I first met Phil back in 2006 on MySpace (yes, that’s how long we’ve been together). We talked online for nine months before meeting face-to-face because I was only interested in a platonic friendship. I thought he had great taste in hip hop music, so we had planned to meet for the first time at a Wu Tang concert. Needless to say, we nixed that idea and went to a movie instead. We’ve been together ever since.
I waited nine months to meet Phil because I didn’t know if he was only interested in me because I’m half Korean. See, I’ve dated my fair share of guys with an Asian fetish, and I always felt like I had to fulfill a stereotypical role with them. My first real boyfriend was upfront about his obsession with Asian chicks, Anime and Japanese pop music. Since I had never dated before, I played the part of the submissive schoolgirl.
Another guy I dated said he didn’t have an Asian fetish, and then I looked at his entire DVD collection and it consisted of kung fu flicks and Japanese horror films. He was a deejay, so I played the role of the trophy Asian girlfriend who supported him at gigs. He later revealed to me that he had an illegitimate 2-year-old child with a Chinese woman and had sex multiple times with an older Japanese coworker in his office.
My next two boyfriends had never dated an Asian chick before, so I think it was more of a “new flavor” kind of thing for them. My role was to prove that not all Asian girls are crazy like their friends had told them. But I failed at debunking that stereotype when I got angry and my Kim Jong iL temper was revealed.
Then I met Phil. What was different about him was my comfort level at being myself around him. I never felt like I had to fill a stereotypical role for him, and I could joke about my Asian half without feeling defensive when he joked back. Despite being complete opposites (he was frat President in college and I was a nerdy English major) and not having much in common (he loved classic rock and I loved hip hop), we bonded over our cultural sense of humor. Since he’s half Canadian and I’m half white/half Korean, we had plenty to joke about.
Daily jabs to him being pasty and white and to me about wanting to eat our dogs added humor to our relationship, and ultimately, to our marriage. How so, you ask?
Take a look at some of our conversations (these are all taken from a personal blog where I write these down as they happen):
Eating dinner in a Korean restaurant
Phil: Hey, I recognize the one other white guy in here.
Me: Are you sure?
Phil: Yes. He was at the Asian market the last time we were there. He was the only other white guy in a sea of Koreans. We locked eyes. He felt my pain.
Me: *rolls eyes*
Sitting in a restaurant, as Neil Diamond’s “America” plays overhead
Phil: Your mom would like this song. *singing* She’s coming to America.
Me: You’re so wrong.
Ordering Chinese food
Phil: You’re going to order, right?
Me: Why do I have to order?
Phil: Because I can never understand them, and since you’re Asian, you can.
Me: What makes you think I can understand them? It’s just as hard for me as it is for you!
Phil: Well, I’m not going to do it. I have to spell everything out.
Me: So do I. I’m not doing it.
Phil: Fine. Hot dogs it is
Tub of lotion
Phil: My hands are really dry.
Me: Why don’t you use that tub of lotion my mom gave me.
Phil: If I used that I’ll smell like an old Asian woman.
Me: *evil glare*
Talking about the gym
Me: I’m going back to the gym tomorrow.
Phil: I’ve heard that before.
Me: You try going to the gym at 5:30 in the morning!
Phil: Calm down. Geez! Hell hath no fury like an Asian scorned. I mean, hell hath no fury like a Korean without kimchi. Or a Jap without sushi. Or…
Me: Just stop it.
While watching the Top Chef Texas finale
Phil: I bet I know who you want to win. The Asian guy, because all Asians stick together. One for all and all for one.
Me: Right. And all Asians follow the same motto as the Three Musketeers.
Our delightful DVR
Me: The DVR isn’t working! I tried here and in the bedroom.
Phil: Here’s what you need to do: Hit DVR, series and then what?
Phil: Right. See, you knew all along.
Me: Well, I didn’t at the moment!
Phil: Calm down. You’re getting Asian fever, also known as red fever. You know, when your cheeks turn red after drinking alcohol.
Me: What does that have to do with this situation? I haven’t had a drink all day.
Phil: Red fever also refers to the red anger that emits from you when you get mad at me.
Me: Oh. That makes sense.
Lil’ Kim reference
Phil: If the rapper Lil’ Kim was Korean, do you think her name would be Lil’ Kim-chi or Lil’ Kim Jong Illin’ ?
While at an Oriole’s baseball game
Me: Did you put sunblock on your ears? They are a little red.
Phil: Your face is a little red when you drink… because of yellow Asian fever.
Discussing a name for our homebrew beer
Me: We should bottle our homebrew beer and sell it. It should be called Kim Jong Ale.
Phil: Yeah, and then we’d have to sell it in short stout bottles….because he’s short.
Another discussion about our homebrew beer name
Me: Yes, we definitely need to stick with Kim Jong-Ale.
Phil: We can say it’s bitter and gives a short kick when you first drink it, just like someone from North Korea.
Me: And don’t forget that it’s made with “small hops.”
While petting the dog
Phil: Don’t look at him like that. You’ll scare him.
Me: What are you talking about?
Phil: He knows your people eat dogs.
Angry at H-Mart
Phil: Every time I drive in this parking lot I want to punch someone in the face.
Me: You’d have to bend down since you’re 6’4″ and Asian people are so short.
Phil: True statement.
My point in sharing this with you is to tell you to be yourself. Don’t try to fulfill anyone’s idea of who you should be. Have a sense of humor and be with someone who shares that sense of humor. And if you need to let off steam, go to an Asian parking lot. You’ll have plenty of people to yell at.