So I had two incidents in mind that I wanted to share here and had written up a blurb for, but was having a difficult tying them together. And then something happened at work that’s been bothering me a good deal, although it’s taken me some time — and a good deal of discussion with various fellow-Asian-American friends — to put form to why I’ve been feeling so bothered since last week.

The incident took place at the end of the day last Friday. Three white coworkers were chatting about 10 feet away from me, discussing the red lights shining at the Empire State Building (which we have a prime view of from my office). Incidentally, I was trying to join in on the conversation by asking for more details about the lights,  but they didn’t hear me, and then THIS gem happened instead:

Lady 1: It’s Chinese New Year-themed. They’re having some firework lighting at 6 to 7, I hear.
Man: You know, I don’t understand why Oriental is suddenly an offensive term.
(There is an awkward pause as ALL THREE GLANCE SIDEWAYS AT ME. I pretend not to listen, but am in fact listening quite intently.)
Lady 2: Yeah, I know…
Lady 1: It’s just one of those things.
Lady 2: I personally don’t think it’s such a bad term, but you have to be sensitive.
Man: No. This is one of those cases where people are just overreacting. You can’t be sensitive about everything.
Lady 2: (trying to be conciliatory) Well, I don’t mind not using the word.
Guy: I do. I like that word. It sounds very (emphatically gesturing) mysterious, and fantastical.
Lady 1: The Orient Express.

Continue reading


Dog Walking, Part 2


Being Californian and always eager to break out the legs when the weather is even remotely warm enough, I decided to wear shorts while out walking Kenji this last weekend, a rare sunny and beautiful weekend in New York. Bad decision, considering I had already experienced last year how utterly weird New Yorkers get about posthaste post-winter shorts. (It’s never daily temperature that dictates sartorial decisions, but season.)

I strolled down the long park in front of my apartment with Kenji, me humming lightly to myself as I contemplated how lovely the yellow daffodils along the path were, him determinedly searching for every remote sign of dog piss, happily sniffing away, then lifting his leg and urinating vehemently all over the already-marked territory. It was in this fashion that I ended up walking well ahead of Kenji and stretching his leash out to its entire five-foot length.

Two homeless guys sitting on a bench nearby broke off from their conversation as I passed. One flashed me a toothy grin.

“How long does that get, EH?” he asked.

Continue reading


There’s something to be said about the audacity of some guys who are desperate to hook up. There’s something more to say about guys who try to hook up with a girl who’s taken. And then there’s something even more to say about guys who try to hook up with a girl whose boyfriend is right there, between you two.

Two weeks ago, I was waiting outside a restaurant in Chinatown with the Boy, who had invited me to have dinner with him and his mother. Out of nowhere, a drunken Frenchman dragging a suitcase behind him ambles up to us. Ignoring Boy, who was standing right between us, he looked straight at me and shot me a wide grin.

“It’s just this suitcase and me,” he declared, waving his free arm wildly. “Just me.”

Continue reading

Rice rockets

So if you’ll remember from my post two weeks ago on Cheating, I had mentioned some on-and-off flirtation between Jared and me that went on last spring. If you’ll recall from that post, I had decided to definitively break off relations with Jared after yet another of his “I still like you / let’s see where this goes” quasi-dating phases, and he had, during said phrase, taken another girl out to dinner was now full-on dating her. Then he cheated on said girl with me.

I saw Jared again after that when he was on a business trip to NYC a few weeks afterward. Annoyed by the constant back-and-forth waltzing, I decided to grant him another ultimatum, this time to make clear the status of our relationship: friends, purely hook-up, or dating.

He asked me whether friends with benefits was an option. I said no.

Continue reading

College game

As an English and Journalism “specialist” (at least according to my college and graduate school degrees), one thing I always like to pay attention to is how, not even eloquently my or other people’s writing comes across, but just how thoughts are voiced and sentences are constructed in their pithiest, most elucidative expression, without the embellishment of excess onomatopoeia or frivolous emoticons or sPeLLiNgZ lyK DiS.

That’s why reading through my writing in the past fills me with nothing more than disgust and consternation. A writer with any faith in his/her craft prides his/herself on the ability to arrange inspirations and words in a way no other individual can. But a writer who takes faith in her craft while writing like a pre-teen high on glue deserves to be shot.

Continue reading

How I got a brand new bed frame for free

Well, will you look at that?

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming after these past few perambulatory musings.

Now, I know what you may be thinking. And I suppose you can’t be blamed: The mention of a bed frame on a blog chock full of stories about (mostly) botched hookup attempts, and you can just bet your imagination can run wild with those implications. Well, you can just let your dirty mind wander all you want, but if you’re expecting that kind of a story, let’s just say you’ll probably be disappointed.

A little bit.

Let’s go back to the beginning.

Continue reading

What Fred said

Remember the story I had posted last year about Fred and his twice-in-one-night attempts to try and get me to sleep with him (if not, you can catch up by reading, “Can boys and girls be just friends?“)? Turns out Fred read it too.

A few nights ago, I was startled to receive some IMs through Facebook chat. “Hi Irene/ still alive?” they read.

It was Fred.

Continue reading