Ugly Asian Male: On Being the Least Attractive Guy in the Room

Statistically, I’m the least attractive person in the dating scene. Alongside black women, the Asian-American male is considered the most ugly and undesirable person in the room.

Take it from Steve Harvey, who won’t eat what he can’t pronounce:

“‘Excuse me, do you like Asian men?’ No thank you. I don’t even like Chinese food. It don’t stay with you no time. I don’t eat what I can’t pronounce.’”

Eddie Huang, creator of the groundbreaking Asian-American sitcom Fresh Off the Boat, responded to Steve Harvey in The New York Times:

“[Every] Asian-American man knows what the dominant culture has to say about us. We count good, we bow well, we are technologically proficient, we’re naturally subordinate, our male anatomy is the size of a thumb drive and we could never in a thousand millenniums be a threat to steal your girl.”

Asian-American men, like me, know the score. That is, we don’t count at all.

Hollywood won’t bank on me. Think: When was the last time you saw an Asian male kiss a non-Asian female in a movie or TV show? Or when was the last time an Asian-American male was the desired person in a romantic comedy? And more specifically, when where they not Kung Fu practitioners or computer geniuses? I can only think of two examples: Steven Yeun as Glenn from The Walking Dead and John Cho as Harold from Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. So it takes either a zombie apocalypse or the munchies to see a fully breathing Asian male lead, or a Photoshop campaign #StarringJohnCho for an Asian protagonist with actual thoughts in his head.

It’s so rare to see a three-dimensional Asian male character, with actual hopes and dreams, that Steven Yeun remarks in GQ Magazine:

GQ Magazine: When you look back on your long tenure on The Walking Dead, what makes you proudest?

Steven Yeun: Honestly, the privilege that I had to play an Asian-American character that didn’t have to apologize at all for being Asian, or even acknowledge that he was Asian. Obviously, you’re going to address it. It’s real. It’s a thing. I am Asian, and Glenn is Asian. But I was very honored to be able to play somebody that showed multiple sides, and showed depth, and showed a way to relate to everyone. It was quite an honor, in that regard. This didn’t exist when I was a kid. I didn’t get to see Glenn. I didn’t get to see a fully formed Asian-American person on my television, where you could say, “That dude just belongs here.” Kids, growing up now, can see this show and see a face that they recognize. And go, “Oh my god. That’s my face too.”

Growing up, I never had that, either. I can’t help but think of this scene from the biopic, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, in which Bruce Lee watches the controversial Asian stereotype played by Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s to a theater filled with derisive laughter. This moment with Bruce Lee is most likely fictional, but the weight of it is not lost on us:

This was a powerful moment for me as a kid, because I grew up with the same sort of mocking laughter, whether it was watching Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom with my white neighbors, or being assailed by the Bruce Lee wail in the local grocery store. I knew they were laughing at me, and not with.

Continue reading “Ugly Asian Male: On Being the Least Attractive Guy in the Room”


A Confession: I Once Wrote A Song About Killing My Ex-Gf — Actually, Twice

About social media, moralistic meme cultures, digging the dirt of our past, and a transparent future without privacy — and why this can all be a good thing.

I once wrote two different songs about killing two different ex-girlfriends.

In my college years I used to rap and freestyle, and using what lyrical skills I had, I recorded a song over Eminem’s “Stan” about killing my ex-girlfriend. A few years later, I did the same thing with Common’s “Retrospect For Life” about killing another ex-girlfriend and eating her baby.

These were sick, horrible, disgusting things that constitute assault and battery — and they make me want to throw up at myself. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

If you search for these songs online, you can probably find them on an old music site under my name. I say this to my own shame and horror, and I’m not proud of this in the least at all. I’m now publicly outing myself — not out of some patronizing “reverse humility” or a victim-card, but because I deserve any repercussions that come my way.

If one day I go public somewhere: I want to have outed myself already. I’m tired of keeping this regret a secret. And it’s okay if you’re disappointed or you dismiss me. At least I can finally breathe, unburdened.

Continue reading “A Confession: I Once Wrote A Song About Killing My Ex-Gf — Actually, Twice”

Six Ways That Memes Will Change The World: Antiobiotics For Stupidity, Pills For Unity

With the mass prevalence of memes slowly stealing our peace when someone posts up a gross picture of you on Reddit: I’m starting to think memes are doing the world a favor.

A meme culture is suddenly forcing us to re-think our worldviews, plunging a needle of hyper-self-awareness in the back of our brains that jolts us out of ignorant complacency. No one wants to be Scumbag Steve or Facebook Girl; we cheer on Good Guy Greg and the onslaught against First World Problems.

Memes require a vigilant adjustment of our interactions, an ability to counter-attack the counter-attack ad nauseum, the capacity to laugh at ourselves in spite of ourselves.

It’s a confrontation with human ugliness: and a necessary one.

We’re entering the age now where we can see the influence of Social Media on a whole generation. There’s no precedent for it, no longitudinal study that has watched the long-term affect of our shiny objects and digital interconnectedness — and besides the typical danger-piece about distraction and the dumbing down of America, it’s still difficult to foresee how our collective closeness will make us better, or worse, or both.

Here are some ways I believe memes will change us for the better.

Continue reading “Six Ways That Memes Will Change The World: Antiobiotics For Stupidity, Pills For Unity”