I’m amazed that I’ve been blogging for an entire year.
I’m beyond amazed that my blog averages four hundred human hits daily (though this is small potatoes to some bloggers, I remember when twenty hits was a good day).
I’m not really amazed that many of those hits come from porn-seekers.
A sincere thank you to all the readers who weren’t looking for porn.
A special thank you to all those readers who were looking for porn and decided to read on anyway.
But today, we’re switching things up. For today only — or until I get out another post — we are:
When EAST dates WEST.
It’s Andy’s turn to tell you his side of the story. But he HATES writing. He did, however, consent to the following interview. Possibly under duress.
Autumn: You’re a Chinese-American guy. I’m an American Caucasian. What was your first impression of me?
Andy: You were so hot.
Autumn: We’ve been married a while. No need for BS.
Andy: Fine. You were scary.
Autumn: Cuz I was so hot, right? [Autumn yawns]
Andy: No. Because you were practicing on dance floor with your partner and you hit him. In the jaw.
Autumn: It was an accident! I was finishing a spin and bringing my arm over his, back into closed position.
Andy: That wasn’t an accident. You laughed.
Autumn: So did he! Dance partners accidentally hit and even DROP each other sometimes. You know this. Don’t make me tell everyone HOW you know this.
Andy: I’m just saying it was a little scary. Also, I thought you were arrogant.
Autumn: I hope the READERS give you points for your honesty. Now, why did you decide to partner with someone so…arrogant?
Andy: Well, you were a good dancer. Also, there was one night where you grabbed my collar, got in my face, and said, “Are you ever gonna decide to dance with me?” It seemed like a good time to say yes.
Autumn: So you’re saying I bullied you into being with me?!
Andy: Nah. I’d just have never answered if I didn’t want to do it.
Autumn: Kind of like when I asked if we could get another cat?
Autumn: Moving on. The readers know all about the culture shock I experienced when I met your China-born parents. How did you feel when you met the big, white, uptight dysfunctional family?
Andy: It was fine. Probably because I watched a lot of TV. So I kind of knew what to expect from white people. And your family was very… um…welcoming?
Autumn: Probably the word you’re looking for is grateful.
Andy: Well, nobody was racist or anything.
Autumn: The racists were all dead by then. There was nothing that surprised you?
Andy: How much you and your siblings talk at the dinner table – that was kind of crazy. And how fast you all talk and how quickly you go from subject to subject.
Autumn: Do you think it feels strange because it’s such a contrast to your family’s focus on food at dinner?
Andy: No, I don’t think it’s just me. When your Brilliant Blonde Lawyer Sister brought her fiancé to a family dinner for the first time, I was sitting across the table. And Mr. Fiancé is whiter than white, and he keeps opening his mouth, like he’s about to say something and add to the conversation. But by the time someone quits talking, you and your sibs are already on another subject, or teasing someone else. So Mr. Fiancé closes his mouth, and then he opens it again, but someone else is talking and he can’t say anything and then the conversation has moved on. I watched him the whole dinner, and I’m laughing inside, because that’s just how it is. Poor Mr. Fiancé. You guys talk really, really fast. I think it’s those small little mouths. [Andy laughs]
Autumn: You’re still mad because I tell people you can fit a whole doughnut in your giant mouth, aren’t you? [Autumn laughs]
Autumn: Do you ever wish you’d married a woman of Chinese descent?
Andy: Nah. They have their own issues.
Autumn: Like what? And are you implying I have issues?
Andy: Your hair is so pretty today.
Autumn: Nice try. What are Chinese girl issues?
Andy: Probably that they’d remind me of my sister. That, and they’d have this secret language that they could talk to my mom with. “Blah blah blah ANDY blah blah HA HA HA HA! Blah blah blah.”
Autumn: But you do actually understand Cantonese, right? It was your first language?
Andy: That’s what my mom claims.
Autumn: But you don’t speak it now. Why?
Andy: When I was younger, my sister told me that my accent was terrible. So I stopped talking. Now my brain has trouble telling my mouth what to do.
Autumn: But you do understand it. Clearly the “secret language” reason you gave earlier was bogus. So what is the real reason you avoided dating Chinese women?
Andy: I’m pretty sure Chinese women are mean like my sister.
Autumn: Huh. But I’m kind of mean and judgmental. And you’re with me. What’s the difference?
Andy: There’s a good amount of humor mixed in. And you know you can be mean, but you don’t necessarily think it’s right to be mean. Unless it’s really, really funny.
Autumn: And what are my other issues that you mentioned earlier?
Andy: You keep asking me questions until you get an answer. And you never give up? Like now? OK, fine. I guess it’s really not your issue as much as an Ashbough thing. You know, instead of fight or flight, its fight or fight harder.
Autumn: That’s survival of the fittest, not an issue. How is that an issue?
Andy: Are you going to start throwing things?
Autumn: OH MY GOD, you throw one measuring cup ONE TIME and you hear about it for the rest of your life. I did not even throw it in your direction. But moving on, once again — what kind of racism did you face growing up in Hawaii?
Andy: Not much.
Autumn: In the blogosphere, I hear all kinds of American racist horror stories, from elementary school through college. What do you think made Hawaii different from the Mainland?
Andy: If you compared the individual races, like Chinese to Japanese to Filipinos to Caucasians, the white people are in the majority. But, if you compared the entire Asian population to Caucasians, they weren’t. That, and it’s really such a small place that you’d regret it pretty soon. So no racism, more of a stranger anxiety: “What neighborhood are you from? Can I beat you up?”
Autumn: Wait. What does the neighborhood have to do with getting beaten up? Wouldn’t it be more a question of size?
Andy: It’s more of a reputational thing. There’s an implied toughness with respect to different communities.
Autumn: So who was tough? And who got beaten up?
Andy: The Polynesians—Samoans and Tongans especially — were known for being tough. Usually the little Japanese kids were prey.
Autumn: What’s the worst thing anyone’s ever said about your race, or us as a mixed race couple?
Andy: I don’t think I’ve heard anything. Not that it hasn’t been said, but that I hadn’t heard it.
Autumn: It’s plausible. Your hearing does suck. You never hear the cat barfing, somehow.
Andy: There was this one time, though, that this older white guy was talking about how he had a Chinese woman as an officemate. He made a remark that referred to a Chinese guy as a ‘Chinaman’, which made her kinda mad. But he didn’t get why. I just had to remind myself that this moron, er, guy is on the spectrum, so to speak.
Autumn: What surprised you most about being married to a white woman? Is it a cultural issue?
Andy: The love of baked goods and chocolate. Doesn’t everyone like orange slices for dessert?
Autumn: Finally, what would surprise readers most about Autumn or Andy?
Andy: That I’m really not that messy in the kitchen.
Autumn: Alas for honesty.
Interviewer’s note: Apologies if the conversation feels choppy. It was choppy! It took me FIVE DAYS to complete this interview, due to the fact that the interviewee would insist on giving one-word answers such as, “yeah,” “maybe,” and “availability.”
Feel free to ask Andy any further questions in the comments. Just be ready for laconic answers!