The Three Dating Phases of the Modern Vietnamese American Female

Editor’s Note: These are the sole observations of AzNHeartThrob only. No one else, including my BcB colleagues. All examples are NOT based on any real people (that draft has been deleted and replaced with these lovely hypotheticals). Another note, this was written in 2006. For those that know me, that means something. As it were, 3 years later, I’m not this bitter anymore. Really. Promise.

Editor’s Note 2: I got these pictures from Flickr. If you know any of them (or ARE any of them, I will gladly remove. Promise).

PHASE I: “Dating the Vietnamese guy”

Phase 1 is typically classified as the early phase in a young Vietnamese American female’s post-pubescent/early dating rituals. It can easily be identified by the female’s eagerness and willingness to accept a relationship with a Vietnamese American male who may not be entirely the best fit for her, or is typically described in the Modern American English lexicon as a “Gangsta”. Said male will typically be a heavy smoker, an even more heavy drinker, most likely a gambler and ideally, holds a job that is far less advanced than his female counterpart. In all cases, the male will have a much lower education level, in all likelihood an AA degree*.

More ways to determine whether a relationship is in Phase 1 is to ask yourself, “If I met said girl’s boyfriend in a dark alley, would I be scared?” If the answer is yes, you have yourself a Phase 1. Why does this relationship work? Typically the dynamics of a post-war Vietnamese family includes an overbearing father figure and a diminutive mother figure. The young female learns early on that a Vietnamese American male is up against all odds and feels the need to nurture him, similar to how her mother responded when her father was upset or angry. This situation may be characterized as a reverse gender Oedipus complex.

Phase 1a - The Gangsta

Phase 1a – The Gangsta

A slightly related offshoot of this relationship is the “lifer”. Classified by a relationship that has lasted since high school through their mid-twenties, and in all likelihood, will result in a marriage. This is typically the ONLY possible way for a Vietnamese American male to marry a Vietnamese American female that is successful AND attractive. The male must be very coercive very early on in his post-pubescent age in order to achieve such a goal. Conversely, he must also be willing to sacrifice all other women in order to attain this “unicorn”. Typically, the male solves this dilemma by being unfaithful throughout the life of the relationship.

Phase 1 - The Lifer

Phase 1b – The Lifer

Some examples of Phase 1:

Example 1: Boyfriend is a drug dealer, in and out of jail, no college degree or job. Female is a college graduate, on to great things. Pharmacy school? Dentistry school? The sky’s the limit!

Example 2: Boyfriend works in a typical Silicon Valley corporation in an entry level position. No college education, but has been employed in said company since high school. Has been acquiring his degree at SJSU for the past 8 years. Female is a college graduate and works for a Fortune 500 company.

*for those of you unaware of the terminology associated with a non-four year degree, an AA degree is an Associate Degree which is awarded upon graduation from an accredited Community College. You may ask, they give out 2-year degrees? I thought Community College was only meant to be a transitional degree for students to inevitably attain a 4-year degree? But you would be incorrect. Such a degree does exist.

PHASE II: “Post-Vietnamese Guy”

The most easily identifiable Phase due to the unmistakable presence of a non-Vietnamese boyfriend. This phase typically follows Phase 1, and is usually met with a feeling of “self-realization” by the female. But lost in the idea of how horrible her relationship with Phase 1 was, is the notion that not all Vietnamese American males fit into the Phase 1 boyfriend mold (although the majority do). Phase 2 usually involves dating a Chinese American or Caucasian American male. Chinese Americans due to their ability to look like a Vietnamese American, but are typically found to be from a more prominent and more financially stable family background (ie Taiwanese) or have a background very similar to that of a Vietnamese American family (ie Hong Kong). Caucasian Americans due to their affinity towards Asian American women in general.

Phase 2 - The White Guy

Phase 2 – The White Guy

Example 1: Boyfriend is a Caucasian American male who’s last three girlfriends have been Chinese, Korean, Chinese in that order. Female met him at her new company where she is currently employed.

Example 2: Boyfriend is Korean American. Owns his own business. In all likelihood, she is dating him solely because of his height and his shining personality. The last statement was meant to be facetious, because as all Asian Americans know, the Korean American male is unable to feel emotions beyond: “drunk” or “angry”.

Phase III: “Pleasing the Parents”

This last phase has not been field tested, and should be classified as “Highly Theoretical”. Unless there has been hard evidence documented through years of empirical studies, this phase should not be construed as accurate as Phase I and Phase II. According to the prominent lawyer, Alexander Wong, Esq., Phase III is classified as the “pleasing the parents” stage. It refers back to the Vietnamese American females’ desire to emulate the relationship that she admired as a child: those of her parents. Although the relationship may not have been perfect, the mere ideal of a marriage with a Vietnamese American male and thus pleasing her parents, is an image that will inevitably lead the female to seek out a well educated and well groomed Vietnamese American male. Such males, in theory, do exist, yet they are unbelievably difficult to find. They are typically gay, married (to a white woman), or ugly. As it would be difficult to marry a homosexual man, and more unlikely to marry a married man, said female must resort to marrying a Vietnamese American male well below her typical standards. The relationship may not be the most ideal, but both parties are benefited by being from the same background and more often than not, the same religion. Also, both families will be satisfied with the banquet menu at the wedding: Peking duck and shark fin soup to name a few dishes.

