Thought Catalog


25 Painfully Obvious Things Women Wish Men Knew About Sex

Posted: 16 Sep 2015 07:02 AM PDT

Twenty20 / jameswildexo
Twenty20 / jameswildexo

Women want hot sex. Men want hot sex.

There’s a way we can work this out, and keeping these 25 tips in mind will help you sexy things to light up our nights. (We promise to give it back in return.)

1. We’re as happy to be there as you are.

We’ve had some bad PR in the past that’s convinced men we don’t like sex, don’t like to talk about it, don’t look forward to it, and get disappointed when a planned seduction goes south. It’s all lies.

Just as you’ve wanted to see us naked, feel our flesh, kiss us all over and do all the delicious things two people can do in the dark, so have we.

2. Do unto us as you would have us do unto you.

All the things you want from us (grooming, nice underwear, oral sex, attention to details), do those for us, too. Please.

3. Foreplay isn’t a speed competition.

While we’re hoping you don’t ever go straight for the main event (ugh, the worst), we also don’t need you to attack our nether regions with so much fervor and gusto that we fear a rug burn. Also, smashing our clitoris like you would an elevator button while running late isn’t pleasant for us.

4. Don’t whisper.

Like, ever. It’s so creepy. No, really, it makes us very uncomfortable.

5. Please. Go. Much. Slower.

6. Say something.

No one is asking you to recite a monologue here; it could be a moan here and there, or even a “You feel incredible” now and then. Just make noise, because silent sex is so freaky that we can’t concentrate.

7. Give a lady fair warning.

If there’s something unusual (such as a very odd shape, multiple colors, or an unusual ailment), it might be alarming. Give her a chance to prepare.

It’s unfair to put your partner in a position that will make her uncomfortable just because you’re afraid to mention it. A worthy partner will be supportive and understanding.

8. Remember that this isn’t a porn movie.

We might love your filthy mouth and a few rough moves, but we also may not. Let’s get to know each other’s likes and dislikes before you start re-creating your favorite RedTube.com flick.

9. Make an effort.

If you’re going to invite a woman back to your place, clean your apartment. Have a bottle of wine. Put on a playlist. Wash your sheets. Wipe down your bathroom. Serving Tecate with lime juice from that plastic green bottle in fluorescent lighting will likely not work to seduce her (yes, this happened).

10. Don’t pout about wearing a condom.

It’s not only pathetic, it shows you don’t have much respect for anyone’s health — yours or ours. If you want to have unprotected sex, get tested and prepare to be monogamous and then we can talk.

11. Speak like a man.

There are things you were told in high school and your fraternity about things that work with women that shouldn’t be referenced in the adult world. Using the terminology you used back then (i.e. The Shocker) won’t win you points.

12. Don’t be a douchebag.

Logging onto Tinder while still we’re at your apartment is such bad form.

13. Stop with the d*ck pics.

It doesn’t impress us or turn us on. In fact, we get so freaked out by the cell block mentality it took to send it, that we send it to all of our friends … with your full name.

14. Pay attention to our responses to what you’re doing.

Some women prefer something along the lines of licking a spoon that has hot sauce, while others want a melting-ice-cream-cone approach. We think a little of both will work out well.

15. If you can’t cuddle, don’t come over.

Yes, in all senses of the word.

16. Freshen up.

A little cologne, breath mints, a bit of grooming, and a little lotion on the hands pre-date will go a long way.

17. Take off your socks, already.

Stay awhile, jeez.

18. Don’t try to sneak in through the back entrance.

We’re pretty sure you want anal sex. We’ll let you know if we do.

19. Stop with that tongue-in-ear thing.

You did it while making out at 17, but don’t do it anymore.

20. We want to move, but this isn’t cirque du soleil.

There’s a balance to be found in moving through positions. One is going to get old, five is exhausting. Try three the first time; you know which ones they are.

21. Pay attention to lighting.

Fluorescent overhead lights don’t exactly enhance the mood and no woman feels sexy with that brightness overhead. Your lighting choices can impact your night.

Note: Candlelight and amber lighting are the most flattering to everyone.

22. Be courteous.

Offer a glass of water. Walk her to her car, or hail her a cab, or take her to brunch if you’re up for it. Even if you never plan to see her again, it takes very little effort to close it out with class.

23. Don’t sleep with your friends.

You know better.

24. Man up.

If you’re not interested in continuing to see someone or are only looking for fun, let them know very clearly. The bait-and-ghost approach to sex makes you look like a common cliché.

