Chinese-American Boyfriends Provide Something Others Can’t

Shadow heart.

“Thai, Korean, and Vietnamese”. My lanky Caucasian-American date was reminiscing about his dating history one evening at dinner with me. Did this guy have an Asian fetish and just needed to add Chinese to his list of flavors he’s sampled or was he really into me? In any case, I never found out because we stopped talking after he rationed my beer for me, insisting that my tolerance is low due to of my Asian-ness. So much for that date. Back to the drawing board. “You date just about anyone, right?”, my friend from Hong Kong asked me. I always thought I was an equal opportunity dater too until I moved away from home.

Growing up in Philadelphia, in a very poor urban neighborhood, I was almost always the only Asian, let alone Chinese kid in school. My friends in elementary school were all Latino and Black Americans. My earliest crush was a Latino-American boy named Anthony, while my Puerto-Rican-American neighbor had the hots for me. Only in middle school did I meet Caucasian-Americans to add to my circle of friends, but even then, Leonardo DiCaprio was the only man in my life. The few Chinese people I had exposure to were my immediate family members, Andy Lau, and Connie Chung. It was in high school when I finally encountered Asian-Americans and from then on, I crossed paths with more people who were like me, Chinese-American.

Moving neighborhood to neighborhood, school to school, city to city, and having friends come and go, the only constant in my life is my family who have taught me and nurtured me through the vicissitudes of life. For me, family and culture are inseparable, so when I am comforted by memories of my family, I am also comforted by the culture behind those memories. Having lived away from my family for a few years now, I long for the familiar.

Eventually, I realized I can find that familiarity in relationships. As my Chinese language skills dwindle due to lack of practice, I enjoy speaking Chinglish sometimes and love that my boyfriend understands me, especially since some things just can’t be expressed in English as well. When I have a bad cold or sinus infection, I long for my parents’ congee, and I’m completely touched when my boyfriend brings me a quart of it from Chinatown, even if he can’t make it himself. Dim sum is often his answer to my question of what to eat for lunch. I never have to explain the foods I eat or the reasons why I have to go home for certain celebrations or why I’m becoming more involved with the Museum of Chinese in the Americas to get a better sense of my identity and community. We share humorous stories of growing up with Chinese style parenting, while rebelling against them in our teenage years. Then, we agree how silly our rebellions were in hindsight. We also share the same feeling of detachment from our parents’ home, China, but we embrace our curiosity to explore it.

My Chinese-American boyfriends provided something others could not; the extension of the comfort I felt from my family and a natural rapport supported by our cultural identities. I know I will not be able to control who I will fall in love with. He might not be Chinese-American at all, but I do acknowledge that my trials and tribulations with my own cultural identity impact many aspects of my past, present, and future. It’s been a long struggle to admit that I’m not fully Chinese nor am I fully American, but a beautiful mix of the best of both worlds. Sharing that with someone who is just as proud is a truly moving experience.

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  • Patrick

    You did a really great job explaining his value to you from your perspective. It’s one I can easily understand from your writing. Sharing something unique is a valuable thing.

  • someasiandude

    What attracted you to him initially?

    • JEng

      It’s really none of our business but it wasnt his congee making skills.

    • JEng

      we dont want to know

  • Js

    “What’s great about dating someone of your own race, is that you can go home, and be racist together. ” ~Ali Wong

    • lonetrey

      I actually laughed. So (semi-)true.

    • JEng

      LOL

      I honestly thought the answer to the title of this post would be …

      Chinese looking babies but alas yet another rant about self justifying poorly thought out notions

      give me a sophisticated antimiscegenationist anyday

      people who dont care or who are prointerracial (ie dont care) can’t really rant

      if you’re going to make us read something really longwinded – bring the flames, the bite, the spice and the spite.

      dont kill us with morality

      scare us, tear us up

  • Tyler

    If I understand you correctly, one reason you like Chinese-American boyfriends is because you value your shared Chinese cultural experiences.

    I wonder how you’d feel about a non-Asian boy who spent years in China, someone who likes the same food and understands your jokes in Chinese.

