May 7, 2023 · 8:44 am
My last two blog posts both pertained to dating a man. For the most part I’ve observing the pattern without judgment. Still, desiring a m*n isn’t entirely aligned with my values, so I’m thinking about why this theme keeps coming up.
In my early 20’s, I felt confident about my mission: to help people in some way and to promote social justice. A man would enter my life or he wouldn’t. Continue reading →
Filed under Personal, Society
Tagged as amatonormativity, an education, freedom, friendship, heteronormativity, independence, life, mental health, reflection, romance
April 26, 2023 · 8:49 am
I turn 28 next month, which activated an early-onset midlife crisis. Not to be a Capitalist Connor or a Girlboss Greg, but in the career domain, I’ve crushed it. I progressed directly from high school to the honors program at a mildly reputable undergrad, from undergrad to a fully-funded Psych PhD program, from my PhD to my residency in the Boston area, from residency to my tenure-track job. I faced bumps along the way though thanks to both my privilege and my perseverance, nothing stopped me. Reflecting on this relative smooth sailing made me feel angsty when I thought: then why haven’t I found a queer man of color to
[REDACTED] with me form a long-lasting romantic relationship with?
I first felt some self-judgment and shame. Continue reading →
Filed under Personal
Tagged as coping, gay, gina chung, grief, life, loss, mental health, relationships, romance, sea change, vulnerability
March 23, 2023 · 8:02 pm
When I moved to Boston last year, I joined the Facebook group “Subtle Asian Boston” and saw this post:
I felt annoyed when I saw this. Tall white boys?? Continue reading →
Filed under Personal, Society
Tagged as asian american, attraction, dating, internalized racism, racism, romance, social justice, wealth, white supremacy, whiteness
January 28, 2023 · 7:06 am
A couple of years ago, I went on a date with a Filipino guy after I submitted my residency applications. We met at an Asian restaurant in northern Virginia sometime in December, late in the evening. We sat down, started eating, and talked about our work situations, music tastes, and dating histories. When I told him that I hadn’t dated a man long-term yet, he said “that’s surprising,” especially because I had been 26 at the time.
“What’s surprising about that?” I asked him. Continue reading →
January 19, 2023 · 2:58 pm
A few weeks ago, a cousin I have not spoken to for about a decade invited me to his wedding in Hawaii. I knew almost right away that I would decline the invitation. Yet, I felt guilty about saying no. I talked with one of my best friends about it a few hours after receiving the invitation which helped me feel better, and I decided to donate $30 to my cousin’s honeymoon fund instead. Still, his ask and my reaction to it lingered with me.
I felt a small drop of guilt for a few hours after I made up my mind to say no even though I had several strong reasons not to attend. Continue reading →
October 2, 2022 · 7:02 am
A couple of weeks ago I went on a coffee date with a queer Chinese man from my local gay tennis league. This guy loved talking about tennis, so I let him steer the conversation into topics such as: how long we had been playing tennis, how we felt about our performance in the summer challenge ladder, and tennis tournaments taking place in nearby cities. Somehow the conversation shifted into talking about racialized dating preferences. This man proceeded to tell me that he does not find it problematic for queer Asian men to prefer white men over men of other races *and* that he finds white and Asian men more attractive than Black and Latinx men. I felt triggered when he made these racist comments; my body tensed and I felt my heart rate increase. Later in the day I emailed him my recently published peer-reviewed paper on the topic and checked his name off on my mental list of men who I will not associate with in the future.
I talked about this encounter with one of my best friends Bri. Continue reading →
Filed under Personal
Tagged as colorism, dating, friendship, idealization, internalized racism, men, mental health, processing, romance, self-awareness, therapy, white supremacy
June 27, 2022 · 11:13 pm
I joined a gay men’s tennis league the moment I moved to Cambridge. I wondered how the league would go, given that I do not hang out with many gay men in my daily life given the racism and internalized racism, femmephobia, and unaddressed emotional baggage I have observed within some of that demographic. Since I started playing almost a month ago though, the tennis matches have felt like a fun way to play different styles and meet new people in a casual way. The other day, one of the guys I beat – a married man – started texting me after the match. Our texts grew flirtatious, and soon enough he made it clear that he wanted to [REDACTED] my [REDACTED].
We made plans to meet this upcoming Thursday to hookup. Continue reading →
June 18, 2022 · 4:57 pm
I went on three dates with three different guys in the past two weeks. The most recent date took place in a bar in Cambridge with the first white guy I had gone out with in a few years. He graduated from Harvard, worked as a political consultant, and bored the heck out of me. The date itself had been pleasant enough and I got him to pay for my drink, though I still felt disappointed as I left the bar and walked back to my apartment.
A few years ago, I think I would have experienced a more extreme reaction to this mediocre date. Continue reading →
April 9, 2022 · 5:29 pm
I remember sitting at the kitchen table of my childhood home, sometime in middle school or high school, listening to my mom talk about two college-aged Vietnamese kids she knew through her friend circle. They had been dating – a young woman who went to Virginia Tech and a young man who turned down Cornell to follow her. They had broken up, and my mom shared the news in an excited yet hushed tone, even though only she and I occupied the kitchen. I wonder if he regrets turning down the Ivy League, I recall my mom saying. What a waste, she said, to follow someone to a school like Virginia Tech and for it not to even work out.
Whenever my mom praised prestigious colleges and the people who attended them, I always rolled my eyes on the inside. Continue reading →
January 21, 2022 · 12:01 pm
The other day I spoke with an older Gaysian guy I respect. He first gave me some advice about my Psychology residency application process, and our conversation later turned to topics such as the political roots of queer Asian men’s romantic desires. He expressed some ideas about white supremacy and transracial adoption I hadn’t yet put into words, which I appreciated.
At one point, though, as we talked about how internalized racism may motivate fellow Gaysian men to date white men, he said something along the lines of: “well, if gay Asian men don’t have any other options around them, is it their fault to be with a white man even if he’s basic or a fetishizer? It’s like Peeta and Katniss from The Hunger Games, it’s not like they had a choice to kill other people. I’m not saying it’s the ideal scenario, but if gay Asian men don’t have other options, I’m not sure I blame them.”
I want to make it clear that I do not think this older Gaysian himself endorsed the idea of Gaysian men settling for white men (just in case this Gaysian somehow happens to stumble upon this blog post, I think you’re rad and cool and otherwise wouldn’t have reached out to you!) However, I felt struck by the logic underlying this analogy, that not having any romantic prospects removes you of your agency to the same extent as being forced to kill other people against your will by a totalitarian police state. And yet, I have heard the same sentiment uttered by a less rad older queer Asian man
who is now engaged to a white man who couldn’t hold a conversation on his own when I met him, uh yikes, that it’s not about if you’ll settle, it’s about who you’ll eventually settle for.
What strikes me as most bizarre about this idea that you have to settle for the romantic prospects in your geographic area, is the implicit notion that you have to settle for a romantic prospect at all. Continue reading →
Filed under Personal, Society
Tagged as amatonormativity, caroline knapp, dating, empowerment, friendship, liberation, mental health, relationships, romance, self-love