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So, I decided to start a long overdue conversation with other Asian men, to find out if I was alone in my anxieties. Chris Quyen, a university student, photographer and creative director from Sydney, says his early interest in dating was influenced by a desire to fit in.
Why queer Asian men often date white guys
For Melbourne-based hip-hop artist Jay Kim, this approach to dating is understandable, but not without its problems. Dating coach Iona Yeung says Asian men are represented largely through "nerdy stereotypes" in the media, with few positive role models to draw confidence from when it comes to dating.
Chris agrees, saying the media plays an "important role in informing who we are attracted to". When it comes to Asian men, they're often depicted as "the bread shop boy or the computer genius who helps the white male protagonist get the girl," he says, if they're represented at all. An interaction with a female partner who called him "exotic" similarly affected his sense of self.
Having these conversations has helped me realise that although my anxieties around dating come from my experience with sex and relationships — they're also connected to how I value my culture.
Online Racism Makes IRL Dating Hell for Gay Asian Men
It's fitting that some of the people I spoke to have embraced their backgrounds as they negotiate the challenges that come with dating as Asian Australian men. For Jay, "practising a lot self-love, practising a lot of empathy for others, and being around the right people" has allowed him to appreciate moments of intimacy for what they are, and feel real confidence. Dating coach Iona says finding role models and references to bolster your confidence is key to overcoming concerns or anxieties you might have around dating.
My advice would be not to wait seven years until you talk to someone about your feelings or concerns, and certainly not to wait until a stranger on a street approaches you for a suspicious-sounding website you later can't find to have this conversation with yourself. ABC Life helps you navigate life's challenges and choices so you can stay on top of the things that matter to you. Are our desires influenced by our struggle for identity?
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And what commonalities lie within our collective psychological experiences? The tension of east and west and some of its complexities are especially exhibited in our dating scene. In popular gay Asian colloquialism, there lies the cultural notion that desires revolve around two specific racial choices — rice or potato? This divide seemed commonplace, even manifesting itself within a speed dating event in Sydney.
At the event, we were given 12 dates at five minutes each and no one was allowed to talk about work. Interestingly a lot of the people I came across were open to everyone in terms of race when I asked them.
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I wanted to pry even further though, so I inquired if there were any patterns or differences in their dating experiences when it came to dating either white or Asian men. Three people separately mentioned smell which I guess is fair. A guy called Don told me he felt more comfortable with Asian guys since more of them wanted something similar in terms of a relationship , while Caucasian men were either interested in a hookup or seemed much older than him. Another person, Jason agreed with this and said that he preferred Asian men because they were similar in their traditions.
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Jason also felt that other Asian men were culturally more family orientated and more open to monogamy and dating, whereas western guys appeared to be focused on sex. As Eric continued to talk, he revealed how he became more comfortable with his cultural heritage growing up. It was during that process he became more open to dating other Asian men.
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