25. We like round two.

So don’t fall asleep so damn fast. TC mark

YOURTANGO

23 Realistic Relationship Goals To Replace The Silly Fantasy Moments That Don’t Actually Mean Anything

Posted: 16 Sep 2015 08:55 AM PDT

Twenty20, dlia
Twenty20, dlia

1. Choosing a quiet night in together because you agree that it will be way more fun than going out, even if the food is less fancy and the scene is cozier than cool.

2. The first time a friend asks what "you guys" are up to because they understand that you’re officially one half of a duo.

3. Receiving your first phone call from one of your significant other's parents because they can’t get in touch with their son or daughter and they assume their child is with you, or that you know more about their child’s whereabouts than they do.

4. Being included in a family text sent from any relative on your boyfriend or girlfriend's side of the relationship.

5. Cooking a meal together from start to finish—from conception to grocery list making to shopping to chopping vegetables and waiting for the timer to sound.

6. Looking forward to eating leftovers so you can relish your culinary accomplishment as a couple once more.

7. Getting sick and not caring one iota that your nose is stuffy and your face is puffy and your vomit reeks and you can't even muster the energy to apologize for your grossness.

8. Getting to play nurse when your partner falls ill and taking sincere pleasure in nurturing them back to health.

9. Feeling comfortable enough to burp and fart around each other.

10. Shedding your stink-up-the-bathroom fear so you can poop at their place without a shred of embarrassment. Maybe even with the door open.

11. Every time your boyfriend or girlfriend mentions experiencing some future event as a couple.

12. Transitioning from birth names to pet names in everyday conversation.

13. Laughing out loud at some inside joke that no one but you two could possibly comprehend.

14. Then cracking up again as you recall later on just how confused everyone else was when you erupted into laughter simultaneously at a seemingly random time.

15. Deciding on a staycation instead of a proper vacation so you can save money because you genuinely don’t care where you are or what you're doing as long as you’re together.

16. Furniture shopping for investment pieces like a solid bed frame or a marble dining room table—anything that’s hard to part with and/or tricky to divide because the general sentiment is that you won’t be separating.

17. Buying a pet together (or some kind of high maintenance plant if you're not animal lovers) and splitting the caretaking duties equally.

18. Figuring out whose responsible for which household chores and taking new joy in mopping floors, folding laundry and wiping down countertops since you're not just doing it for yourself anymore.

19. Sending out a holiday card together or a group email signed with both your names.

20. The first time one of you offhandedly mentions the possibility of having children and/or surveys the other about a baby name.

21. Opening a joint bank account so you can both put money towards saving up for a home or your hypothetical kid's college tuition or some other major expense.

22. Getting into an awful, on-the-verge-of-breakup blowout fight and then taking turns apologizing to each other for your idiotic behavior.

23. Laughing out loud together because the makeup sex almost made that ridiculous fight seem totally worthwhile. TC mark 

15 Conflicting Problems All Indecisive People Understand

Posted: 16 Sep 2015 05:20 AM PDT

Twenty20 / mattmyles
Twenty20 / mattmyles

Every tiny decision in my life summons an angel and devil onto each of my shoulders for a heated debate, and I don't think I'm alone. For everyone else out there who treats what to order for dinner with the same gravity as whether or not to invade a country, these struggles are all too real.

1. Zigzagging down the sidewalk because you can't tell if you're supposed to pass the person coming toward you on the right or the left, then doing an unintentional little jig as they get closer.

2. Being stared down by storeowners while you take ten minutes examining the packages of snacks to determine which provides the most ounces of food per dollar.

3. Considering way too many factors in every decision: If you go out to dinner Thursday, the avocado on your windowsill may be overripe by Friday, so you'd better move your plans to Wednesday and eat the avocado at its peak.

4. Asking your server to circle back to you after they've taken everyone else's order.

5. Finding said server again after you've deliberated over your order and placed it because you've decided you'd actually prefer fries to potatoes.

6. Tracking down said server yet again because — what were you thinking? — there was a reason you settled on potatoes in the first place.

7. Looking like you have to pee really badly shifting around in your chair as you repeatedly consider getting up then deciding against it.

8. Getting dangerously low blood sugar while you wonder the streets trying to settle on a restaurant until you just sit down at the closest place possible because you need to eat something, anything, ASAP.

9. Baristas asking you what's wrong because the agony of deciding whether to order a latte or cappuccino is showing on your face.

10. Everyone you text seeing the typing bubble for minutes at a time as you craft and re-craft your messages.

11. Spending a greater portion of your evening traveling between bars than sitting at one.

12. Getting utterly paralyzed at the sight of all the toothpaste brands on the shelves of your local drugstore.

13. Rarely listening to a full song because you're constantly flipping between radio stations.

14. Clothes you've tried on and taken off piling up on your floor each morning.

15. Staying on the verge of breaking up with someone for months because you just want to be 100% sure it's the right decision. TC mark

You Give Me More Than Butterflies

Posted: 15 Sep 2015 09:38 PM PDT

IMG_1018

I’ve never really understood why people say to find someone who gives you butterflies. Butterflies are such vulnerable little things. Those wings of thin tissue and scales like fine dust, I’m not sure I’d want a person I adore to give me such delicate insects.

