarrassing moments. The fear of shame is still deeply ingrained in our Asian mindset. Consequently we resort to waiting for the perfect moment where we are almost guaranteed success, but we forget the many opportunities pass by because we weren’t willing to take a risk. I have missed many opportunities because of my own conservative nature. It didn’t matter if I had the future planned, I totally forgot about the present. The travel plans, adventures together, and plans to be together went up in smoke because I was so self-absorbed in the future.

I always thought the true commitment came from doing the trivial things together. Things like going to her little sister’s graduation or just really being there for her when she was on the verge of an emotional breakdown. While it does sound nice, the fact is that we tend to meet people in a public setting first. As much as we want to completely open up as an Asian Male, it would be inappropriate at such an early stage because there are no connections built. I would probably say it would reveal a level of desperation or insecurity more than anything.

Somehow as a result it just hit me. That’s exactly why as Asian Males we go for the friend into lover approach. It makes perfect sense as it reflects the transition between the public and private side of Asian Males. Initially as friends, it is about getting to know each other without divulging too much into any intimate details. Things are lighthearted and fun, and until there some sort of chemistry or connection it progresses into the private and more candid things.

The key is that there is usually some sort of opportunity be together privately. Say it was some mutual friend’s birthday, the opportune moment would be the time when the two would be alone together. Take for example the car ride home. If there are no other passengers, this is actually an opportune moment for one of the parties to speak up. There are many other possibilities, and for the White Females that want to give their Asian Male of interest a little helping hand, provide a situation that allows just the two of you. Have him walk you to your car, ask for technical assistance with some sort of technology, or just simply flat-out approach him (if that is your style, it’s really not a turn off for Asian Males – sometimes it clears things up really fast).

So Asian Males, take more chances, and White Females, recognize the difference between the public and private life. When in doubt, just be upfront about it and communicate.

Relationships, Marriage, and the Four Horsemen

Regardless of the fact that the level of relationship may be dating, courtship, or even marriage, there are always trouble signs that will greatly predict the success of the relationship. Strangely enough I stumbled upon literature from Dr. John Gottman using the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse analogy from the Bible. Bear in mind that disagreements and fighting every now and then are signs of a healthy relationship. In any case here are the four key behaviors:

Criticism

Criticism in my opinion has two variants, a positive form and a negative form. Positive criticism is about improving the situation without any intentional personal attacks on your partner. There is possible frustration expressed, but definitely not offending. Take for example you were watching your favorite reality competition and one of your favorite competitors was sent packing. I know for one I would be in absolute shock. “How could he be eliminated?”  I would exclaim in discontent “that’s not fair.”

In that situation I do not wish harm on the judges, but I am clearly disgruntled by the apparent unfairness. Now when it comes to negative criticism, this behavior may start out as dissatisfaction but then becomes unbearable. They start with phrases like:

“I can’t believe you…”
“Every time you…”
“What kind of (noun) is this?”

The usual intention is to claim that you are right, and the offending partner is clearly wrong.  Unfortunately it comes with a vicious attack on your partner’s character. I can honestly admit criticism in this regard is almost considered normal in Traditional Asian upbringing. Not only do we get criticism from our parents, we are expected to accept it, as it is supposedly their way of expressing how they care.  The tragedy is that then if we start to believe our actions bring criticism, then as Asian Males we resign ourselves of apathy, and stop believing in anything.

Contempt

Although contempt is very similar to criticism in the fact that there is intent to draw some form of mental abuse, it differs by not focusing on a particular event, but as a global degrading feeling. You could almost say that criticism occurs as a reaction while contempt is a lingering feeling no matter if it is premeditated or reactionary.

Examples usually come from verbal insults, mockery, and most often through body language combined with tone. Since most of contempt is something that is “read between the lines” I will describe obvious situations where it could happen. A couple fictitious examples I have spontaneously thought of is as follows:

Example One:

Shen and Ashley decide to spend their Friday night window shopping at a local trendy district. While passing by an eclectic store Ashley stops to point at a cute summer dress.

