I’m an Asian Girl- Here’s How NOT to Hit on Me, and What to Do Instead

Obviously this is me consuming my native food in my natural habitat…And that was sarcasm. Ironically I don’t use chopsticks correctly anymore.

Recently I was forwarded this op-ed piece and parody guide about dating for an Asian-American girl in the US. And 5 months ago Mark Zuckerberg’s marriage with Priscilla Chan caused a storm of uniformed racist comments on the Internet.

I think it’s high time we address the pink (Ooh probably Asian!) elephant in the room: I’m an Asian American young woman living in United States, which means I get hit on VERY often with racial pick up lines. I also live in San Francisco, where it seems like I can never not see at least one interracial couple with the female being East Asian walking down Valencia Street.

Allow me to share some choice words that have been bestowed upon me or my fellow Asian American lady friends by men who were attracted to us:

  • “Hey! Do you like fried rice?”
  • “Do you know why I like Asian girls? Because they’re tighter.” (Please do not ask me to explain that one to you)
  • “You’re a very pretty Asian girl. Have you ever made out with a white guy before?…Would you like to?”

You get the idea.

Once upon a time I complained to an ex about this, he said he totally understood where I’m coming from but explained to me that these guys are just sleazy creepers who will say dumbass things to any woman. I responded with “No, you’re missing the point.”

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Almost Entirely Real Diary Entry #1: Single Asian Girl at a Jewish Deli

This post contains 90% truth.

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I love my optometrist Dr. Tran. She got her degree at my alma mater, and she’s funny with family-friendly humor, in an Ellen Degenres kind of way. I went in her office this morning, and actually tried to sit in HER chair instead of the throne-like station with all the contraptions obviously meant for the patient.

“Oh wait, I’m sorry. I’m not completely awake yet. I just woke up like 30 minutes ago.”

“You got to sleep in? Isn’t that nice!” She’s a doctor who has two children. Pretty sure sleeping until 10:30 am is never in her agenda. I suddenly feel lazy and unaccomplished.

Directing one of those tiny intense lights on my eyeball, Dr. Tran asked “Hmm you have some deposit on your left contact. Did you forget to clean it properly last night?”

I laughed. “Most likely. I was drunk when I got home last night.” Dr. Tran stopped what she was doing and gave me a mischievous look.

“Oh.” She said very slowly, clearly fascinated by this TMI. “Where did you go out?”

“Um….Elbo Room.”

That’s a lie. My friends went on to Elbo Room after going to a CNET TV party while I went home early. But does Dr. Tran really need to know that I got drunk from the free drinks offered at an industry event? Should I explain to someone who has given births that I had too many cocktails because I somehow ended up surrounded by three chicks who were all talking about their boyfriends at the party? And that the second I started to think getting slapped in the face would be a better alternative than listen to that conversation was when I realized I should just go home?

Nah.

The annual exam lasted longer than I expected so I was unable to make it on time to my first dance class. On Saturdays I like to hone my swag in hip hop in case an occasion for me to perform as a Justin Bieber-esque drag king ever arises, and then pretend that I am even half as sexy as Shakira in belly dance.

It’s unusually sunny for this city today, and I am already in Outer Mission. With 1.5 hour to kill before I dance barefoot with incredible ladies whose hips don’t quit, I decided to cross Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen off my list of places to eat.

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Au Revoir, Mes Chats…Kind Of: The End of My Six-Month Experience As A Cat Volunteer at the SPCA

When a 2-month old kitten decides to take a nap on you, you clear your schedule.

I remember someone asking the question “What is the hardest part about volunteering?” when I went to the info session at the San Francisco SPCA in January. The mentor smiled and frowned at the same time: “The most difficult part is having your heartstrings tucked.”

At the time I rolled my eyes and thought “Yeesh, what is this? A cheesy romantic comedy?” (Which I love, BTW) But after 6 months of volunteering at the animal shelter almost every weekend, I now know what it meant.

Face of a heartbreaker.

