"Who does he have with him?" the dim sum chef asked the waitress. "Look how he's parading her around knowing full well it'll get back to his wife."
Few people in the Chinese community know my parents have another child beyond my two siblings, so I am seldom recognized. The same people who used to be critical of my academic prowess ("Probably couldn't cut it in math," they'd tsk) now discuss my figure for fodder. How much I weigh, how small my waist, how "dainty" my feet appear in heels, everything is fair game for assessment. It's amazing the lengths people will go to avoid being engaging.
Now my mother is a true natural beauty: I have her smiling on my nightstand with immeasurable assurance. It is the face of limitless charity; I cannot compete. (*Editor's note: I become very sentimental whenever I bring her up. Layoff, it's a thing I have, like smothering breakfast items in ketchup and cutting phallic-shaped vegetables. What can I say? I love my mommy.)
I don't know what to think. Techbiana's roommate, MArt, is smitten with me. He's inquisitive, attentive, and very quick - the first man to unabashedly reveal his affections for me without a hint of insecurity.
I am flattered, yet petrified.
The truth is, I hardly get approached by the male specie. Men ogle me, whisper vulgarities into my ear on the street, and gossip behind my back. They smirk, they fidget, some go out of their way to be rude, so I find it much easier to live a solitary existence than let those cowardly bastards castrate my self-esteem.
It is a special man who does not feel the need to put on airs with me.
MArt is a regular beer chugging Joe with a Canadian-bred obsession with hockey. And he's nice. So nice. And he's talented. A prolific peintre. And the least pretentious person I've met here. And I'm afraid.
Of a lot of things really. I'm afraid that he's idealizing me. My intelligence, my appearance, my walk, my talk, he has a high opinion of me that seems barely substantiable. I'm also afraid of what it would mean for my freedom: my mother has always told me to hold onto it for as long as I can. Furthermore, I don't date. I find it artificial, which is partly the reason why my mandate in the past has been fucking and fleeing. Cloistering myself away prevents me from encountering the possibility of acting on my impulses again.
MArt overlooks my superficial qualities: the exorbitant amount of shoes, the potty mouth, an inherent urge to stand out, and who knows what else?
I, on the other hand, cannot get pass his. He drinks, he smokes, he has Irish hair, and wears baggy hibiscus-printed shorts - I realize I'm nitpicking, but it can't be helped: He's just so Canadian. I'm resisting his overtures because rarely do men request my company without some sort of pretense. They keep me nearby for exhibition purposes (which encourages me to slip away unnoticed), and speak to me only to be spoken to (in an effort to appear more interesting).
This, you must realize, is disheartening. But I'm also not begging to be accepted; I loathe the sport of sponsorship. So my dilemma seems to lie between receiving someone without the hindrince of haughty inhibitions and holding out for "something better" because any combination of the two would just be immoral. (I *heart* Kant.)
It's the greener pastures theory with a twist: You can't expect me to be sensible if I've only ever been fed AstroTurf.