My parents are crazy.
Now, would they win the Craziest First Generation Asian-American Parents of Adult Children Award for 2013? No, but they would have been very close in 2004 and again in 2006. Last year was pretty wacky, too.
It would be funny if they’re just wacky in general, like if my mom named her dog, a teacup maltese, after me. (Hearing my mom yell “Tommy! Don’t pee there!” over the phone would never fail to entertain.) Or maybe my dad sneaks in a small jar of kimchee whenever we go to Olive Garden, a fine restaurant to which he compares every dining establishment.
Alas, my parents are not crazy like this. They’re crazy only about one thing:
That is me getting married.
For my folks my marriage is the solution to all of life’s problems. Here is their logic custom made for me. I kid you not this is what they’ve said.
- You’re lonely? Get married.
- You want to have fun? Marriage is fun.
- You want to travel? Travel with your wife.
- At age 27 you’re too busy with school full-time (college, not grad school) and two jobs you have? Your wife will help you somehow.
- You want to buy a house someday? Buying a house is for families only.
- You want to make a lot of money? Nothing like having a wife to put a fire under your ass to work harder.
- Heck, you add kids to that mix and you’ll make even more money.
- No, you won’t save money if you stay single, don’t have kids and live minimally. That’s stupid.
- You’re in transition and you want to start a new career and you need cut on expenses so you don’t have money or time to date? Your wife will be more than happy to support you, duh!
If that’s not enough, this is their requirements– ah, they mean preferences for their future daughter-in-law:
- Her parents are rich.
- She has a stable job.
- She’s not the only child. Preferably she has an older brother.
- She’s one to seven years younger than me. Same age or older is frowned upon.
- She goes to church, along with her parents.
- Actually her parents are pretty dedicated to church. Her dad is a deacon or an elder, but not a pastor.
- She is of Korean descent and she speaks Korean comfortably.
- She lives with her parents like all good daughters do, even if she’s in her thirties.
- Actually she doesn’t have to be anything here besides be 100% Korean. She can be a doctor, be five years younger than me, serve as a Sunday school teacher, have parents who love singing in the church choir, speak fluent and crisp Korean, cook dinner for her parents every night, but…. she’s half Chinese? Hell no!
So that’s their agenda of obsession for me. Get married now and get married to a fellow Korean. From setting me up with girls residing in different time zones, hiring “marriage brokers” just for me and recruiting entire church congregations to help me find a matrimonial partner, they’ve done everything they could.
Argh! Their craziness has driven me crazy for most of my adulthood, to a point where I had see a therapist last year because of their negative influence on me. For years and years I’ve tried to tell them that I’m okay being single and that when it’s time for settle down and start a family, I would. But that wasn’t enough for them.
This year I changed things up on them. Enough is enough. No more set up dates. No more calls from marriage brokers. No more talk of marriage. I’ve had it.
Perhaps it was my own guilt that I kept on feeding. Wouldn’t they feel lonely and disappointed if I didn’t call them every other day? Especially my mom? It doesn’t matter. Because it’s this frequent communicating that leads to more chances for my parents to sneak in chatter of which cousin or who’s son or daughter just got married. So what did I do? I just stopped calling.
I now call them every other week. Even though they live just two hours away, a visit every two months seem to be just fine, not every three weeks like I used to do. Less talk and less visits lead to less marriage-talk and thus more peace. I suppose this is what they call loving from a distance.
I discovered something scary but true: I’m not responsible for my parents’ happiness or well-being. I’m not, really. Sure, I want to be that dutiful and caring son, but they’ve made it so hard for me over the last decade, and so hard for themselves, too. I can’t force them to calm down with their obsession over my marriage, however I can avoid their direct or passive-aggressive tactics entirely by budgeting my time with them better.
My parents are crazy and I love them. But for the next decade we’re on time out.
Step 1. Decide to write a dating book.
Step 2. Wrestle with the decision you just made, have second thoughts, fill your life with distractions and only pretend to write at hipster non-corporate cafes in your free time for nine months.
Step 3. Write the damn book already.
Ugh. Let’s go!
I’m trying to write a book about dating. Ugh.
It’s a creative mess right now. I’m sure it’s better than how I actually feel about it, but I’m not exactly close to the message & tone that I want, let alone how many chapters and words necessary.
