Has anyone seen the new ABC TV show Fresh Off the Boat? It started a few weeks ago, and although I absolutely cannot stand the opening song if you can call it that, I think it’s a pretty good show. It is about an Asian American family, Taiwanese, set in the 1990’s, kind of like another ABC show, The Goldberg’s that is set in the 80’s. I like the fact that the dad is this hard-working guy who wants the best for his family, so much so, that he leaves a somewhat comfortable job in Washington DC, but one where he would never advance and make things substantially better, to go to a new city Orlando, and opens a Western style steak house. The mom is a typical Asian tiger mom, tough as nails and intense in all her encounters, especially with her three sons who she pushes to excel. The father is cheery and upbeat trying to attain the American dream for himself and his family, the wife struggles with differences in culture, preferring hers of course, and the boys work to be accepted among their peers in school, the older boy much more into hip hop and American customs and foods rather than those of his Asian background.
I bring this up because last week, I visited a friend of mine whose son had just come back from college, graduating mid-year and then traveling and bumming around a bit, and he brought with him his serious girlfriend, a Taiwanese Asian. Now let me explain that the son’s mom, is a Taiwanese Asian (and a tiger mom in her own right) and so perhaps it is no surprise that her son would date Asian girls. But his dad is a white American and the family – they have 4 kids – was already well-assimilated, and aside from the mom, they don’t look particularly Asian. I know the new graduate well because I have been close to that family for years, so I spoke to him to ask him about it. I know that in college he wasted little time in dating Asian girls, Chinese girls in particular. I wanted to know why, and not just the obvious that it was in his genes, or that he wanted someone like his mother. In fact, just the opposite, he wanted someone a little less driven that his mother, lol.
His answers surprised me. None of that Asian girls are so beautiful, and his girlfriend is cute, but not any kind of perfect specimen, actually she was not heavy but not thin, while he is thin. And none of that Asians are smart thing. No being loyal to his mom’s culture. He told me he actually had a white girlfriend for a bit as a freshman, but that he gravitated to Asian students because although he had grown up assimilated and never really hung out with Asian kids, he felt that the more he was with them in college, the more he felt comfortable with them. And the more he liked the company of Asian girls. That they were kind and sweet, generous in their demeanors, genuine and not competitive in nature, and supportive of their guys. He saw why his dad had married one. Yes, there were the looks and the smarts. But he made his choice on what was on the inside. And good for him.
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