Waiting for someone to be the Nick Jonas to my Priyanka Chopra.
I am going to be frank: dating is the fucking worst. Relationships, however, are phenomenal (assuming that they’re healthy ones). I recognize that dating and/or arrange marriage (for my brown people) may be my only ways to get a healthy relationship. Now, your girl has been on a fair share of dates. I’ve tried casual dating, friends with benefits, and the serious committed relationships. Yet, I still find myself writing this blog to vent about the struggles of dating.
After analyzing all of my relationships (including the casual ones), I noticed that my biggest problem is “being too ambitious, driven and successful.” These alone make me desirable for like a solid three weeks until the man I am with decides “I’m too good for him,” or “[my] life stresses [him] out.” The purpose of this blog post is to analyze why it’s difficult for heterosexual women of color to date and the difficulties of being vulnerable.
“Ain’t no one got time for that shit.”
I’ve used dating apps and concluded that the swiping game sucks. However, I recognize that there is racial bias in these applications. For example, black daters face their own set of unique problems when using the apps. Black women, in particular, are seen as undesirable in the dating pool. Many messages sent to them are either hypersexual or systematically racist. Or, men will say that certain women of color aren’t their type. For example, I heard many men during my college years say,
“I don’t want to date black women. I am not racist, I think they all smell. And, I am not into that.”
After shaking my head in disappointment and hiding my face with hands, I challenged the “non-racist” beliefs. “Aw, honey,” I would reply, “how is that not racist?”
“It’s just my preference … sexually.”
Can someone white explain to me how having race-specific sexual preferences isn’t racist? Based on my knowledge and research, it’s pretty fucking racist.
Women of color face other issues when they don’t fit their stereotype. For example, Indian women are seen as perfect marriage material. We don’t have sex before marriage, we will give up our careers to raise our sons, and we will never travel alone. So, Indian women are expected to seek the permission of either their parents or husbands to do anything they desired. Additionally, we will let our parents chose our life partners. Furthermore, we are seen as submissive, gentle creatures who will blindly follow orders. None of these are true for me.
Putting up an act.
In a nutshell, I am not allowed to be myself on dates. Or so I’ve been told according to the mixed advice I’ve received. Dating requires me to act likable and attractive. I have to laugh at certain jokes, make my boobs look bigger, and participate in playful touching. I have to be extremely cautious about what I text including which emoji to send. I have to read into every message to find the hidden meaning and draft multiple versions of a simple text. All of this goes against my confident, but loveable, nature. Having friends proofread my texts and telling me what men like shatters my confidence. I feel like the person I am isn’t enough for me to find my life partner. All of sudden, I feel the urge to crawl into a hole and wait for death’s firm yet gentle embrace.
Direct communication and honesty are all I ask for in a man. In fact, it’s how I present myself when I go out. I refuse to participate in the dating game because it feels like I am a con-artist from the film, American Hustle. Except, I have no Bradley Cooper to fool! Naturally, I intimidate most men I meet with my honesty and vulnerability. For example, one time I asked a man out. Despite our flirty interactions, he got flustered and refused to go out with me because I asked him out. When I relayed the events to another woman, she said that it was my fault, because I took his “mojo.” She said that I need to be more patient. (What the fuck is a man’s “mojo?” Is it a toxic masculinity thing? If so, I am not interested in catering to a man’s mojo.)
“But, I liked the guy, so I asked him out,” I replied.
“Yeah, but men don’t like that. You drove him away,” she said.
(Wait, so all of this my fault? If I just waited, then I would have a date. Like WTF.)
“Then I dodge I a bullet,” I said quietly to myself.
My vulnerability is the issue.
Every breakup teaches you something about yourself. I believe that failed relationships weed out the people who aren’t supposed to be in your life. When anyone I know goes through a break-up, I remind them why their partner wasn’t the right fit for them. Then, I noticed that many of us act differently in relationships in fear that one action may cause us to lose love. But, we shouldn’t solely do things to keep the person liking us. They should like us for who we are.
For example, I was with a man who hated when I vented about my day. After discussing the problems with an organization I worked with, my boyfriend simply stated, “you need to stop caring about these things.” All of sudden my annoyance turned into crippling anxiety. He told me not to care about the other stuff because it did not matter in life. In reality, he did not want to hear about them because the conversation wasn’t about him. However, this organization was important to me. I angrily hung-up on him and considered breaking up with him immediately. Yet, a friend told me that I would be crazy to do so. The fear of losing him over this made me anxious. Instead of listening to my instincts, I called my now ex-boyfriend and apologized for my venting. He accepted my apology and dated me for another three months until he realized that we were “too different.”
I remember being extremely careful about what I said around him. I didn’t want to be the reason we weren’t together. If I did anything he didn’t like, I felt immediately guilty and begged for his forgiveness. Throughout our relationship he expected me to put his needs and emotions first, but when it came to caring about mine, a fight would ensue. The tipping point for him was when I told him that I wouldn’t change my last name after marriage nor send my future children to a private catholic school. Hence the “we are too different to be together” break-up happened. Of course, there were many red-flags in the relationship. He hated it my “homebody” personality, didn’t enjoy my workaholic tendencies, nor enjoy my intelligence. (He especially hated it when I would explain why a certain phrase would be considered sexist or racist.) However, the fear of being alone caused me to stay in a relationship with him. I knew he did not love me, nor wanted to spend time with me unless it was on his terms. My vulnerability and needs became an issue for him. Yet, I still stayed with him. When I brought these issues up, he ended the relationship. Ultimately, I realized this isn’t how relationships should work.
I basically forced myself to stay in a toxic relationship. However, I think that my success and drive also pushed him away. According to a modern dating coach: “It has nothing to do with what you’re achieving on the outside … A man doesn’t fall in love with you because you’ve led so many meetings, and been on TV, and traveled the world and can speak five languages. He falls in love because of the connection he feels with you.” Yet, making those connections are very difficult when men see these achievements as threats to their masculinity.
When I don’t fit into my Asian woman stereotype, I am undesirable. Sure, I’m sexy, which makes me a “great exotic fetish.” But, I am more than that. The men I’ve met want to change me: they want to see me as their housewife or stay at home mother. Or, they want my life to revolve around them. Regardless of the man’s race, I find myself in situations where my success, ambition, and drive make me an undesirable partner. I have no desire to be a stay-at-home mom or be a housewife. I respect the women who chose that, but I will not be forced into it. I am career-orientated; however, it doesn’t mean that I don’t care about the relationships I have.
It isn’t that our generation does not want to open our hearts, rather we have a difficult time forming real relationships. We want easy, quick sex, convenience, and nothing else. Our fear that people will see the real us – our vulnerability – dictates how we act in relationships. Women of color particularly find themselves in toxic relationships because men can’t let go of their masculinity, or these women don’t conform to their stereotypes. And, our fear of being alone keeps us in these relationships.
The Nick to My Priyanka.
Say what you want about those two, but Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra Jonas are adorable. Both are successful and talented people who truly support one another. Nick didn’t ask Priyanka to change herself nor did she ask him. They’re both incredibly busy yet extremely supportive of another. Additionally, both respect each other’s culture and religions. Based on what I’ve seen, they are proud of each other’s character – not their achievements. Priyanka spent a lot of time working on loving herself. She fought against stereotypes and worked her for success. When she met Nick, he told her that he admired Priyanka’s drive and dedication to her work. Priyanka had never encountered that before. Ideally, that’s what any heterosexual woman of color wants: a man who loves her for her and isn’t scared of her vulnerability nor drive.
That’s all for now. Stay tuned!