I Date Outside My Race Because My Race Won’t Date Me

As some of my friends have noticed, none of my last few girlfriends were Asian. My usual response is, “why, am I supposed to have an Asian fetish?”

Okay, okay, I know what they’re implying: I’m Asian. And Asians are supposed to like other Asians. Right?

Sure. And eat rice. And love math. And know just how much starch to add to your laundry…..

Point being, my last few girlfriends have been of the noticeably non-Asian variety, which has led to my unceremonious branding with the “twinkie” label. (In case you aren’t hip on your urban speak, a twinkie is an Asian who acts white—that is, yellow on the outside, but white on the inside.)

Whether or not I really am made up of a gooey white cream center and can now be found in heart-wrenching deep-fried form at the county fair, the truth is that I rarely meet Asian women who are interested in me. For years now, I’ve wondered if all is not harmonious in the land of Rice Rocketry. For years now, I’ve suspected that a disproportionate number of Asian women here in San Diego only want to date non-Asian men.

Well, I finally decided to verify my suspicions by turning to the ultimate refuse… er, refuge of superficiality: Match.com.

On Match, not only can people list their own ethnicity, they can also list every ethnicity they’re willing to date. So, I ran a search for women between the ages of 21 and 40, who list themselves as Asian, and who reside within 50 miles of my zip code. Of these women, I wanted to see what percentages 1) specifically include Asian as one of their preferences, and 2) specifically exclude Asian as one of their preferences.

My query returned the profiles of 687 Asian women. Well, this was turning out to be a daunting task. So I enlisted the help of a programmer friend, Joe, who wrote a piece of computer code to scour these profiles and collect the data.

Not only did Joe’s code fail miserably at collecting the data, it proceeded to send “winks” on my behalf to 18 of these women. (On the plus side, two winked back, and one was pretty cute. So, Joe, you’re forgiven.)

Eventually, I did manage to collect the data for 396 women. Here are the results:

169 list no preference
116 include Asian as a preference
111 exclude Asian as a preference

Basically, nearly 30% of the Asian women in San Diego who are on Match.com openly refuse to date Asian men.

I suspect the actual percentage is even higher. No doubt, some of the women who don’t specify preference also refuse to date Asians, but won’t admit it publicly. In technical terms then, I think the results can be summed up as follows:

Dude, this is some major suckage.

So what’s the deal then? Why this pattern? I have a few guesses:

Traditional Asian cultures can be notoriously xenophobic. As such, a second-generation Asian-American with traditionally-minded parents will probably have to shoulder a ton of pressure to marry an Asian. I wonder if some Asian women date outside their race as a way to rebel against their parents.

More cynically, though, I suspect another reason:


I believe that many Asian women (as with many minority women, in general) feel a sense that they are raising their social status by dating white men. This status issue isn’t alleviated at all by the stereotype of the Asian male as the symbol of non-virility and sexual ineptitude.

No matter the reason, the statistics leave me with a dearth of potential dates. If Match.com is any reflection of the general population of San Diego, one out of every three Asian women I meet here—if not more—has already excluded me from her dating pool. Yikes.

I mean, I’d understand if I’d done something stupid to get myself banned from the pool (like, you know, getting drunk on the first date and peeing off the diving board). But, these women aren’t even letting me in their pool in the first place.

I’m the Asian kid standing outside, rattling the gate in envy as I watch all the other kids slipping and sliding around and having a splashing grand time.

And all I can do is sit here and seethe while I do my calculus homework.

This is why my last few girlfriends haven’t been Asian. And this is why I started dating mostly non-Asian women. In a way, it’s my “eff you” to the Asian women here in San Diego:

“You’re Asian, but you won’t date an Asian guy? Eff you. Two can play that game.”

Is it jaded and bitter of me?


Do two wrongs make a right?

Perhaps. (Hey, don’t you make me invoke my math superpowers and remind you that a double-negative does indeed make a positive. Math, that’s where I’m a Viking.)

The bottom line is… it’s reality.

I’m not opposed to dating an Asian woman. (I know my mom, for one, would be eternally grateful.) I’ll date any ethnicity. But I’m not going to waste my time pursuing a segment of the population that has already ruled me out.

So, if my last few girlfriends weren’t Asian… oh well. They were wonderful, meaningful relationships, and I never felt that I was missing out on anything. My race doesn’t want to date me, but I’ve learned to adapt and be okay with that.

Then again, another side of me wonders if the true reason I don’t date Asian women is because I’ve been subconsciously traumatized by Star Wars:

Because, by dating outside my race, I’ll never accidentally make out with my long-lost twin sister.