Cats obviously can’t talk but they communicate plenty. The look of sheer sadness in a shelter cat’s eyes when I have to leave its condo after petting and playing with it for 15 minutes says “I don’t understand why you have to go. Please stay. ” Understand that this pet most likely has been through a lot- whether its owner passed away, or it was abandoned or lost, and it is suddenly in an unfamiliar environment. The staff at SPCA are the most wonderful people but they can’t spend all of their time with the dogs and cats because there are other important tasks to do for the well-being of these animals. The animals at the shelter may sometimes only get one chance of proper human affection and playtime per day. When I went to visit the hospital shelter cats, many of them get so excited about the opportunity of human contact that they start climbing the cages or crying loudly.

Praying for someone great to adopt him.

I remember vividly a few months ago, I went in a room to visit a cat that I had not seen around before. It was a white adult cat but it was so small and thin that I thought it was a kitten at first. I sat down and held out my hand. When it got up and came to, I saw its hind legs- the fur was shaven for stitches from surgery. I immediately started crying and I couldn’t stop for a long time.* The thought of the cat being hurt somewhere on the street because its owner wasn’t responsible enough to take care of it properly really, really upset me. I told the cat that it was not his fault at all and that he will get adopted soon by someone much better, and hoped that I was able to deliver that message with the tone of my voice and the warmth of my palm.

You know those photoshoots with supermodels wearing very plain stuff? This is the cat version.

The funny thing is that as much as the shelter cats need the volunteers, the reverse is also true. I learned through chatting that some volunteers come because they are mourning their own pets who recent passed away, or they were recently laid off and having a hard time. For me, it was quite therapeutic sometimes.

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Tiny Movements With Huge Results- The Dailey Method Exercise

 Official website: http://thedaileymethod.com

 My qualifications: Just got back from my tenth one-hour class! I’ve only been to the downtown and Mission/Castro location in San Francisco, but I’m going to assume it’s pretty much the same anywhere else since the flagship studio is the SF Marina one.

Locations: Studios in 7 states with the majority in California. Complete list of Dailey Method locations here. Bar Method, Pure Barre, Pop Physique, and Core Fusion classes are all supposed to be similar though.

What it is: For a detailed description of a typical Dailey Method class, there’s an article on FitSugar. And for how a real person views it, please read on. So this lady Jill Dailey with a degree in kinesiology started a pilates studio, then she started learning the exercise method of Lotte Berk who is a ballet dancer. Jill then established this routine of working out with various tools. Basically to me it’s pilates with some inspiration from ballet and yoga using props.

What you’ll actually be doing: In a carpeted room, working out with a ballet bar, yoga straps, different size exercise balls, mat, and free weights. Toning of arms, butt, thighs, and core. Some stretching and a little bit of cardio warm up. The dumbbells in there range from 2 to 5 pounds only. Very small movements with high repetitions and a lot of holding of difficult positions. Half of the time I am like “Oh this is a piece of cake” and the other half of time I am like “You’re telling me to just move my thigh up and down by an inch but I JUST CAN’T ANYMORE waaaaaaaaaaah!”

Music you are most likely going to hear during class: Very upbeat pop or house music. Or “workout mixes” of songs.

What the instructors are like and what they’re likely to say or do: Above average looking ladies who are very fit. The instructors are really friendly and like to motivate you from a superficial perspective: “This works out your triceps so your arms will look long and lean in a tank top!” or “Really work your obliques! They’re what create a narrow waist and swimsuit season is approaching!” Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that because that angle totally works on me. Class size is small, and correct alignment is really important in Dailey Method, so they come around to check on you very often to offer you any needed adjustments.

Who are likely going to be in your class: I have never ever seen a man in the studio. EVER. Although there is a men’s bathroom, so…. All the ladies in my class are prettier, fitter, more well-dressed than the average woman. They also look smarter but that’s just my personal judgment.

