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.

 

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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.

Does She See You as an Asian Stereotype?

The idea of being stereotyped is one that many an Asian man has faced at least once in his life. In America it happens, maybe as a joke by one of your buddies. It probably had a good intent, maybe to strike up a laugh from friends, or perhaps you may have even made jokes about your own ethnicity. Joking between buddies or poking fun at yourself is one thing, but when you think it has the potential to affect the way the WF sees you, that is something very different.

So yeah you all know it, so I’ll just say it.  There are two stereotypical ways Asian men are sometimes viewed. Your either a “Twinkie” (as we say in America)/“banana”, or you’re pinned as a FOB or “fresh of the boat” type. If you’re a Twinkie, besides the fact that you look Asian, there is little to distinguish you from white people. You speak English, and you grew up in western cultures, you have few Asian friends, and you barely can understand or speak an Asian language (or you choose not to speak it). If your pinned as a Fob you were not born in America, you speak your native language fluently and so do many of your friends( who are mostly Asian), your parents do not speak any English, and you have trouble  using the past, present, and future, tenses correctly. But whichever stereotype you may at times find yourself falling under, as an Asian man in an ever growing dating market, your choices are unlimited. In fact if you were born in a western culture or not, you have most likely found that your choice of significant other is not Asian, and might never have been.  With an interest in the opposite sex, from an opposite race or culture, how can you confidently know that these types of stereotypes would not lessen your chances in the dating market.

You can’t know for sure, but speaking from a women’s perspective, these stereotypes do not carry the negative associations that you guys think. In fact we actually view it as two different types of men with associated characteristics, and neither one is better or worse than the other. In fact it’s all about personal preference. If she wants to be immersed in another culture or learn a new language, she may in fact prefer a man from Asia. If she perhaps likes the Asian look without the complication of a long distance relationship and language barrier, she might find herself interested in a guy who’s right around the corner. So are you seen as a stereotype? No not really. Your just another guy who has a an exotic look, or accent, that makes you interesting and unique.  Will being Asian lessen your chances of winning the heart of that beautiful WF, absolutely not. Any man can sweep a lady of her feet by just  being confident and letting her know that  no matter where you are from, or what your first language was, that you can be the man that she needs.

 

The Commonality of Language

As more and more people are living, working, and studying abroad, one of the byproducts of this is that there are more and more intercultural marriages. But before marriage there is the long process of dating, and when your first languages are different, this makes for more issues then in the average dating process. Anyone who has dated someone with a different culture from their own will tell you that dating can be both exciting as well as frustrating at times. Of course, dating always has its ups and downs, but adding cultural differences, like a language difference, to the natural course of dating can make this a bit trickier.

In the AMWF relationships it is often the case that one partner speaks their second language (English) while the other partner speaks English as their first language. In this case, the one for whom English is a second language has to put significantly more effort and time into communicating with their partner. It’s only natural that this can cause some strain on the relationship, as misunderstandings can arise in any number of situations. For example  the little signs and signals, that are so natural to a native speakers English, are missed, or misinterpreted, by someone who learned English only in school and rarely spoke it in everyday life.

Communication is absolutely vital to any relationship because it allows for the relationship to develop further and more deeply.  Rather than having one partner take on all the responsibilities of learning another language, both partners should work together on their communication. It’s important to be willing to put a lot of extra effort into communicating, because with an even level of communication can make people feel connected with one another. Especially for your WF, the need to be in a relationship with someone who is ‘in tune’ to her is very important. But if you can’t communicate your feelings to her and that you understand  her feelings, then she will be left feeling like you do not care.

Dating and relationships are about making connections with another person, and as human beings, talking is one of the most important ways that we can connect with one another. This is why communication of a high quality is so important in a relationship, especially as it develops from casual dating into a more serious relationship. Intercultural relationships, like the AMWF relationship, can be rich and fulfilling when communication is open and highly developed.  It’s about working together to share yourself and to create a strong bond between each other thought the commonality of language.

Another Scholastic Year Begins – Asian Educational Differences

With the exception of locations south of the equator, September brings about a new scholastic year for many students. It’s sad to see the sunshine and warm weather fade away, but for many of us, it is exciting to reconnect with fellow peers. At one point in time I began to wonder if it was any different for individuals going to school in Asia. I definitely remember hearing about the kindergarten entrance examinations for Hong Kong students, and of course the uniforms. Somehow it sparked some interest researching into the school life in Asia. Perhaps it may bring some key behavioral elements unique to Asia and may explain why Asian Males behave in a particular way.

When I speak of the educational differences I loosely regard it to K-12 and Post-Secondary education. I will admit that most of my influence comes from Hong Kong but I am certain there are many similarities across Asia.

