There's also some self identity issues here...
November 2, 2011 8:51 AM   Subscribe

How do I meet 2nd generation Chinese women in the Bay Area? (Not as creepy as it sounds... I hope)

I look like I’m Chinese, after all my parents are Chinese. But I really don’t identify: I don’t read/speak any dialect, I barely use chopsticks correctly, don’t like math/martial arts/karaoke (ok those are stereotypes), and I don’t do the familial piety thing. I’m definitively second generation (if you count gen-1 as immigrants). “Banana”, “twinkie” I’ve heard it before. I’ve always wished I could be one of the guys in the Brooks Brothers catalog.

Having reached my advanced age of 34 – I’m ready to find the right woman, settle down, get married, have 2 kids, get a swagger wagon, a white picket fence, and all of that.

The catch: I have “Yellow Fever”. (Let’s put aside the question of whether an Asian can be an Asiaphile.)

So now I’m living in the SF Bay Area, where there’s plenty of Asians (majority in some cities.) But… well… what do I do?

1. The ones I personally know are all married and in their 30’s. I’d like to find someone who is in their late 20’s.
2. Many of the social groups (even meetups) tend to be very … well … “FOB”. I feel like a fish out of water – heck, English is frequently optional which really leaves me feeling left out.
3. Well… there’s also the fact that there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of single women here (compared to NY).

A blunt, crude way to put this: How do I meet, single, “ABC”/2+ generation Chinese women, who are 25-31 and have similar values to mine?
posted by bluelava to Human Relations (31 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Internet dating?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:04 AM on November 2, 2011

Online dating is useful for screening out those unsuitable 32 year olds you may otherwise encounter in the wild.
posted by lydhre at 9:12 AM on November 2, 2011 [18 favorites]

I'd ask your married friends if they know any nice single women who happen to be 2nd gen Chinese.

And I'd stick it out with the meet-ups unless the language barrier seems insuperable. Even if nothing happens with someone from the groups necessarily, you might meet friends of theirs with whom something might happen.

The more you expand your social circle the better for your dating prospects. So just keep up with everyone you know.

And the internet.
posted by Ziggy500 at 9:12 AM on November 2, 2011

Start a social group for second generation Chinese folks?
posted by needs more cowbell at 9:16 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

do you belong to a predominately Chinese church? That's where all my 2nd-generation cousins met their (2nd generation, otherwise-totally-assimilated) partners.

I didn't do the church thing growing up and certainly don't now, and found that it really kept me OUT of the 2nd generation social network. Which was fine with me, but it would be an easy thing to do if you wanted to get IN (and wanted to go to church anyway).

Otherwise: I think you should probably just try to meet single women in general. Weed out as you like or need to.
posted by peachfuzz at 9:16 AM on November 2, 2011

Because this has to be brought up:
single, “ABC”/2+ generation Chinese women, ... and have similar values to mine
not creepy to want people of a similar culture and would know where you are coming from.

who are 25-31
creepy, considering you are 34. also creepy because "I’m ready to find the right woman, settle down, get married, have 2 kids, get a swagger wagon, a white picket fence, and all of that."

I'm a mid-twenties single woman, and I have increasingly come across older men who see me as a baby-holder, family provider and all of life's answers. They all want to date younger (possibly more inexperienced) women and are not too concerned about who she actually is as a person. So as long she's decent looking, has a decent personality, and single, that checks all the boxes.

Not saying you are one of these older men, but you should be aware of how you're coming across and how younger women may perceive you.

Anyway, to answer your question, your strike rate would be much higher in places where demographics favour you. So, either do internet dating or consider moving to a city where there are a lot of young single women.

I would also echo the church thing, even if you are not religious. Churches have a high Asian population, and it seems like you would be finding what you are looking for there.
posted by moiraine at 9:22 AM on November 2, 2011 [23 favorites]

Ask if anybody you know has an available sister/cousin/neice/whathaveyou.
posted by easily confused at 9:22 AM on November 2, 2011

At the risk of sounding contrary, maybe hang out with your non-Asian friends more? If you want to find an Asian woman who identifies most with "white" culture, chances are she's not going to Asian-oriented meetups because she might also feel she doesn't fit in there.

Basically, if you want to find people who are into cannonical Western culture, do cannonically Western things. Sure, you'll meet a smaller proportion of Asians overall, but I think the ones you do meet will be much more likely to align to your values. Your "fob-y" Asian friends/relatives are most likely to be friends with other "fob-y" types.

Also, +1,000,000 for internet dating. (But I wouldn't make any explicit references to looking for an Asian lady in particular, that might come off as creepy. Just do your own screening quietly.)

It's hard to write this without sounding a little sterotypical/racist. Sorry. Just trying to increase your chances.
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 9:25 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

You are asking for something that may be difficult to find, but probably easier in CA than in NY.

