Alexander Q: The most successful failure in the world

A gay man's quest for successful weight loss, a fullfilling love life and professional validation that opens doors, brings down mountains and summons the full fury of Olympus upon the world…all before 2

Month: February, 2014

If you are alone on Valentine’s Day

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If you are alone on Valentine’s Day, here’s a comforting thought.

You really aren’t alone today

As I’m getting older, I’m finding myself dreading the day, reminding me that I have been single for a very long time. I have to admit that social ineptitude seems to screw up all the good things in my life, relationships included. I try to find things to fill the void, but at times it seems that nothing will fill as well as the love of another person.

 

I do my best to put myself out there. Dating is a lot like job hunting, there’s the hunting the part, the interview part and the hiring part, but most jobs don’t ask you to get physically intimate with them (at least not the ones I’ve been after, but then again, perhaps I’m going after the wrong industry). For me though, my job hunts and my dating life seem to parallel each other very well: Lots of texts and emails promising everything, but gaining nothing. This very depressing litany just made life worse and worse for me, until last year.

 

Last year, I decided that I was going to treat myself to an awesome Valentines Day. I took myself shopping, bought a few gifts for myself and took myself out for some dinner. I have to admit, it was an awesome and awkward experience for me, taking myself out on a date, but I did learn one thing; I had forgotten that I had to love myself as I am if I was going to be a “well adjusted” and happy person for someone else. Nobody wants to be a crutch for someone else, and nobody every really wants to be in a positing where they need one.

 

I’ve seen way too many codependent relationships in my life, and rarely do they ever prosper. Both partners using each other as a crunch didn’t really appeal to my Sagittarian senses, but at the same time, the safety and security of having someone to love seemed to appeal to me. Each time though, I’d walk away from something I thought was a good thing or fucking it up beyond the point where reconciliation would be okay. I’ve found that half the times, I really did walk away from something that would’ve been a good thing to me, while the other half I realized I dodged a bullet.

Now, if you’re alone by choice on V-Day, I salute you. You display bravado and a sense of confidence that many others in our generation lack. You’ve decided to hold out for someone, or maybe you came to the conclusion that a relationship wouldn’t fit with the current life situation that you’re currently in and rather than have one to keep up with the Joneses, you’ve decided you’re all you need for now, or ever. For those of you seeking a lover and feeling bad about not having one on V-day, cheer up. Yes, it sucks not having someone in your life to care about, but you probably have many other people who might appreciate a Valentines Day treat of some kind, perhaps you could give them a call and let them know you love them and what a positive difference they make in your life? It’s worth a shot.

Just know that if you are alone on Valentines Day, you are not really alone.

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My thoughts on interracial dating and relationships

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Alrighty folks, ready for an earth shattering, ground breaking revelation that may alter the course of your life and change the way you see the world? Are you ready for it? Are you sure you can handle it?

Here it goes, let me take one deep breath, and, here it is…

It is okay to date outside of your race

We are in 2014, yet it feels oddly strange that I have to say something like this. This and this inspired me to write my own two cents on interracial dating. I know I am a gay man, so I might explain this from my perspective, but I am pretty sure that this applies to the world of the straights as well.

I’ve lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for as long as I can remember. As you may or may not be aware, the population is skewed somewhat towards the Asian population, at least as far as my anecdotal evidence is concerned. Growing up in a mostly Asian-American environment during adolescence, I found myself attracted to Asians, even marginally considering myself part of that group (I’m half Filipino, we can discuss that whole “Filipinos Are/Aren’t Asian” thing another time, please remind me). Flash forward to 2002, when  first came out of the closet, most of the guys on Friendster that I was talking to at the time and considered dating were mostly Asian.

It’s okay to have preferences folks; White men can date Asian women, Black men can date White women and so on. Race shouldn’t matter when it comes to who you fall in love or spend your time with, it’s your call on how to spend those hours in your life. As for me, I prefer Asians, although now, I like to think I’ve live just long enough to be open to dating other kinds of men out there.

