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Outside of my immediate family, the most influential people in my young life were my Thai American best friend (26 years together now, and counting) and my Korean American dance teacher, a strong, handsome man who never raised his voice, showered me with love as if I were his own daughter, and taught me I should always reach across to open the car door for a man whenever he opens mine.
Fast forward to the recent present: I turned 30 last year and was single and freshly broken-hearted for the first time in ten years after investing half a decade in a relationship that did not end up in what I had hoped would be a lifelong commitment.
They would gladly kiss me in the dark, and then nitpick every part of my body.
I felt I was always failing to meet their white standards of beauty.
But my yearlong experience of dating strangers (of all races) revealed something more unsettling than the process itself: I’ve never culturally aligned with anyone I’ve dated.