If you're looking for a white woman in a Chinese woman clothing, it will be a little harder than if you're looking for a Chinese woman.

Do you not like the FOBs simply because they prefer to speak Chinese? I've been in the US for most of my life. I was too Chinese for the ABCs. I ended up dating white men only.

Hang out with the FOBs, don't miss out on meeting a girl perfect for you because they speak mostly Chinese. I didn't speak English when I came to this country and I became fluent. You'll gain some Chinese, she'll gain some English and the next thing you'll know, you're a little more Chinese, she's a little American, love happens and suddenly, you're driving a Toyota Hylander with your kids heading to Chinese school on a Saturday morning!

Like others can try Internet dating too.

Good luck.
posted by Yellow at 9:35 AM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]

I know about 50 Asian-American women in San Fran, all of whom are 2nd or 3rd generation, and sometimes of mixed ancestry. Almost none of them really attend "Asian only" meet-ups, churches or clubs. Some of them date 2nd or 3rd generation Asian guys, but lots date all sorts of guys. My suggestion is to get more involved in a scene where you can meet Asian women as people - a running club, volunteer group, whatever. Many of them are involved with what might be loosely described as "people of color" groups - not just Asian.

It's not that weird that you are hoping to click with someone of a similar background, but it is annoying that you're looking for someone who is a good deal younger than you. Why are you afraid of 30 year old + Asian women? Because eventually your 28 year old bride will be 34.... and then what?
posted by barnone at 9:46 AM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]

25, Asian female in SF, not 2nd generation but raised in Western countries. I generally avoid Asian-oriented anything, like meetups or 5a5 Steakhouse. I do, however, spend a lot of time doing stuff white people like, like going to coffee shops, drinking delicious IPAs in dive bars and eyeing up vegetables at the farmers' markets. Basically, if you do the normal twinkie things that you like to do and see an Asian girl who is also doing the normal twinkie things that you like to do, maybe you should approach her! She too might be just as twinkie as you.

Also, church. I don't go in for it myself but, while I check many of your boxes, I am totally not into the whole picket fence and popping out babies malarkey, at least until I run out of better things to do -- a nice, church-going girl might be interested in that deal though.
posted by superquail at 9:50 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

You can totally do this. Get involved with Hyphen Magazine, it's an SF-based Asian American culture magazine staffed by 20-30-something journalists, artists, internets, and marketing people. They're having an event this Saturday, which might be a good time to meet folks. (Disclosure: my friend founded the magazine and I've met lots of people involved with it and they seem like who you are looking for.)
posted by *s at 9:55 AM on November 2, 2011

Also go to tech related meetups and design related events - when I lived in SF, that's where it seemed to me the smartest Asian Americans seemed to be in the majority.
posted by infini at 10:00 AM on November 2, 2011

The woman you are looking for is probably grossed out by a lot of 'typical Fobby Asian' things - church and Armani exchange and boba tea and whatever cutesy fobby Tokidoki business is happening these days -

- and even MORE grossed out by anyone who, Chinese or not, self-declaratively "has Asian fever." If you are Asian it is even grosser that you say this because you of all people know how ick this phrase is. STRIKE THIS PHRASE, PERMANENTLY, FROM YOUR VOCABULARY.

More productively: the women you are looking for are out livign their lives and trying to do everything that is non-traditional. So find them at their gallery openings and their film screenings and their rock concerts and their poetry readings and their fashion shows and their startup meetups and their video game conventions and their design showcases and their boutiques and their vegan bakeries where they are trying to create instead of conform.
posted by sestaaak at 10:05 AM on November 2, 2011 [6 favorites]

The only thing creepy about your post is your insistence on someone who is in their late 20s; Why are you looking for someone who is at LEAST 5 years younger than you? No really, why? You could find a lovely, suitable 27 year old, marry her and get your white picket fence only to find out she's infertile. You want to find a partner in life, not just a baby incubator. You should be looking for someone compatible with you, so I'd up your age range to include your own age. As a woman in her late 20s I will happily date men in their early 30s...but not if I find out they wont date women their own age. That shit is CREEPY AS HELL.

And as for FINDING these women...well you've just described all of my Asian friends. I grew up in the Bay Area and the women you seem to be looking for make up a decent percentage of my friends. Other commenters are right; assimilated Chinese-American women go to events for things they're interested in, not Chinese-American meetups. They date men of all colors who have similar interests and outlooks. Live your life, go to meetups and events that interest you. This is the Bay Area! If you don't meet at least 2 or 3 assimilated Asian women at each event, I'll eat my shorts. And online dating, definitely. But that's the answer to everything, apparently.
posted by JuliaIglesias at 10:12 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Just another data point here, I'm from the bay area and 2nd generation asian (but not chinese) but basically I am really surprised you are having trouble meeting people similar to you in background.

