I ‘ve heard this expression used several times, usually by Asian men and occasionally, by Asian women, much in the same fashion overweight people tell fat jokes. But the expression always baffled me. Since when did Asian women become associated with promiscuity? After all, aren’t we famous for being sheltered, conservative waifish entities who attend piano recitals, excel in math, and become lawyers and doctors? I’ve never been a big fan of this latter belief either, but after hearing the former expression all too many times, I’m starting to develop an unprecedented nostalgia for the Asian overachiever stereotype, which leads me to the burning question – where did us Asian women go wrong?
I found my answer one Friday night, lounging in a club, watching Asian girls in various states of undress, thrashing their limbs drunkenly through the air. Beside me was an Asian guy whose name was – for all intents and purposes – John. John had approached me about five minutes ago, as I was ordering a drink for my girlfriend. I usually avoided conversing with guys at clubs, but the bartender was busy and John was unfailingly polite, even resisting the temptation of torpedoing through a conversation with a string of slurring compliments as many guys did. He was also calm and casual, which was refreshing in an environment of guys who wore their desperation as conspicuously as their drunken glow.
The conversation was your typical safe, politically-correct first date routine that progressed from “what college did you attend’ to “remember that time in middle school when everyone was so obsessed with Pokemon?”. Then, just after he finished a particularly amusing anecdote involving church and an accidental wardrobe malfunction, he looked at me thoughtfully for a moment and said –
“You’re really different from the usual lot that hang around here.”
“How so?” I asked, thinking I know where this is going.
“You’re a really cool girl, really easy to talk to.”
I smiled, twirling the straw in my drink. So far so good.
He smiled back. “Not like the usual skanky Asian hoes.”
Come again? I blinked at him. Once. Twice. “What do you mean?”
John gave me a knowing look. “You know, the Asian skanks.” He gestured to a pair giggling girls at the end of the bar. I’ll admit, all the signs of a future hooker-dom were there: crotch-level hemlines, 6-inch heels, and enough eye makeup to make any Asian parent question why they even moved to this country to begin with. But he didn’t even know these girls. And let’s face it. We’re at a club. Who did he expect, Martha Stewart?
I considered asking him to elaborate, but thought better of it. Instead, I fumbled my way through a my-friend-is-waiting-for-me excuse and fled the scene. But as with small dark venues, it wasn’t long until John and I unwittingly crossed paths again. This time, he was busy exercising his unwavering charm on another victim named Rachel. I started veering away, but not fast enough to miss an alarmingly familiar hand gesture.
I stopped dead in my tracks. Was he pointing at me?
I let my eyes flicker toward the two again and sure enough, Rachel was staring straight at me, giving me a curious once-over. When she caught my eye, she turned away, flushed, and uneasily excused herself from the table. As I watched John’s grin vanish in her wake, I realized why John was pointing at me.
I had become a skanky Asian hoe.
And at this moment, as far as John’s concerned, so had Rachel.