The Beginning of it All – Kindergarten

Unlike where I reside in Canada, students are free to choose their elementary, junior high (7-9), and high school (10-12). The educational model is open access for public and separate (mostly Catholic) schools. There are some private schools, but for the most part K-12 education is covered by the government (Provincial). From what I remember, in order to achieve a successful path, an Asian family must plan their child’s scholastic path from kindergarten. A good kindergarten will lead to a good junior high and high school, and then to post-secondary. Since there is limited space, there is really only one way to get accepted, be the best. Trivial things such as arithmetic (yes, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) was something my former classmates (moved to Canada later as a child) had to prepare for.

Examinations

While it may differ across Asia, the majority of examinations are still strongly based on rote memorization. What makes matters worse is that after an exam, the scores are publically posted for the eyes of society. Not only do you see your score, you know exactly where on the “totem pole” people are after the assessment. The brightest students are awarded with praise from the teacher and the bottom-feeders are placed under public shame and pressure to perform better. This feels completely absurd in my opinion, but I have been raised in an environment where information such as this must be kept private and it is protected by government legislation. Shame does exist beyond parenting, and the general public, it exists among your classmates for supposedly healthy competitive reasons.

I would not even be remotely surprised if there were monetary incentives for those who achieve perfect scores, or even if the teacher was offered financial bonuses for the number successful students. When I talk about successful, I mean those who have the ability absorb information and regurgitate it as proof of amazing memorization skills. It doesn’t matter if you understand what is written in the book, as long as you can recite the information perfectly. Personally, skills such as empathy, critical thinking, creativity, mediation, positive criticism, or innovation have no place in many Asian education systems.  While I am not saying the rote approach is wrong, I am simply stating the inflexibilities of the system. Not everyone is meant to be a brilliant analytical stoic genius, but the perceived status is simply too powerful to be ignored. This is probably the result of government policy to eliminate any potential threats by pacifying its nation.

Uniforms & the Classroom

Along with my fellow North American colleagues, we did not have uniforms K-12 or in Post-Secondary.  We pretty much had free “tasteful” reign of clothing choices, but with my strong Asian influences, I often ended up defaulting into my most versatile “Asian” color: black. Perhaps it just matched my hair, or it was the fact that it black was the easiest color to work with. I admit I have changed my ways, but it must have been a style in the 80’s and 90’s. Otherwise it was silver, the alternate choice for our electronics and motor vehicles.

Outside of North America, uniforms are commonly used for K-12 education. While some may agree it has a standard clothing appearance for its users, I would also believe there are problems created because of it. Hypothetically, if everyone had the same clothes, the evaluation of a person in a school setting is really by two ways – grades and appearances. We have gone over the grades but when it comes to appearances, since it is standardized when someone has bad acne, poor body weight control, or bad hygiene, they are immediately identified and end up ostracized from their own peers. As I have talked about in previous articles, shame is what regulates Asian society, and not guilt. To stand out as an individual may lead to incarceration.

What makes matters even more difficult is the nature of a class. More commonly than anything I have seen a hybrid cohort system for K-12 classes – especially for Japan. The class remains in the classroom and different teachers for different subjects move around the school. This seems counter-intuitive to North American standards for secondary and post-secondary where students freely move from class to class. Often there is a class representative who acts as the liaison for the class, and assists with their fellow peers in the school cleaning duties. While this does have a strong militaristic approach, to be successful requires strong obedience and hard work. I appreciate the discipline put into their education, but I wonder if it truly robs Asians of their own identities and just being a caring human being.

The AMWF Link

The reason for writing this was to find another reason why Asian Males behave in such a manner. Yes we often have to deal with strict parents and possibly and overbearing mother, but do we blame that on Confucianism or just the way things were, and still are? Our own Asian education system produces excellent students who shine in rote memorization, but have been so hammered into subdued obedience designed for introverted professions such as the common doctor and dentist – whereby both are highly respected and well paid. Other skills in manufacturing and processing are useful as well.  The sad truth is that I believe that it makes us into a quantifiable unit of labor – not a person.

This is one of the greatest issues when it comes to AMWF relationships. A White Female needs to be with someone who cares for them as a human being. Someone who listens to her, respects her, and is willing to show his love beyond the provision of physical means. I am not saying attraction is not required, but when I talk about concerns like this, I mean for long-term and permanent relationships that expand to marriage and family.

There really is no absolute perfect approach to solving this situation either. Asian Males will not be able to leverage their rote memorization skills, but have to develop a new set of skills – an emotional capacity, and a willingness to be emotionally generous as well. It is definitely not an easy task either. Even I am always learning how to be a better man, but when I was younger there were definitely times where my AMWF relationships fell apart because of my aloofness. It’s a work in progress.

Just remember Asian Males, as Bruce Lee says, “Don’t think – feel.”

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.

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.