That said I have to chime in and say that if you do meet a girl that ticks your boxes and are in their 20's, the fact that you are turned off by anyone over 30 will probably turn THEM off. Best keep that a deep dark secret because ew.

So if you can get over that, here is where my friends who fit your criteria hang out:
- Running clubs, training for marathons
- Gallery openings and museums
- Music gigs
- Food truck gatherings
- Giants games

Unsurprisingly, none of them really scream out "Americanized Chinese girl fest" more like "where people hang out." Maybe it's just a matter of going out more and living life.
posted by like_neon at 10:28 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

It sounds like you're looking for someone who was raised as a true minority; someone whose experience growing up was being one of a handful of Asian kids at school. Someone who grew up identifying with the predominant American "white" culture. The second generation Asian-Americans that you'll find in the Bay Area don't often have this experience. The predominant culture for most Asian-Americans who grew up in Cupertino, Milpitas, Fremont, Palo Alto, or San Jose is Asian-American, not "white". There are enough of them that Asian pop music, Asian food, and Asian fashion were part of the youth culture growing up. I grew up in the Bay Area and all my friends were Asian-Americans. As you've found, most Asian-American/Chinese culture meetups are going to cater to this group. I've also found that many Asian-American churches have the same, um, issue. I suspect this is the group that you're having difficulty identifying with. I'd suggest you avoid cultural events altogether.

You might have better luck with people and social events further from the heart of Silicon Valley. That particular Bay Area Asian-American culture has less influence the further you get from there.
posted by millions of peaches at 11:22 AM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]

4-gen Asian-American girl in her late 20's here. I'm not Chinese, but I look close enough, and I grew up in a Chinese neighborhood and used to live in the Bay Area.

General advice: I would do is drop the description of "yellow fever"; it squicks me out to no end when white guys use it, and an Asian man self-identifying that way is approximately eleventy billion times worse. Second, I would throw out your age limits. It is an immensely huge turnoff anytime I encounter a man who only dates women younger than him, even when I'm younger than him, because it signals a general attitude towards women needing to fit in his checklist, and lemme tell you, I hated strict checklist daters.

To meet Asian-American women, I might tentatively start with friends and family, because I've yet to encounter an immigrant community where matchmaking wasn't a major pastime. This is one of those things that's very hit or miss and can take awhile, but I've seen it produce results every so often. Internet dating is also an easy way to filter for your specific interests.

I probably wouldn't go to Asian-themed events, but there are probably a fair number of Asian-American activities you can find, like the Hyphen Magazine meetup *s mentioned. Disclaimer, I also knew some people who were involved at Hyphen. I would also look into general activity groups and volunteer organizations located in Asian-populated neighborhoods, but don't cater strictly to Asian interests. Language classes, weirdly enough, might also be a way to meet some American-born Asian women. I never learned any Chinese dialects, but I definitely ran into a fair number of American-born Asians when I was taking Japanese classes.

But really, if you wanted to meet a girl like me, and it sounds like you do, I would throw out the checklist and just look around for compatible people to hang out with and do stuff with. Americanized Chinese girls don't get Americanized by hanging out with each other waiting for some Americanized Chinese boy to sweep them up. They go out and do American things, which is what you should be doing too. Living well tends to attract women way more than grumbling about all the FOBs and pining for the Brooks Brothers lifestyle.
posted by Diagonalize at 11:43 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Go on OK Cupid, look for the Asians with good sentence structure and slang terms. It's usually pretty easy to tell the generationals from the immigrants (no, I am not nativist, just a grammar snob). Beyond that, it's up to you to filter for your preferences for specifically-Chinese or drinkers or whatever.
posted by rhizome at 11:51 AM on November 2, 2011

Come to Cupertino. It's what, 28% Chinese?

Seriously, search for Asian singles events. Attend a Chinese church if you're at all religious. Or try the zillions of dating sites specializing such as YourAsianConnection. Or just walk down Stockton street and stop the various aunties doing shopping there and ask if they know any single women. You'll be overwhelmed by the response.
posted by blob at 6:18 PM on November 2, 2011

Wow, lots of great answers. Some thoughts.

1. Church - I'm a semi-militant atheist.

2. Good explanations why Asian-American meetups n the Bay Area don't work for me. (Incidentally, I'm just reading one now about a thanksgiving "potlock". Of course, the group name has 888 in it... perhaps that should've been a clue.)

3. Wow, this really did reveal that I grew up in a place where there were few Asians - no wonder I feel so out of place here (because there are so many Asians.)