Apologies on the lack of updates. More to come soon, I promise.
This is the reason I started blogging about dating. It’s a funny topic.
More than other common subjects like dieting, money and leisure, all sorts of people like talking about dating, even giving unsolicited advice to singles. Friends, parents, distant relatives, co-workers, six-year olds, seniors in homes, and so on– Anyone will give you his or her own two cents about meeting “that someone special.”
Despite that most tips on dating come with good intentions, it’s probably CRAP. And you probably heard of this sort of crappy advice:
- “Be yourself.”
- “Be a gentleman,” “Treat her well,” or “Take her somewhere nice.”
- “Man up.”
- “Try being a jerk but just a little.”
- “Just be funny and you’ll win her over.”
- “Get her drunk.”
- ______________ (Fill in your own CRAP advice you’ve received.)
Why are these crap advice? They’re vague, overly simple, sleazy or when you think about it, completely insane. (What else can you be besides yourself?!) You’ve tried it all but with little or no success. Like a man with fatal disease, you desperately and urgently need something more. Something absolute.
While most dating advice is crap –and I will elaborate on this in the following sections– the best one is only two letters: GO.
Wait. “GO”? That’s it? Aren’t I contradicting myself here? Isn’t “GO” just another crap advice?
No, not really. All the books, blogs, talks, videos and conventions in this world cannot trump GO. If you have a specific female of interest in mind, pick up the phone, call her and ask her out IMMEDIATELY. The next time you see a cute girl, walk up to her and talk to her. Don’t think about tips or tricks. The greatest intention cowers behind the smallest deed.
Today I walked on a street that reminded of her. No, she wasn’t exactly special. She’s just someone who takes up a space of my memory. I label that particular memory space, “Funny.”
It’s probably funny because I can’t seem to understand fully what had happened. We didn’t date that long, but my time with her left a strong impression on me. I still look her up on Facebook from time to time. We’re not associated on that social network anymore, so I can only judge how she’s doing by her profile photo. She seems single. For some reason that saddens me.
What’s also funny is when when people say, “I wasn’t in love with her/him. I was in love with the idea of her/him.” What does that even mean? Do you ever hear people say:
- I didn’t enjoy that cheeseburger. I just enjoyed the idea of a cheeseburger.
- I don’t like the Baltimore Ravens. I just like the idea of them.
- I don’t want to be homeless. But I’m curious about the idea of being without a home. Maybe I’ll go camping.
- You’re not a good human being. But the idea of you being a good human being is good.
- Danger is my middle name.
Including that last line, this is all idiotic arrogance. What does it really mean when you say you were in love with the idea of a person? I tell you what it really means:
It means you let it end.
That’s what I did. I let it end with her. I didn’t fight to get her back. I let her go, and looking back now, I was wise to do so. She would probably agree with me when I say it wasn’t sad when it ended. Maybe that’s why the memory of her is funny.
I chuckled as I kept on walking.
Here I reveal my secret for the perfect First Date System.
Why routine? You shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you have a first date with a new girl. Make all first dates follow the same structure. Just don’t tell anyone.
Why one hour? It sounds short, doesn’t it? I mean, if you like her, shouldn’t you spend more than one mere hour with her? Hmm… actually…
A first date with no pre-determined end time can (and usually will) become sloppy and mediocre. It’s nerve-wracking as it is, so you might as well make it short and sweet. This way, if this short first date went well, she will want to see you again. Soon.
Why Saturday 4pm? It is usually “free time” for singles. By this hour you’ve done your sleeping-in, work-out, laundry, and errands already, but it’s a bit too early for dining and serious weekend socializing. This is the best time for a quick, non-pressured, first date.
Why Sport Coat and Tie? Isn’t it silly to get dressed up for a Saturday late afternoon cheesecake date that will only last an hour? Yes, of course it is. But what’s most crucial is that she is meeting you FOR THE VERY FIRST DAMN TIME. Look spiffy, man.
Why Cheesecake? I don’t know. Maybe I want some right now. Yes, I think I do want cheesecake right now. But for you it can be anything, as long as it’s not too common (like coffee) and not too weird (like vegan desserts, bleh).