“Are you kidding me?” Shen said as he rolled his eyes in disgust, “that dress makes your arms look even bigger.”

While Shen was able to voice his opinion, Ashley would be more disappointed over with the implications: he shows indifference to her opinions, and reinforces her apparent weight issues.

Example Two:

Han and Angela have been officially dating for a couple years. In preparation for Han’s cousin’s wedding, there is a banquet party group dance that both of them are involved in. Unfortunately being a typical male with two left feet like Han, the steps do not come naturally. To make matters worse, Han not only has to remember his steps, but also has to lead Angela. Trouble arises with alignment issues. Angela stops and glares at Han.

“I don’t get it” Angela voices in frustration, “this is so easy.” Han recollects his composure and tries for a second time. Failure ensues. “Nope,” she says while biting her lip. Completely petrified Han tries for a third time, only to get a tongue lashing.

While not as direct as the first example, there are many situations when the male feels emasculated by his partner. This is something that comes with experience, and no video game is going to teach you this.

Defensiveness

Just as criticism and contempt are more offensive approaches, there are defensive approaches that Gottman classifies as action and inaction. In a sense it is an approach that minimizes the incoming threat to give an opportunity to respond back offensively by both criticism and contempt. The defense comes by evading a perceived attack or using a victim mentality. It is only natural for us to protect ourselves from harm, but things get muddled when things are tense.

“It wasn’t my fault…”
“But remember the time you…”

Now by developing the two examples above, we can create both a defensive and non-defensive approach.

Example One Development – Shen & Ashley

A: “That burger you had for dinner isn’t helping your waistline either.” Ashley quips as she pokes his belly.

B: “Great,” Ashley smiles, “I’ll be sure to wear it next weekend for your mom’s birthday dinner”

Development A used a diversion to place the weight issue onto Shen, while B turned the situation from displeasure to humor. Mind you Ashley may get the last laugh if she gets all genuine compliments for the dress next week.

Example Two Development – Han & Angela

A: “It is sooooo easy” Han responds.

B: “Backseat driving.” Han grins.

C: “As expected from your formal training” he sighs.

In response A, Han repeats what Angela had said earlier, with a slightly altered tone. This has the intention of having her believe that Han was listening. For response B and C, Han diverted the perceived threat by countering with a comment that may actually escalate the situation. While this may seem the most viable option, it does nothing to help the relationship. The problem really is not the small disagreements but the fact that this will accumulate over time and the behavioral response will be the same. Only when enough is enough, then a sudden change tends to follow.

Stonewalling

I confess that growing up this was my main arsenal when it comes to dealing with conflict. It made perfect sense to me, keeping a neutral tone would make the other person feel that I not offended and won’t retaliate. I was always taught to turn the other cheek, but it often is with physical conflict. When it comes to an emotional connection with a woman and especially a White Female, it conveys actually a lack of effort in the relationship.

Examples include:

  • A blank face
  • Crossing arms and refusal to communicate
  • Leaving the situation without any explanation during or afterwards
  • Using the pseudo-agreement of “yes” responses

Granted that the natural response for a male is to hide in his cave to regenerate himself, constantly disconnecting yourself as a male towards a female is extremely hurtful over time. This is a serious issue when it comes to Asian Males as we are taught to maintain a stern disconnected composure.

Fortunately this can be worked around by giving signals that you really want to connect as an Asian Male. Get into her personal space, hold her hands, tell her how much you really care for her – she will forgive you for the lack of expression and recognize your sincerity to be with her. Remember it is a healthy relationship to encounter conflict, but what is important is that you both ultimately respect and acknowledge each other.

You Don’t Need to Buy Her Fancy Things to Make Her Happy.

