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!

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.

Why I Am So Attracted To the Asian Mans Face

People are usually attracted to people who look like themselves, and they usually evaluate faces that exhibit features of their own ethnic or racial group as being more attractive. As a WF who likes AM this if far from true, in fact we are attracted to a face that is just the opposite! So what features of the Asian mans face do we find so attractive and why? Good question, so let’s explore that shall we.

Now to be honest, most people are attracted to faces with a high-degree of symmetry, but although we all can’t be models or have the money to undergo surgery to look like one, there are features that every Asian man has that I ( and other women) just love. First let me say that I love the almond shaped eyes with the dark eye color. To me this is one of the most exotic of the Asian features, and although everyone in Asia has these eye characteristics to me it’s still one that always is the most beautiful. My second favorite feature has to be the plump and soft Asian lips. I mean Caucasians usually have thinner lips, so the contrasts of the fuller lips look very appealing to me. Thirdly, another favorite feature of Asian men is the dark hair. If it’s spiky or long, to me the dark color and stiffer texture is pretty sexy. Sure again everyone in Asia has it, but I like the way it can be styled and suits the Asian males face. Finally I always enjoy the baby faces that Asian men can often have. Now I know, not all Asian men have this and some have a slim face with chiseled cheekbones, but to me a younger looking face is just as good looking as a more matured looking one.

There is no ideal face for a man and a man’s face is not a measure by any means of his worth. A man that may not have such a good looking face can become very “attractive” as defined by his society with his great personality, his nature, his character, etc. The whole person, inside makes the face of the man, but still none seems as handsome to me as the Asian mans face.


How to Tell He’s Interested – The Mixed Signals of Asian Men

Recently a reader asked me if there was a way of telling if an Asian Male was interested in her. Honestly to tell you the truth, if your gut feeling tells you that he is interested, he probably is. Before I discuss the possible actions to resolve this, I’ll discuss the background information. Asian males are quite the mysterious and tricky bunch, but they are not that difficult to decipher. The majority of our behaviour stems from language issues, cultural traditions, and family upbringing.

Language & Communication

Language issues are usually the easiest to spot. If the Asian Male’s primary language is not English, then you will notice a difference in character when he is around you, and his Asian friends. When he is around his friends there are people who can relate to him through his native language and cultural understandings.  Asian humour is often different from the slapstick varieties, where there is this cute-yet-satirical tone involved. This is strongly evident in Japanese culture and has been replicated across Asia.

Cultural Traditions

Historically the coveted occupations in Asia were professionals such as the typical doctors, engineers, lawyers, or high ranking military officer.  The fact is that the ability to provide for a family can be thought of as a duty for Asian Men.  Thus, by having an excellent career would (in theory) make life easier because there would be no financial struggles.  Job? Check. Car? Check. House? Check. Those three items are what deems an Asian Male to be worthy of a wife – or even just a girlfriend.
This may seem strange for a typical Westerner, but having these three things in Asia is one of those status symbols. Bear in mind that real estate prices are astronomical so home ownership is something almost unattainable as a young Asian Male. Really it is a sad story for Asian Men when they feel unable to provide. This is what they believe defines them as a man.

Traditional Family Upbringings

Traditional family upbringings also make things difficult as well. At times it could be considered as stifling with a Confucian filial piety system for over 2000 years. There is an order in the household, and the family unit is strongly emphasized. Typical Asian families would involve the husband to be the sole breadwinner with the wife in charge of domestic duties. While the man would be out working, the woman would have time to take care of the children and the home (finances included). In theory it would allow for a functional and happy family. What I mean by happy family, is a family free from the financial struggles – where stress can often stem from. This is not the same type of happiness as Westerner would assume, think of it more as being at peace. In other words it’s considered a gentle warm glow when it comes to passion, and not as red-hot intense as we imagine.

The reason for this is because in Asian media and family, the amount of intense passion is muted. We never see much physical contact between our parents. Growing up as a child, I barely remember my parents hugging or kissing. Even in the Asian Television series physical contact is portrayed as being “cute”. The first kiss is made to be a magical moment – and there very rarely any passionate interludes that proceed after the kiss. Now of course this is dealing with public appropriateness. Often in public, Asian Males will drastically tone down their affections. Behind closed doors may be a different story.

