[roughly translated from Chinese]
“Guys need to be more romantic, more proactive, in order to keep a girl interested in him. He needs to woo her.”
“I’ve noticed that very intelligent people tend to end up divorcing more frequently.”
“When a girl goes and beds with a man, all his male friends know she’s off limits because she belongs to him. But once they part – because easy girls never last long in a relationship – no guy will touch that girl.”
“I was going to introduce you to a nice Taiwanese boy, but then he got leukemia.”
“Never use your real birth date and social security number when registering an account online. I use your father’s birthday on LinkedIn.”
“Be careful what pictures you post on the internet. What if a sex offender sees it? It’s so easy these days to access your real name, location, and date of birth. He’d find you so easily!”
(After being told a funny story about my housemate’s mother asking when I decided I was gay) “Did you tell her you are REALLY straight?”
“Don’t think you’re too old for me to hit you.”
“Hey, I’ve never seen [your brother] cry. Let’s see what it takes to make him cry!”
“If [your brother] goes for his Masters or PhD after college, you’ll be the one person with the lowest degree of education in our family.”
“Oh, California’s sales tax increase will be good for the state. Even the Mexicans will have to pay their fair share.”
(After hearing me talk about how much I like my apartment in San Francisco) “Yeah. It’s just too bad you live in such a densely Hispanic neighborhood.”
“Are there a lot of Russians in San Francisco?”
(After I tell her about the friend who made my necklace) “Oh! Is she Taiwanese?”
“If someone said something bad about me, you wouldn’t stand for that, right? It’s a natural, familial instinct.”
“Guess what my pant size is now. Just guess!”
“Are you really that much skinnier? Everyone at Thanksgiving dinner kept commenting on how skinny you are!”
“How much do you weigh?”
“You could try my diet plan, too!”
“Have you noticed if eating so much Mexican food has made you stinkier?”
“Are either of your housemates fat? You should tell them about my weight loss method. It could really change their life!”
“If I lose another 10 pounds, your father will definitely want me to go back to Taiwan to live with him.”
“Your father made a lot of promises to me. He’s never kept a single one.”
“You’re a lot like your father.”
“There is something very, very wrong with you.”
“There was this show in Taiwan about male children being kidnapped and sold off as cucumbines[sic], being treated like girls and raped repeatedly until they turn into, like, a gay mentality, you know? And one of the actors apparently was gay, and ended up committing suicide.”
“Why are you still freelancing? Don’t you want to do something with your life?”
A brief exchange that occurred a few days ago:
Me: walking down to Mr. S, minding my own business.
Slightly unkempt guy walking a dog in front of me, looking back over his shoulder: “Hey! You are very beautiful.”
Me, a little startled: “Huh? Oh, thank you…”
Him, slowing down to match my pace: “So, what’s your ethnicity?”
Me, immediately slightly defensive: “Uh, I’m…Chinese.”
Him: “Oh! You must be quite an athlete, then – the Chinese are such amazing athletes! I’ve seen videos where they start training their girls at six or seven years old…”
Me, thinking, Yeah, it’s nothing short of child abuse over there… Aloud: “Oh yeah? I guess so…”
Him: “Anyway, I can tell you’re athletic by your gait.”
Me, slightly bemused: “My gait?”
Him: “Yes, gait. You know gait? G-A-I-T-”
Me, slightly annoyed: “Yes, I know gait. You can tell I’m athletic by my gait?”
Him: “Yeah, I used to be a trainer, I can tell how athletes walk.”
His dog starts pulling and barking at something in front of us. Slightly unkempt guy pulls sharply at his leash and admonishes him before turning back to me.
Him: “Hah, he’s just jealous. You know jealous?”
Him: “Anyway, have a great day!” And turns a corner.
Good fucking riddance.
Sadly, this is not a unique occurrence. I am often asked about my ethnicity, and when it’s a white guy who’s doing the asking, I immediately cringe, and my defenses (as well as my hackles) go up, assuming he’s got a case of yellow fever. I know, I know – it’s an unfair and sweeping presumption to make, but it’s also been reinforced by past experiences. As soon as I notice that a guy is specifically interested in my ethnicity, I lose all interest and patience in him.
(A friend of mine, who openly admits to being primarily attracted to Asian women, can attest to just how cold and brusque I can be about this. I refused to associate with him and barely acknowledged his existence for the first three years I knew him.) – Sorry, AB!
To have to deal with that in the world at large is annoying enough, but now that I’ve also entered the kink community, the fetish is not only much more prevalent in my social circle – it becomes that much more blatant. A quick scroll through the “Asian” group on Fetlife is enough to make me gag.
There are many different viewpoints regarding ethnic fetishes. On the one hand, a person cannot necessarily help what they are attracted to, and an attraction to a certain race may be equivalent to being attracted to blond hair or a certain height. It’s just another physical attribute that a person considers in the overall makeup of someone they’re checking out.
