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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Chen

the podcast episode you’re never gonna hear

Updated: May 24, 2021

Most of you know that I have been living in sunny Tulum for a couple months now, the place where all digital nomads escape their hometown lockdown buzz kills to thrive, fuck, and join what we call here the Tuluminati.

It has taken me a while to get comfortable living here, without masks, with tourists coming in and out every day, without getting overcharged for tacos, without getting robbed. And one of my most privileged issues to date is finding decent wifi to conduct my podcast interviews. So I thought, why not find someone in town and interview them live, in person? Whoa, what a trip!

So I went on Facebook. I am a beast on Facebook groups, I use them like reddit, following all those expat local visitor groups. There are of course a lot of tech guys here and I happened to find a man that built a dating app that I figured was very on brand and thought I’d reach out and see if he would be open to being interviewed.

First things first. He asked to see my podcast on apple podcasts, yes specifically that platform. To make sure I was real I guess? Who knows. He later told me he has done a lot of podcasts to promote his business and he doesn’t want to waste his time on a podcast that won’t even be around next month. I totally get that, but like, this is anonymous and we won’t be promoting your business, so like, would this even still be a good fit?

I’m not sure who convinced who, but since there was essentially nothing wrong with promoting his app, but a lot wrong with him intentionally accidentally plugging in the name of his app and totally unmasking himself in the interview, I figured I’ve come this far already lets just unmask this guy and cross promote. We’re still on brand, right?

So I bring this guy over and we record the interview in my room, with my roommate in the other room. During this interview I learn that he started this dating app mainly because he had lousy luck with other dating apps and rather than trying to figure out what about him could be potentially attracting lousy dates, he decided to correct the situation by making the process even shorter than it already is. Speed, efficiency, security - lets get as many dates out as possible in the shortest amount of time so that we can get plenty of results and be that much closer to matching with our one true love.

I have to say, this interview was magical. Oh man, I forgot how much I enjoyed interviewing people in person. You can feel the energy. And don’t get me wrong, I can feel it too during zoom calls, but there’s an added layer when its done live in the flesh. Obviously.

We leave my room and have a drink to chat further about how the interview went, and general small talk to just learn a bit more about each other, small talk, shop talk, whatever. My roommate comes out and rather than hanging out in the common area as I would have assumed, she just got up and left. And as soon as the door shut, he reached over to kiss me.

Of course I moved my head back and put my hands up to protect my face from being attacked by his lips, he immediately retracted, and asked if that was weird. Of course its was fucking weird dude.

The worst part is, I tried to maintain the peace after. I tried to change the subject, act normal, pretend everything was fine. I wish I had the courage to say I think you should leave now, but instead I waited for him to finish entertaining himself with my company and decide when he’d like to leave on his own terms. I hated the fact that I was scared of acting out in my own home. I hated the fact that I will now walk outside more cautiously. I hated the fact that I will probably never speak to another man or connect with one on Facebook or any other online platform for a while. I hated feeling that familiar feeling of fear and uncertainty draining all the self confidence I have spent so much work on cultivating.

Now before you even start to ask me what I was wearing, what signs was I giving off, did I act like I was interested, there’s no way he would take a shot in the dark, that I had to give him some kind of reassurance, none of that matters. I hear it all, that I should be grateful that I get this attention, that I am lucky guys find me attractive, that I should receive this treatment with open arms and be proud of it. And trust me, I was. Not too long ago I would have allowed that kiss, and taken it to the bedroom, and let him have anything he wanted with me. Wait for it to be over, then blame myself for putting myself in the position to begin with. This is how we have been raised.

I have lived my whole life dealing with micro and macro aggressions for not doing what a man tells me to do. Just recently I decided not to acknowledge a man trying to speak to me on the beach, so in frustration he kicked the back of my beach chair. This happens on the regular. Just for not doing what people feel are entitled to them.

I have spent my whole life explaining to people what I am not. I am not the stereotypical asian girl trope you see on tv or anime or porn. And because of that, I have spent barely any time expressing my true authentic self. I am too busy explaining to others that I am not what they expect me to be. People don’t like being told they’re wrong about what they believe. This is hate. Right now we are learning about a lot of violence, but the truth is this shit has existed forever. I am glad it is getting some lime light right now, but it’s just barely scratching the surface of where the hate is truly coming from.

The media is highlighting asian hate crimes focused directly on the coronavirus episode because it’s trendy right now. But this is not a trend. It’s what people of colour live with every fucking day for the entire lives.

Regardless of what the incident is, the fact is that someone believes they are entitled to you and what happens to you. And that someone isn’t being spoken about in media. anti-Asian hate crimes rose by 149% in 2020 while overall hate crimes dropped by seven percent. They say verbal harassment makes up 68.1% of the reports they receive, shunning makes up 20.5% of those reports, physical assault makes up 11.1% of reports and civil rights violation makes up 8.5% of the incidents. The media always portrays the what has been done to the victims. But there are no stats about the ones doing the crimes. Why aren’t there demographic stats of the types of people that do this? That will change the narrative.

People tell me that I don’t look like a typical asian, so that means I must not suffer from any prejudice or pain that other people of colour do. Or they say I’m a hot asian, or a rich asian, That there is a benefit from being a light skin person of colour. So apparently that means I have the privilege of only being discriminated against part of the time? And thats supposed to make it better to be me. so I have the better end of the stick in the situation, a positive racism.

How is there a POSITIVE racism? Do you hear yourselves right now? Only someone that doesn’t live their life differently based on the colour of their skin can say something like that.

Im sharing this story because I don’t owe this guy shit and I am not going to publish his interview, I am not going to promote his app, I am not going to ever speak to him again and I won’t try to convince myself to publish the content just because I made it. I am not going to allow myself to validate the entitlement of others anymore. I almost slipped again, and this is why todays episode is so important. We never talk about these things. And the joke is this the fucking Miss Amanda Chen show and I’m still struggling to keep it mine.

There’s a lot of noise in the media right now. It’s hard to concentrate. It’s hard to choose which post to re-share. With all the hate going on towards Asian Americans I was uncomfortable talking about the micro aggressions I experienced literally days ago because I couldn’t validate whether or not what was happening to me was serious enough to deserve being addressed. I used to tell myself Im lucky, that I’m just being sexualized, that it could be worse. That I could have been hurt or killed.

Now if I go back and try to take my own advice - from this guy who made a new dating app to improve his dates rather than looking inward to see where the root of the problem is. Ive done that now, and I know it’s not me. And I hope when you hear more of these stories, which im sure you will, especially today, that you won’t ask them to look inward. That you will stop asking women to change how they look, how they act, how they behave among men as the solution. That instead, we ask for better men.

And if you’re an audio type of person, listen to the full episode here!

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