Understanding the Asian Male

Once you really understand the background of Asian Males it starts to make sense about how we behave around others. Spending increasing amounts of time together is a clear indicator of interest. The reason why we tend to use the friend approach is even if we don’t have the guts to express our feelings we still have friendship.  It’s a shame to have never tried, but often we spend too much time trying to find absolute certainty when our opportunity has already passed. So what can you do as a White Female? Well if you believe you don’t want to let the opportunity to pass, you can simply help give him a little push. Talk about how excited you are about how a great movie is coming out in theatres. Just by coincidence you don’t have any friends that want to go with you. Be sure to make it clear that you are interested in him. This may mean explicitly making it clear to his friends so they can also extend their influences over him. It does not just have to be a movie, but you can apply it to any event, or location. Help him break through the initial social awkwardness and he is yours.

Asian Men and Sex

Let me just say right off that the racist myths and assumptions about smaller stature and less sexual and erotic drive are just not true…I am sure you agree with me. I think that there is absolutely no problem with Asian men and from my experience, the best sex I’ve ever had has been with Asian men. Sure like anyone there will be times it’s not good and others when it’s fantastic, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes and it’s got nothing to do with race.

There have been studies that have pointed out that Asian men (from Asia) feel less satisfied as a whole with sex than Westerners, but that does not mean that they are bad in the bed, or that Asian men are less passionate or romantic as lovers, it just means that they may not be experiencing sex the same way as the west. Men in Asia can often live in a culture where sex is much more of a no no to talk about, let alone learn about from family or friends. I mean think about it, the expression of love can often be very indirect in Asian cultures, where no one was ever hugged or kissed in public and probably not even hugged or kissed at home.  Parents would never talk about sex to their sons, and I am sure the sex education at school left more questions then answers.

When it comes to sex, Asian men may not be well-informed and not socialized to talk about sex or express their sexuality. So how can a man even be expected to perform well when he’s got no instruction, and no expression of sexuality to draw from? Well I think that no matter how much or how little experience you have, there are some things that make Asian men great lovers naturally. My number one kudos to Asian men is that they are always hard workers, patient, focused, and always willing to please. So when it comes to sex, with this skill set any man can succeed.

Now I know you western Asian men are saying to yourselves, I’m not like that, and some men from Asia also are saying “We know a lot about sex and how to please women”… which is great and like all people in the world there will be different levels of education, and experience. But the point I want to make, without getting into details, is that with a lot, a little, or even no real experience a man can do well…that includes Asian men… and the best part is that whatever  your experience is, your WF will be happy to learn and share with you.

Perfection is Unattainable – The Mindset of Asian Men

Perfection is to be marvelled at, but at the same time it leads to our own demise.  While there are some abstract components like mathematics which have a very clear expression or answer, living a life of perfection is truly another story. Even I must admit I have grown up demanding perfection upon myself, when in fact it was not attainable. Some of it I will admit came from my Asian upbringing as well. Just like every Asian child I was placed in the typical piano lessons and extra schooling. Math became my strongest subject, and I never took a liking to the Humanities during my K-12 years. Now that I think of it, what made English and Social Studies so difficult was the fact that it did not come as natural as Math or the Natural Sciences. I had to feel something. What was that all about?

Perfection Described

I remember the stories of my Asian friends who have parents who get upset at their child’s grades because they were not 100%. Phrases like “Where’s the 4%?” would come up after their child received a 96% test result.  Other times it would be the demanding mother forcing her child to practice piano until the song was error free. Perhaps you could say back in the early days of China with Imperial Examinations, those who achieved the highest grades were often rewarded with the best civil servant jobs. From then on, they were set for life. While perfection is great for theoretical pursuits such as mathematics, statistics, or natural sciences, it cannot be the sole basis when dealing with people. This is especially important in AMWF relationships, and every other relationship for that matter.