4. I get it... the age thing is creepy. I get it.
posted by bluelava at 12:01 AM on November 3, 2011

I also wanted to clarify that by "Bay Area" I specifically meant San Francisco. So many Chinese-American-stress-on-Americans there (and I mean outside of Chinatown obviously) and something always happening. Just get yourself out more. Good luck!
posted by like_neon at 5:57 AM on November 3, 2011

Why is the race thing non creepy but the age thing creepy. You like what you like. End of.
posted by Not Supplied at 9:08 AM on November 3, 2011

Just visited YourAsianConnection - linked from above. Threw up a little in my mouth.
posted by bluelava at 9:17 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

I agree that San Francisco, the Penninsula, and the south bay have a LOT of second generation Asians, especially Chinese, but there are a ton in Oakland, too, and quite a few in Berkeley. I am not sure how you've AVOIDED having a lot of Asian-American friends around here!

I agree about hanging out in the places you'd like your date to be into. I don't know- what do you admire? The museums? Symphony? It's true I don't see so many Asian American women at the manual labor sorts of pasttimes, like art welding, but you might try sailing.

Whatever you're into, some of the women who go there will probably be Chinese American, too.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:37 PM on November 3, 2011

Maybe the next question is - how do I approach these said women? (And why does it seem like they're always taken already, with white guys?)
posted by bluelava at 3:40 PM on November 6, 2011

Well, you approach them like you would approach any woman. Americanized Chinese women are not some exotic species that requires special handling. :) They're just people.

Walk up, smile, then say something relevant to the situation.

- She's at a food event holding something delicious-looking? "Wow, that looks so good! What's in it?"
- In the snacks line at a sports event? "Oh man, did you see that last play? Wasn't it amazing/awful/ridiculous?"
- At a craft brew bar? "Hi! Whatcha drinking?" (unless it's clearly a PBR or whatever, of course). "This menu is huge, do you have a favourite?"
- Indie music gig? "This opener's not bad, huh? Did you catch their name?"

Just go up to them. Be nice and relaxed and positive and friendly, and say something that allows them to respond. If all else fails, there's always the trusty "Hi, I'm bluelava, how are you doing?" Then read their response accordingly.

I'm guessing it seems like these women are already all taken because you're looking for a date. I mean, you're not exactly the first single person to moan "why are all the good ones taken???"

As for why these women tend to have white boyfriends, it might just mean that the particular women you've encounterd don't have a racial preference and white American men are generally most likely to be into white American things (i.e., the same things these Americanized women are into).

Or maybe they do have a racial preference -- just like you do, but for a different race. It's just up to odds and luck here -- keep trying and believe that if there's someone like you that exists, there's probably a good number of female counterparts out there. People are not so special or different from each other as we might like to believe.
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 4:51 PM on November 6, 2011

miss_kitty_fantastico is giving you good advice; heed her wisdom.

I would also strongly emphasize not whining about Asian girls dating white guys too loudly in mixed company. It really irritates me when any minority women are singled out or criticized for dating or marrying outside their own group. I did not start dating my fiance because he is white, but quite frankly, even if I did, I would still have absolutely zero obligation to date Asian men simply because they want me to.

I know there are plenty of available "Americanized Chinese" women in the Bay Area. Some of them even want to date you, but you seem weirdly fixated on the ones you aren't interested in or aren't interested in you. I promise, society really isn't going out of its way to thwart your love life; you just have to put yourself out there and try to connect with people. Just make sure you're interacting them as individuals and not just check boxes. Share an interest in the things they do, not just in what they are. Once you've established a common ground, it gets easier to segue into friendly conversation, and then you can go from there.
posted by Diagonalize at 7:24 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

I don't think a girl has to be 2nd generation to have the same value as you do. Why limit yourself? Keep your option open and wait for the right person instead of right background/race, you might be surprised.
posted by artofgiving at 12:29 AM on November 8, 2011

I would also strongly emphasize not whining about Asian girls dating white guys too loudly in mixed company.

And also, if Asian women themselves voice interest only in white men, don't make a big deal about it. It's probably not a good idea to try to date someone like that anyways.

Topic creator, I don't think you should completely give up events catered toward Asians. There are a lot of us 1.5 gen folks that put on one mask when going down to the local watering hole for pub quiz or sports on Fridays and then put the other mask on while elbowing through a disorganized horde to get their number for the dim sum place on a late Saturday morning.

My suggestion is, you might have better luck either going to general Asian-American events OR mixed Asian events. It's not as common to meet someone Asian that speaks both Chinese and Korean as it meet a European that speaks French and Italian, so naturally English becomes the de facto language at these events. Thus, you'll be able to communicate. At that point, I'd suggest acting like your natural self. Most people there will pick up that you see more Westernized or American, and will adjust their behavior accordingly. If you don't find someone potentially dateable, try to make some friends and see what they do for fun. If what they do is more "American" to you, then it might be a good idea to see if they'd like you to tag along.
posted by FJT at 4:35 PM on November 9, 2011

*Oh yes, and I meant to say that the reason to tag along is that they may hang out with other Asian folks who are more Americanized.
posted by FJT at 4:45 PM on November 9, 2011

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