I don’t want a love that makes me feel like I might come apart with the slightest touch. But I guess we don’t always get a choice in such matters, now do we?

I remember the first time you touched me. It was my knee. We sat side-by-side in a darkened theater as a band played bluegrass. You whispered something in my ear and put your hand on me. It was only a second, a brief skin-to-skin to remind me what I had been missing for so long.

But it was enough to be sure. I was sure of it. I was sure of you. I was sure of me.

I scared my mother by almost crashing the car driving home because I was so busy floating outside my body, thinking about the way you just lingered there. Even if only a tiny bit. You were there with me. And I was there with you.

Three years later, I kissed your mouth and said we would be together again one day. You didn’t believe me, but I promised you it would be true. Because you never gave me butterflies, something that can be torn apart with such ease. You gave me earthquakes. You gave me life-altering shaking, something terrifyingly strong that I knew would end up in textbooks for years to come. You were the night I had prepared for my whole life. You were the book I will read to my children, my grandchildren, even though now it seems they will only get genes from me.

Not you. Not us. The way we promised one another.

But the thing is, adolescent fantasies turn into grown-up fantasies. And we kept trying. You would call and I’d say, “Not yet. We are too far apart. I can’t do this. You can’t do this to me.” And so it would go.

You, the thing that split me down the middle.

You, the first time I believed in something lasting without being storybook bullshit.

You, the beautiful pictures they will study years to come. How he could have been so much to a girl so young. How he could have been a force so powerful that she has yet to feel anything quite as strong since.

The last time we said goodbye, we stood on my college campus and you asked if I would kiss you. I said no because we weren’t in that place anymore. We couldn’t be in that place. I’d moved forward, or told myself I had.

But if I could, I would take it back. I would throw rationality out the window and I’d say yes.

I would have kissed you. I would have let these tender butterflies fly free. I didn’t know it would be too late one day. I just didn’t know. TC mark

14 Struggles Of Loving To Cook But Living In A Tiny Apartment

Posted: 15 Sep 2015 07:08 PM PDT

lenetstan
lenetstan

1. When you first walked through your apartment with the landlord, you saw the “quaint” living room and the bedroom that was “perfect for one” and thought, It’s small, but I can work with this.

2. …The you caught a glimpse of the minuscule kitchen and thought, OH NO THIS IS HORRIBLE. I CAN’T. I JUST CAN’T. WHERE IS MY SLOW COOKER GOING TO GO.

3. Whenever you cook anything that requires at least a tiny amount of heat, your entire apartment transforms into what you assume is Satan’s summer home…which is great in the winter, but literal Hell in the summer.

4. As a result, SALADS ALL SUMMER!

5. …But you also save loads of money on your heating bill in the winter, because as soon as it gets chilly, you have an automatic excuse to bake and warm up the entire apartment complex.

6. You want to host dinner at your place to show off your expert cooking skills to all your friends, but it’s physically impossible to fit all of them into your apartment at the same time.

7. …So you’re always suggesting that another friend throws the party and everyone one brings a dish with them. (Although, to be quite honest, you’d be totally cool just bringing all the food.)

8. You dream of buying one of those fancy KitchenAid stand mixers, but know that you don’t possibly have the counter space… and it breaks your heart a little bit every day.

9. Whenever you visit home, you automatically take over the family kitchen and COOK ALL THE THINGS. YOU’VE MISSED THIS DOUBLE OVEN SO MUCH.

10. You have to practice extreme self-control whenever you’re walking through the kitchen supplies section of any store, because while you desperately want to bake that poppy seed cake that you’re famous for at home, it just doesn’t make sense for you to have a bundt pan when your cabinets are already overflowing as it is.

11. …But you’ve also converted (at least) part of your living room into extra kitchen storage, because YOU JUST COULDN’T HELP YOURSELF. THE BUNDT PAN WAS ON SALE.

12. …However, to keep your apartment looking classy, you’ve also scoured Pinterest for cute display options, so it looks like you’re totally keeping all those mixing bowls in the living room for a reason. It’s all a part of your meticulously planned out decor. Not because there’s literally no room for all of that stuff in the room where it actually belongs. Duh.

13. You have an entire folder saved on your computer browser labeled, “One Day.” It’s filled with recipes that you definitely want to try, but don’t have the means to make them with your current living arrangements.