I’ve been around the gay interwebs long enough to know that there is a lot of shade thrown at Asians from other gay men, most do not see them as masculine or the ideal male within the Western context of what a man should be. If you ever get a chance, check out this website called Douchebags of Grindr and see what I mean. There were moments when I talked with non Asian gay men about liking them that my taste in men would be questioned. There would be a few jokes about penile size, intelligence and sexual ineptitude (or the opposite) thrown around by these guys that I seriously wondered if I was on trial here. Needless to say, I limited my contact with these people, although now, in our older ages, we’re finding ourselves being a lot more open to whats out there relationship-wise.

As someone whose social skills were lacking then (and, to a certain extent, even now), I had notions of what it would be like to date an Asian man; since I hadn’t dated until I was 23, there were a lot of different notions I had inside my head about what it would all be like. When I did start to go out with guys, my notions of what it would be like were thrown out the window. No two men are alike, even among racial groups. From this, I learned that while it’s okay to have preferences, its not okay to have expectations of others that are not grounded in reality. You shouldn’t date an Asian woman because you think that she will be “meek and submissive” or a black man since you think that he may be hyper-sexualized.

There’s that old saying “Its whats on the inside that counts.” When it comes to interracial dating, I couldn’t agree more with that tired, old cliche. You are allowed to love whomever you want, but remember that  no one wants to be with someone simply because the other person has made assumptions based on stereotypes and social conditioning from media and personal experiences, I am sure you wouldn’t want to be. This goes without saying but whether its an interracial relationship or not, remember to always look beyond the race, the face and see whats inside the heart, that’s what lasts long after everything has faded into obscurity.

By the way, here’s a picture of a couple that hits close to home for me; my lovely cousin and her boyfriend. Nobody in our family has thought once about how they are of different races (at least not to my knowledge), we’re just cool that they are happy together.

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As always, please feel free to comment and leave feedback. Thanks for reading

 

“Solo Sushi Night – A mini blog series about dining alone.”

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“You’re sure brave to be doing this.”

I remember telling the woman next to me that I was dining alone at a favorite sushi place of mine near my house, and that I had been dining alone for as long as I could remember. Sure, I had dinner with friends and family once in a while, but oftentimes, the demanding industry I work for doesn’t allow me to have much of a social life in sync with everyone else that I know who work a steady 9 to 5 job.

Her words had struck me as odd; I didn’t think that dining alone was a big deal, to me it was out of necessity. Necessity, however, sometimes keeps us oblivious to the others around us, and I didn’t realize that it was some sort of infraction to dine alone at a restaurant, to me, it was just a way of life.

I came across this revelation about dining alone probably in my mid 20’s. I had just graduated and was still working in an industry I was sure to have left a long time ago, trying to escape it during one of the worst recessions since the great depression. With no real options for employment, I found myself working nights and weekends, whilst other friends who had found gainful employment were living a life I could only imagine. I felt as if I wasn’t growing up, that life had held me back for some reason, but I will leave that for another blog.

I realized that I wasn’t living in a vacuum, that there was a world around me that begged to be experienced, either alone or with others. Social conditioning has programmed our minds to cooperate with others for long term survival, but I hit the manual override when I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to connect with the people I knew on a regular basis. I dont remember the first time I dined alone, but I do remember how awkward it felt for me. I remember feeling like I was being stared at by others, that the waiter probably felt a sense of pity for me. I do also remember how hungry I was and how I was probably craving a certain specialty of this restaurant and, for some reason, it overrode the need to be with someone for lunch.

Over time, i got used to eating alone. I didn’t like it at times however, to be quite honest, it made me feel kinda isolated at times, which was ironic since I would usually be in a restaurant filled with people. I was often jealous of them at the time, yet, a part of me wanted to keep my sense of freedom intact, unbound by the need to keep someone happy. Ever since then, I’ve enjoyed the moments where I would dine alone, accompanied only by my thoughts.

If you’re going to dine alone, the best advice I’d give you is just to enjoy your time. Many times, we lose sight of what we came for by the distraction that is other people. Enjoy your food, take in the ambiance, its the little details that matter there.

My goal with this is to learn how to dine alone, and in a greater sense, learn how to be alone. Being alone is a skill we’re losing everyday thanks to the internet and technology (I know, the irony is delicious, no pun intended), its time for us as a species to re-learn what it is to truly be invested in your own time and your own self.

Thanks for reading, leave me your comments below.