This becomes a huge problem for situations that do not call for perfection. Let’s take a look at a few TCAI examples:

Feng is your typical Asian Technophile. He’s great with Math and Computers, but when it comes to social issues – he’s completely lost. Once his girlfriend, Steffi asked him what he felt about the upcoming student elections. Feng shrugged his shoulders.
The problem is two-fold. Feng has never encountered this situation before and has no idea how to respond. Second, he may want the perfect response, leading into an “analysis paralysis”.

Alvin, an academic overachiever, can also be thought as an Ambitious Archetype. Recently he placed second overall in academic standing, and thus losing the Valedictorian spot.
Of course this just an example, but often at times Asians tend to measure their success by being the best. While it is great to win and be the best, there is no win-win mentality for us Asians. Thus we become completely consumed with the obsession of perfection – to be number one.

Hyun-Soo is popular among his friends, being the group Comedian he can always crack a joke to make people smile. While relaxing at the local pool, Hyun-Soo is dragged by his friends to the deep end of the pool for some diving board excitement. Although Hyun-Soo is not the greatest diver, he employs his patented belly flop. After a gigantic splash, hilarity ensues.
The Comedians are usually the best when it comes to dealing with perfection. Instead of being perfect, they tend to do something completely opposite and funny. While it is effective, there is a possible shortcoming if they overuse their humour. Then the excitement is lost.

Don, an aspiring jazz musician, plays the double-bass in his jazz trio. Almost always at the spur of the moment, he has the urge to improvise. His band mates recognize it and follow along.
Perfection for an Individual type is less of an importance than excellence. They understand things cannot be perfect, but just go with the flow.

Aiming for Excellence

TCAIIt’s important to realize not everything can be treated in a black and white manner. This binomial nature of true and false, yes and no, does not always work for real life. Instead of aiming to become perfect, we should aim for excellence – always striving to do our best. It doesn’t matter if someone is better than us, but as long as we put in our best and learn from our mistakes, we’re bound to improve one step at a time. Take for example any sport: soccer, hockey, football, tennis, etc. There is bound to be a winner and loser. When you win, it’s easy – but when you lose it is even more difficult to deal with. As much as we would like a perfect score or record, it’s almost impossible naturally. Aim for your own best, and improve yourself each time. Usually the biggest culprits of perfection-obsession are the Technophiles and Ambitious. This is usually because of their conservative upbringing. This is the old-world mentality. Comedians and Individuals are more liberated and usually deal with perfection issues better. In case you forgot, I’ve included the two spectrum diagram to refresh your mind.

Regarding AMWF

When in a relationship with a White Female, as an Asian Male it would be almost a natural tendency to go through all the “what-if” situations and try my best to make each situation perfect. I’d have the date planned out, what clothes to wear, rehearse the motions in my head – but then forget about being there in the moment with her. What I mean by this is when you are intensely focusing on a future even or past event while being with your White Female, you tend to make her feel disconnected from you. This can be perceived as you are uninterested or upset at her – which is not at all what your intentions are.  So leave perfection at the door, smile, and realize you’re with an amazing woman who loves you. So be sure to reciprocate.

Blending Eastern and Western Foods

When you are in an AMWF relationship, you not only share the cultures that you came from but also the foods that are part of it. I was raised to believe that taking the time to share a meal with someone was a way to connect, to get to know, and to enjoy someone’s company. It was over a big bowl of pasta that my family and I would share stories about our day, talk about the trials and tribulations of our lives, and generally find comfort and love from one another. So when it came time to experience Asian foods, I wanted to know what this was all about.

The first difference to me in comparing East Asian to Western foods was the way the food was prepared.  From the very start Asian foods are cut into bite sizes, and then stir fried or steamed, and served to you family style. In contrast, my experience with Italian/western cooking was different. All the ingredients were usually in larger pieces and we always cut the food on our plates with knives and forks. It’s not that things were not family style, because there would often be items like salad, pasta, meats, or etc, out on a table, but you just selected the portion you wanted and placed it on your dish. Another difference was the food choices used in the dishes. There are some ingredients or seasonings in Asian cuisine that Western cooking seldom uses, like jelly fish, sea cucumbers, shark’s fins, bean curds (tofu), oyster sauce, black bean sauce, salty shrimp paste, soy sauce, etc.  In western cooking there are also, like Asia, lots of sea foods, meats, and etc, but herbs like rosemary, dill, sage, oregano, thyme, basil (etc) are used, where Asian cultures add ginger, spring onions, mints, corianders, and white pepper.  Sometimes you can find Asian foods that contain cheese, butter, cream or milk, but I rarely see it.