Did you learn that the best way to be a good partner is by being a provider financially, and placing a strong emphasis and spending lots of time on that?  So much of an emphasis that you have not ever really considered the social and emotional needs of your relationship?  Now don’t get me wrong, a man who provides his family is a good thing, better than a man who does not, but do you feel that to have a good relationship this is a top priority? Maybe because that is the model of behavior that you have seen for most of your life?  Dad would make money and focus on giving his family all the material things they needed and mom (even if she works) would take care of the emotional side of things. But you rarely saw mom and dad spending time together, making the essential emotional connections with each other. They seem to live peacefully in that relationship with each contributing to the family life, and as long as the basic needs are met everyone is happy.

When I look at the older generations of Asian couples I often see this situation, and to be honest this mentality can be very confusing to the average WF in today’s society. I can understand as a man, Asian or otherwise, there has been a long history of that type of relationship structure and providing for the ones you love makes you happy. That is a great thing, but for your average WF who was raised to be independent and care for herself she expects more from her relationship with you then just the basic comforts and material needs being met. She is looking for you to be her best friend, her confidant, and her lover. She wants you to share the financial responsibility of having a life and a family, but also expects you to be emotionally available for her and any children you have. The structure of the relationship is a 50/50 one where each contributes to the overall health and wealth of the family and your relationship.

I think today’s generation of Asian men is in a very different situation then their fathers before them.  Ten years ago your father would have not considered marring a non-Asian women, it just would not be the norm. The fear of cultural differences and pressure from family expectations would have not allowed it. I’ve sad it before, Asian men are pioneers when it comes to choosing who they want to be with and so understanding the dynamics of the AMWF relationship is important. The model of behavior that your parents provided for you cannot be fully applied, and if you think that just being good provider for her (like fancy cars, LV bags, and, etc…) without up keeping the emotional side of the relationship, it will inevitably end in failure.

I hear Asian men say it to me over and over, that they don’t want women who are materialistic. They want to get away from that because they see it a lot in Asian culture. Your WF won’t mind that nice gift you bought her, but it’s not required to show your love. She wants you to be emotionally there for her, she likes to see your softer side, and she wants to support you just as much as you want to support her. Only you don’t need fancy things to show status, or to prove that you love her, she simply wants you.

AMWF Love Asks You: Do You Bury Your Love Away?

So you’re interested in that WF, but for various reasons you’re not sure how things will work out? The reason could be anything from parent’s disapproval, long distance relations, or just the fact that you’re not sure how to approach her? With any or all of those reasons being a possible factor, I often see Asian men just bury their love away and force themselves to move on. I’ve seen men just stare at a beautiful girl from afar and even when the situation might present itself as a perfect opportunity to take action, it never happens.

I never really understood why. I see it in anime, dramas, and etc… the idea of self sacrifice for a greater good..or for a better future? I’m not really sure. My guess has always been that if you feel that it might be difficult, if there is not a very strong chance for marriage, then somehow you learned just to suppress the feelings of love and force yourself to move on? Did your parents perhaps influence the way your life should be lived and the types of risks that you should take?

In all honesty, why not give it a try and see what happens. Just say hello! I know it can be scary, but love it’s never easy. I think people forget that relationships take work and compromise. True, there is a point where you might know it’s not the right person and moving on is the best thing, but if you never give something a chance, will you never know how good it could be?

When it comes to relationships I think you should ask yourself this important question. Will I regret not talking any action?…. and if you answer yes then just go for it!

No regrets ! What’s your story?

On Appearances & Fitting In

Our eyes are something to be marveled of. Not only does it provide us with sensory information related to our daily lives, but vision has also is often our first line of preventative defense. Why endanger yourself when there is no need to? It’s easy when it comes to physical preventative measures like noticing that the edge of a cliff is unsafe, but when it comes to human interaction, it becomes muddled.

