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Minute Rice

Minute Rice


When physical attraction collides with racial politics the outcome is rarely pretty.

We met on myspace, he was cute, he asked me to dinner, so here we sit in a crowded, noisy restaurant. I feel the race question getting closer. I've developed a sixth sense for it. I wonder if he'll dance around it with euphemisms or ask directly.

"So where are you from originally?" Maybe he actually wants to know what city I lived in. I give him the benefit of the doubt.

"Seattle. I moved here eight years ago--"

"I mean, what's your background?"

Bingo! I don't think it's improper to ask one's race, especially because I'm one of those people most can't figure out. What I find odd is the reaction my answer brings.

"Asian. I'm dark because my dad's Filipino and tall because my mom's white."

From here, the date goes down one of three paths: the "adjusted guy," who's just making conversation and wants to know more about me--a very rare find; the "rice queen," who especially seeks out Asians and needs confirmation that he's got one; or the "minute rice queen," who doesn't generally like Asians, seems disappointed with my answer, and must decide whether to make an exception in my case.

"I thought you were Latino."

"Yeah, a lot of people think that. What's your ethnicity?"

"You just don't seem like one." The shift in his body language indicates I've just dropped a deal-breaker. "I don't normally find Asians very attractive." It's almost a hint for me to take it back. "I still think you're cute."

Well, thanks, sort of. He's attracted to me despite my race.

I remember a guy who was attracted to me because of my race. He grunted, "I love that dark Filipino skin" and "Do me with that hot Filipino c*#%!"--repeatedly. I felt exactly the same weirdness I do now.

Well, which way do you want it? I scold myself. And no crap about being desired for what's on the inside. It's natural to want the validation of physical attraction, but awkward when it comes hand in hand with racial politics.

I suppose if we could choose whom we are physically attracted to, there might be no gay community. If sexual orientation is genetic, why are people attracted to certain races and body types? Maybe rice queens, "chubby chasers," and my mad attraction to short guys are determined in part by genetics too.

It could be that nature and nurture combine to make people attracted to feminine men, dominant women, or transgender, older, or brown-eyed people. Tastes even change sometimes. I've had friends whose lack of sexual interest in black or Asian men was reversed after a trip to Africa or Asia. I was given a T-shirt once that said once you go asian, you never go caucasian. It's possible there's something to that "you never know until you try it" logic. However, does that mean I should try to have sex with women? What if I'm gay because I'm sexist on some level? I don't think that's true--but most people who "just aren't into femmes, fatties, blacks, or Asians" don't think they're bigots. But doesn't it sound that way?

Any number of things could shape what we look for in a partner. All that matters to me is that people aren't jerks about their tastes. Qualifying your appreciation by denigrating a race is, at the very least, impolite. Think of my race as my family. "Everyone in your family is unattractive except you" is not a good opener. Neither is "I've wanted to get with someone in your hot family for a while."

My date doesn't seem to be a jerk per se. Maybe I can use this opportunity to start a dialogue. Plus he's sexy. Funny how forgiving that makes you. I'll be disarming and make a joke.

"Are you worried about penis size?"

"Should I be?" he smirks.

"No. Should I be?"

He laughs. "Are you saying I have a small penis because I'm Asian?" Yep, he's Asian too. See? Every family has its impolite relatives, even my own.

Truth is, sexual attraction and racism are sticky subjects no matter what your background. Maybe you can't control whom you're attracted to, but you can control how you respond to finding an imported from asia label on your date--just be happy you found someone you like.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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