Searching to be Sought
My daughter and I spied them at the same time.
We were just leaving the Nike store when I saw the diminutive female. She was fair skinned (black) with her hair in Shirley Temple curls although she looked years past the age for that hair style to be acceptable. Actually, if you aren’t Shirley Temple at 6 years old I don’t see why anyone would be wearing that hair style. She held one shirt in her hands as she walked to the cash register, the other shirt against the front of her body, as if she wanted to show everyone that it was perfect for her.
Trailing behind her was an older, heavier white male who seemed to be more than twice her age. His wallet in his right hand, his left pulling out cash.
Cricket and I walked out the store looking at each other.
“That couple–” I begin.
“Yeah, that was just weird,” Cricket finished.
“Maybe that was her father?”
“No. I don’t think so,” Cricket said. “She didn’t seem like she’d be dressed that way around her dad. Or maybe we are just conservative. Maybe it was a big brother, little sister situation where the big brother is a geriatric man and a young lady who seems like she’d be past the age of needing a parental mentor.”
“Yeeeahhhh,” I say doubtfully before voicing what I really think. “It could be a –”
“I need to get a,” Cricket inserts as we finish at the same time.
“Like, the other BW/WM couple didn’t seem that odd.”
“It was the age,” Cricket said. “Being the same age normalizes it.”
“Besides the fact they were impossibly tall and cute.”
I thought about this “couple” (?) as I watched the documentary “Seeking Asian Female” PBS’ Independent Lens. From newbie director, Debbie Lum, the film follows the relationship of Steven and Sandy. Steven is a twice divorced 50+ white male with Asian fever. He admits that he doesn’t have much money, he’s not much to look at, and is looking for a woman on the submissive side. While on AsianFriend finder he scrolls through pictures of available women in China and exclaims, “They are all so beautful!”
Sandy is a tenacious, intelligent 30 year old Chinese woman. She comes to stay with Steven while on a 30 day fiancee Visa and has to decide at the end of the time whether to marry him.
I have to admit that I was not rooting for them to work out. In the beginning we are unsure of Sandy’s intentions but we soon find out that Sandy really does love him. The qualms I did have was the problems they had communicating. After all of that time of being a Sinophile and fawning over Asian women Steven didn’t attempt to learn Mandarin or Cantonese. (Although I have to admit that trying to learn Korean is pretty hard for English speakers.) But having the communication wall brought in another dimension: the director was often recruited to translate and mediate their arguments. As you can expect the fantasy of someone often violently clashes with the reality of the actual person.
Steven comes off as entitled and clueless. When asked what he thought Sandy got out of being with him he said coming to this country.
Maybe it’s the Western frame of mind. Just this morning I ran across a link to this blog where a young American woman who is married to a Chinese male ruminates along these lines.
The “Charisma Man” phenomenon across Asia that foreign men experience makes them feel as if they are the next Brad Pitt. Meanwhile, foreign women — especially white women — are often showered with compliments about their appearance (something I experienced once in a beauty salon). And overall the fact that China still believes “foreign is better” means that foreigners of all genders — especially white foreigners — feel as if they’re standing on a pedestal compared to the locals. So then it’s easy to think, “hey, these people aren’t my equals because I’m clearly above them.” And that somehow translates into the idea that you deserve only a “9″ or a “10″ to date in China. It’s what you call social dominance – creating arbitrarily set hierarchies based, in this case, on ethnicity and/or race.
Speaking of China, Foreigners Who Think They’re Entitled to Date the Hottest Chinese
Even though all of the white people in the above stories seemed to (or may) have a delusions of grandeur in relationships to their looks and what they can rightly bank on the people of color may (or may not) be banking on what the other person wants from them: their beauty, their youth, sexual vigor. In the end is it a fair trade? Does someone always get something out of it even if the rest of the world curiiously watches and dismisses such unions?
I found the both the article and documentary interesting from a black female perspective, since it seems lately a few blogs are encouraging black women to be more like Asian women because a growing number of men are pursuing them as their ideal of a perfect woman. But I am not sure if I would want for my daughter a large number of men pursuing her on superficial grounds. I would like for a few decent men to see the real her, beyond her beauty, and know inside they have a real treasure.
And that would be a better trade than athletic swag, although if she must trade I hope she’d be smart enough to go to Tiffany’s instead.