14. You may not have your dream wedding figured out, but you sure as hell have your dream kitchen planned out down to the last spatula. TC mark

14 Ridiculous Things Women Do When They’re Pissed At Their Boyfriends

Posted: 16 Sep 2015 05:00 AM PDT

Twenty20, jacquiecooks
Twenty20, jacquiecooks

1. She'll send a 5,000 word text. And while you're typing your response, she'll send another 5,000 word text. And another. And another. Because no one, since the inception of the typewriter, can type faster than a woman who's fuming.

2. Break your shit. Ironically, she'd never break something she bought, perhaps it's not as fulfilling.

3. She'll give you the silent treatment. And like a schmuck you'll keep asking, "What's wrong?" until she explodes.

4. Slash your tires. Actually, the thought of slashing your tires is enticing, but in reality, few women usually go through with this because it's actually harder than it sounds. But hey, like a shitty birthday present, it's the thought that counts.

5. If it's a touchy subject, she'll initially argue with venom, but when she brings up the most sensitive issues, she'll be reduced to tears.

6. Key your car. Key your bloodclaat car.

7. Bring up stuff from 11 years, 7 months, 4 days ago. Women are like Wikipedia, they know and remember everything.

8. Yell at the top of her voice – like she's watching a cockroach vs lizard match. And not just any cockroach, I'm talking about the one that flies. OMG.

9. And then she'll storm out of the room and slam the door. Because when she slams the door she'll feel empowered.

10. Delete you from Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram etc. And then for good measure, she'll block you. And when you're back on good terms again, she'll re-add you.

11. Act like nothing is wrong, and give you enough rope to hang yourself.

12. Throw things at you. Yup, believe it or not, not every girl out there is level-headed.

13. You'll wake up in the morning, and check your phone. Alas, in one long ass text message, she'll break up with you, get back together, break up with you again, get back together again.

14. Fill in the blank ____________ (your personal experience, c'mon now, don't be ashamed). TC mark

Date The Guy Who Puts In ‘Too Much Effort’

Posted: 15 Sep 2015 07:47 AM PDT

Twenty20 / sabrinafvholder
Twenty20 / sabrinafvholder

We became a generation who tries to do the most things with the least amount of effort. What once were plans to meet up with people and have real conversations turned into Facebook messages saying "Wow ur hot."

Receiving flowers became receiving likes on Instagram — or if you're lucky, becoming someone's "#WCW." We have access to most of the world's information and rather than use it to do more and fuel creative ways to show our affections, we use it to put forth as little amount of labor as possible. In addition to a lazy collection of individuals, we are a stubborn bunch as well. We know we hold a ton of knowledge, yet rather than admit we've used it selfishly, we decided to shine an unflattering light onto the ones who put in effort. We told them they try too hard and feel too much. That they are overbearing and unrealistic. We made them relationships pariahs and threw our own parade boasting swipe right and friends with benefits (well, a parade requires too much planning…maybe we just waved a banner instead.)

As a result, we flirt through emojis, we exchange selfies on Snapchat, occasionally fall into a bed or two without a real commitment, and call it normal.

This is not normal.

We are afraid of the ones who do too much. Afraid of the guys who tell you how they feel, straight forward. The ones who text you right back when you send a good afternoon text. The ones who have no issue holding your hand on crowded sidewalks and call you beautiful when you feel anything but. They seem overwhelming and maybe even emotional – terrifying and unusual. Our current dating culture tells that someone who invests their time looks like the one who texts you every two minutes if you don't text them back. The one who get irrationally upset if you don't respond right away to their "acts of kindness." The one who cries or screams if they don't hear the "I love you too" response when they declare their passion. Effort means overbearing.

So when someone walks into our lives that is straight-forward, that compliments every day, that wants to make an official title for whatever you two have, it seems too much. It seems abnormal and strange because we want to keep them arms length and have multiple shallow relationships than a more meaningful deep one. We are told to avoid the ones who feel too much because they will attach themselves like a leech and drain you of all your emotional energy. They will try to fill up every slot of your time and never give you your space. That they will say "I love you" the first day and try to force you into feeling things you aren't ready for.

You've got it all wrong.

It is not weird if a guy wants to text you every single day. It is not weird if a guy wants to take you out on dates and spend time with you. It is not weird if a guy wants to be in an established relationship with you. What is weird is telling a person they are weird for having feelings.

What is weird is being afraid of guys who make an effort, not because they want a confidence boost or another notch in their belt, but because they genuinely care about you. Guys who try are not always ones who try to suck away your independence and glue themselves to your side. They are ones who see that you're someone worth talking to and worth spending time with. They find you attractive and interesting – Ïthey want to get to know you even better. When someone wants this, and goes out of their way to show it, we shouldn't call it weird.