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By day, I'm a marriage and family therapist. By night, I am a relationships and comedy writer, which can be redundant or an oxymoron, depending on your perspective. I'm the creator of Social Savvy Sage, a coaching service that focuses on developing social skills. I am also the creator of Musings, the blog you're reading right now. You can find me on Twitter. (I am not the creator of Twitter.)


  • Don’t worry. My specific races don’t like to date me either. 🙂

  • Love this! Date for love, not race:) -SG

  • @Bonnie:

    Really? Hello Kitty won’t date you? Dude, that’s awful. ;-p

  • Hi,

    Came into this blog from the Main wordpress page where it was featured..& must say, found it extremely interesting!!

    Even more so, as there were so many authors on this one – who kept this going with some wonderful writings. Keep it up!

  • Speak the truth man, I’m kinda in the same crowd.
    But it does kinda hurts when you realize your own race is discriminating against each other lol.

  • Pingback: Unloveable Asian « Rantings of a PR Student

  • My daughter is a 17 year old white girl who’s dating a 20 year old Vietnamese boy. He is first gen American, and his parents are “traditional”, according to my daughter. What she’s in for in a potential mother-in-law, I have no idea. I just hope they are happy together.

  • Dennis, great piece.

    Now as an AA female (who lives in L.A.), I know what the other side of the coin feels like. I went to a mostly Asian (about 80%) high school, half 2nd + gen and half f.o.b.s. The f.o.b.s dated each other. The 2nd + gen dated either whites or Hispanics. No one wanted to date me.

    Why didn’t the 2nd + gen want to go out with me? Because I’m not blond with 36C + breast (I’m still 100% biodegradable). My dating pool was limited to people who had a “fetish”. BTW, I avoid anyone who says they have an “Asian Fetish”, I’m NOT an inanimate object that inspires erotic response or fixation.

    For me Asian boys didn’t even give me a chance. Either I was too Americanize or I wasn’t “American” enough, in the physical sense.

    @ Anonymous, yeah Asian females can be crazy, too. But so are all women. Some can handle it better than others. How sane would you be if you grew up were the ideal beauty was another race, and your ethnic t.v./movie identity was always portrayed as the submissive house wife or abused, helpless sex worker? You’d developed a mental complex, too.

    And now for something completely different. Enjoy!

    • Hey, that was filmed at UCSD! I think I’m going to have to try that peanut butter slow-lick next time….

      Anyway, I totally understand the whole “caught between two worlds” thing. That’s kinda how I’ve always felt, too. I’ve gone back to visit Taiwan a few times, and my mom’s always trying to set me up with some daughter of a family friend.

      It never works out, since I have absolutely nothing in common with them.

      And then, of course, the “Americanized” Asian women… well, that’s what this article is about. Oh well. Them’s the breaks.

      Oh, by the way, teeth and bones are not biodegradable. So, sorry, you’re maybe only 80% biodegradable. ;-p

  • Yeah, peanut butter. That’s what’s been missing from your “AAF” game. *lol*

    And, actually teeth and bones are biodegradable, it just takes a while. We have fossils only because animals happen to die under the right conditions to preserve them. =D

    • Yeah, I gotta remember to go with the creamy stuff, though. I was just practicing on a jar of extra chunky, and all it did was leave gooey nuts all over my apparently biodegradable teeth…. 😉

  • hey, great post.
    as an asian dude from la that used to date only asian girls, and now, not at all….

    i think a fair amount of it results simply from socialization, and, err, your other post re monogamy and status. in a culture where white americans are the majority, why wouldnt this be the case? it would be interesting to see what happens when america becomes a majority minority (??) in the next few decades.

    and in the other – difference is interesting. for myself, and others

    great blog, keep it up!

    • Thanks, man! Thanks for reading. Good point, though. If (according to my monogamy article) women are attracted to power… well, who’s always had the power in America? Guess it all makes sense then. 😉

  • Aaaaargh, from what I’ve read in the comments, you silly americans are friggin’ crazy! Do you realize how friggin’ LUCKY you are ?!!!
    You have white people, africans, arabs, indians, asians, hispanics, all in one country!
    Even more, you have all these hot combinations, like african-asian, or indian-hispanic-white, and so on.
    Even more (!), they all speak English! So if you want to date a hispanic person you don’t have to learn Spanish/Portuguese, if you want to date an asian person you don’t have to learn Japanese/Korean/Mandarin/Cantonese/Thai/Vietnamese etc. etc.!
    And even MORE, living in a modern, multicultural society means that all these people are not so constricted by their cultural traditions as they would have been in their background countries, making inter-racial-ethnic-cultural mingling far easier!
    Whenever someone asks me if I would like to live in the USA, and after I answer “yes” they ask me why, this is the answer I give them, before any other possible reasons!
    You effing lucky s.o.b.-s! 😉