Two aspects of the relationship must clearly be understood before this marriage can work. The female must first deal with the fact that she may be more compatible with a non-Vietnamese American, but is willing to sacrifice that happiness in order to please her family. The male must also understand that his future wife probably wants to marry him mostly to please her parents, and not for love.

Phase 3 - The Vietnamese Guy

Phase 3 – The Vietnamese Guy

Example 1: Female dates a South Asian American. Completely different religious, cultural and financial background, but is compatible with the female in every other way, in a deeper kind of way. She inevitably leaves said male in her late twenties to pursue a career as well as a Vietnamese American male to eventually marry.

That’s it. I challenge you to show me a counter-example, because I’ve only met one…


13 thoughts on “The Three Dating Phases of the Modern Vietnamese American Female

  1. I’m an East Indian-American male with a vietnamese american woman. I am divorced with 2 kids at 39 and she is a 27 year old pharmacist. We make the same amount of money. We are serious and talk of marriage. She had a white boyfriend of 2 years but wasn’t serious because he lacked ambition. Her parents do not know about my children or my past marriage. What do you think are our chances for success? My children live in Europe.



  2. Ravi- thanks for taking the time to read my rants. About your situation, what can I tell you that you already don’t know. The fact that you’re divorced, with kids, and older is not the ideal situation for ur wifeys parents. The fact that her parents don’t know about your divorce and kids is telling. But at least they know about YOU, right? So honestly, it really depends on what her relationship with her parents is. The fact that she’s a pharmacist is the most telling, because it’s one of three professions that Vietnamese parents are a-ok with along with computer engineering and business-related professions. So I imagine her parents already have some control over her already… Most pharmacists I know didn’t grow up wanting to shuffle legal drugs. All 5 vietnamese pharmacists I know had parents that wanted them to be doctors, but they wanted the $krilla right away and wanted, in many ways, a cush job. Reliable, consistent, and cash-money poppin.

    Because you seem like a nice guy who might get his heart ripped apart by a VN girl, I’ll tell you what I think. You’re a Phase 2 and whether or not your GF stops at Free Parking or passes Go to Phase 3 depends on her relationship with her Bo and Ma (dad and mom). I suggest you learn vietnamese (Viet ngu) and learn to cook a few dishes (master bun bo hue and I’ll buy you a cow). Show some motivation that you’re accepting of our culture and not doing this to “slay the yellow dragon”. Or dipping in the cradle.

    Oh, if you’re not in San Jo, OC, VA, or TX, you’re aight. If you are though, heed my advice.


    • I like your analysis. I agree i’m in phase 2 and live in OC. Most recently we were Cabo on an expensive vaca and I returned to her wanting/needing some space from me. I was shocked. She claimed I should work on my career (finish my MBA) and just flat out, “work on becoming a better catch” in the eyes of her friends. She told me she isn’t proud that I’m divorced with kids and doesn’t think my work title has high enough status even though I make almost what she does. A week later after though, we were back together. Mysteriously I don’t know why but we are. Maybe she just put all the issues on the back burner again like she said she did for the past 10 months. She claimed “maybe I need to get some advice from someone about us and everything. Is it enough to be treated well, never better by anyone else?” Will these issues come back to haunt me? Or has she accepted them now? We are now celebrating our 1 yr by her request.
      Her parents accept me, her father said early on that he came to terms that she probably will not marry Vietnamese. I started learning Vietnamese but have stopped. I do visit her family often and flatter her mother with her cooking. I think i’ve become an accepted person in their family as I attend all family events.
      As I see it and from what she tells me, she wants to be married sooner than later. Her older sister was married by 28 and her younger sister is about to be engaged. Early on she mentioned she wanted to marry me eventually. I think the recent break may have been because she wanted/wants her freedom before she gets married. I wasn’t pleased with her situation and threatened breaking up. She rescinded her stance and we made up. Hopefully she is over it.
      She is looking for it all and thinks she can get it. Good-looking, fit, healthy, successful, family man, reliable, financially well off. I’m all but the last because of my recent divorce.
      What’s your analysis now?


  3. Vietnamese: Phase 1
    Filipino: Phase 2

    Now your next option, either Vietnamese or anything else, will decide if you go stay at Phase 2 or jump to Phase 3. Choose wisely, Indy.


  4. To the Asian Dating website that keeps leaving comments on this Blog Post. No, I do not want you to leave your nonsensical Engrish comments with a link to your website selling aZn Brides to fat Kansas City lawyers.


  5. interesting you would use another stereotype to call me out. thanks b$. I hope you’re living happily with your white husband.


  6. Pingback: Ryan Padraig Kelly American Dating | ryanpadraigkellyefficient

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s