Dating Outside Your Own Culture

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I still remember when I first came to this country and I was volunteering with about 18 girls and 2 boys together in this one house. Naturally we went on outings together and one day I pointed out a Vietnamese boy to one of the girls and was like ‘dayym he cute, no?’. I know I’m exaggerating when I say that the entire group shut up and stared at me like I was insane but that’s what it felt like. 18 girls, and only one of them could half relate by saying she could ‘appreciate the beauty of an Asian boy but wouldn’t go there’.

As time went on, my yellow fever turned to full blown 100% preference. Asian boys are so sweet, so beautiful, kind, thoughtful, respectful, and in my eyes, damn attractive. Wouldn’t have ’em any other way.

At first I actually didn’t really think much about how it would be different dating a Vietnamese over any Australian I had dated. In fact I didn’t think about it at all – I just knew if I found someone worth my time any differences wouldn’t matter.

I had been dating my current boyfriend for about a month when he pointed out how strange it was for him to have a girlfriend that didn’t even speak his language. I had actually completely forgotten that English was his second language as we don’t have many problems with it. And since we had been spending most of out time at my house, we had been eating American and Italian foods, watching all English TV shows and movies, hanging out with mainly English speaking people, not really doing anything different than I would in my normal everyday life (or him, really, he’s not an alien he also eats food and watches TV like everyone else)

Since then, I eat a hell of a lot more Vietnamese food because he has shown me some of the best places, and we hang out at his with his family (who speak very limited English), and other Vietnamese people too. Although, this isn’t strange or different for me because, well, I live in Vietnam (shock horror).

And actually I am lucky because my boyfriend is one of the more more open minded Vietnamese people. I always say there are two kinds of Vietnamese people; the full blown nap every afternoon, only eat Vietnamese food ever, don’t like anything western, not changing or adapting with the world. And the kind that get out there and experience other things, know more about the world, etc. My boyfriend likes the same music as me, watches the same movies and TV shows, we eat the same food. We have a lot in common, and that’s one thing that makes it seem like just a normal relationship. We’re pretty much the same person.

One of the biggest differences – and this wont come up for us until far in the future – is the cultural differences in ways of dealing with the bigger steps in the relationship, when things start getting very serious. Vietnamese people are extremely traditional people, and have very strict ‘rules’ for steps in relationships, especially when it comes to like moving in and getting married. I’ve been to a Vietnamese wedding and spoken about some of the customs and traditions that they must follow, and some that are a little more fluid, and golly they’re different to what I’m used to. But different customs and traditions are to be expected when you get serious with someone of a different culture.

So when people ask me if it’s strange dating a Vietnamese boy – and people ask me all. the. time. Bottom line is, no, it’s no different – everyone you meet will alter your life in some way – and no matter who you date, things will be different in some ways. I think at this stage, it’s no issue, and anything we face later in the relationship, we will deal with when we get there.

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Em yêu anh

 

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