Good hunting, fellas.
“I make a lot of money.”
“I got abs. You want to see?”
Really. Some guys actually say these things on first dates. And they wonder why they fail.
Fellas, if you have to say you are something, the chances are you’re probably not. I never heard anyone who’s genuinely funny, smart, wealthy, physically fit or anything noteworthy actually claim to be so. It’s always those fools who are trying too hard and feel like they have to declare it, and they do, with very disappointing results.
Even if you are legitimately hilarious, brilliant, swimming in trust fund money and ripped like an Italian male model, it doesn’t matter. No quality woman will go for you when you have to say that you’re _____.
She will know you are funny when she cries and gasps for air while laughing so hard at your comments. She will know you are smart when you intelligently explain why stars are “shooting” as you two lie down beneath the night sky looking heavenward. She will know you are financially secured when you invite her over to your place –your own place, with no family or roommates living with you– as you cook for her. She will know you are fit when you bring her in for a firm squeeze as you hug her good night.
Personally, my best foot forward is humor. If I can’t make the date laugh, then that’s it. There’s probably nothing else going for me with that particular female of interest. I never tell her I’m funny. Instead, I show her I am, or at least I try. She better laugh or I better move on.
If you’re like me, you’re tired of hearing about “new year’s resolutions” and all that bull. Bleh.
However, I can’t deny that New Year’s is a very convenient time to draw up fresh goals. It’s great for planning and measuring progress later on. Plus, the sense of renewal is contagious. You might as well piggy-back on this energy and tinker around with the idea of resolutions for the year, perhaps one or two for dating.
Here is my own tinkering with New Year’s Dating Resolutions:
1. Date 20 girls this year. Yes, 20. It’s a memorable, round number, not too big and not too small. If you’re seriously single and have been for awhile, you need to give up the idea of having a girlfriend for one stinkin’ year. Think of it as an extending dating spree to figure things out. Ask out a whole lot of females and when you get tired, ask even more out. Go on one or two dates with each of them (but no more than two) to keep your emotions in check.
2. Keep a dating log. Record every female of interest and every date. How did you meet? How did you ask her out? What did you two do for the first date? And the second? What worked and what didn’t? What did you like about her and what peeved you? Did you try something different? Once you have a few dates in your log, you might begin to see a pattern and therefore be able to experiment towards success.
3. Be seasonal. It’s proven that intense spurts are better than smoothing things out evenly over time. So take it easy in dating for now and throughout winter. Come April you should be on a roll until Labor Day weekend, perhaps even meeting your Date-20-Girls goal by then. Your head will be spinning if you accomplish this, but give yourself a serious pat on the back. You’re the man.
4. Community = Chicks. Don’t just go to events and parties where you can meet women. Think of groups who gather regularly. Examples are: dance classes, language classes, book clubs, running clubs, kickball leagues, weekend volunteering, gospel choir, and so on. Meetup.com can help.
5. Have one cheesy but good pick-up line. Fact: All pick-up lines are cheesy by default. So saying “cheesy pick-up line” is redundant. Nevertheless, it can be fun for both guys and girls, especially if it’s delivered with confidence and mischief. A good one I heard recently goes, “Excuse me, miss. Has anyone told you how beautiful my eyes are?”
Good trainers will tell you that shedding pounds to reach the threshold of a specific weight is misleading. You can be 150 pounds and still be unhealthy. Rather, you should do active things regularly that you enjoy, whereby one of the benefits is weight loss.
Likewise, your goal in dating is not to reach the threshold of “having a girlfriend.” Your ultimate goal is to be a man and an awesome man at that. You should do awesome and manly things regularly that you enjoy, whereby one of the benefits may be meeting a potential significant other. But even if that doesn’t happen, all is well. Barney’s got nothing on you, bro.
In my totally unscientific research, 150% of single women love to talk about dating. Not only do every woman who is single talk about, but even ones with a significant other or even a husband enjoy talking about.
But when I give my time-tested, honest and true advice to single women, something funny happens. They don’t heed it. Oh, but they listen, they poke, they kick the tires at my advice… But they almost always refuse to follow my advice. And they suffer.
Women kinda like suffering, don’t they? It’s a big head-scratcher for me.