Poker Face (#155)

If I had known that buying a new house would inspire inspired a visit from Andy’s parents, I’d have barricaded myself into our old townhouse for life. I knew that we wouldn’t be able to keep them away if we ever had a son (hence my ongoing lobbying to adopt a little girl from China), but I had no idea a new house would be such a draw. Given my father-in-law’s obsession with photos of the house, I should have known what would happen.

As soon as Andy and I finished our year-long, DIY remodel of our new house,  my Chinese-American in-laws decided they needed to make sure we’d done it right. Jay and Sunny informed Andy that they were coming to visit in April.

I was not consulted. Continue reading Poker Face (#155)

Losing No Religion (#27)

IMG_3275The reaction of my Chinese-American fiancé’s parents to our wedding plans was muted. Literally. Because Andy turned off his phone. Continue reading Losing No Religion (#27)

Future Chinese Father-in-Law Fires Back (#24)

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The Chinese preference for boys is no jest.

The future Mr. and Mrs. Ashbough-Wong went off to have dinner at their super fancy hotel and celebrate their engagement with champagne. They spent the rest of their weekend sleeping, getting massages, and lounging by the pool.  They stared into each other’s eyes, cocooned in unassailable romantic mush.

Ha.  I wish.   Continue reading Future Chinese Father-in-Law Fires Back (#24)

The Big Money Question (#10)

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In which that which is NOT DONE is done to the white girl.

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)

Dim Sum. Dim White Girl. Aw, Fork! (#8)

White pawn with fork
White pawn gets forked.

The first time I met my Chinese-American boyfriend’s parents, they were not impressed. Not by my appearance, not by the gifts I brought, and not by my conversational abilities. When Andy announced that we were going to Dim Sum with his grandmother, I was pleased. Here was my chance to show Jay and Sunny that I had some familiarity and respect for their cuisine, at least. This white girl can use chopsticks! Continue reading Dim Sum. Dim White Girl. Aw, Fork! (#8)

Dinner at Chez Mortification (#4)

In which the white girl flails worse than any fish out of water.
In which the white girl flails worse than any fish out of water.

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.

Continue reading Dinner at Chez Mortification (#4)

Here’s the Rub (#2)

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In which a reserved white girl encounters unexpectedly earthy Cantonese humor.

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?)

Continue reading Here’s the Rub (#2)