    Or how you’d feel about a third-generation Chinese-American boy who doesn’t speak Chinese and has even less exposure to Chinese influences than you had growing up.

    • anon

      I agree with where you’re going with this but I also think its safe to assume that she’s using Chinese-American as short-hand for essentially those who more or less grew up in America whereas their parents were more or less immigrants.

      • Tyler

        I’m just wondering if she can separate the culture from the ethnicity, and how important the shared “Asian-American identity” is versus the shared language and cultural experiences.

        I say this as a non-Asian who has been interested in dating Chinese-Americans in the past partly because Chinese culture has been a significant part of my life.

        • 黑鬼

          Great point! Would an ‘American Chinese’ have more in common with Chinese people than or with the author than a 3th or 4th generation Chinese American who does not have any Chinese values or speak the language (of which there are many)? And if so would this relationship be acceptable with regard to the argument of compatibility otherwise it is just about ethnicity.

          I’m African and there are many Indians living here that have exact cultural values as I do because they have lived here all their lives. Wouldn’t I be right to suppose that there should be more in common between us than between me and an African that has grown up in the US -‘African American’

          • JEng

            Black Demon, hahaha. Does Jermaine Jackson look Chinese to you?

          • JEng

            Expats should know how it works in China – the locals of more fortunate backgrounds dont let race or solidarity notions get in their way in forging the most advantageous bonds with NONhuaqiao foreigners and that includes dating and marriage and building future generations.

            As a member of the peasant stock from Overseas where we feel like we have everything to lose because all we really have is our self respect – wealth and career is whatever our adopted countries deign to allow us to pursue – it’s DIFFERENT.

            In China, regardless of whether a marriage or relationship works out – society still belongs to you – so the default structure belongs to you.

            Outside of Asia or maybe even in ASEAN, you can’t make mistakes or dust yourself off and try again as Aaliyah would coo because family is ALL that you have when you are overseas. Society is not yours not even if you turncoat and play for The Man against your own community so … make the BEST permanent coupling you can make for yourself or don’t even participate.

            I think Oversease Chinese need to take a pointer from Hong Kong and pick career over some bucket list checkoff of a marital alliance. People should be more logical and understand that it’s true love or nothing because one of these days, you might have to deal with their scabies or diaper change.

          • JEng

            if they’re not irresistible, don’t cosign that mortgage

        • Patrick

          Aside from the other points she’s not interested in teaching. You may have a lot of culture – maybe even been around a lot of the same culture but there would always be something she would have to explain to you. That’s something she doesn’t enjoy. She has a detachment that you can’t feel because your parents, parents didn’t emigrate from China. Sure you can claim detachment but it’s not for the same reasons. Sure you could buy her congee but it just wouldn’t be the same. She’s not interested in comparisons, she’s interested in having similar experiences. Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with it, different from my outlook – but different strokes for different folks – she seems happy enough with her choice. Lot’s of people like ABC’s – sometimes ABC’s don’t like them.

          • Tyler

            I think there are two components to her interest in other ABCs: 1. the cultural identity and experience of having grown up as an Asian in America and having Chinese parents. 2. having knowledge of Chinese culture and language.

            A third generation ABC with little connection or knowledge of China might have a lot of the former but less (maybe much less) of the latter than a non-Asian with a lot of Chinese experience.

            I’m interested to know which part is more important, and I haven’t assumed it’s the former as you seem to have.

            Also, who said anyone wants to be taught? It’s just nice to be able to use Chinese phrases and not have your interest in Asian food always be questioned.

          • JEng

            but there are super authentic and respected and respectable ie commendable Chinese who are married to nonChinese

            I think we are relieved when both sides are of good quality but because of the history of racism, I personally would prefer it if everyone also looked their personal best.

