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我和“不和亚裔约会”的亚裔女生约会了

更新时间:2019/7/25 19:24:58 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

When a Dating Dare Leads to Months of Soul Searching
我和“不和亚裔约会”的亚裔女生约会了

At 2 a.m., two blocks from Chinatown, Sarah ended our first date by telling me that my race might be an issue.

凌晨2点,在离唐人街两个街区远的地方,莎拉在结束我们的第一次约会时跟我说,我的种族可能会是个问题。

What was supposed to be a one-hour coffee date had evolved into a nine-hour marathon. From discussing the five love languages during dinner to telling stories about our exes at Coit Tower, we didn’t even notice that we had traversed four San Francisco neighborhoods and logged 10,000 steps.

原想着就是个一小时的咖啡约会,结果变成了九小时的马拉松。从晚餐时讨论五种爱的语言,到在科伊特塔(Coit Tower)旁讲述我们前任的故事,我们甚至没注意到,我们已经穿过了旧金山的四个社区、走了一万步。

We had a lot in common, having experienced what some might describe as all-American upbringings. Born and raised in America’s former Wild West (she in Texas, I in Colorado), we had read “Little House on the Prairie” and learned to square-dance in cowboy boots. We’d both spent time on the football field — she in the marching band, I as a strong safety. She loves country music and, well, I don’t hate country music.

由于经历了一些人可能称为纯美国的成长方式,我们有很多共同点。出生并生长在原来的美国西部(她在得克萨斯,我在科罗拉多),我们读过《草原小屋》(Little House on the Prairie),也学过穿着牛仔靴跳方块舞。我们都在橄榄球场上消磨过时间——她在军乐队里,我则是个强侧安全卫。她热爱乡村音乐,我嘛,我不讨厌乡村音乐。

Over dinner, we connected when we opened up about our strained relationships with our mothers and how we came into our own when we went to college out of state. Our thoughts and values mirrored each other, as did our Myers-Briggs personality types. Then, as we strolled to the front of her apartment building, Sarah said, “I have to tell you something.”

晚餐时,我们变得很亲密,畅谈了同母亲的紧张关系,以及如何在去州外上大学期间找到自己。我们的想法和价值观彼此相像,迈尔斯-布里格斯(Myers-Briggs)性格类型也是。接着,在我们踱步到她公寓楼前时,莎拉说,“我要跟你说件事。”

I smiled, expecting something from one of the countless jokes we had shared that day. Instead, she said, “You’re the first Asian guy I’ve ever gone on a date with. I’m not sure how I feel about that.”

我笑了,想着会是我们那天分享过的无数笑话中扯出的什么事。但她却说,“你是我约会过的第一个亚裔男生。我不确定我对这一点的感受是怎样的。”

After talking nonstop all day, I was at a loss for words. Because here’s the kicker: Sarah is Asian-American. Her parents immigrated from Taiwan. Mine came from mainland China.

在一刻不停地交谈一整天后,我不知道说什么好。因为问题出在这里:莎拉是亚裔美国人。她的父母是台湾移民。我的父母来自大陆。

“If things don’t work out,” she said, “would it hurt your confidence?”

“如果事情没有结果,”她说,“会伤害你的自尊心吗?”

“Hey, don’t worry about it,” I said. “I’ve got enough confidence for both of us. When my friends ask what happened, I’ll say, ‘She had everything going for her, but sometimes things get between people.’” I smiled. “‘Like racism.’”

“嗨,别担心这个,”我说。“我对我们俩都有足够的信心。要是朋友问起发生了什么,我会说,‘她一切顺利,但有时候人和人之间会遇到些事情。’”我笑着说。“比如种族歧视。”

She gave a halfhearted laugh. “I’m sorry. It’s not that I don’t like Asian things. I love all Asian food, even stinky tofu. It’s just that I’ve never really been attracted to Asian men. I think it’s because there weren’t a lot of Asians in my small Texas town. All the Asian men I knew were either my friends’ dads or like nerdy brothers to me.”

她敷衍地笑了一下。“很抱歉。并不是我不喜欢亚洲的东西。我热爱所有亚洲美食,甚至爱吃臭豆腐。只是我从来没真正喜欢过亚裔男性。我想这是因为,在我那个得克萨斯小镇,亚裔很少。我以前认识的所有亚裔男性要么是朋友的爸爸,要么就像我的书呆子兄弟。”

It was as if she were swiping right on the parts of her heritage she liked and swiping left on the parts she didn’t.

那就好像在浏览她的文化传承,见到喜欢的那部分手指向右滑,不喜欢的向左滑。

I knew Sarah wasn’t unusual when it came to these preferences. It’s shockingly common to come across profiles that say, “Sorry, no Asians.”