So give the guy who makes the effort a chance. I promise if you do, you'll find it is much more normal than you expected. TC mark

15 Women On How Their Idea Of ‘Mr. Right’ Changed As They Grew Up

Posted: 15 Sep 2015 10:26 AM PDT

via twenty20/hanschristian
via twenty20/hanschristian

1. “Thought I wanted Brad Pitt as my Mr. Right. Turns out I actually wanted Seth Rogen. Who knew?!”

—Janet, 25

beetlejuice

2. “As someone who graduated with honors in college and then quickly did well in my career life I had this idea of meeting someone who was highly educated and high powered and doing this power couple thing with them. As I got older and dated a few men that fit the mold I started realizing that I actually didn’t want that at all. I met an electrician at a friend’s party six months ago and he’s everything I didn’t know I wanted.”

—Cynthia, 29

beetlejuice

3. “My Mr. Right had all the same interests I did when I was in high school so that we’d never run out of things we were excited to talk about. Turns out this is actually pretty boring for both of you. I want to learn from my S/O these days.”

—Karen, 23

beetlejuice

4. “My Mr. Right has been Zac Efron for years now and I see no reason to lower my standards.”

—Olivia, 27

beetlejuice

5. “I used to be very much of the opinion that ‘Love is all you need’ and then my broke-ass ex-boyfriend and I moved in together and it was hell trying to make ends meet. Now I’m a lot more careful about dating people who have their shit together, are financially/professionally stable and have a lot of motivation.”

—Danielle, 25

beetlejuice

6. “I’ve just come to terms with the fact that he should never be perfect. I don’t even think there’s just one Mr. Right. We build it up in our heads too much. For me, it’s just about finding a partner at the right moment in time who you honestly think you could build a life with.”

—Mary, 24

beetlejuice

7. “When I was younger I was more shallow where as now I’d much rather have someone who can hold a conversation rather than just someone who’s nice to look at.”

—Liz, 28

beetlejuice

8. “I have friends who are definitely worried about ‘marrying down’ like their guy has to make as much money as they do and have read all the same books and stuff like that. I find it really weird that a lot of them basically think they’re royalty who might be tainted by the touch of a commoner. I have a different perspective. My Mr. Right is hard working and kind and always has been. He’s a man, not a collection of degrees and bank accounts.”

—Sarah, 25

beetlejuice

9. “When I was in high school I was all about the boy with long hair and a cleft chin. For some reason that was my A+ number one dream. I can’t even stand to look at a man with long hair now. I can’t tell if it’s the memory of high school me that’s annoying or their long hair.”

—Erin, 22

beetlejuice

10. “Mr. Right? Isn’t that a thing that teenagers get over after their first couple boyfriends? I mean, we all have preferences but I’m not going to set arbitrary standards. What if I do and then miss him because he doesn’t check all the boxes?!”

—Jackie, 28

beetlejuice

11. “My Mister Right guy used to be legit shy and deep and he wrote all his thoughts in a notebook and I’d have to beg him to let me read it and he never would and then I’d try so hard to understand him. Then I dated that guy. Let me tell you, he doesn’t have a job and he doesn’t intend to. Also, when you actually read his notebook it’s all super derivative and filled with bad spelling and stupid quotes. I’ll take a fun guy with a job at this point as long as I’m attracted to him.”

—Scarlett, 24

beetlejuice

12. “I used to be so into bronze skinned surfer dudes that it’s embarrassing to admit. I mean, I still am but I live in New York now and they don’t exist here as a species. So, yeah, my dream of finally meeting a surfer boy with a PhD in Economics and a non-profit serving poor children across the globe has basically been shattered.”

—Natalie, 22

beetlejuice

13. “I’m woman enough to admit that I used to be the girl who longed to date tattooed men with motorcycles that I couldn’t bring home to daddy. Oddly enough these aren’t the most faithful kind of guys you can find. Also, getting a few years older made me realize that I was counting on the men in my life to create a sense of adventure for me. Now I’m the adventurous one and I’ve met way better guys who share my interest in traveling and hiking and also aren’t a-holes.”

—Mila, 30

beetlejuice

14. “It’s so funny for me to think about now but I used to date super douchey guys who were always in a bad mood and spent all my time trying to rescue them from their bad moods. Me and so many of my friends were all about this ‘type’ but it is so draining. My type now is a cute guy who’s usually in a good mood. I figure nearly any guy like that is someone’s ‘Mr. Right’.”

—Sophie, 21

beetlejuice

15. “For me, I used to be all about the skinny androgynous guys for some reason. These days I’m pretty into muscly guys. Maybe I’ll eventually settle into the middle, who knows.”