Consumerism & the Predetermined Lifestyle

Having the economic freedom and a vast array of consumer products available is one of the great qualities of a market system, but when it comes to choosing products there are many factors that come into play. When I think about it carefully there are really two predominant factors: society and friends.

Society includes mass media and major corporate brands that portray a vision about how to behave and act within the society. We tune into our favorite shows following the characters as if they were our alter ego.  Subliminally we align our lives to reflect that also though our purchases.  We buy into the “lifestyle” that should let us fit in with society.

In a sense unlike society as a whole, your friends are those whom you share some sort of common ground with. It could be as simple as the same alma mater, work, or just general interest. While this may seem rather trivial for those without an Asian background, friends (and family for that matter) play a significant role in determining our preferences and lifestyle.

Would you prefer: Happily married with a house in the suburbs with two kids and a dog? Or perhaps the downtown loft? We make choices in life based on the lifestyle we want to live.

The “Asian” Collectivist Mentality

What I have experienced with my upbringing and conversations with my friends over the years was the inherent nature of Asians adopting a passive behavior to submit into the common opinions as a whole. These common opinions are far from philosophical, but rather a level of acceptance. Personally I do not have much interest in the latest luxury designer brands, but social status is clearly important for Asian culture. While it may garner some sort of quasi respect, it is certainly better than the latter. Otherwise from an Asian viewpoint it may be considered shameful. Shame in the regards of not being successful in some sort of capacity, and as a result there is this invisible social barrier one will face. What makes matters worse is that shameful events in Asian culture will be remembered and will be rehashed.

Now where does this all tie in with appearances? When somebody clearly stands out not looking typical (usually below average) Asian society has the informal belief that they can be targets for gossip. My parents used to hound me all the time as a teenager when I had facial blemishes. At the dinner table my father would give the condescending surprised tone pointing at my face. It outraged me that he was entitled to pick away at my imperfections (usually physical) while I could fire back over a dozen of his faults. I learned to brush it off, but my parents still get on my case for having longer hair (Communist military buzz-cuts are horrible).

We have devised a clever way to avoid these problems – blend in. This works wonders in Asia, but the styles and tastes in North America or Europe are distinctly different from Asia.  Sometimes our quirky Asian style for men might be more suitable for Asia as it can often be emasculating. I admit times are changing and Asian Males have made strides to improve their style, but you are what you project yourself to be.

On AMWF & Appearances

As an Asian Male I can understand how difficult it is to synthesize thoughts and feelings and transform them into words. I absolutely hated my English classes with a passion, because I found it much more difficult to excel in compared to Mathematics and the Natural Sciences. There was this visual element I was able to utilize which only hindered my social and emotional knowledge by relying on visual/analytical components instead. Chances are many Asian Men also struggle with the humanities and possibly the English language just as I did throughout my academic upbringing.

The problem is that we become so reliant on those channels such as visual information that we overlook the social and emotional components. This does not help the fact that we are constantly barraged by visual information from advertisers. However amidst all the visual advertising there is one good thing. Speaking from my Asian viewpoint, the more we see visual representations of AWMF and many other combinations of interracial relationships, the more society gains acceptance.

Others will claim that AMWF is merely a fetish of some sort. Having a Caucasian girlfriend (or wife) to show off may be an ego booster, but it is still a relationship. If the relationship is to progress beyond initial attraction, there must be much more that has to develop. Unfortunately the majority of those qualities aren’t in our favorite shows, for that does not make interesting television. Instead it will be a unique journey for every AMWF couple as they share both highs and lows of the relationship.

It is definitely unfair to make complete assessments on individuals solely based on their appearances, but it is a fact of life. As the saying goes, “don’t judge a book by its cover” – just make sure you have a good cover.

