Tiffany Wang's "Asian Male Stereotypes Complicate My Love Life" piece, which was published a month ago on March 17, continues to inspire more and more comments. For all you people who love reading a heated (sometimes infuriating) discussion more than the actual story, this story's comments offer some great time-sucking fodder. But the editors at The Bold Italic also got two heartfelt emails from a couple of Asian guys who wanted to write for us. Unfortunately, neither of them live in the Bay Area so we had to pass on their contributions, but one of them, Peter Lam, who currently lives in Minnesota, was born in San Jose and grew up in Texas. Even though he's hasn't lived in the Bay Area in years, I thought his story was relatable enough to print his email. BTW, if you currently live in the Bay Area – no matter what ethnicity you are – and want to write for us, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your story ideas and writing clips:
I could not help but literally pump my fist in the air following my reading of Tiffany Wang's article. Seriously. I gave an audible shout of "Yah!" when the author mentioned the gross portrayal of the general acceptance of Asian males as impotent, awkward, and lacking sexual prowess.
Having grown up in an Asian family full of model-esque people, an emphasis on attractiveness and physical appeal was a strong factor in my life from an early age. Unfortunately, my early years were those of pudginess, awful acne, and questionable fashion choices. Because of that, the stigma of the unattractive and/or grossly awkward Asian male affected me even more particularly. Also, despite my older brother's warnings, I chose the name "Peter" as a nickname to sidestep the butchering of my given [Asian] name. Unfortunately, it was far too easy for the moniker "Centimeter Peter" to come into being. Maybe should have listened to my brother.
Because I grew up feeling non-sexual and unappealing, I ended up developing a certain aversion to Asian women. It wasn't uncommon for me to say something along the lines of "Eh. She's cute, but too bad she's Asian..." whenever my friends and I participated in our awkward people-watching at the mall during high school. When asked why, I often cited that the one Asian girl "Looked too much like a cousin." Or, "I have younger twin Asian sisters. I can't really look at other Asian women and want to bone them." Both statements are true to an extent, but in reality it was because I didn't want to be confined to more or less "settle" for someone of my own ethnic background. As such, I tended to avoid and deny any real attraction to all Asian ladies.
I didn't want to be confined to more or less "settle" for someone of my own ethnic background.
Eventually, I grew out of my awkward phase, and I now rock a moderately attractive face and physique, and of course, a winning personality that can only come from years of compensating for shortcomings in appearance. I left Texas to attend a small private liberal arts college in Minnesota, where I was lucky enough to meet my current girlfriend of 5+ years. She's beautiful, fiercely intelligent, wonderfully willful... and white (and kind of busty). I managed to seduce the woman of my dreams and I essentially forgot all about the stigmas of being an Asian male in America.
That is, until she and I recently decided to make ours an open relationship to explore our sexuality. All of a sudden, after years of knowing that I could make my lovely girlfriend hot with lust and desire with a simple sultry smile and a sensuous hip thrust, I was thrust back out onto the scene wherein I was allowed and encouraged to meet other women. She, of course, had no trouble finding other partners. I, however, was reduced back to a very self-conscious and emasculated Asian boy.
In the midst of struggling with rediscovering my sex appeal outside the comfort of a relationship, I managed to catch the attention of another woman on OkCupid. An Asian woman. Her profile name didn't include the words "princess" or "Azn." She proved to be someone altogether different and more intriguing. I found myself genuinely interested in her, and it didn't hurt that she messaged me first. Always hot.
And so we met up. Despite my immediate hesitation and reservations about her being an Asian woman, I found myself thoroughly and completely enjoying her company. She was wonderfully weird, amazingly intelligent and driven, and I actually found her simply and unequivocally hot as shit.
I found myself sexually drawn to an Asian woman. My mother would have been so proud to know that.
For the first time, I found myself sexually drawn to an Asian woman. My mother would have been so proud to know that. Which is kind of weird to think about... But it made me realized that in attempt to rebel against what had become the common view regarding us men with slanted eyes and purported small wangs, I conditioned myself to reject an entire ethnic group of women in order to prove to the world that I would not be so simply categorized. Even though I wasn't exactly successful at catching the eye of all the non-Asian women out there, I held steadfast to the belief that I would not be relegated to settle for "just another Asian". Meeting up with that woman from OkCupid for brunch put into sharp and somewhat shameful perspective that I was legitimately being very racist. Against other Asians. Yes. That is totally a thing.
In my quest to prove that I was not the weak and impotent Asian man that was so often ridiculed on TV and movies and the like, I ended up shunning an entire group of women for a patently idiotic reason.
In my quest to prove that I was not the weak and impotent Asian man that was so often ridiculed on TV and movies and the like, I ended up shunning an entire group of women for a patently idiotic reason. And that's obviously not okay. I suppose that my writing this incredibly long and rambling letter was meant to highlight that there are different facets to this portrayal of Asian sexuality. Everyone suffers from these gross generalizations, and it is absolutely ridiculous that a woman has to justify to the world her white boyfriend, or that a man feels worthless or shamefully desexualized based on an outdated and stupidly perpetuated stereotype.
With all that said, I would like to end this letter with this simple statement: I'm an Asian man, and I am sexy as shit. Everyone else can keep their "Centimeter Peter" jokes to themselves. I bone like a champ.
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