Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Wrong Paint Job

This is going to sound rude, but I am really tired of hanging out with my Asian girlfriends. Let me explain.

My husband and I, and our two children go out to dinner with my husband's cousin. We order our food. We sip our drinks. The waitress walks by and says to my husband and his cousin, "You two make such a cute couple."

See, I am white. So even though I'm the one sitting next to the Asian guy, I couldn't possibly be his wife. 

Let me explain some more.

I am getting a drink with an (Asian) girlfriend at a nice hotel bar. My husband joins us and we decide to go somewhere else for dinner. My friend picks up the tab. The bartender says, "Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Xu." <<< Our friend's last name. 

See, I am white. So even though my husband greeted the Asian girl with, "Long time, no see," he must be with her, because she is Asian.

Let's see another example, shall we?

I am 3 weeks postpartum, carrying a diaper bag and holding a toddler's hand. Next to me is my husband, lugging a carseat. Slightly behind us is another (Asian) friend, carrying a small, glittery purse. She is approached by a woman walking her dog. "Wow, you sure look great for just having had a baby!" 

See, I am white. So even though I am overweight, and my friend is skinny; even though I have spit-up stains on my shirt and she wears flawless black; even though I am the one answering incessant "Mommy, Mommy!" questions and double checking the carseat buckles, and asking if we packed any formula, and feeling too tired to even put on makeup to cover up the fact that I'm tired; even though the children look incredibly Caucasian, there is an Asian man carrying the carseat, so the Asian woman must be the mom.

"Actually, the baby is mine."
"Oh! Um, well, you look okay, too."
Thanks a lot, lady.

I could go on. You get the idea. I am tired of the message the world is sending me. Sing it with me:

"One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn't belong."

That's me, the one that doesn't belong. Because I'm white. 

And as a woman who gave up her career to raise children, as a woman whose only occupation is a wife and mother, this message is a slap in the face. Because when someone says, "They look so happy together," or "Their kids are so cute," or "His wife is beautiful," what it says to me is "You aren't pretty enough to be his wife." "You obviously aren't a mother." and "You and your husband don't look right together." 

As a dear college friend once quipped, I was born with the wrong paint job. There is nothing I can do to make the world see the rightness in an Asian man with a white woman, except go back out again and be seen, over and over until the world gets it. I guess someone has to. 

Has anyone else ever been snubbed like this? How did you deal with it? Leave your thoughts and handy comebacks in the comments below.


  1. Trust me- I get it. No kids yet, but just being in an interracial relationship brings unbelievably unnecessary comments.
    I understand that some come from deep, culturally imbedded issues, but some come from just straight ignorance.

  2. I am not sure now what people think,a lot look sure, but my daughter also looks decidedly mixed and a lot like me so I cannot see how they could not see I am her mother.
    I have never had anyone comment the same as you experienced, not to my face(we live in Sydney, Aus)
    I am surprised though to see so many people online talking about amwf relationships, like it is something to aspire to? My experience has mostly been that there was something wrong with me, I could not get a white guy, something wrong with my husband, he could not find an asian girl. Now I just think, screw you, my daughter is gorgeous, so am I, so are we as a family.
    Don't get me wrong, I am not bitter, we have been together for 20 years now, and I am very lucky we just didn't mind when people were mean back years ago.