—Maggie, 23 TC mark

‘Which One Of Your Parents Is White?’ And Other Questions I Get From Being A ‘Halfie’

Posted: 15 Sep 2015 08:47 AM PDT

Provided by the author.
Provided by the author.

It’s an all-too-typical scene for me: I walk up to the cashier at Manning’s and greet the cashier with a casual “你好.” Perhaps this is my giveaway – Chinese culture tends to be light on unnecessary formalities. “Have membership card?” the cashier replies in an incredibly strong Hong Kong accent. The slight is unintended and perhaps unperceived by you. But I come across it daily, and while I typically ignore it, today I take it head on. I ask him, “你可不可以同我講中文? (Can you speak to me in Chinese?)” The cashier apologizes with a deep shade of embarrassment, and quickly tells me the price in Cantonese. I thank him after collecting my change and move on.

An all-too-typical question to me: “Which of your parents is white?” As many times as I’ve heard this question, I still lack a quick response. The answer the questioner wants to hear is “my mother”, but this answer sells out my mother, with which I’m not comfortable. I gauge how long I want to spend talking to my conversation partner(s) and I choose either the simple answer. “Neither. They’re both Chinese.” A true statement that I’m perfectly comfortable delivering.

Generally, this is accepted with minor acclaim and the conversation proceeds as normal. Occasionally, I get retorts of disbelief and accusatory follow up questions. I will hear “then why do you look like what you do? Are you sure?” from generally well-mannered people unaware how rude they sound while assigning someone a race to their own satisfaction. To avoid this line of questioning, I sometimes give a longer response. “Neither, but my mom’s family is mixed. Both my parents were born and raised in Hong Kong.” The conversation will never stop here. The most common follow-up question I hear is “oh so you’re 1/4?” I’ll generally take this comment in stride, while making a note to self that I probably shouldn’t talk advanced mathematics with this person and their limited vocabulary of fractions. For these simple people, I’ll sometimes say, “Sure,” more willing to sell out a grandparent I’ve never met.

Provided by the author.
Provided by the author.

An atypical scene happened in the waning days of 2005. I was in the dark days of college applications, having just spent my entire winter break writing college essays for Ivy League schools and non-common app schools (damn you Northwestern). My parents had been overly involved in this process from the very first page of the application form and had poured a lot of sweat into making me express the very best of myself. For every application, I checked Asian in the race/ethnicity box without much thought. However as it came time for me to send out the application for Pomona, a school I only knew about because of my cousin Andrew Barnet, I thought about filling in an extra box. Andrew’s father is a white man from Ohio, and I figured if my biracial cousin could get into Pomona, maybe I should try being biracial as well. I stealthily went back to page one, ticked “White” as well, and closed the application before I felt too guilty about it. It felt like a bold lie on an official form, but I told myself, “technically you are part white.”

Provided by the author.
Provided by the author.

The details about my ancestry get complicated quickly. Yes my mom is the mixed one, but her parents are both mixed. Further complicating matters, her parents/my grandparents were distant cousins, sharing the same full blooded white European ancestor. There is likely at least another white European ancestor in the family. The one I’m most aware of is Charles Bosman, a Dutchman who traded in Guangzhou and Hong Kong in the late 1800s. His son Robert Ho Tung was definitely a halfie, and he became Sir Robert Ho Tung, whose bilingual skills made him invaluable in the growth days of Hong Kong and became the first Chinese knighted by the British.

My uncle has set aside a portion of his retirement into investigating our heritage, visiting Bosman’s grave in London and publishing an ancestry book. He believes Bosman was Jewish with roots outside of Holland, but that we likely aren’t related to him at all, instead having Parsi blood (Zoroastrian practicers banished from Persia in the 1500s and mostly migrated East) through some off-the-books relationship.

The most precise fraction I’ve seen for our non-Chinese part is 13/64, and I’ve made sure this calculation is possible, but honestly I have no clue if it’s true. But it doesn’t really matter.  None of these details affect my identity. I don’t have a direct fully Caucasian relative alive, and neither does my mom. She grew up what they call Eurasian in Hong Kong, speaking Cantonese primarily but English secondarily, and it was only after I came here that I realized how atypical her experience was from that of the average local. But she moved to the eastern US where she was just Asian, at a time when there weren’t many, and I don’t think being mixed has had any part of her identity for a long time.

Provided by the author.
Provided by the author.

My dad is “just” Chinese, but even his family history takes a few lines to retell properly. He was born in Hong Kong into a Shanghainese family who were refugees anticipating Cultural Revolution purges. They spoke Shanghainese at home and identified as Shanghainese, but in reality, their history in Shanghai spanned only two generations and their ancestral hometown was somewhere in Hunan.

