Tag Archives: romance

Review of Front Cover: All the Ways a Gay Asian Man Can Hate (and Learn to Love) Himself

Well, this is embarrassing: I’m a 23-year-old gay Asian American man and I did not watch a movie with a gay Asian American man as a lead character until about a week ago. Thank goodness for Front Cover, a 2016 romantic comedy that centers openly gay Chinese American fashion designer Ryan (played by Jake Choi) and closeted Beijing movie star Ning (played by Ray Yeung). I had low expectations of the film going in, because a lot of gay romance I have seen mimics the heteronormative, patriarchal narrative of people feeling incomplete until a romantic partner – usually a man – swoops in and saves them. However, Front Cover surprised me. Though its tone stays gentle and sweet throughout, it tackles important themes of internalized racism, classism, and homophobia – and perhaps most importantly, features a gay Asian man who makes genuine progress in learning how to love himself. For the rest of the post I will discuss my reactions to the film, and I will warn you when I am about to reveal major spoilers. If you do not want any spoilers at all, go watch the movie and then come back so you can comment below and fanboy/girl/person with me unless you dislike the film which is fine too, we can still talk about it as long as you support my queen Ariana Grande. Continue reading

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Filed under Movies

A Queer Asian Fanboy Reviews BlackPink’s “As If It’s Your Last”: Romantic Pop Done Right

I haven’t written a blog post about K-Pop for five years thank god because all my posts were pretty trash but last year I found a new group to obsessively fanboy, my queens BlackPink. I have a lot to say about this splendid group but this post will focus on their 2017 summer smash “As If It’s Your Last,” an upbeat song that mixes house, reggae, and moombahton genres. The song is about an intense, all-consuming romance, so in theory I should hate it given how many posts I’ve written about the patriarchal nature of romance, and yet, I find myself engaged in an all-consuming romance with the song itself. I love this song so much because in “As If It’s Your Last,” BlackPink injects the tried and true romantic pop song with vibrant shades of cheerfulness and a persistent, pulsating agency.

Let’s start with the lyrics. Yes, there’s nothing radically feminist about the lyrics of “As If It’s Your Last,” no condemnation of the patriarchy for making us feel insecure without a romantic partner, no equivalent of Lisa’s somewhat capitalist yet so iconic “middle finger up, F U pay me” from “Boombayah.” However, within the realm of romance, BlackPink asserts their hearts’ desires and tells their lover exactly what they want from them. Continue reading

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Filed under K-Pop

I Went on a Date with a Guy Named Thomas, and I Liked it

My life has been a bit of a mess as of late, so I decided to take myself out on a date. Continue reading

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Filed under Personal

thank u, bri

In my last blog post, I wrote about a friendship ending with distance. In this one, I write about a friendship that with distance has only grown stronger. Friendships are hard to form in a patriarchal society that celebrates the heteronormative nuclear family above all else adulthood, so I want to celebrate my friendships on this blog, especially this one, which helped motivate me to take care of myself in a time of darkness.

I met my best friend Bri in my freshman year of undergrad at William & Mary. Continue reading

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Filed under Personal, Society

No, I Don’t Care If White Gay Men Want Me

Racism in gay dating exists, and it sucks a lot. Studies have shown that gay men of color receive fewer responses on dating apps, and Asian American gay men in particular get written off as desexualized and undesirable and experience fetishization. As a gay Asian American man, I have faced my fair share of dating microaggressions and mishaps, ranging from being fetishized because of my race on Grindr to having (usually white) men lose interest in me when they realize I have strong opinions about social justice, instead of being a submissive Asian wallflower. While these instances have felt hurtful, over the past few years I have adjusted my attitude to come to a more empowering conclusion: I really do not care about what white gay men, as well men in general, think of me, because I can love myself outside of validation from men.

I started thinking about the pointlessness of pursuing love from gay white men upon seeing the prominence of gay white men everywhere. Continue reading

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Filed under Personal, Society

An Addiction to Romance: A Relapse and Recovery

In my therapy training class last week, I said that I would rather drink arsenic than depend on a man for happiness. As an ardent feminist, I have always appreciated myself for finding deep fulfillment in hobbies, a passion for helping others, and close friends, no attachment to men necessary. Given these truths about myself, I felt quite frustrated when earlier this week I matched with this super attractive man named Robin on the patriarchal capitalist romance machine Tinder and grew kind of obsessed with him. His profile said that he enjoyed reading, writing, and helping people. I felt a small pit of despair open in my stomach. Its name: desire.

At this point, I could have therapied myself and accepted my attraction to him which may have reduced its intensity and negative long-term effects. Instead, I found his Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, all within the span of ten minutes. Continue reading

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Filed under Personal, Society

When All Your Friends Abandon You for Their Husbands: A Contingency Plan

Some people prioritize their romantic partners. I prioritize my friends. My close friends have been with me through the best of times and the worst of times. One of my good friends consoled me in an H&M when I got the text that my grandmother passed away. Three close friends sat with me and comforted me on the cold, hard floor of my dorm room right after the friend breakup that triggered my PTSD three years ago. One friend drove me to see the therapist I had a life-changing relationship with in undergrad when I could not do so myself, and another friend drove with me to secure my first apartment near Washington D.C. earlier this year. With a handful of friends, I have exchanged the rawest emotional intimacies, the loudest of laughs, and hours-long conversations about feminism, relationships, the state of society in Trump’s America, and more. My friends have acted as one of the most major influences in my life, and I would not hesitate at all to dedicate my first book, or any of my accomplishments, to them.

I hope this backstory explains why I feel afraid of losing my friendships. Ever since starting this “adult” stage of my life a few months ago, I have noticed a striking pattern: we encourage women (who comprise most of my friends) to get married, and as they date and get married to men (or women, or whomever), they spend a lot less time with their friends. Continue reading

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Filed under Personal, Society