我知道在这些偏好上,莎拉没什么不寻常之处。在个人简介里写着“抱歉,亚裔免谈”的情况惊人地多。

Maybe Asian men need better representation. When I was growing up, there were no mainstream movies like “Crazy Rich Asians” putting a spotlight on attractive Asian leading men. There were no all-Asian boy bands like BTS gracing the cover of Time and winning over American teenagers on “Saturday Night Live.”

也许亚裔男性需要更好的银幕形象。在我成长的过程中,没有像《疯狂亚洲富人》(Crazy Rich Asians)这类主流电影,将有吸引力的亚裔男主演置于聚光灯下。那时也没有防弹少年团(BTS)这样的全亚裔男团登上《时代》(Time)杂志封面,在《周六夜现场》(Saturday Night Live)赢得美国青少年的喜爱。

With Sarah’s admission, the last nine minutes of our date undid the previous nine hours. You hear stories of people being catfished by fake online profiles. My date was turning into a catfish tale of its own; I was out with someone who had revealed herself to be completely different from who she first appeared to be. I wondered: Is this actual racism, or, even more pernicious, internalized racism — a form of self-hatred?

莎拉的坦白,让我们约会的最后九分钟抵消了前面九个小时。你会听到人们被假的网络简介蒙骗的故事。我的约会也快要成了那种故事了;与我约会的人展现出和她起初看上去完全不同的样子。我在想:这是否实际上是种族歧视,还是一种更恶性的、已经内化的种族歧视——一种自我憎恶?

“I grew up believing Asians weren’t desired,” Sarah said. “I just wanted to fit in, but my friends had a hard time understanding my parents, and our house didn’t look or smell like my friends’ homes. Whenever I complained about how different we were, my parents would just remind me that despite my efforts, people will always treat me like I don’t belong.”

“我在成长过程中一直认为亚裔不受欢迎,”莎拉说。“我只想融入,但我的朋友很难理解我的父母,我们家和朋友家的样子或气味也不同。无论什么时候我抱怨起我们有多不一样,父母只会让我想到,尽管我很努力,人们对待我的方式总像是我不属于这里。”

Her saying that clarified something for me. Despite our similarities, we didn’t have the same experience growing up. I was never in want of attention; in fact, I probably received more because I was one of the few Asian students in school. I could be embarrassed by my parents’ broken English at parent-teacher conferences, but what boy isn’t embarrassed by his parents? Most important, where Sarah’s parents warned her about her Asian identity, my parents celebrated ours. We were proud to be Asian in America.

她的这番话让我明白了一些事情。尽管我们有相似之处,我们的成长经历并不相同。我从不缺少他人的关注;事实上,作为学校里为数不多的亚裔学生,我很可能得到了更多关注。我可能曾在师生见面会上对父母的蹩脚英语感到尴尬,但哪个男孩没因父母尴尬过呢?最重要的是,在莎拉的父母提醒她要注意的亚裔身份方面,我的父母都欣然接纳。我们以身为美国亚裔而自豪。

Rather than seeing Sarah’s revelations as a red flag, I found them to be honest and vulnerable. And I felt as if I were uniquely suited to understand her predicament. Even though society views us as the same, Sarah grew up thinking being different was a weakness while I grew up thinking different was a strength. As a whole generation of minorities come of age in minority-majority America, I wondered how many other people were grappling with this issue.

我没有把莎拉的坦白相告当成危险信号,相反,我觉得这是诚实和脆弱的表现。并且我似乎感到我特别适合理解她的困境。尽管社会把我们看成是一样的,莎拉在成长过程中一直认为和他人不一样是弱势,我则一直认为不一样是优势。随着一整代少数族裔在美国少数族裔占多数的地区长大成人,我不知道还有多少人在努力面对这个问题。

I was still perplexed, though. How did we match on the dating app in the first place? She had to swipe right, and I certainly had not become Asian overnight. “So why did you go on a date with me?” I said.

但我仍然感到困惑。我们最一开始是怎么在约会应用上配对成功的呢?她首先得右滑,而我当然也不是一夜之间变成亚裔的。“那么你为什么要和我约会?”我说。

She exhaled and looked at me imploringly. “Because my friends dared me to go on one date with an Asian guy. And you’re not what I expected. I realize how horrible this sounds, but I guess I, too, feed into the Asian stereotype.”

她呼了口气,哀求地看着我。“因为朋友挑战我,看我敢不敢和亚裔男生约会一次。而你和我想像的不一样。我意识到这听上去有多么恐怖,但我猜我也在助长亚裔刻板印象。”

We were standing awfully close to each other. It occurred to me this was probably her closest romantic encounter with an Asian man.

