In my white world, there are exactly two times when it is acceptable to ask how much something costs.
1) SALES. When a white person tells a friend about the great deal they got on apparel or automobiles, it is acceptable – no, mandatory – that the friend ask for both the original price and the sale price. Continue reading The Big Money Question (#10)
Three days into our trip, and I hadn’t really talked to the mother of my Chinese-American boyfriend. Sunny gave me a lei at the airport and promptly ignored me. She made sure Andy had his favorite foods, pressed Chinese herbs on him, and even insisted that he take an electric blanket back to Los Angeles, “where it is so cold.” Continue reading Chinese Mom Envy (#7)
I grew up on football. Sunday dinners at my mom’s house consisted of popcorn and ice-cream when Washington, the Broncos, or the Giants were playing. (The only thing that united various parental units was a universal hatred of the Dallas Cowboys.) There are two good things about having a mass of siblings: 1) Increased likelihood of another sibling being blamed for your crimes, and 2) Enough family members for 6 v. 6 football.
My first dinner with the family of my Chinese-American boyfriend was at a Hawaiian fusion restaurant. Andy’s mom Sunny chatted mainly about the chef, and how he was nice and fat. But once she got a glass of wine and our orders were taken, conversation lagged. Andy’s taciturn father Jay had forgotten the usually omnipresent video camera, but he still said nothing. I asked Andy’s brother Denny how he and Claire met. I asked Claire about her major (again). I told everyone how Andy and I met. I tried to fill the silence any way I could.
Andy is a first-generation American, born in Hawaii. His parents are Chinese.
Having majored in dating along with history, you’d think I’d have been more aware of cultural differences. My first boyfriend was Sri Lankan. I’d dated several African-Americans, Latinos, a Brit, a Korean-American, a Hawaiian, a bunch of white Catholics, a Filipino, a Mormon, a few Jewish men, way too many military officers, and a Baptist. I think the only ethnicity and religion I missed was Middle-Eastern/ Muslim, unless you want to count the Moroccan at the Fairfax Holiday Inn who kept inviting me up to his room when I was sixteen. (Said Moroccan skipped reading Morocco’s own diplomatic research packet, which undoubtedly have told him that girls in Washington D.C. who wear miniskirts and red shoes ARE NOT NECESSARILY PROSTITUTES. Seriously, did he think the metal on my teeth implied dominatrix rather than orthodontics?)