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Getting Tattoos…From A Vain Crybaby’s Perspective

Disclaimer: I have only had 3 simple and small tattoos, and I am not an expert

I just got my third tattoo last weekend by Jaime at Black and Blue . Like my previous ones, it’s just a plain black Chinese character. Nothing fancy.

Even so, I mulled over all of them for a long time. I pondered potential tattoos for months before making an appointment at a shop. I know that tattoos are permanent, and laser treatment to remove them is more painful than actually having the tattoos done. I also change my style “like a girl changes clothes” AKA really damn often, so I know that I want something that does not ever go out of fashion and will always remain meaningful to me throughout my entire life.

I also know what looks good on my body and what doesn’t. I would never get anything tattooed on my legs because it will cut off the visual lines of my limbs, and I am already short enough. As a female, I also hesitate to get anything on the central part of my body just in case I get pregnant later in life.

I don’t pretend to not cry easily (Unless you cried while watching Monsters, Inc. too), and I am such a baby when it comes to physical discomfort. I’ve gotten my earlobes re-pierced four times, and I’ve shed a tear or two each time. Yet for some unknown reason, I have never cried once while having tattoo work done on me. I think it’s because of the adrenaline rush masking the sensation, and the fact that the level of pain I expect always turned out to be much higher than what it actually was.

Don’t get me wrong: IT HURTS. My finger one was the worst because it felt like my bone was being cut by a sharp needle. What really helps though is thinking about the reason that you’re doing this for during the process. For instance, I got a tattoo of part of my grandma’s name, so I had flashbacks of how she took care of my brother and me in our childhood during those ten minutes. You can also bring a loved one with you to remind you that you have plenty of support.

There are a lot of materials on tattoo aftercare on the internet, but in my opinion, one often overlooked factor is that you can’t be in the sun or the water a lot for 2-3 weeks afterwards. Sunscreen is full of strong chemical ingredients, so you can only wear protective clothing like hats, but this would put quite a damper on your summer if you like the outdoors or the waters. I can’t even go to my boxing class for two weeks because I got my finger one re-inked, and soaking the tattoo in sweaty wraps for 50 minutes is just not good.

Overall I think the three most issues to think about are the questions my father asked me when I showed him my first tattoos a few years ago:

  1. Do you regret it?
  2. Did you get it done at a safe, sanitary place?
  3. Is this gang-related? Continue reading

My Happiness Project: Cats

Somehow I befriend cats anywhere. This was in Turkey.

Today I did two things: finished reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and finally had the chance to go to the volunteer info session at the San Francisco SPCA.

I highly recommend The Happiness Project as a person who does not believe in the traditional self-help books. I think they’re full of really generic ideas since they have to appeal to the masses. This book is different. It is practical and realistic.

Similar to Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert which is also a favorite of mine, the book is about a chronicle of a woman trying to be happier within a year. Not everyone can afford trips around the world or be offered to do it for work like Elizabeth. In Gretchen’s own words, she set out to change her life without “really” changing her life. Using philosophies and advice from famed authors, historical figures, friends, and more, Gretchen examined how we can aim to accomplish every day happiness in an empirical manner, complete with charts and lists of resolutions.

I won’t ruin the book for you but here are the key takeaways that echo with me (some are direct quotes while others are paraphrasing):

  • What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while
  • Enjoy the process, and be in the present.
  • You can choose what you do, but you can’t choose what you like to do.
  • It takes work to be happy, but it’s totally worth the effort.
  • You’re the sole person most influential to your level of happiness.

Some people may think that trying to make yourself happier is not a very noble goal, and Gretchen addresses this issue, too. Happiness is an marvelous cycle and it’s highly contagious. Two examples: One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. AND the reverse is also true- the best way to make those around you happy is to be happy yourself. In addition, happier people help others more whether through volunteering or making donations, or something else.

No I’m not depressed or anything, but can’t we all be even happier? A piano master still practices every day even after she wins awards. Lastly, you shouldn’t wait for when terrible things happen to learn about trying to be happier. Knowing what makes you happy and how to do it is like insurance for when things get bad.

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