            My family has very little personal experiences with mixed race couples so I guess the one we know and our favorite was this couple who used to (no exaggeration) grace us with their presence when they would come into our gift shop – she was tall, lovely, special and warm and from a good and wealthy HK family and he was picturesque and was Admiral Nimitz’s personal photographer in the Navy during WW2. After that I only remember a pretty tall couple that used to come into the bakery – she was pretty and doll-like, dressed in black and wearing red lipstick (I actually saw her at the Shiseido counter at Macys _ I never owned anything from Shiseido despite my older cousin because my mother had an older received wisdom about the quality of Japanese cosmetics regardless of packaging) and he was some skinny Irish ginger who kind of looked like that Marine in Aliens. I always liked that couple especially the Chinese girl.

            Years later, my mother slapped me when I defended my cousin’s marriage to a white guy – because they had met him and I hadnt and when I met him, I understood why I got slapped. I always thought some high quality HK yuppie would marry her.

            In hindsight, I would have understood her ending up with with an earlier Italian American expressor of interest who was miniature and beautiful.

            Because if our girls are precious to us, we want them to end up with someone for the RIGHT reason and it has nothing to do with whether someone can cook congee.

            I was always distracted by Iris Chang’s refusal to get a haircut or jazz up her good looks – maybe she didnt want to be complicit in infrared Sony handycam footage . It would have made me more interested in what she was doing but alas. She was a nice girl and she was married to some redhead, right? It never came off that her research or her ardor or principles were negatively impacted by her choice of spouse.

            I think that is also the case with Christina Gambito on youtube – SO SPECIAL – so Asian – even CANTONESE – so I really thought she was married to a commendable Pinoy.

            She’s married to a white guy who looks like French Stewart. I’m sure he couldn’t be less awesome than an awesome Pinoy BUT we’ll never know it – we’ll just have to believe in it based on how she presents herself.

          • JEng

            I have a tai chi exercise video on dvd – the instructor is a white guy – I chose him because I have an autistic-like dismay at seeing floppy satiny fabrics.

            He’s wearing all cotton.

        • TAKE5

          Her story is a simple one. For me It does not need to be dissected…. can she separate the culture from the ethnicity”…who cares about that? They found some common ground, id’ say a large piece of it. One thing for sure, anyone was better than the controlling knuckle head she dated at the being of her story. Mr.Beir Controller.

        • JEng

          You should try to acquire some kind of achievement careerwise and make yourself commendable so that regardless of who you end up with but especially in an interracial situation, you have something that speaks to your integrity otherwise being an aficionado or doing an internship in Asia isn’t going to get you anywhere.

      • JEng

        I also like looking at really African American babies at the supermarket. I think the whole banana non issue of being Chinese American is lame.

    • JEng

      I like looking at Chinese babies in the supermarket. You cant get those without two Chinese parents but then I also know some Chinese parents are totally ridiculous including the Overseas and or Westernized ones.

      I like the steam of real raw Chineseyness coming off of some babies. MMmmm.

  • Senti

    Dear ChinaSMACK,
    I don’t care for this diaspora stuff. Please stop it and go back to the old ChinaSMACK or make an RSS feed that can does not include this stuff. I’m just interested in what the Chinese netizens (in China) are up to, not all these coming of age stories of Chinese diaspora.

    Of course, I want all the overseas Chinese, Asian diaspora etc, to feel at home and have a sense of place and meaning in their lives wherever they settle down. I just don’t care to read about it :P

    • Patrick
      • Senti

        Thanks Patrick, that did the trick.

    • JustABlackWoman

      Then why dont you just go to the ChinaSmack main website?…

      This is diaspora.chinasmack.com

      Not the chinasmack.com main website

      Did you not read their constant bold prints that said that this is another different site?

      • Patrick

        JABW,

        This person gets the stories and comments via RSS. Since they’re on a feed that gives them everything they have no choice. The above link should do it – then they receive only Chinasmack – hopefully…. ;)

      • JEng

        because chinasmack isnt posting as much as it could about current events about china

    • JEng

      yes it is superweak

  • Mr. 24/24

    What a sweetiepie…… Enjoyed the article and it put a huge smile on my face to know that there are girls who appreciate Chinese American guys and their awesomeness.