The Connection Gap – Neglected AMWF Issues

Physical attraction is a funny thing.  As an Asian Male what you need to know about most is that it begins with a pass or fail. What I mean by that is that even before someone is remotely attracted to you, there needs to be a minimum level of hygiene, grooming, and overall image. Otherwise you will face some form of rejection from a female of interest. Even before you open your mouth you have already been pre-categorized into a no, maybe, or yes kind of guy. The reason for this is that people do not enjoy being emotionally torn apart by a relationship that could have been easily avoided.We do our very best to avoid the creepy, abusive, or twisted individuals, sometimes they manage to slip through the barriers.

When it comes to short-term relationships, the short-term criteria doesn’t necessarily equate to a fulfilling long-term relationship. In the short-term relationship, the excitement lies in the intensity and mysteriousness of the relationship. I would even go as far as to call it the honeymoon phase where passion often expressed in a physical manner. This may also include the provision of gifts or gestures that Asian Males use to show their affection. It is not uncommon to see gifts early on, or have him decline your offer to split the bill. To this day I still witness the typical feud between family friends and my parents when it comes to paying the bill for dinner. Being a provider is one quality Asian men pride themselves on.

Perhaps that may draw parallels to why Asian Parents tend to pressure their kids into taking a professional career. With a generous amount of remuneration, they would be capable of being solid providers and not struggle financially. Traditionally it would be common to have the husband of the family be the sole income earner while the wife would allocate the household resources. This is what Asian men believe makes them a man. To this day, even I still believe it to be true – well at least partially true. Enter long-term relationships.

While being a solid provider is great, that is also the problem in a long-term relationship with an Asian Male. That’s all it is. You believe him to be a good person – someone trustworthy, loyal, and attentive. You know for sure he cares for you, but deep down inside as a White Female, you still feel incomplete.  This is what I like to call the Connection Gap.

The Connection Gap

The easiest way to explain this is to break it down from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Essentially it is as follows:

Level of Need Asian Male White Female
Physiological As the provider, this can be attended to financially. A healthy lifestyle and a place to call home.
Safety/Security A stable job, house, and car. A comfortable lifestyle, extravagant is bonus, but not required.
Social Some friends, co-workers, neighbours, and family. Always large gatherings for special events.

Parents may play a large role in the decision making process.

To enjoy an event with others (i.e. sport event at the bar with the boys).

The “status” of being taken.

A network of family, friends, and partner to share life with.

Establishing and maintaining a strong connection with her partner. A close support network to turn to no matter how tiny the issue is.

Bonding as a group through conversation (girls night out).

Being surprised with signals of affection every now and then.

 

Esteem Largely based on having a happy marriage often with direct family support.

“If the partner is happy, then I am happy.”

Friends are present physically and virtually to share milestones and accomplishments.

To not be hated by anyone.

Being appreciated and needed by her partner and close network.

Sharing accomplishments first with the ones she loves the most.

Having love reciprocated in a genuine manner

Self-fulfillment Engage in activities that require sufficient skill and challenge.

Technical: Photography, Model building

Creative: Music, Acting, Singing

Generosity: Volunteering

Transcend beyond the physical and engage mentally, emotionally, and possibility spiritually.

Engage in charitable (youth group), creative (painting), or spiritual activities (yoga).

Now this is just a hypothetical example illustrating the two different viewpoints that applies to males and females and not just AMWF exclusively. Where the Connection Gap lies is when the Asian Male is focused on the Safety/Security or Social Level when the White Female is looking for Esteem and Self-fulfillment needs. Consequently the Asian Male will feel content with the relationship because he clearly is doing his job providing. While having basic needs and safety taken care of is excellent, there are often higher levels of esteem and self-fulfillment that are neglected in an AMWF relationship. If left unattended for extended periods of time, the relationship risks deterioration.

Dealing with the Connection Gap

If not already in a relationship, a White Female may choose to find someone who she feels able to meet that social, esteem, and self-fulfillment needs. As a result, instead of choosing Technophiles, the White Female may opt for the Comedian archetype. Asian Males who are naturally the Comedian type will attract many through their jovial temperament. Others prefer the Ambitious to provide the energy and intensity she craves on a social and esteem basis.  Individuals are few in numbers, but are often the most suitable to meet the self-fulfillment needs given their creativity, expression, and awareness.

What about the poor Technophile who was pushed aside? There’s nothing to fear – the most important thing to remember regardless of TCAI group is the ability to open and maintain healthy channels of communication between each other. While there is no perfect formula, there are two general steps. The first is to encourage healthy communication by taking a proactive stance. Instead of her always trying to bring up issues, take the opportunity as an Asian Male to genuinely let her know that you care and want to listen to her. After that is done, be sure to carry out actions deemed necessary.  Even though there are inherent gaps in the connection, by making an honest effort you move one step closer. Continue the process and grow together in the AMWF Relationship. The sooner you address the situation, the better. Don’t wait for things to get to nuclear levels as an Asian Male. Not only will the relationship become unmanageable, but it may lead to its eventual demise.