|RANT 'N' RAVE
Revenge of the nerds
Last Dec's "Revenge of the
Nerds" rant (Issue 350)- reproaching Western women critical of the fact that
"gaijin geeks pick up stunning Japanese girls" - drew some impassioned responses
from our readers. As part of our special Valentine's Day issue we've decided to delve
deeper into this highly contentious cross-cultural debate. Not surprisingly, the views of
men and women remain polarized.
Okay, so you found a Japanese girlfriend who can overlook your
undeniable geekiness. Congratulations. I'm happy for you. Really. But how do you explain
"this?" What, exactly, draws "you" to "her?" Let's see. Hmm,
she's probably cute, probably thin, probably a snazzy dresser. Just admit it already. It's
her looks. Not to imply that every Western male-Japanese female couple is carrying on a
superficial relationship. I've certainly met my share of couples who seem genuinely in
love and are more inspiring than most uni-cultural couples I've known.
But don't forget the very reason that you've been hearing those gripes in the first place.
(Sour grapes? Puh-leeze. Western women "do" face similar treatment.)
See, I've also met my share of foreigners who are mainly here to get a Japanese
girlfriend/boyfriend, who've come with a fetish and are determined to make good on it.
I've met many a couple who can barely communicate due to language barriers. I've seen and
laughed at TC classified ads for people who will only take language lessons from
attractive members of the opposite sex. (What do height and hair color have to do with
learning?) She could very well be attracted to you for your personality, but don't merely
assume. Sometimes, being a foreigner in Japan is like being famous or, to quote Chris
Rock, "like being a woman with big tits." People stare at you and want to be
your friend for no apparent reason. The fact is that in this media-obsessed society the
same rules apply. European traits are still associated with beauty.
It's a complaint that
comes up at every gathering of gaijin, and everytime I hear it I roll my eyes and reach
for my drink. What is it about gaijin men dating Japanese women that twists western
women's underwear so? Admit it. You've heard this discussion before, and probably even
participated in it. It always starts with the same question - why are there so many
Japanese women dating geeky gaijin? Then the discussion usually slides into various
hypotheses like naivete or contracts with the devil.
But there is a major flaw in this argument. My parents are living proof that geeks not
only date in their native habitat, but also marry and even have children. It's a travesty
really, but I guess I can't complain too much. The difference is that here you actually
notice that clumsy, color-blind guy with the comb-over. He stands out, like all
foreigners, instead of blending in with the curtains, like back home.
But my question, again, is why does it bother everyone so much? You can't be jealous of
the poor woman. Is it offensive to the Fashion Nobility to see the commoners enjoy
themselves? "Power to the little people" is what I say. They obviously have
enough problems keeping their glasses on their noses and matching their socks. They
deserve a little happiness. The truth is that I am thinking about wearing my socks with my
sandals next Friday night and trying my luck. I can't do worse than I have been doing
Despite the two-to-ten
theory (two at home, ten over here), things are still a lot easier in Japan for foreign
men who have Japanese girlfriends as opposed to vice versa.
I fall into the latter category. I am very tall and have blonde hair - curse my parents
for dooming me to be forever branded a bimbo! My boyfriend is shorter than me, and yes,
Japanese. I suppose if I was ugly or obese, or if he had large idoru eyes, then our being
together might be more acceptable to people over here. As it is, he looks very Japanese
and I look very Western. The result is that we have to put up with barely disguised
comments about how he must be paying for my time, or must be very rich. "I wonder how
much she costs per hour" is a common one, especially on the train. Then there's the
"She must be after a visa" viewpoint.
Surprisingly, it's not just Japanese people who make this assumption. About a month ago I
was chatted up by a foreign guy who, despite my heavy hints that I was already attached,
fancied his chances. When I finally told him directly that I lived with my boyfriend, his
face dropped in disbelief, "What, not that Japanese guy I've seen you with at the
station? He's your boyfriend?" Yes, he's my boyfriend and why do so many foreign men
assume that because we are in Japan, all foreign women must be desperate for a foreign
man? Perhaps it's because their egos are so inflated from excessive pampering by their
Japanese girlfriends? Sorry to disappoint you boys, but the "size myth" is
exactly that-a myth.
Many of us in Japan see the beauty in Japanese people, male and
female. Many white Western women automatically assume that when they see a white man with
a Japanese woman they must be lovers. That is not fair. Nothing could be further from the
truth. On the other hand, if they are, so what... I ask these frustrated women to think
back to the last time they went to the movies in the US with a male black friend. Most
white Western men here in Tokyo would LOVE to have a white lady friend. We miss them so
much, although they can't imagine how much.
Many thanks to our readers for their Rants.