Stuck in the Middle – My Dual Identity

The majority of my Asian friends were the ones that progressed with me through my academic years. Almost all of us were born and raised in Canada with a Hong Kong background. Honestly I would say we progressed together as a tight-knit group from Junior High, to High School, and onto University. To the outsiders we may have been perceived as a clique not accepting non-Asians, but this was not the case. Since we all came from similar cultural backgrounds, it was only natural that we gravitated towards each other. Somehow we were raised pretty much the same way. All of us had to go through piano or violin lessons as a child, and of course the wonderful Chinese school on Saturday mornings.

There were a few White Males that did manage to hang out our Asian group as well. This was probably because they made an effort to join us. Fortunately being a Westernized Asian group, we still conversed in English; all they had to do was have the intent to hang around us.  As far as I remember there was actually never a single White Female in the massive “Asian Group” of friends. It never struck me as that being odd; just perhaps the passive nature of Asians may have been the reason for them not to hang around us. The group was large enough as it was already, and there was no need to seek out more members.

Maybe times have changed, but as I remember dating White Females, I was the one who had to depart from my circle to join her circle of friends. Had I not done that, I probably would not have been in a relationship with a White Female. Fortunately when things did not work out, my Asian friends still took me back as if things never happened. Looking back I laugh at myself because the group was really just a group where we shared common interests. There was nothing really beyond that. We celebrated birthdays, watched movies, went to events, but never really established lifelong bonds.

As I progressed into Post-Secondary education, I was in the shock of my life when it came to Asians. You see, the majority of the Hong Kong Chinese came before the 1997 return to China. This meant that the only Hong Kong Chinese left were my friends I attended school with. Now the Mainland Chinese students dominated university campus in the analytical fields of mathematics, statistics, engineering, chemistry, and physics. Great, now in my head I’m experiencing “FOB 2.0”. For those who are unaware of the term FOB it is a slight derogatory term for Asian immigrants. During the Vietnam War there were many families who fled Vietnam in boats all across Asia. However the term “Fresh off the Boat” or FOB probably more accurately means “Fresh off the Plane”. While it wasn’t their appearances that bothered me, it was the lack of social etiquette for North American standards. I could deal with the scent of moth balls and loud voices, but it still baffles me when I watch someone with seven small containers heat up one individual dish at a time to monopolize the microwaves with a lengthy line waiting behind the user. Then I remember that it is shame, and not guilt that often regulates their behavior, and if nobody tells them they are doing something wrong, they will assume that everything is normal.

I’m sure they are very good people, but somehow it’s extremely difficult to relate to the Asians from Asia. Despite my Asian features of black hair, soft skin, and single eyelids – I find it difficult to connect with non-Western Asians.  This is probably because my interests do not match up with many traditional Asians. My taste in arts and entertainment takes me to South America and Europe, somewhere completely unrelated to Asian popular culture. The irony is that when I move to social groups primarily of Caucasian individuals, I still feel a lack of a true belonging.

Thus I find myself stuck in the middle as a Westernized Asian. Fused with both Eastern and Western values, I went to school learning the Western Culture, and learned about my Eastern roots at home. You could say it was living two lives, but I found it completely normal. With a large Asian group of friends, it was bound to break off into small groups. Eventually people began to pair off, and commit their time into their careers and relationship partners. The large group that hung out in the circular group tables in the student lounges was no more.

The most difficult part of two identities is the fact that you have two. Sometimes it feels like you have to choose between the two, always in conflict between your Eastern and Western identities. I’ve always wondered if having a single identity would have been a lot simpler. Instead of being pressured to take a professional career, I may have been encouraged to pursue something I truly enjoyed over stability and security. Maybe by being “just Asian” would leave me in a mindless state having to constantly submit to parental pressures.  At the end of the day, I would end up being with one group, and not between two different groups.

So why not pursue a Westernized Asian Female? Well the answer is twofold. The first part really comes down to the numbers game. Even here in Canada there are CBCs (Canadian Born Chinese) in every major urban area but attraction does not occur just because they are born and raised here. Yes, they understand my upbringing, but my past experiences did not leave anything memorable. Perhaps it was a matter of personality, but even my prior relationships with White Females have been such a pleasure regardless of the outcome.  They were open to share their thoughts and viewpoints as White Female, and very emotionally generous. This was something I felt difficult with Asian Females born and raised in North America. I could never fathom their obsession with the latest status accessories, and was unwilling to be just a provider by Asian traditional standards.

