The following is a true story. I grew up on the borders of the South
Bronx. My apartment sucked. I shared a bed with my mother all through
high school. We were poor because my dad went on vacations and spent all
his money on girlfriends and booze. We had roaches. We had mice. The apartment
was fucking filthy because my mother and I were so fucking depressed.
I was like Molly Ringwald talking to Andrew McCarthy in Pretty in Pink:
"I DON'T WANT YOU TO TAKE ME HOME!!! I DON'T WANT YOU TO SEE
WHERE I LIVE!!!" Though, man, if I had a dad as cool as Harry Dean
Stanton I wouldn't have cared much.
I ate Spam out of the tin with a spoon and rice out of a metal pot for
dinner. I remember buying 13 glue traps in the summer and, after 10 minutes,
NO SHIT, AFTER TEN FUCKING MINUTES, we had already caught four of the
motherfuckers. Then one summer it got so hot and when I came home from
school I smelled what you might call ROTTING MOUSE CARCASS. So, don't
give me any rhetoric about, "Well it wasn't REALLY the South Bronx
because you were on 182nd Street." Because every day after fucking
school after getting beaten up by future ex-cons I'd hear "CHING
CHONG, FING FONG," "Suck my lo mein noodle," "Yo stupid
chinky chinky poo poo chinky Chinese Wong nee how ma." That's
fucking South enough of center for me.
So after getting beaten up enough my mother sent me to a better school
in Riverdale. It was like the line in that movie, only it was "I see
rich people." And guess what, they didn't ask me about lo mein
noodles, didn't pull up their eyelids when they saw me. Whoa, man.
Am I smoking something? Then two summers at some private school on some
scholarship deal. "I see richer people." They didn't pull
that shit, either. These people played tennis. The boys wore white shorts
and the girls wore socks with pom poms on the back and Tretorn sneakers.
What the fuck was that all about? So college comes along and my SATs suck
and I write some essay about my dad being an abusive alcoholic, sob sob,
and they write back with some note about being "truly moved by my
sensitive work" and take me in as their token minority. I think there
were three others in my class.
This is the point of my story. I met a guy freshman year. Fell totally
in love. Both of us fucking inseparable for four years. I thought he was
IT. And then it was over. Hard times. I would look down at the street
and hallucinate his name written there between the cracks. Scary stuff.
So here are my tips for those of you who happen to like those waspy, cute
rich white boys.
- Don't gape at the stuff they have when his parents invite you
over for the first meeting. This is their shit; they're used to
it. They've probably never seen a fucking waterbug in their life.
Just act real cool, play it down, smile, try to read up on current events
(I say this because I don't give a rat's ass about current events,
but Wasps like to discuss them at the dinner table).
- Don't think dinnertime is going to be some rowdy, fun fantastic
thing where everybody's making cool jokes, slapping each other on
the behind to get to the refrigerator, whatever. Isn't going to
fucking happen. There are going to be motherfucking candles and china
sets here. If you don't know what fork to use watch Pretty Woman
before you go.
- Be prepared to have a box of Slim Jims in your room, because Wasps
don't serve enough fucking food. There's always just enough,
and of course you can't ask for seconds because you'll look
like some pig. And you're gonna leave that table fucking hungry
- Smile a lot. Ghetto Asians who smile are charming as shit. They like
that. They know you're a ghetto Asian and you're a fucking novelty,
so go with it. When they ask about your background just tell them about
your great fucking esteemed college and your scholarship and they'll
be happy to have housed you and let you use their monogrammed towels.
- When things start to get real serious and you start to get invited
to family "events," be nice to all the siblings even though
you think they suck big wang. Be super nice. Treat your boyfriend's
brother's girlfriend as though she were fucking family, even though
she sure as hell won't do it for you. Give her nice presents even
though you can't fucking afford three slices of pizza the day after
Christmas. Give nice presents to everyone in the fucking family. Don't
get drunk. I learned this the hard way. Wasps never forgive.
- Don't joke about how Nixon seemed "really sensitive and tortured
in that Oliver Stone movie." They won't get it. Sarcasm? Right
over their heads. It is perceived as RUDE, UNDIGNIFIED. They're
just gonna think you're ghetto, you got reeled in by Hollywood,
all the usual blah blah blah.
- When you think your boyfriend is gonna propose, don't take him
seriously for a goddamn minute. Goddamn minute? Make that goddamn second.
He'll do all the lead-up shit, get his mother's old ring appraised,
but when push comes to shove he'll say "I'm not ready,"
leaving you with your sad ass tits flapping in the wind. In their bedroom
his parents will be breathing huge sighs of relief and counting their
- Don't get insulted when they say "How can you not know how
to swim?" Resist the temptation to say "Well, you lousy motherfucker,
I don't happen to have a summer home on a lake and my mother was
too busy trying to afford tutors for me to get into good schools so
we had no money for swimming lessons and I had no friends since everyone
was fucking trying to beat the feces out of my little ass."
- When someone calls you "oriental," don't say "that
refers to rugs and furniture, not people." They're not gonna
change for you, cause honey, you just an Asian ghetto child and they
couldn't care fucking less. Just as long as you don't marry
their son, you fine.
- When someone in the family says, "Yeah, we have money, but I don't
think I should be beaten up for it," JUST BREATHE, JUST MOTHERFUCKING
BREATHE. IT WILL PASS.
This is the last I have to say. One day when my college boyfriend and
I were together in my dorm, happy as fucking clams, I took some soda out
of my fridge and poured it into a measuring cup because I didn't want
to take the trouble to pour it into a proper glass. This is the love of
my life, the guy who got his mother's ring appraised, all that bullshit.
You know what he said to me?
"Ugh, honey, that's so GHETTO." So if you're reading
this and you don't remember, HONEY, have that engraved on your fiance's
ring and stick it up your sorry ass.