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.
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.
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.
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.
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…