These days I really have learned to embrace the dual identity. It’s what defines who I am, and I would not change anything if I could go back in time.  While I might be more Western than my Asian counterparts, I have learned so much about my own identity that I would never would have learned remaining in a tight-knit Asian group. Instead of always trying to fit in with a group, I’ve learned to love myself instead of seeking constant approval from others. I definitely am who I want to be.

When You Live in Asia, WF’s are Hard to Find

So you love the way she looks, with her very distinct facial features like big, deep eyes, and straight nose. Of course you enjoy the curves, and the direct manner in which she tells you how she feels and what she wants. You are excited by the fact that she has a strong sense of personal character, independence, and her focus is rarely on the amount of money you make. The cultural differences are very exotic and it seems like all the things you would want. But there is one problem, you live in Asia and white women are hard to come across.

If you are like the many men in this position, you often find that most of the WFs just come and go. They may stay in your country for few months only and leave soon after. The younger group of WFs (in their 20’s) when in Asia often stay in the very western areas, and are often only found at bars and clubs(which to be honest is not the best place to meet anyone). Any thoughts you may have about trying to form a serious relationship seem almost not worth the effort because of the inevitability of such factors like long distance relationships or parents disapproval. You may also meet some opposition from your friends. When you tell them you are interested in dating and marring WFs, they might  think you are crazy. They may wonder why you just don’t just go after an Asian girl, as mom could set you up with the pretty daughter of her best friend making the process so much easier.

I’m sure you think, yeah there will always be guys who will be like that, friends who will just want to marry Asian, and that’s ok for them but not for me. But it’s so frustrating because even if I meet the often hard to find WFs living in Asia most of the time some other man had the same interest in western women and culture as you, and has already made his move. Grrrrrrr…. So what can I do?  You do have options and here they are:

Have a Positive Mindset

It takes a more independent minded and strong man to want to meet someone who is different, to see past the differences into something that could be so much better than just accepting what parents want, or social pressures. So it’s important that you always keep a positive attitude even when at times things can seem hopeless. Keep things in perspective and be confident in yourself. You want to meet someone your attracted too, not just any WF. Someone you truly have things in common with such as values, morals, and family. Don’t be discouraged if your meeting WF’s but nothing is working out. It takes time to find that special someone, so don’t give up!

Consider a Change in Location

If you are interested in western culture then you might want to consider studying, working, or trying out a cultural exchange program. This will allow you to meet, live, and be around western cultures. You will have the opportunity to improve your English/communication skills, and ultimately have the advantage when meeting WFs and socializing with them. Unfortunately as a women, most usually don’t consider or feel safe just moving to another country alone  even if we have an interest in Asian culture and men,( although some women do) so the task often falls on you to take the indicative to make your way to the west.

Make Friends (from all over the world)

Never underestimate how important friendships are. Friends will provide you with not only support, but the more western friends you have the more your chances are increased of meeting a WFs. You want to meet someone naturally, and for a women one of the ways we can trust you right away is if you already know someone we trust. This trust will put you miles ahead of the guy that approaches her out of the blue. Just make sure you express your interest right away.If you are not able to live for an extended period of time in the west, the internet is the next best option to establish and keep in touch with friends. Opportunities often appear when you least expect them!

Meeting her is really the first step, and all the other cultural and social thing will work out. Meeting her often seems to be the hardest part but don’t give up. Sure, it’s going to be odd when you want something outside the norm, but it’s always worth the effort. You never know where or when an opportunity will appear, so get out there!

A Decade Later – Have Perceptions Changed?