On the other hand, I am more than the single dimension of my ethnic background, and I am certainly more than the perceived beliefs of what that ethnicity says about my personality and my behaviors. And I’ve found, more often than not, that those who fetishize my race narrow in on those aspects; they aren’t viewing race as one part of my overall person. They are, in fact, replacing my individual personality with one they’ve already constructed in their mind to fit their fantasy.
There is nothing that grates on me quite as acutely as having another’s fetish or presumptions pushed on me. I can’t imagine that anyone appreciates this, actually. Sure, there are people who embrace having their own race fetishized, and who am I to judge them? But don’t assume I am one of those people, and don’t start talking and behaving towards me as if I’m agreeing to act on your fetish!
I suppose a possible analogy I can make here is to bottoms (especially submissive males, it seems) who assume anyone who is dominant will dominate them, especially if they just start submitting to them without regard for whether the other person actually wants to engage. The opposite also works: tops who are somehow arrogant enough to believe anyone who identifies as submissive will automatically submit to their domly self. (Spare me my ribs, they may crack from laughing at the thought!)
All of these circumstances are rude, disrespectful, and self-serving. Asian fetishism is no different.
[note: I went off in another direction altogether from what I was thinking when I started writing down the short conversation I had with slightly unkempt guy. Besides the blatant interest in my ethnicity, it was actually his only-too-happy assumption of my English ability and vocabulary that royally pissed me off.]
A day late, but I completely forgot about this beautiful animated short, based on a poem by the inimitable Neil Gaiman.Vodpod videos no longer available.
“Nicholas Was” by Neil Gaiman, animation by 39 Degrees North.
I don’t know how it’s possible to love this man any more than I already do, but every time I see something like this, he captures my heart that much more.
“My left ear is still sore, Sir.”
– I could balance it out.
” … That’s alright, Sir.
…According to my parents, the shape of my earlobes means I’m a selfish person.”
– I don’t think you’re selfish, girl. I think you’re the farthest thing from selfish.
“Well, if you believe Ayn Rand’s philosophies, selfishness is the highest virtue -”
– I don’t think you’re very virtuous, either.
Lately I’ve had a lot of little quips, comments, and quotable tidbits of Max’s playing through my head. I think my favorite is this:
What they never tell you about poly is all the laundry that’s involved!
There was also a conversation he and I had, the first night I was in Seattle, where I mentioned having read the column Mistress Matisse wrote on Top Types. I asked him which one of the types he identifies most predominantly with, and he replied that it would have to be service. That didn’t surprise me; I had gotten a good read on that from being in service to him for eight days. Then he added that, to him, a lot of the pain he inflicts falls under the category of service as well, and this gave me pause.
I hadn’t thought about pain in that context before, but suddenly it made a lot of sense in terms of how I react to that particular sensation. A lot of the hardest, most painful scenes I’ve had have been where I endured for the pleasure it gave my partner. And it also helps explain my continued hesitance to label myself as a masochist: I’m not completely in it for the sensations.
My whip scene with Max is a perfect example. I was tied only by my hair, and while this did limit my range of motion somewhat, that was not what held me in place (or what kept my arms raised out to the sides) each time he cracked his whip across my body. I was bound there by the urge to serve and to please, which was stronger than my fear of the pain.
There was also the spectacular scene I had with T a month back involving extremely tight pallet strap bondage. The intensity of that bondage left me nearly in tears, begging to be freed – something that does not happen often (though of course that could be because usually, if I become uncomfortable in bondage and mention it, I’m untied or ties are loosened soon thereafter).
Not this time. This time, regardless of my whimpering about my deadened arms, restricted breathing, inability to maintain a particular position – T continued to push my limits. He’d tighten or adjust a strap, then lean down and whisper to me, I want you to take this for me just a little while longer: this pain.
And so I would.
But none of that is to say I don’t enjoy pain for its own sake sometimes as well. Otherwise there is no way I’d even come close to being able to handle the truly sadistic streaks of my various play partners.
I certainly obtain a level of pride from being able to handle having my limits pushed. The issue then arises of wondering if I’ve been able to take what my partner thinks I should be able to handle. One night in Seattle, bound in front of the fireplace, Max pushed me down into what basically amounted to a horse stance. I lasted all of probably a minute, though that may be a generous estimate. I instinctively tried to push myself up to lessen the strain on my legs, but Max kept me firmly in place by his favorite handle: my hair. And after more wobbling and straining against his hand, I couldn’t take the position anymore, and he pushed me flat to the ground (ostensibly to let me rest).
I wished I had lasted longer. And perhaps if I were still practicing tae kwon do, I would have. That is a damn shame, and something I am hoping to improve upon with workouts and some kind of climbing regimen.
Because it I find myself in a horse stance in front of Max’s fireplace again, how wonderful it would be to feel the pleasure pulsing through his hand in my hair as I hold that position, just a little. while. longer.