ok, im still gagging on my last 2 posts, they were so syrupy sweet. so i want to post on something that initially seems like it would be all about love, but in actuality is mostly about egoism and vanity. that right folks, its time to talk about dating. dating in all of its forms, the anticipation of a long held crush to the ho stroll you make back to your place after a night of wishingly forgettable sex. but we'll narrow the field here a little bit by focusing on foreign dating. yes, to me and many others ALL dating is a foreign thing, but im talking about dating a race other than your own, and even more specifically, where it is you who is the foreigner
dating in foreign countries adds a whole other dimension of awkwardness to an already nerve-wracking experience. its not without its benefits of course, you get to experience new cultures, have fun finding out the different rules of dating etiquette, and cracking up as you both thumb through your dictionaries to find a common feeling. and of course if you more are attracted to those of an ethnicity other than your own (like i am) double bonus! but the humiliating misunderstandings and regrettable maybe it wouldn't hurt to give it a chance-es will take years to be able to laugh about. years and years. but in the end, so totally worth it.
insert: my most humiliating moment. i was with a guy doing something guys i have known in the past usually like. a lot. nothing crazy or weird, pretty standard. but all of a sudden this guy gives me the most contemptuous look, and says how dirty i am. it was horrifying. i was sick about it for days (ok, hours). luckily in talking with other japanese men, turns out this guy was just a fucking asshole, and while this possibly may have been a cultural thing ages ago, but his reaction was totally out of line. i was relieved, but held off on physical contact for a while. end insert
anyway, in japan i was in metrosexual heaven. there was the grungy guy with the perfectly selected torn jeans, 80's punk band shirt, and the ability to grow just a hint of stubble (so rare in japan). then there was the amazingly quaffed pop idol look, with anime hair worthy hair, the pointiest of boots, and a smile that could make any girl blush. but alas, being a foreigner (who is also quite loud and brash), sometimes it was a bit difficult to get a date. and when i did, they just thought all white chicks put out, so they thought they found a sure thing. so most of the guys i dated i did the asking. and i have no qualms about that. ive been politely shirked a couple of times, but on the whole i usually get what i'm after. but as i know i will never be in one place for long, its pretty much a given that if we start getting along a little too well, i have to give them the, hey, you know im here for a year, two tops, right? which then goes one of two ways. the guy says he is fine with it, but really isnt. and they guy who says he is fine with it, and really is. i dont know which i prefer. the guy i dated the longest in japan was one of my physical therapists. and we had agreed it was casual. but when another guy asked me out, and i asked #1 if it was ok and he was like, sure, i was nonplussed. im terrible. i want a guy to fall in love with me, even if i only moderately like him, and yet him to be ready to let go at a moments notice. what a cruel bitch.
so thats actually what i have on my plate right now. there is a beautiful local man whom i started dating because i heard he was a player. players are handsome, easy to deal with, you both know what he wants, and he's good at what he does (hopefully). and at first he seemed to fit the player profile. didn't show up when he said he would, drove a ridiculous car with like 4 amps, and had the most charming smile i have seen in many a year. so i thought i had set myself up nicely. but when we hung out it was just dinner at home together, playing a little ping pong, and then...that was it. a kiss on the cheek and an affectionate look was all i was getting. hmm, this wasnt playing out as i had hoped. but it finally gave me the goal to start taking language lessons, cause btw he speaks no english. and i need a tangible reason to study. and boy is he ever tangible. but after a while i start getting pissed. finally, i was like, ok, you are a big freaking liar, you never show up when you say you will, the neighbors have seen you with other girls on your bike, and you obviously dont even find me attractive cause ive gotten more play from my body pillow. then the truth all comes out, so unexpectedly i cold only stare in bewilderment. so i knew he was broke and only worked with his mother selling fruit. but it turns out he was too embarrassed to tell me that he also drives taxis at night. and not only does he have a car he cant afford, 40% of his salary goes into a house he is building himself on his family rice farm in the northeast (i have verified this from gossipy outside sources). but here's the kicker. i said, well, you asked me to be your 'girlfriend', but what do you really want from me? i could not have been more dumbfounded with his answer. he told me that he loves me and if i love him and we still love each other in 1, 2, 3 years, we will move up north together and get married. WHAT????? i didnt even know this guy was serious about me. hell, the day before this conversation i went on a date with this kinda scary gangster just cause i was so upset that he didnt show up when he said he would yet again. (which was a mistake btw, although i knew that going into it. even if you refuse all gifts or privileges offered by a gangster, they are still used to getting what they want).
so now i am totally at a loss. i cant say i love him, i dont even know what that word means. seriously, our conversations are ridiculously simple with my inadequate language skills. we know nothing of each others pasts, although we know each others future goals. (A FUCKING RICE FARM!). ha, actually, i really like farming. i cant even have sex with him because he is pretty traditional and thinks it shows respect to wait (my language teacher has also been giving me insights into the local men, even though he does it with a red face and a stutter). and the local culture isnt really even into kissing, affectionate touching, which i think is almost the only reason to have a boyfriend. hell, i havent allowed a man to call me his 'girlfriend' in over 6 years. but there is one thing that has kept me from calling it all off, even though i have wanted to many times. i have had guys i liked, thought i loved, and one i loved for a while. but when i look at this man, it feels like the amazing burden of this job, this lifestyle, this 24 hour a day mind fuck, has been lifted from my chest. my heart feels light, and when he smiles at me i feel just a tiny bit of peace. i dont know what the fuck any of this means. its probably cause he's got an amazing smile and i cant understand the dumbass words coming out of his mouth. but there is the tiniest chance that its something else. now, im not going to move north and live on a rice farm, i will be out of this country in two years, tops, just like always. but it does give me pause to think about how so many people have qualities that you feel on a core level, even if you cant really explain why. even coming from different cultures, backgrounds, languages, families, sometimes there really are kindred 'spirits'. sexually, non sexually, there are many people whom i meet for the briefest of moments and yet remember them for a lifetime. but to marry someone, to promise to grow together, when you dont even know how you will grow yourself? i barely like who i was 10 years ago, why should i expect another to do so. i dont know, it seems so arrogant to make such a promise. but if he asked me to come live with him on his farm as his partner in love and life until we decided to part, who knows what i might say. there could be worse things than this:
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
the thing that sucks about writing this blog is that all of the really cool stuff that happens, like holidays, or local events, some good and others just democratically inspiring, i cant write about them for safety reasons. we had a festival that i know for a fact for some of the family here it was absolutely the most fun they had ever had in their lives. one of them came to me later saying, "i wasnt happy (in my home country). i wasnt happy in the home i tried to build later. today i am happy, first time". this in broken english was enough to get a hard heart like mine to melt just a little. the unique opportunities afforded to me in this life have allowed me the knowledge of the pain, suffering, and cruel things of which a person is capable. but it has allowed me to feel the depth of honesty, frailty, compassion, and love of which a person can be capable as well. i know i harp on it, but one of the hardest times in my life was the year in a japanese hospital. but my physical therapist saw my determination and was willing to push me even harder. we would actually both be crying during therapy session, me from the pain, and her from her willingness to push even harder when i begged her to. she is such an honestly empathetic person, someone so pure of heart i cant believe i will meet the likes of her again. but i know i will.