There are two kinds of gay party hosts: those who welcome add-ons graciously, and those who air-kiss their friends and then only the tag-alongs they want to fuck. At a birthday party a friend dragged me to, I received little more than a half-introduction to the back of the guest of honour’s head. I stationed myself by the vodka and the cantaloupe and honeydew chunks. After ninety minutes, having demolished anything edible, I sunk into the couch waiting for my friend. We were to split cab fare. Then a man struck up a conversation.
I hadn’t noticed him before, but he was different from the other guests. First of all, he was gorgeous. A Brazilian swimmer. He was closer in age to me than to the puffy-faced white 40-somethings, and he wore a cashmere sweater that breathlessly clung to him.
After being mostly ignored all night, he was a salve. He found my being a writer interesting. He spoke English well but wanted to improve, and suggested we meet up for a lesson. He grabbed my phone to enter his number.
And then: “You know,” he said, “I don’t normally find Asians attractive, but I really like you.” You could pinpoint the moment my face froze into mild horror, Ralph Wiggum after Valentine’s Day.
Was this a compliment? It was obviously intended as a compliment. He looked at me like it was a compliment. “I really like you.” That would have been enough, right? No need to qualify the statement, just as there’s never a need to say someone looks good for their age. “You look great... for sixty.” Lovely. I’m thrilled you’re not a pile of bones yet, champ!
In one sense, this made me a pioneer. I could break—or bang?—new ground. But, is being king of shit mountain actually an honour?
This is an excerpt from Ethnic Aisle writer Jaime Woo's piece "Asian Society Beyond the Ethnic Aisle" at Hazlitt.