|This is just pic, but ads like this are EVERYWHERE on the Internet. You've probably seen them. They are apparently pretty popular. I think they're pretty creepy.|
But Alex, how can this be!? You've had seven official girlfriends (that is, women I have dated and we referred to each other as girlfriend and boyfriend on a consistent basis) and six of them have been Asian! Fetish alert!!!
Hold your horses there, friend! In order to illustrate why I do not have an Asian fetish I shall explain the context in which I met these women and how they came to be my girlfriends.
First off, I'm what you could call a passive dater, as in I don't go hunting for a girlfriend if I'm single. I generally feel that if I keep doing whatever it is I do and keep meeting people, inevitably I will meet someone who I find attractive and endearing and who reciprocates those feelings. So far this method has not failed me. I feel that if someone has a fetish relating to a certain kind of person, they would be inclined to aggressively seek out the object of their desire (e.g., blind dating, speed dating, online dating etc.). This has never really been the case for me. I've never at any point felt that I absolutely NEEDED to date an Asian person, nor have I dismissed a prospective partner on the grounds of her not being Asian. Never at any point have I said anything remotely like "I'm gonna head down to the local language-exchange club and see if I can pick up some Japanese honeys!" (There are people who do things like this--I've met them. They're often creepy. Wong makes a brief reference to them at the beginning of her article.)
So here we go . . .
My first girlfriend I met at a Canada Day gathering when I was 16. She was a friend of a friend and happened to be Chinese-Canadian. I realized my attraction to her when I found out we shared a love of alt rock and punk music and a similar sense of humor and worldview. We dated for two months.
My second girlfriend was European-Canadian with an Estonian background and I met her at a Halloween party. We shared interests similar to those of my first girlfriend and dated for two months.
My third girlfriend was Vietnamese-Chinese-Canadian. We met through a friend whom I made by total fluke when my MSN list became accidentally merged with a friend of mine's, when I was 17. Originally she had a crush on my friend and I played matchmaker. It didn't work out between them, and then I realized that she was pretty, quirky, driven, had an eclectic taste in music and movies, and was really down-to-earth. After hanging out together a few times and talking for hours and days about random things, I eventually asked her if she was interested in making it official, and she was. We dated for almost three years.
My fourth girlfriend was Korean, an exchange student who came to Canada to improve her English. I met her when I was 21, through another Korean (male) student I met randomly on the street who wanted to practise English with me. I became good friends with the random guy and he introduced me to his classmates; my future girlfriend was among them. At first I was not attracted to her but she lived very close to me; I gradually found myself in more and more situations when she and I would be alone together conversing about random things. We talked a lot about stuff, realized we had a number of things in common, and eventually got closer and closer and started dating. We dated for around two years.
My fifth girlfriend was a former student of mine whom I tutored in English when I was 23 (don't worry, we were the same age). I was paired with her through the agency I worked for; she was a Korean international student getting ready to study at a local college. I always thought she was pretty and spunky, and when she told me in no uncertain terms that she liked me, I saw no reason to back off. We dated for about two and a half weeks.
My sixth girlfriend I met through a Japanese friend I met while working for a short-lived international student community magazine when I was 24. My friend set us up as language-exchange partners, as I was (and still am) learning the Korean language for my major. My friend had asked me if I needed a partner and I was like, "Yeah, sure, why not? I got time." When we met, I thought she was cute and found that she was really fluent in English, but I didn't really know what her personality was like--which is really where most of the attraction comes from. After a month of spending hours alone together exchanging conversation and info about ourselves, I realized that she was smart, worldly, well-read, caring, driven, and intellectually curious, on top of being fashionable and physically attractive. We dated for around a year and a half, though most of it was long-distance.
And finally, my seventh girlfriend was Taiwanese. We met through my roommate while we were studying in Korea when I was 26. Initially I wasn't sure if I wanted to date her, but when I hung out with her she proved to be outgoing, down-to-earth, funny, and sweet and could hold her liquor very well (I thought that was cool). She and her friends also made it fairly obvious that she liked me. We dated for two months.
So what is the purpose of this long-winded account? What I'm trying to illustrate is that it was never the "Asian-ness" of these women that initially attracted me. I had no preconceptions when I met them, mostly because it was entirely by chance, and it wasn't until quite some time after I met them--until I really got to know them--that I realized they had the traits I was looking for in a member of the opposite sex. I often found (and continue to find) myself in situations where I must interact with many ethnically and culturally East Asian people, as a result of my interests (Asian stuff), my major (East Asian studies), and my profession (tutoring) . . . not that I'm complaining. You could say I've become fairly entrenched in the local East Asian and Asian-Canadian community during my short time on this earth, which is one of the reasons I decided to start this blog in the first place. Within these communities where I spend much of my time, occasionally I come across women who exhibit the traits I find attractive, and I have no qualms about dating them if they too feel so inclined.
Still, though, you may be thinking, "Surely there must be some libidinous reason why you have placed yourself in a situation in which you come in contact with many East Asian people on a near-regular basis, you creepy man, you! Pray, what might that be!?"
Find out in the exciting conclusion!