“Life is like a box of chocolates…”

by Sue

I was working out at the gym the other evening, and a pretty nice looking guy (ok… very great looking guy) kept stealing glances in my direction. It was rather unnerving because he didn’t really smile, and when I caught his eye a couple of times, he simply looked away. And let’s face it; when I work out, I’m hardly in the mood to chat up someone. I’m definitely not dolled up; I’m sweaty and gross, and honestly, I just want to run my 8 miles in just under an hour in peace, with my dance and/or post-rock music blaring in my ears and eyes skimming over pictures and text in some magazine (I was amusing myself with Migra Mouse by Lalo Alcaraz.) and/or CNN headlines on the telly. Well, during my post-work out stretch, he walked up to me and started a conversation. Nice voice, maybe a singer? Hm.. But all nice thoughts about this man went away after a few choice things that came out of his mouth – so shocking that I don’t even want to bother repeating. And if this is any indication, let’s call him Meathead. Amusingly enough, his name is the same name as my ex, who I dumped around three months ago, though he is not the first with the same name I’ve come across. (Do I have a stamp on my forehead that says, “Please all Joes* date me!”?) But at least my fifteen minutes were not completely wasted as I exchanged my time and my phone number (He was at least smart enough to use a trick that didn’t allow me to give him a fake number…) for a smoothie. Yay smoothies.

Basically that long introductory narrative leads me to explain two things: 1. I am Equal Opportunity; and 2. not all things are as they seem.

Being a part of a traditional Chinese family and a first generation American were and still are never easy, but growing up, I was sure of one thing: I was not going to marry an Asian man because I was definitely NOT going to broil chickens, fight through throngs of people as incense smoke burned my eyes and nostrils, etc. I never really understood why we performed certain rituals during various times of the year. It was easy in California because I didn’t have to expain to friends what I was doing; they were Chinese themselves – they knew. But after the move to Texas, I wasn’t surrounded by Asians my age anymore, and I conformed to what was available – white and Hispanic. As I integrated into that culture, my attraction and preference for them developed.

It wasn’t until high school when I was reintroduced to “my people,” but by that time, surrounding myself with them felt foreign to me. It didn’t matter though when I left home and started college at 15, and being in that environment made me fully appreciate my heritage and made me realise that it would be okay to be with someone who shared the same experiences. As I became more self-aware, I became enamoured by other cultures and their ideals, and my attraction toward other races developed.

Another quirk of mine up until recently (3 years ago) was that I’d never date anyone under six feet. I got an earful for this from my 5’8″ best friend, as she claimed all petite girls were stealing all the tall men. Looking back at it now, it is slightly ridiculous, considering I’m only 5’1″, but it just made sense to me. I associated height with strength, even though I had been proven wrong by my first boyfriend; he was 6’2″ and was so incredibly lanky his bare back reminded me of a stegosaurus.

Even more recently (in April), I was taken aback by being further proven incorrect about my previous theory regarding height’s proportion to strength. I met an Albanian one evening, who reminded me a lot like JCVD. I wore 4″ heels, and he was about an inch or so taller than I was, which would make him 5’5″-5’6″. He had an athletic build but definitely not rippling with muscles, so when he was able to asssit me onto the countertop I had failed to hop up onto (he lifted me — ME — up with ease!!!), I was in shock because I could have never guessed.

So seriously, girls. Don’t pass up on any certain race just because you’ve heard a stereotype about them, and you’re in fear of your life. And don’t pass up on the guys that might be a little shorter than the other friends he’s hanging out with. Let’s face it, I didn’t expect a guy at the gym staring at the television showing CNN for the past hour to be so incredibly unintelligent. Lesson learned – don’t expect; just accept.