They claim to have some Manchurian blood, with some relation to the last Emperor of China Pu Yi, but the details may have passed away with my great-grandmother. My grandfather was extremely adventurous and quite a gambler, a combination that saw my dad move to Brazil, back to Hong Kong, to Sierra Leone, New York City, Boston, Cote D’Ivoire and back to Boston. He has since lived a decade in Shanghai, a city he visited for the first time in his 30s.

Provided by the author.
Provided by the author.

My own history is far less interesting. I was born and raised in suburban Boston, and I grew up Chinese-American. I had two Chinese parents, played chess and piano, excelled at math and sucked at basketball. I went to China for three months in college and for the first time, I was told by a society around me that maybe I’m white. Only two-and-a-half years removed from guiltily ticking “white” in that college application form, I was giving an English lesson to a Chinese man, and somehow I ended up writing my Chinese name. He asked me, “how did you get this Chinese name?” and I replied that my parents gave it to me. “Really? Why? You’re Chinese?” Turns out he legitimately believed the whole time that I was completely white, which was an utter shock to me. This was far from the last such instance.

Too often I am assigned an ancestral history that isn’t mine, and often without me realizing it. Many times I’ve discovered years into a friendship that a good friend had thought I was half-white the whole time. They were misinformed about me for years. To a great credit to today’s society, this hasn’t usually mattered much, because as far as I can tell, people have treated me the same whether they thought I was Chinese or half-Chinese. But when I do correct people who mistakenly call me a halfie, they rarely get what the big deal is. “But it’s a good thing! Halfies are really good looking!” said my friend after she introduced me as her halfie friend, for the second time. True, halfie is nothing like a racial slur and it seems for whatever reason that most societies’ conceptions of attractiveness venerate Asian-Caucasian mixes. So really, why should I care that someone gets my racial background slightly wrong?

Because the truth matters. The difference between my experience and that of a half-Chinese half-White guy has significant differences. I was never a child walking down the streets with parents who looked nothing like me or each other, receiving bewildered stares from people. I never had to choose between adopting my father’s or my mother’s cultural heritage. I never spoke a language that only one of parents understood (and still don’t, because I think my mom understands more Mandarin than she lets on). I never heard any lessons of “good old American values” from a white grandparent. I never grew up as a mixed kid – I grew up as a Chinese kid in America.  And guess what? I never thought I looked mixed. When you grow up everyday thinking you’re Chinese, everyday you look in the mirror you’re going to see the reflection of a Chinese kid. Now that I’ve had several years dealing with people telling me that I’m mixed, I start to look in the mirror and think maybe I look mixed. But I still don’t think I look like a halfie.

I am also fully aware that I’m far from alone in the experience of constantly being on the receiving end of incorrect assumptions. I bet all mixed people have experienced this in some way. Most anyone who speaks a foreign language will experience this in some fashion. I will say though, I’ve been the “Chinese guy” who had to rely on a white person for linguistic help while learning Mandarin in China, and I’ve been the “white guy” whom Mainland Chinese people had to rely on for linguistic help in Hong Kong. I’m not sure that’s a typical experience.

Anyway, while most Asian Americans I know are put off when people assume they can’t speak English, the “Forever-Foreigner” stereotype, that rarely happens to me in the states. Probably that’s part of my privilege growing up educated in liberal diverse areas, but even when it does happen it’s easy to shake off. That’s because my Americanness is unshakeable – it’s a permanent part of my identity that I’m totally secure in, partially because the concept of American is so fluid. Try as he might, not even Donald Trump could deny me my Americanness. I’m definitely less secure in my Chineseness, partly because it’s not so well defined worldwide and some people have a very restrictive view of it.

So when a cashier doing his job assumes I’m not Chinese and speaks to me in English, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. But it hurts me. The U.S. equivalent would be a Hispanic immigrant who spent many years in the U.S. and learned English going into a store and having a white clerk ask in 6th grade Spanish “tienes bago?” Many such shoppers would feel offended and wonder if they would ever feel truly accepted in this country. And perhaps for me it’s even more personal. Even though English is my best language, I actually spoke Cantonese first. It is inextricably tied to my identity especially my Chinese identity. When I hear parents telling their kids “乖乖地,小朋友要聽話,” it resonates back to my childhood. So when someone tries to deny that language to me, I feel like a dart has been thrown at me. Even more painful is when I’m debating Asian-American issues, and my argument gets this rebuttal: “Well you wouldn’t understand, you’re mixed.” Few things would get me more riled up, so luckily this has only happened twice.

