There are many myths and stereotypes when it comes to dating asian guys. Some are completely outlandish and some are, well, a little more spot on. Multiple articles and studies discuss how cultural stereotypes of Asian men may make them less attractive to women of all races, including Asians.
In the book Freakonomics, one study showed that single Asians (male) had to make $247,000 more annually to receive the same response rate as White men on online dating sites. Ouch. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 40% of Asian females will marry a non-Asian male, whereas 20% of Asian males will marry a non-Asian female. This frustration is not being taken lightly. In fact, there’s even a website which acts as a forum for asian men reclaiming their “asianalitiy” – and they are pissed that their potential asian wives are shacking up with non-asians. On another website, one Asian male expresses: “It’s definitely harder for an Asian male to date a white female than for Asian females to date white males. Asian males are not portrayed as masculine, whereas Asian females are stereotyped as submissive, exotic.” What gives?!
The good news for Asian males is that as online dating is becoming less and less taboo, there are a lot more asian dating sites ready to help make meeting potential matches easier. White, black, yellow – really, one’s ethnicity shouldn’t make a difference as we are all part of the human race. No argument there. However, keep in mind that there are certain cultural differences that come to play that shape a person’s mentality, values, ideas of what a relationship dynamic should look like, and subsequently, their behaviour. And because of this, sometimes, there is some truth to the cultural differences of people raised with diverse upbringings. So I’m here today to dispel (or confirm) some of those myths, but only according to my own experience. Before you make any accusations of me making sweeping generalizations, note that my points here are completely biased according to my own sample size. Here goes…
Myth 1: Asian guys fight for the bill. True. When the dinner cheque arrives at the table, the Asian guy will swoop in like a properly trained ninja and attack the dinner cheque before you can even do that “reach” for your wallet. This swift technique is an ancient move passed on by his ancestors – a learned behavior through many many years watching his parents challenge their opponents to who gets to the cheque first. White guys are much more laid back and are happy to carry on the conversation for another 30 minutes while the check is laying on the table; some are even willing to go dutch to further showcase their support towards gender equality.
Myth 2: Asian guys are lightweights. True. Look, it’s an enzyme thing ok? When it comes to alcohol consumption, according to research, the ‘Asian Flush’ occurs due to a deficiency in an enzyme called aldehyde dehydrogenase, which is part of a vital process that digests alcohol. Headache, red flushing, even itchiness will occur after a few sips of alcohol. But, enzyme or no enzyme, don’t think this will deter an asian guy from schooling you in a drinking game though. Challenge him to a game of Pai Gow or Big 2 and he’ll drink you under the table.
Myth 3: Asian guys live with their parents. Depends. Ok, well until they’re married at least. Many asians brought up in a traditional upbringing (both men and women) choose to live at home with their parents until they get married. Asian culture emphasizes family and collectivity, so it is quite the norm to take care of your parents while living under the same roof. Also, living with a romantic partner pre-marriage is generally looked down upon, which is another reason why many asians wait until marriage to move out.
Myth 4: Asian guys have better manners. False. There are many behaviours that are emphasized in a traditional asian culture. With a big emphasis on “taking care” of those around you. For example, at the dinner table, it is a blasphemy to serve yourself food first and immediately start eating. You serve the person you are dining with first, and always offer the last bite. But while an Asian guy’s table manners may be impeccable, other “gentlemanly” behaviours like opening the car door, helping a lady put on her jacket, etc, are not lessons that parents typically focused on teaching. Thus, in my opinion it’s an even ball game.
Myth 5: Asian guys aren’t masculine. False. Unfortunately, we are influenced by what we see in the media whether we are conscious of it or not. Most depictions of Asian males in the popular media are not the same as their Caucasian counterparts. The odd Jackie Chan movie as the exception, you hardly see the Asian guy as hunky, masculine star of the show. Whereas in the 19th century, Asian men were portrayed at the other extreme in the 19th century: sexually dangerous and desirable. The stereotype that Asian men aren’t masculine exists in a large part because of how they are portrayed in the media, not necessarily because that’s actually reflective of reality.
Myth 6: Asian guys aren’t good at expressing emotions. Depends. In Asian culture, males are not encouraged to be expressive with their emotions. Crying is seen as weakness. For example, when a boy gets hurt and starts crying, it’s not rare to see the parents scold the child for crying. Because this is engrained at such an early age, this may cause some Asian men to continue withholding emotion as they grow up. It’s rare to hear traditional Asian parents say “I love you” to their children. It’s not rare for Asian kids to grow up on the receiving end of dictator-esque verbal instructions and scoldings. Parents educate and try to push their children to work harder and achieve more by using negative language versus complimentary language. A study conducted by China Daily interviewed a cross-section of people to see if they said “I love you” to their parents. Many people interviewed had never said those three words, and one 56-year old commenting “Saying it aloud is embarrassing for me.” Of course, even in an upbringing where being emotionally expressive is not encouraged, one can still learn how to communicate feelings despite the odds. So in the case of this stereotype, it really depends on the person.
Myth 7: Asian guys aren’t romantic. False. Sure, an Asian guy will think bubble tea is a perfectly acceptable venue for a first date. Nothing wrong with that! Asian guys will almost always say “Yes” to dessert as a date spot. Think crepes with fruit compote or shaved ice cream, their way of romanticizing the occasion involves making the girl happy first before letting themselves pick a place that might suit their own taste. If you see an Asian male holding on to his beau’s shopping bags or Louis Vuitton purse, that doesn’t means he’s “whipped”, he’s just being helpful. It may sound cliché and completely unmasculine, but in Asian culture, the men are raised to always offer comfort for the female, making sure that they are provided and cared for. That’s their idea of romance. Swoon.
Myth 8: Asian guys seek their parent’s approval. True. Beware the tiger mom. When it comes to marriage prospects, Asian guys take into consideration the advice of his parents. It’s more common for a Caucasian male to independently pursue his desires without asking for anyone else’s approval. When one gets paired with an Asian man, however, you don’t just marry the man himself but you marry his family as well.
Myth 9: Asian guys never make the first move. False. Although Asian guys might take awhile to confess their undying love, but that’s only because they like to take it slow. And when they do, they want to be sure that she’s the one. Asian guys are taught by their traditional parents that in order for them to meet the right person, you must already be a successful individual with a lot to offer. You date to marry. Caucasian guys are told they are going to meet a lot of people first before finding the right one. See the difference?
Myth 10: Asian guys don’t like public display of affection. True. Traditional Asian parents show love through immense generosity, helping out financially, and feeding you 24/7. Hugs, cuddles and kisses however, not so much. In a culture where preserving “face” and appearances is of utmost importance, there is a major emphasis on always keeping your cool, being proper and composed. They might steal a kiss or two when no one’s looking, but in retrospect the Asian male would much rather prefer it behind closed doors. Whether it’s their demeanor towards the public eye, or how they choose privacy over strong lustful urges, it’s easy to assume Asian males are more conservative when it comes to showcasing their emotions. Theories explain that this dates back to the nature of Confucian teaching – where displaying one’s emotions publicly is not encouraged.
Myth 11: Asian guys have small “packages”. False! And there’s been research in Nature that you can check out on your own.
To learn more about how to change old relationship patterns, and how to create healthy ones, join my 2-hour Live Workshop on Sunday, April 25 where I’ll guide you step by step on how to become more secure in your attachment, manage emotions and our reactions to pain and create healthy relationships. Get your ticket here.