  • Hey Dennis, I live in Bucharest, the capital of Romania, in Central-Eastern Europe, about 6600 miles from San Diego, California (that’s why I’m only answering your question now: different timezones).
    Now, don’t get me wrong – Romania has LOTS of gorgeous women, I’m certainly not complaining about that. However, they’re mostly caucasian, and while there’s a lot of variation within that type, I always yearned after the exotic beauties I’ve seen on TV. Again, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have an “exotic woman fetish”, but it’s like you said: I just want to be able to date them too! Well, that’s not entirely true: growing up in a mainly white society, exotic women (which basically means all non-white) DO have a special allure for me. When I see an african or asian person on the street, inside a supermarket or wherever, it makes my day a little more special. When I meet a HOT african or asian woman, well, I should probably go and buy myself a bottle of champagne (on a side note, almost all the black guys I’ve met were ridiculously hot, but since I’m a heterosexual guy, that doesn’t really help me ;( ).
    Oh, and just in case you’re curious how I arrived at your blog:
    Cracked.com – bringing people together over the internet since 1958. 😉
    P.S. – I was just thinking: I remember reading somewhere that nature favors genetic diversity, because when very different gene sets combine, they make stronger (healthier) genes in the offspring. So, maybe that’s why some women might choose to mate exclusively outside their race. What’s your professional opinion, Dr. Hong?

    • Interesting question. Well, I think our subconscious desire to mate with someone with different genetics (specifically, we’re talking about the major histocompatibility complex, in case you’re curious) will often be overruled by our not-as-subconscious tendency to group people into those like us (friend) and those not like us (enemy).

  • @Dennis – Yeah, I’ve noticed the same thing. It’s ironic, actually. Many people complain or express concern about the effects genetics might have on our way of thinking and on our feelings. They especially fear that we might be some sort of slaves to genetics, which secretly manipulate us. Be that as it may, I think that the boxes nature puts around us are not as big as the boxes WE put around ourselves. On the bright side, while we can’t change our genetic setup (at least not until the technology from “Gattaca” becomes available ;D ), we CAN change our way of thinking (though it IS damn hard).

    I have yet another theory about why the women in your area might prefer to date white men: perhaps they use it as a means to integrate into the mainstream american society. From what I gather, first generation immigrants tend to group together and form relatively closed communities (hence, areas like “Chinatown” and “Little Tokyo”). Maybe their children (or grandchildren) get sick of this and yearn to be a part of the greater world beyond the borders of their community, to feel like they belong and are an integral part of their new home, and they also want their children not to feel like outsiders in their own country. So, one way to do this is to date and choose a spouse from the dominant/majoritary racial/ethnic group, which in most of the US is white. Also, many of them might have been under strong pressure from their parents to marry a “nice asian man” and that can get old really fast.
    I don’t know man, I’m just fishing here, if I’m totally off the hook please let me know and don’t let me wallow in my ignorance. 😉

    • Oh, absolutely. I can guarantee you that “marrying white” is a status thing. There’s no doubt about that. Actually, if you read through the rest of the comments here, you’ll get an idea of what other factors may be in play.

      As far as genetics and evolution… well, I disagree that it’s all that easy to change how we think. I mean, 4 million years of natural selection is pretty damned hard to fight against. Case in point: think about how strong our instinct to have sex is. That’s just evolution prodding us to procreate. Yes, we can consciously choose to forgo it. But, it’s a pretty damned strong urge to resist, wouldn’t you say?

    • You are completely wrong. Asian women hate Asian men because they are brainwashed by Hollywood and western media to think of Asian men as either asexual martial artists or long duk dong losers (sixteen candles, Ken Jeong the sellout actor who portrays Asian men as badly as possible). Even the recent semi positive example of Glenn from Walking Dead still portrays a semi “beta” Asian guy.

  • Hmmm. Ok, first, I wasn’t talking about status, as in “climbing the social ladder”. That subject was already covered (by you!). I was talking about integrating into the larger american culture and social network, as opposed to being limited to the asian way of life and an asian social network (something like an asian island within an american ocean). Basically, is not about being “better” than other asians, but about embracing the “american” part of “asian-american”, about being just like anybody else, as opposed to being exclusively asian.
    If your definition of “status” also includes what I’ve written above, then I apologize for misunderstanding, my bad.
    Also, if, from your experience, asian women in your area want to date white man mainly so that they can gain a better social and economical standing, then I’m sorry for you. But hey, look at it this way: you’re better off not wasting your time with those shallow social-gold-diggers. 😉

