My first real kiss didn’t come until I was 16. It was fucking horrible.
I thought my first kiss would spark fireworks, birds would sing a goddamn Disney song, the Seattle grey clouds would part and the sun would lift my soul a few thousand feet off the ground.
But no. There was a lot of awkwardness, interspersed with coughing, a little giggling, more saliva than any human should ever, ever experience at one time and then this boy told me, “that’s not how the Asian chicks kiss in the movies I watch.”
What were these movies he was watching? And who the fuck were these Asian chicks?
I was confused.
And so it began: my slow descent into sexual Asian stereotypes that constantly alluded me.
In college, it only got worse and even more mind boggling.
My first date as a freshman was with a senior. Holy shit I was excited. Never did I question why he was taken a nobody freshman out on a date. What the hell was I gonna wear? Thankfully, I did not wear this.
He took me to a really popular Italian restaurant in Pasadena, CA. It was Friday night and the place was packed, but our table was tucked in the back and we could actually talk to one another in a normal voice instead of yelling at one another like banshees as everyone else was doing.
And he did everything right. Or at least everything I thought a guy was supposed to do right from all the stupid movies and books I’d read up to that point in my life: picked-me up on time, complimented my shoes (which, I think may have been my super scruffed-up 18-hole Doc Marten’s, so was he being sincere?), took me to an awesome restaurant, ordered several plates of dessert so I could sample everything, looked at me when he spoke to me and smiled the entire time.
Of course, I was a blundering, foolish, tornado of a mess.
I kept giggling at inappropriate times even when he didn’t say anything. I’m pretty certain I snorted quite a lot. My eyes twitched and diverted past his eyes when he looked at me. I fiddled with my hair nervously – I even got some food in it. When he ordered me a glass of red wine, I drank it too fast and some of it went up my nose. I started to choke and oh fuck, can I get a re-do?
But he sat there across from me, just smiling and laughing gently like none of this was strange to him and he should probably start running the hell away from me. That should’ve been a clue to me, but I was too naïve to know any better.
We walked around the streets of Pasadena for awhile, going into shops and talking about what classes and professors I should stay away from and what his plans were after college. He put his arm around my shoulders and asked if I was cold. If I could’ve squealed out loud, I would have.
He took me back to his apartment because he had to walk his dog which was code for – I’m gonna get you loaded and have sex with you, but I actually thought he had to walk his dog. Stupid, stupid me.
He gave me a bottle of beer and asked me if I wanted a cigarette, no thanks, and then sat on the couch next to me. And then everything was sort of a blur for a minute. He kissed me in that way the protagonist of every romantic movie gets kissed at the end of the story. This time there was no giggling and awkward movements; everything seemed to move in its own rhythm and it felt good.
Until it didn’t.
“Wait,” I said when his hand started migrating up my shirt.
Of course, he didn’t stop and only whispered in my ear, “Oh, but you’ll like this. You will.”
“Wait. . . I. . . ” I couldn’t breathe.
“Don’t you like to fuck like rabbits?” he said heavily into my ear.
The fuck? I stood up too quickly and tipped over the beer on the coffee table. “What?”
His chin jutted towards me. “You guys fuck like rabbits,” he said while he tried to reach for my hand.
Who were these guys he was talking about? Was he talking about me? Asians? Asians fuck like rabbits? No. Idea.
I was 18 and still a virgin. This was a great story to tell no one. Ever.
I ran all the way back to my dorm that night crying because I was humiliated and also it was more than five miles and I couldn’t fucking breathe and I got lost a couple times.
There was the time someone asked me to wear a kimono, dress up like a geisha girl and get on all fours so he could whip me because isn’t that how Japanese girls liked it? First of all, asshole, I’m not Japanese. Second of all, there are people on the interwebs to satisfy your sexual desires. I am not the interwebs.
There was the time someone asked me to do him like Tera Patrick because all us Asians are the same. And we’re porn stars.
I thought after college it would get better.
I had a blind date and met him for drinks at a restaurant in Santa Monica. He couldn’t stop talking about his love for all things Asian: food, fashion, women. Ugh. This night couldn’t end fast enough and I was going to kill so and so for thinking this was a good match-up and kicking myself for agreeing to this disaster. As he walked me to my car, he asked me if I did any tricks. I laughed because the only magic tricks I knew involved playing cards and drinking and I could never get it right.
“No, no,” he said with a serious face. “I mean, tricks.” He gave me that knowing look people give you when they think you think you know what the hell they’re talking about.
I stared at him not believing what I was hearing. Please stop talking, please stop talking now. I shook my head, trying to get into my car as quickly as possible.
But he blocked my way. “Seriously, I mean, do you do tricks with your vagina?”
“What the hell are you talking about? Do you want me to blow bubbles out of my vag?” I slammed my door and drove home, swearing to never leave my apartment ever again.
It seemed like every person I went out with was expecting this exotic and mysterious, hyper-sexual entity from a foreign land that held the secret to a million unanswered questions.
Instead, they got me, boring old me.