So even with these differences, I found that I enjoyed trying all the culinary delights that East Asia had to offer… well almost. One of the most common problems when trying foods from Asia was not taste, but texture. For me anything with a spongy or jelly like texture just freaked me out, and just eating it would send a shiver down my spine.  So, when I would share a meal with anyone Asian, they would give and a smile and laugh because they know I don’t like the texture and that the western palate is just not used to it.

At home, when I look at the foods I eat every day, I realize that it’s always a blend of the best of the east and west. In America you can find any foods you want, Asian, European, or more traditional regional US foods, but I always find myself drawn to either Asian or Italian cooking. One day its chicken parmesan with ziti and homemade sauce, the next day its Korean BBQ beef, rice, and broccoli. Other times I will fuse the two together creating something I never even thought of before. Sticky rice goes with just about anything and for example often I use it as a replacement for the crust that is found in a chicken pot pie recipe. Yes really.. Just make your pot pie base like normal ie:  creamy stock, vegetables, onion, garlic, pepper, and chicken. Instead of putting that base into a crust and baking it, just place it hot over sticky rice…and there you have it!. a creamy, vegetable chicken, mock risotto like meal. Yum yum.

To me food is a way to show how much you care about those around you, and this feeling is probably true for all cultures around the world. I often find that I feel so privileged to be part of an AMWF relationship because I am able to enjoy the foods that represent a culture(s), its history, and an experience that I would otherwise have not considered.

Ask Nicely, but Don’t Force Things – The Order, Suggestion, and Request

While there are many resources describing how to deal with the family of an Asian Male, I think what’s important is the approach taken. Yes it is frustrating at times when a White Female does not fully understand the reasons for family traditions, but it is our responsibility as Asian Men to be respectful to our woman, especially when she was not raised the same way we were. For myself, I grew up in that strict, stifling, Asian environment my Asian peers can all relate to.  I remember getting an earful from my father when he lost patience in my incompetence. Even one point when I was a child he locked me out of the house in the bone-chilling winter because I was sobbing uncontrollably. Well, I was doing some mathematics two years ahead of my grade. I still remember that even to that day, but I still love and respect my father.
Unfortunately we as Asian Males tend to learn even subliminally through our experiences. We were usually not given much input in matters and our parents made choices for us. Our extra-curricular activities involved piano or violin lessons. Maybe if we were “fortunate” enough there would be extra academic studies in math. Yes, it taught us how to be disciplined, but more of how to follow, and not how to lead.

The Asian Family Issue

The reason why I bring this up is because of the upbringing differences from the East and West. I cannot assume the White Female I am with automatically knows everything about cultural traditions. Moreover it isn’t fair to express frustration, nor demand submission from her. Yes I was guilty of this before, and I have to consciously remind myself from time to time that this is what I signed up for. I want to be with a White Female, and I must be responsible to make things work as well.  When dealing with his Asian Family you only need to remember three things: respect, manners, and humility. Anything that incorporates one or all three such as greeting all his family members when visiting, or sitting quietly at the dinner table, has these qualities. Isn’t that great? You don’t have to do much, or be the life of the party, and you earn your respect from his family.

Silent Expectations

Silent expectations can also be a form of passive aggressive behaviour in Asian Men. This is something you have to pay attention to closely because if he is the kind to never show anger, then he definitely bottles it up. However, this is not quite the silent expectation I was getting at. What I was referring to was actually in regards to the Asian Family and Culture. There’s this silent expectation that as a White Female that you will integrate into Asian society. Of course this will depend on how traditional the Asian Family is to begin with. Some White Females will gladly accept this, but there are many that raise an eyebrow. Women have spent the last half of a century combating for equality and recognition. To demand a female submit and integrate as an Asian is outrageous. Women have fought so hard for equality. How is it fair that as an Asian Male you can demand so much from a White Female to come over to the Asian side, when you do nothing as a male but wait for her? If she is willing to give up some of her own individuality to be with you, at least have the courtesy to meet her somewhere in the middle first.