我们站得有点过近了。我突然想到,这可能是她和一个亚裔男人最近距离的浪漫接触。

I reached out and held her hands. “I think I understand. You really want to kiss me, don’t you?”

我伸出手,握住了她的手。“我想我能明白。你真的很想亲我,对吗?”

She smiled and half rolled her eyes.

她微微一笑,半翻了一下白眼。

Figuring I had nothing to lose, I leaned in gently and kissed her.

我想着我没什么可失去的,便轻轻靠上前去,吻了她。

She kissed back but then pushed me away and started to reach for the door.

她吻了回来,然后却把我推开,开始向门口走去。

At that point, I didn’t know what to think. Was she rejecting me as a dating formality, or because my race made us an impossibility? I felt indignant. Shouldn’t I reject her outright on behalf of all Asian men?

那个时候,我不知道该去想什么。她拒绝我是出于约会礼节,还是因为我的种族让我们变成了不可能?我感到愤慨。难道我不该代表所有亚裔男性直接拒绝她?

No.

不。

One of my favorite movies is “Before Sunrise,” where two strangers meet on a train, go on an extended date across a city and begin to fall in love. Celine, the female lead, talks about how when we’re young, we believe there will be many people we’ll connect with, and how only when we’re older do we realize it happens only a few times.

我最爱的电影之一是《爱在黎明破晓前》(Before Sunrise),片中两个陌生人在一辆火车上相遇,在一个城市经历了一场漫长的约会,开始坠入爱河。女主角塞琳娜说起年轻时,我们会认为和我们心意相通的会有很多人,但只有当年长一些,我们才会认识到,这种情形只会发生几次。

I may have been just 31, but I was old enough to know that this was one of those times.

我或许只有31岁,但我已经不小,知道这是那几次中的一次。

I thought (hoped!) Sarah felt the same thing, but it seemed my race was keeping her from recognizing it. One night of flirting could hardly undo years of assumptions she had embraced about what is desired. I had never connected so deeply in one date as I had with her and felt thwarted by forces beyond my control.

我以为(希望!)莎拉也有同样的感觉,但好像我的种族让她意识不到这一点。一晚上的情意相投很难抵消多年来她所信奉的想要什么的设想。我从没有在一次约会中,像和她那样深切地心意相通,但感觉被不受控制的力量阻挠着。

First dates, by their nature, are not safe spaces. We’re made to confront our preferences and prejudices, whether they be about appearance, race, body shape, intelligence or anything else. One thing was clear, though: As I heard the click of the door opening — the door that would shut me out of her life — I realized I was mistaken about me having enough confidence for both of us.

初次约会的性质决定了不会是安全空间。我们必须直面我们的偏好和偏见,无论是关于外表、种族、体型、智力或任何别的什么。不过有一点是明确的:当我听到咔嗒一下,那扇将把我关在她人生之外的门打开时,我意识到我把我自己的信心错当成了我们两个人的信心。

But she didn’t go inside. She stopped, holding the door slightly open. Then, almost as quickly as she had stepped away, she turned around and, with a sly smile, planted another kiss on my lips.

但她没进去。她停了下来,门微开着。接着,几乎就像她匆匆走开一样,她很快转过身,俏皮地一笑,在我的唇上又吻了一下。

Many months later, after more dates, kisses and moments of vulnerability over stinky tofu, we decided to get married. On Aug. 31, 2019, we will be tying the knot in my home state.

几个月过去,在经历了更多约会、亲吻和面对臭豆腐的磨难时刻之后,我们决定结婚。2019年8月31日,我们将在我的家乡州共结连理。

Sarah thought she knew how she wanted her life to play out. She thought she knew what kind of person she would find attractive and marry. We all do that to some degree, whether those expectations involve race, career choice or the number of children we want. That Sarah was open to examining those assumptions (even encouraging and helping me to write about them) was another quality that drew me to her.

莎拉以为自己已经知道自己想要怎样一个人生。她觉得,她知道她会被什么样的人吸引然后结婚。某种程度上,我们都知道,无论那些期待关乎种族、职业选择还是想要几个孩子。莎拉愿意检验那些设想(甚至鼓励并帮我把它们写出来),是她吸引我的另一个品质。

Our childhoods shape us. I hadn’t fully appreciated how Sarah’s had shaped her. Now, at least, we can shape our future together.

童年塑造了我们。我还没完全明白莎拉的童年如何塑造了她。但至少现在,我们可以一起塑造彼此的未来。

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