4 Reasons Why I Married An Asian Man
How a shared culture is one of the reasons why my marriage works.
Recently, I was able to pull away for 99 minutes to watch Netflix's To All The Boys I've Loved Before. There was so much hype about this movie that I had to see it.
Plus, I love movies that are filmed in Vancouver. It makes me believe these sappy stories happen in my backyard.
After watching (not reviewing it as I consider it cotton candy for the mind…just enjoy the damn thing), I was browsing my social feeds when I came across an article where the author (Jenny Han) of the book addresses criticism for not including an Asian male love interest.
Then I was browsing my Twitter and I saw a post from novelist, Celeste Ng sharing her essay in The Cut about being harassed for marrying a non-Asian man.
In the article, she mentions she is accused of "self-hate" due to a tweet she wrote about how she doesn't find Asian men attractive as they remind her of her cousins. She attempts to address this by stating that this is something she's had to unlearn and is still working on.
However, her efforts are futile as the damage has been done, creating a further divide within the Asian community.
I am a Chinese Canadian woman married to a Chinese Canadian man and we have a daughter. So as the acronym goes, we are AFAM (Asian Female, Asian Man).
As our daughter grows up, I want her to feel confident in choosing whoever she wants to date, figuring out what she needs, wants and deserves in a relationship, communicating with her partner with honesty and respect, trusting her instincts, and standing up for what's right.
I know I cannot control how society evolves as polarized as it may become. And obviously, I cannot control who she falls for (and who she doesn't fall for).
What I can do is continue sharing stories that illustrate the journey of how I came to embrace my Chinese-Canadian culture, promoting the good I see in my culture and encouraging the next generation to be proud of where they came from, something I think Celeste struggled to articulate.
And one of these stories is sharing with her why I married her dad, explaining that it was not about racial purity or to prevent "cultural genocide" but rather was for a simple, tried-and-true concept called love.
And among the million reasons why I love this man and why I married him, there are 4 that are related to our shared ethnicity.
Blondes, brunettes, redheads.
Tall or short.
Fat, skinny, curvy or athletic.
Tanned or pale.
Use whatever adjective that can be used to physically describe someone.
I have a preference for who I wanna get jiggy with.
When I figured out I was heterosexual, I started collecting bits of information about what I was physically attracted to. From daydreaming about making out with Aaron Kwok to having crushes on the few Asian dudes at my school, I just knew.
I am physically attracted to Asian-looking men. My husband is visually pleasing to my eyes and I am visually pleasing to his eyes. We are attracted to who we are attracted to.
My mom showed her love by making wonderful and delicious Chinese meals. She inspired me to cook and bake at a young age. I have a wide palate and I love food.
One of my favourite activities to do is to share a meal. My stomach can never fit all the food I want to try so I needed someone who can be adventurous with me, trying everything and anything.
I knew I could not marry a vegan, a vegetarian or someone who is lactose intolerant or gluten-sensitive.
Is that dietism?
Chinese food is a massive part of who I am. I'm one of those people who craves a big bowl of Mapo tofu on rice after being away for just a few days without decent Asian food.
Like my mom, I share and express my love through cooking. I needed a partner who appreciates it as much as I do or else I knew I would feel repressed, possibly even resentful.
In addition, I would hate if I had to cook 2 separate dishes every night because I'm craving century egg congee and he just wants a burger all the time. I ain't got time for that!
Not everyone who grew up eating Chinese food love it. Not everyone likes sharing food. Not everyone's a foodie. Not everyone values food in a marriage.
However, my husband (FYI, he's a bigger foodie than me) and I do. And that's because everyone's needs are different in a relationship.
My mom's English isn't great and growing up, I was her translator. My parents are very important to me.
Over time and through many conversations, our relationship has gotten closer and I value the time I spend with them. It's weird if I haven't seen them at least once a week.
Therefore, I wanted a husband who could naturally join in on our family conversations without having me translate. And for those who speak another language, you know there are those idioms and phrases that lose their meaning when translated into English.
I didn't want to have the burden put on that translator hat every time my husband was around my parents. I needed someone who spoke the same language so we could seamlessly transition from my home to my parents' home. It just makes things easier so I can relax and be myself around the people I love.
My parents say annoying things sometimes. Imagine every time they did that, I had to translate the annoying thing to my husband when I'm already frustrated. Then, explain the cultural reasoning behind why that annoyed me. No thanks!
Instead, I wanted someone who just gets it because his parents probably said the exact thing to him the week before. I wanted someone I could emotionally connect with, supporting each other with our shared cultural identity struggles, and defining it together for our children.
In addition, I value my native language and it's important that my children know Cantonese.
Yes - I know there are non-Asian men out there who can speak Cantonese perfectly (probably even better than me) or are willing to learn the language.
However, this brings me to my final point.
Time and Place
I started looking for my husband in the 2010s in Vancouver, Canada where I had access to many Chinese Canadian men to whom I was attracted to.
He and I were at the right time and the right place to meet one another.
We met each other's needs.
We met each other's wants.
We deserved each other.
We fell in love and got married.
And that's most likely why other couples get married too.
So Readers, how would you describe who you are attracted to? If you're with someone of the same ethnicity, are there reasons that make your relationship work because of this similarity? If you're with someone of different ethnicity, are there reasons that make your relationship work because of this difference?
This was originally published on October 26, 2018.
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About the Creator
Sum (心, ♡) on Sleeve | Author. Speaker. Wife. Mom of 2 | Embrace Culture. Love Yourself. Improve Relationships | Empowering you to talk about your feelings despite growing up in a culture that hid them | sumonsleeve.com/books
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