    • 然后呢

      As a Caucasian American girl who has been in china for five years, I went on dates with an American here (disaster, kept asking did i like how it felt that I am “rich and famous” because my white face) and Chinese (just wanted me to change for him and be more like a Chinese girl personality wise) and even an ABC. He was the most interesting, I think he all the hang ups and weirdness from both cultures, and couldn’t get over the fact my mandarin could compete with his.

      I was hopping this article would bring insight into the ABC boy mind, but instead was a sweet piece about her meeting up with someone more understanding.

      Does that mean I should look for American boys that have been here too long too?

      • TAKE5

        Looking for a American boy that has been in china too long could be like looking for a needle in a hay stack.

      • Kenneth

        You’re not a Caucasian girl. Nice broken Engrish, ass.

    • JEng

      Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww shenanigans

      so chinese males are q ing up at the soup kitchen for pats on the head?

      ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

  • interested

    有种,是一个中华好儿女。永远是龙的传人。

    • JEng

      the whole point of a Mainland China is that the Chinese ARE the white male hegemony in their own vast self sufficient universe which would make such a post as yours impossible

  • “Growing up in Philadelphia, in a very poor urban neighborhood”

    We get it, Philadelphia

    ;)

    • Daniel

      Just wanted to comment on these diaspora posts, I think it’s great that these writers share a huge part of their history and life. I actually find it more interesting than the regular smack articles which are usually posted to illicit some kind of strong emotional response from us English speaking posters.

      With the exception of only one or two stories, all of them are really great viewpoints that allow us Asians to relate to the rest of the world around us. Kudos to all the writers.

      I’m also an Asian who grew up in NA, but have only dated Asians. I can relate to the author because there are many things that a fellow Asian American can understand that other people cannot. A white person will never be able to understand racism concerning minorities in NA, the way an Asian bf/gf can and sometimes it’s funny to look back at racist incidents and just have someone to laugh about it with :)

      The best thing about dating an Asian American is that we are the best of both worlds, because we tend to only take the good from both cultures :) Usually anyhow hehe.

      • JEng

        that sounds like mating with someone who belongs to the same MMORPG guild

  • This post gave me insight about what it feels having a mixed cultural background. Thanks.

    • JEng

      is it like siamese twins where one wants a chocolate milkshake and the other one wants to do the laundry first?

  • randy jackson

    funny article. What about different asian nationalities? Aren’t there difference when two different nationalities get together?

  • Rene Donaldson

    It’s interesting to see people of different ethnic groups consider themselves one group.

  • R.C.

    White guys often tend to revel at their past dates like some kind of revolutionary achievement, because Asian guys who “hit-it-up” with white women tend to date/marry above-average looking white women, and the children of AM+WW tend to be a gifted bunch (i.e. Apolo Ohno, Michael Wong, Paul Kariya, Art Chin, etc, etc.), and this have an impact upon the breeding of white male chauvinism; BUT, one of the biggest untold psychological impact upon those white male-chauvinist guys who are so hell-bent on acquiring an AF trophy is the fact that the Asian-Mongoloid man had dominated and usurped westerners and their women throughout the Dark Ages: i.e. the famous Attila the Hun, a nomadic relative of the Han of China, and the “Scourge of Europe”, Kul Tigin and the Tujue (Gokturks) who ravaged ancient Anatolia and Persia, Genghis Khan and his Mongolian and Chinese armies that topped the European man’s Medieval abyss before Europe finally rose from the Dark Ages and entered the cultural springtime known as the Renaissance. It’s funny how the white male-chauvinist, both laymen and academic with ulterior motives, now try to promote the idea that Genghis Khan, the Tujue, the Huns, Native Americans, Native Siberians and so on are not true Asians or Asian-background, but are “Caucasian-fied” in their chauvinist Euro-centric revisionist history to somehow justify the cultural destruction and rape of Native American and Siberian people, and set a contrived and falsified “racial-divide” between Asian people with Asia’s brightest rising star: China/China-man.

    • Kenneth

      A few obscure celebrities does not help your petty claim. Most WF/AM couples, no matter how rare they are,,are bottom of the barrel in looks and personality. Their marriages fall apart by Year 5 and their children are messed up in the head for the most part. Sorry.