In 2001, Yankelovich Partners surveyed 1,002 Americans about Chinese American and Asian American stereotypes for the Committee of 100.  While this may have been over a decade ago, I find it still relevant and useful information. Among the many results I found, the two most interesting facts were regarding family disapproval of a marital partner and general attitude to Chinese Americans.  Approximately 24% of the sample indicated that an Asian American marital partner would face family disapproval and only 32% of the sample had positive opinions about Chinese Americans (43% Somewhat Negative and 25% Very Negative).

I have included a portion of the results in pie chart format. Since I am not Caucasian, I suppose I will comment on my own thoughts.

Historical Fears

Being Canadian myself, I went to take a look at some Canadian history of Asian immigration. After the Gold Rush came the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway between 1880 and 1885. With poverty on the rise in China, approximately 15,000 Chinese labourers helped construct the railway often by moving rocks and the handling of unstable explosives. The Chinese worked long and hard hours, often for 30-50 percent of the regular pay. After the railway was completed, the trip back to China was unaffordable so they opted to remain in Canada.

With growing fear of the Chinese, in 1885 the Chinese (and only the Chinese) were imposed of a $50 head tax that would increase to $500 per person in 1903. (According to Canada in Making, that would be the equivalent of 2 years of salary) Even the Japanese faced heavy racism and were relocated to “internment labour camps” away from coastal British Columbia during the Second World War. What made matters even worse was that the majority of their personal assets were confiscated by the government and auctioned off.

Mind you that this was almost seventy years ago, and times have changed. Even in the 1970’s my father recollects his experiences with negative opinions against Asians in Canada.  Working various jobs to pay for post-secondary, he would be often be called by ethnic slurs, but fortunately did not face any physical abuse. In light of everything he took it all in stride and years later managed to reconnect with his high school sweetheart who recently moved to Canada from Hong Kong. I’m sure he would have been open to a Caucasian woman, but the perceptions in the 70’s may have been considerably harsher. (Had he done that I probably wouldn’t be here writing this article)

A Recollection of 2001

When this survey was carried out, I realized my perceptions of Caucasians were definitely different a decade ago. At that time, I would say about 90% of my friends were Asian, but because my involvement in competitive soccer, I did have a few Caucasian friends. I was one of those smart-athletic Asian types of guy. To my Asian friends, I was probably the only male that had experience in an AMWF Relationship. In all honesty, looking back when I was in that particular AMWF relationship, it was really under our common love for soccer.  I was physically attracted to White Females back then because they tended to be more athletic. This is probably because I was just beginning to develop emotionally. Yes I could talk about cultural specific things with Asian Females like our overbearing mothers, but I just felt like friendship was the only viable option.

Having a large Asian-based circle of friends was both comforting, but at the same time it was restrictive. With the majority of them being Hong Kong Chinese born Canadians, we stuck together. Birthdays were not forgotten, and I remember the intense nights of Pictionary or other group games. (Yes they were a nice bunch of friends) The more enjoyment of being as a group we shared, the closer we stuck together. Somehow only the White Males would be brave enough to enter our group, which we fully welcomed, but the White Female just never happened.

You could say we just grew too comfortable to make our group open to non-Asians. Perhaps we were viewed as a clique, but when your circle of Asian friends is large enough, it seems as if it doesn’t matter if the group looks closed off.

Present Day 2011

With a stronger level of emotional development and a level of maturity ten years later, I still do find White Females extremely attractive but for different reasons. Not only am I physically attracted to them, but also how they offer a completely different perspective on life that is more complementary than anything. Emotionally it has been very satisfying to communicate on a level beyond the frivolous and absolutely incredible when we respect each other’s viewpoint despite our differences. I am always blown away about how creative and expressive White Females can be (beyond basic fear and cheerfulness).

There is one slight problem, White Females like that are very rare. So Asian Men, if you do happen to run into an amazing person, don’t let the opportunity slip away – just go for it.