So back to the cashier. Yes I get it. We all have to make some judgement calls and when I have to ask some Chinese stranger on the street, I will talk to him first in Chinese, even though I don’t know for sure that’s his first language. And when I see a Caucasian stranger, I will always use English first. The reasons why cashiers in Hong Kong instinctively use English has a historical backdrop in colonialism that has nothing to do with me. These instances occur much more often in places with a long history of service to westerners like Bangkok, Hong Kong and Philippines rather than say in Taiwan or South Korea. Hong Kong is a city where westerners almost never learn Cantonese, and both the local and western community seem to accept this without any qualms. The language situation here is another post entirely (and likely will get one soon). So when I am able to properly consider all that context…no I can’t really fault the cashier. Yet at the same time, I don’t fault myself for feeling bothered. It’s certainly a paradox isn’t it?

Provided by the author.
Provided by the author.

So how do I want people to interact with me? Don’t get me wrong, I totally welcome asking about my race/ethnicity. I never shy away from asking others, and I ask directly (none of this ‘where are you really from?).  The point is, we have to be more educated in the way we talk and think about race. Being mixed does not mean half one race half another race, and future generations hereon out are only going to be more complicated. You will also likely encounter more “third culture kids” of mixed race. If you don’t learn how to talk to and understand these people, you will be that crotchety old grandparent who embarrasses the younger generation. Reduce your assumptions as much as possible, and just ask curious but respectful questions. And even if you find to your satisfaction that the person in front of you has a grandfather from Italy, a grandmother from Korea, another grandfather from Turkey and a grandmother who was adopted into an Irish-American family…well that might not actually tell you anything about who the person in front of you really is.

P.S. Pomona was the most selective school that accepted me. TC mark

10 Things No Truly Badass Woman Will Stand For

Posted: 15 Sep 2015 03:13 PM PDT

Being a woman in the world is many things, but one thing it isn't is easy. There are many ways to handle the challenges that you might face as a woman. The best way, however, is to be a badass. Badass women come in many different forms, but there are also many things they have in common. In partnership with ABC's Quantico, here are 10 things no truly badass woman will stand for – part of an ongoing series on Thought Catalog — "The New Rules of Badass Women."

1. Being spoken to without respect

Respect is a given when talking to a badass woman. She'll give it to you and you'll give it back. Should anyone choose to engage in discussion with her in a disrespectful manner, she'll either remind him or her to reassess their manners, or simply remove herself from discussion entirely.

The female FBI recruits in Quantico are the ultimate badasses: strong, smart, and not afraid of a challenge.
The female FBI recruits in Quantico are the ultimate badasses: strong, smart, and not afraid of a challenge.

2. Being treated as a damsel in distress

While a badass woman is not afraid to be treated like a traditional lady your grandmother would be proud of, she makes it clear at all times that she is not a damsel in distress. She can usually take care of her business by herself. And if she ever needs your help, she'll ask.

3. Unhealthy relationships

Badass women do not take it for granted that everyone will turn out to be the type of person they want to be around. So if they must let a relationship go in order to maintain a healthy sense of self, they will.

4. Inauthenticity

There's nothing less amusing to a badass woman than inauthenticity. Whether it's a fake smile or a disingenuous remark, putting her in a position where she has to "play along" is not a good idea. Not only will she not play along, she'll call you out plainly and leave you feeling foolish.

5. Emotionally draining people

Badass women tend to be busy people with a lot going on in their lives. Because their time is so precious, they have little if any of it left for emotionally draining people. Whether it's stressful coworkers or unavoidable acquaintances, they stay polite by staying at a distance.

6. Settling

Chances are, a badass woman always wants more. And if it's not more she wants, it's something different. Either way, she's rarely complacent and satisfied with her life – and this keeps her going.

A real badass – like Quantico's Alex Parrish – is always pushing herself to the next level.
A real badass – like Quantico's Alex Parrish – is always pushing herself to the next level.

7. Being silenced

No badass woman will ever let you get away with silencing her. She simply won't stay silent to "keep the peace," or to make others happy if it comes at a cost to her sanity and well-being.

8. Being taken for granted

While a badass woman will never beg for validation, she will also not let you take her for granted. And if she needs to remind you every now and then that she always has options, she will.

9. Backhanded compliments

Everyone likes compliments. But if your compliment is going to be served with a side of bitterness, badass women everywhere would prefer that you keep it to yourself entirely.

10. Being powerless

The absolute worst feeling in the world for a badass woman is powerlessness. She doesn't accept it in herself and she won't accept it in you. She knows that as long as she's breathing, she has power. And she'll always remind you of this about yourself, too. TC mark

This post is brought to you by ABC's Quantico. Watch the series premiere Sunday, September 27 at 10|9c – only on ABC.