      • TheSpeakerOfTruth

        Sorry small-dicked white man, but non-Asians who marry Asian men are better educated, more intelligent and by extension better looking thanks to assortative mating. Too bad about your small penis.

      • TheSpeakerOfTruth

        As for bottom of the barrel, AF/WM couples are usually the slut/loser or below average/rich guy couples. Very, very few variations. The best Asian women almost exclusively date Asian men, they prefer higher IQs and larger penises.

    • JEng

      apolo ono, ann curry = the fact that more than 90 percent of japanese americans marry nonjapanese – makes my heart leak with happiness – it’s a GOOD hemorrhage.

  • Houa Yang

    I’m a hmong man who was born and raised in america. I know little of my culture, honestly I just never bothered to learn. Not that I hate my people, I just don’t care about traditions, culture, religion, politics or any shit that puts people at each others throat. In my 32 years of living, I have dated both asian and white women. I have been in love with both and have parted with both. Pussy is pussy. It smells the same it taste the same and it feels the same. The only difference is, cosmetic. Same with dicks. It is what each individual perfers. Nothing to do with selling out or hating your kind or any of that dumb shit. The reason people label other people who date outside their race as such is because they feel that their livihood is threaten. Which it may be, homereckers are not limited to one that race or sex

    • Houa Yang

      The only approval that someone need before dating outside of their race is that of the person you are dating, otherwise it’s called rape. Let haters hate, because your doing something right otherwise they wouldn’t be jealous. Be ready for alot of it from both sides and if you don’t already have a gun, get one. Don’t let them over zealous asian pride wanna be gangsters nor fake ass klan posers get close. Violence doesn’t solve problems, but a gun will sure as hell make it run. And where are my black brothers and sisters, they need lovin’ too. I would very much like to date a black woman, I heard they are strong in spirit,mind, moral in character. Plus I also heard they cut and shoot a man for cheating. I on occasion need to be in check, we can’t have any more asians running around breeding. Just kidding all, make all the babies you can while you can. Next time anyone says anything to you, make eye contract, shake your head as to not understand, reply with a simple non aggressive heartful, “fuck you, your opinion, your mama, and the horses you bitches rode in on.” Then tilt your head slightly to the right show alittle smile and add “dude……….you should kill yourself, like really………(whisper)kill yourself.” Turn away slowly with a confused look, right before you break eye contact look back at and sincerely ask if their ok. Turn and exit.

      • Shepard

        Best comment ever.

  • Lotus Li

    Love the article– please share why asian men make the best boyfriends:

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/lotusl2/16-reasons-why-asian-american-men-or-any-other-we-pw4

  • Lotus Li

    please share this article and help it go viral: why asian men make the best boyfriends

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/lotusl2/16-reasons-why-asian-american-men-or-any-other-we-pw41

  • Lida

    I wanted to enjoy this article but couldn’t. Yes, familiarity and comfort is nice but I don’t personally think it is of much importance in a relationship, not in this sense. What was most disappointing is that this article is of no surprise. It perpetuates the idea that Asian people only want to date their own cultures. What should be important is a bond and shared ideals and ethics, which can be found across all people. Stop thinking about people as a reflection of their “race”. You limit yourself and your understanding while breeding hatred for others that you won’t even realize. Those little things that remind you of home can be learned by your partner. This sort of stuff disgusts me.

    • JEng

      yes its an impure outlook and not a credit to Chinese parenting but I think its in the interest of Asia Ex Japan to pretend that they don’t enjoy true love because of the Japanese home invasions and forced incest rapes upon the Chinese.

      We’re not in the business of letting others see how deep is our love, how pure are our people.

      Now everyone pretends to be just as awful as the orcs – probably why we don’t have much of a filmography for Vivien Leigh – she worked more on the English stage – we have more films by Diane Kruger.

      How is that believable?

  • JEng

    What a banana thing to write.

    BLEURGH!

  • Guest

    The author of the article comes across as very racist.

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