Finding Middle Ground

On a figurative basis, this is the equivalent of walking the female to the door. Unless otherwise requested by her, this is something you should always do. Now this applies to situations beyond the Asian family. Making “suggestions” does not suffice either. A White Female doesn’t need to be told what to do; she needs to know you love her. She needs to know you’ll stand by her side no matter what, and your requests are because you care about her. Let me describe some examples:

The Order

“Sit quietly at the dinner table”
“Say hello to the family members”

While statements like these are very clear, they are just orders to be fulfilled. There might be a language issue because this is direct translation. For example Chinese is tone based which can describe different words or actions. To buy and to sell are the same word with different stresses. English can utilize emphasis to express sincerity or sarcasm. Take for example the word, “really”. It could be a question of “really?” or frustration of “really…?” Orders are orders.

The Suggestion

Zhen is bringing his White Female girlfriend, Diana to a family dinner for the first time. Diana is completely nerve-stricken with fear after hearing some horror stories from her close friends.  While driving to the restaurant, Zhen reaches for a small package in the front compartment.
“I bought this especially for you” He says guiding the package over to Diana’s lap. She carefully inspects the generic red box only to reveal a jade bracelet. “Why don’t you try this on?”

Not that this approach is incorrect, Zhen has tried to solve Diana’s fears by getting something that would make her calm down. In addition, his mom, who loves jade, will immediately feel more comfortable around Diana. The problem is that this is something where Diana really doesn’t have a voice. Of course Zhen means well, but it doesn’t connect with her on an emotional level.

The Request

Feng’s grandfather is turning 80. To celebrate this milestone, Feng’s family is celebrating by going out for dinner next Sunday.  Feng has the option of inviting his girlfriend, Amanda to the dinner, making the total attendance to 16 people. Amanda, who has next Sunday free, has reservations attending. Feng’s family didn’t receive her as well as she expected. When she told his parents she was pursuing a Master’s degree in sociology, his parents took a long pause mumbled and pouted.
“Will you be free next Sunday for dinner? “ Feng casually asks while sitting on the couch watching television with Amanda.
“Yes, what did you have in mind?” she replies smiling while she turns to his direction.
“Well,” he starts off, “next week is my grandpa’s 80th birthday and we’re going out for dinner. I’d love for you to come.” Amanda peers downward, pausing for a moment.
“Do you remember last time?” asks Amanda.
“Last time when you met my parents…?” responds Feng as he mutes the television. Amanda nods. Feng turns to face her, and reaches for her hand. “I remember,” He starts off, “I’m sorry they gave you such a hard time, they really do like you a lot. It’s just their way of making sure you’re serious about our relationship.” Amanda breathes a sigh of relief.
“Well, I wasn’t sure.” says a smiling Amanda, “You’re not lying to me right?”
“It’s the truth,” Feng starts as he gazes into Amanda’s eyes. “If anything goes wrong in any way, I’ll be right beside you the entire time. It’s a big milestone for my grandpa, and I’d really love it if you could attend with me. So will you?”
“Yes.” She replies, “Yes, I’ll be there for Sunday.”
“Great,” Smiles Feng as he reaches his arms to embrace Amanda. “Thanks for understanding”.

What makes a request different from a suggestion is that a suggestion is an order in disguise. There are no condescending undertones in a suggestion, but it doesn’t fully connect on an emotional level with a White Female. A request gives the recipient a choice, and not an order. In this example I made Feng utilize multiple non-verbal elements that reinforce how much he cares about Amanda. Feng mutes the television to give Amanda attention, and then turns to her, holds her hand, establishes face to face contact, and hugs her at the end. Feng wasn’t trying to solve her situation like an order or suggestion would do, but express his intent and true feelings for Amanda. That is what a White Female really needs.