'It’s easy to succumb to stereotypes, and that can stop you from going for the woman or man that you deserve'
I’ve been living in the US since 2007, where I moved right after finishing college in the Philippines. You can just imagine all the adjustments I had to make upon my move, but here is one rude awakening that hit me hard early on: Dating in the US was going to be a hell of a challenge.
Dating is already a challenge for anyone as it is, but back in the Philippines, looking similar to the people I wanted to date and knowing the local culture and dating behaviors definitely made me more confident in my game. When I moved to the US, however, I had to deal with the issue of race—something I barely even considered back home.
Around women, I often found myself wondering, “Does this white/black/Latina girl really want to hang out with me?” Or worse, “Does this girl think I’m the Asian stereotype, uh, down there?” As a member of an often-overlooked minority in the US, it was hard to build up the confidence to go after anyone, especially someone who belonged to a different race. I often psyched myself out by thinking, “I’ve never dated a white/black/Latina girl before! What if I screw up?”
For me, a clueless Filipino male in his early 20s then, dating in the States was like immediately playing a game you had just bought on “expert” level—even if you knew squat about it.
That was ten years ago, though. I’m happy to announce that I am now with a great girl. Her name is Brynn. And yes, she is white.
By the time I met Brynn, I had already dated a few women in the States and wasn’t as clueless as I was when I first landed (thank God). I was actually even married prior to dating her. (Nothing like a failed relationship in a foreign land to teach you that love and heartbreak are an international ordeal—everyone goes through them.)
Like a number of today’s couples, Brynn and I met through that modern facilitator of romance: Tinder. I had been on Tinder for just a little while then following a bad breakup; meanwhile, Brynn had just moved from Florida to Seattle where I’m based for a change of scenery. Needless to say, we both swiped right.
Our courtship was nothing like the traditional months-long ligaw that’s common in the Philippines, because things were mutual from the get-go. I knew from the moment I met her that I had found someone on the same wavelength, because our conversations were effortless. She made me laugh, I made her laugh. Besides our matching sense of humor, we also had stimulating intellectual conversations. I found her cute. She is sexy. I found both her mind and body very attractive.
From the start, everything was pretty straightforward between us: I liked her, she liked me, neither of us played games. We kissed on our first date, we got matching semicolon tattoos on our second date, and after a couple of weeks of seeing each other, we decided to become “Facebook official.”
Brynn and I come with differences, of course—one only needs to look at the color of our skin, hair, and eyes to see that. But the differences only serve to enhance our relationship, mostly by enriching our conversations, stories, insights, and perspectives. Instead of being a cause for quarrels, our enriched outlooks bring our social, political, and ideological conversations to a whole new level, which is great because we both like intellectual conversations. And personally, I love learning more about her and her family and upbringing. It’s absolutely fascinating to me how different her life was from mine growing up.
Brynn and I are now happily engaged. We live together in an apartment with our two dogs, Macaroni and Cheese. And like everyone else in this country regardless of race or ethnicity—like everyone else in the world, really—we’re just two people trying to make it through each day.
To my fellow Pinoy males reading this, I can understand if you think it would be a stretch for someone like you or me to date an American girl, and a white girl at that. But to me, being with Brynn feels like the most natural thing in the world.
If you’ve ever been curious about dating a woman of a different race, or if you’ve recently met someone of another nationality you’d love to get to know, here’s my advice: don’t let yourself get in the way. It’s so easy to succumb to the stereotypes, notions, and misconceptions you’ve long harbored in your head about foreigners, and that can stop you from going for the woman or man that you deserve.
It sounds cheesy, but just be yourself. Let your personality, not the color of your skin, stand out. In the end, we are all just human beings trying to find the right person to grow old with.
*Name has been changed
In celebration of Stan Smith Day
Nick Oyzon is in the house!
Paging the local government