    Second, I never said or implied that it’s easy to change the way you think (to quote myself: “it IS damn hard”)!!! What I’m saying is that it’s POSSIBLE!
    To use your example with the sex urges, let’s imagine a guy who is only interested in having as much sex with as many good-looking women as possible (hey, when I was younger, I was like that, though I like to think that I’ve grown out of it 😉 ). So, moving from woman to woman like a butterfly. BUT, one day, he meets a wonderfully smart and funny woman, and he falls for her. However, she is just interested in a boy-toy, so she treats him like he treated all the women he’s been with: she uses him for sex, and then she dumps him. Deeply hurt, he realizes his lifestyle has been wrong, so in the future he’ll be more mindful about the feelings of the women he’s interested in, AND he will also look for the quality of their personalities, not just their looks.
    See where I’m getting at? He didn’t change his genetic makeup – he’s still a very sexual person who likes to punch holes in the bathroom wall with his boner – he just changed his outlook on life and relations. It’s not about fighting your genetic predispositions, but working with them and around them, and not allowing them to completely dominate your personality and life.

    • I think you said something to that effect in your article “Monogamy is a load of crap”.

    • Maybe I’m nitpicking here, but I disagree that you can alter how you think. You can alter how you behave, but you can’t alter how you think. 😉

      But yes, I do get what you’re talking about.

  • Very interesting article & even more-so for the comments section
    I am a second gen Filipino male living in sydney Australia &
    I totally identify with earlier comments of being “torn between two worlds” I also got the sense of asian girls from my generation (I’m 23) preferring to date white guys.
    Yes, you can argue that some may see it as a status thing, but I think growing up in my generation & particular location, race isn’t (always) the be all & end all factor for dating, plus the fact that the majority of the population is caucasian.
    I can totally understand your point of view at the time you wrote your article as I have even felt that way myself at times.
    But, now that I think about it, I’ve dated women from all sorts of different ethnic backgrounds (mostly second gen australians) which included asian, european, arabic & hispanic backgrounds, but it certainly wasn’t due to their race that we dated.
    as an added observation I noticed where I live how all the white people want to go to the beach & get tanned so they have darker skin, & visiting the philippines I got the sense the people there see lighter skin as a desirable trait probably as a throw-back to the colonial era.
    take from that what you will, but it always gives me a good laugh 🙂
    P.S I found your site from cracked.com too

  • Tu vuo fa l’americano…
    mericano, mericano… 🙂

  • I’m a white woman, and i’m in the same situation. It’s like, white people just don’t want to date me. People of other races DO though. I have no problem with that though. :p

  • Dennis,
    Let me first say- what a well written interesting article. I’m a mixed black female who was somewhat in the same situation as you. While I may be attracted to black men (as well as hispanic, white, and yes, even Asian), many within my race, are attracted to non-black females.
    Those that I have dated generally tell me that I’m not the TYPICAL black female – looks, personality, interests, so I’m safe to date as it will please their families (mainly parents), and have non-traditional (????) interests. If anything, I think it’s a situation where race is focused on way too much, and we’ve as a society, have overlooked judging a person for what they are.
    Growing up, I was generally one of only a handful of non-white students in my schools, extracurricular activities, neighborhood, and the like. I didn’t see race as an issue, other than knowing I was just slightly darker than my friends. It was only in middle school when many of my friends/classmates started to become interested in each other, I felt left out as the guys I generally had crushes on, including one who was Vietmanese (F.O.B. only a yr or so prior), told me I wasn’t pretty enough b/c of my skin color.
    I don’t know- this is all so baffling.
    Are we Americans (whatever our ethnicity) so shallow that we value one’s race over anything else- be it personality, intelligence, beauty, or the like???
    I still believe race in the US is more of a society driven thing and not the basis of one’s character.
    Again- great piece!

    **** Full disclosure, I’m engaged to a wonderful black male, who only has dated black and hispanic women, which I don’t fault him for, but again, how limiting

  • Dennis Hong says:
    February 15, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Interesting question. Well, I think our subconscious desire to mate with someone with different genetics (specifically, we’re talking about the major histocompatibility complex, in case you’re curious) will often be overruled by our not-as-subconscious tendency to group people into those like us (friend) and those not like us (enemy).

    To take that thought a bit further along its continuum, I wonder how our use of language affects this dynamic? I believe that on a completely unconscious level we are attracted to people who ARE like us and how we talk puts us squarely into the friend or foe category. Speed of speech, tonal inflection, accent (as broad as british / yankee or as narrow as east side / west side), typical volume, and so on, all indicate like/dislike. I’m not sure how that relates to Asian / white specifically but 2nd gen speaks to me on a very different level than FOB. Of course, I’m an old white guy with a lot of miles through a lot of cultures so my outlook may be a bit skewed. I just like people who like me. 😉

    • “I just like people who like me.”

      Me too. Says a totally adorable African American female currently being courted by a Korean FOB. 🙂

  • If you want stats from a dating site, you want to read this post from the awesome nerds at okcupid: http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/your-race-affects-whether-people-write-you-back/

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