He loves me. He loves me not.

That is the qualm almost every 20-something girl in a rom-com asks as she sits in a field of flowers, picking petals off one-by-one from a daisy, the summer sun kissing her skin. She wonders how to fix the love life she has struggled with so much. What can she offer to a relationship aside from her supermodel good-looks and quirky personality? All of a sudden, time seems to stop.

She glances up to find the most gorgeous man she has ever seen standing across from her. Their eyes interlock, and in that instance, she knows who exactly that man really is. He’s rugged and tough but has a soft spot for his mother and the random child always present. He’s athletic and active but has a love for the arts. He’s ambitious in his career; it is his passion, but its importance will never outweigh her. 

They slowly walk up to one another as “Love Story” by Taylor Swift plays in the background. Both know, deep down in their hearts, that this is the person for them. The end. Done. Fin. Now they are dating. Oh, if finding love was only as magical as it is in the movies. There’s just one little factor that they don’t have to deal with to achieve such a beautiful story: an Asian mother.

Asian mothers in day-to-day life are notorious for being picky when it comes to their child’s love life. There are strict rules that turn dating more into a checklist rather than something romantic. But would you rather have a happy relationship or the peace that comes with avoiding the trauma of disappointing an Asian parent? Always pick avoiding disappointment. 

So, what would this hypothetical checklist be? As a regular connoisseur of cheesy chick flicks and the never-ending Hallmark Christmas movies, I believe I am more than qualified to constitute what it means to have a sickeningly sweet relationship that every Asian mother would love. 

  1. Come bearing gifts.

Start off on the right foot. This is a great way to make a first impression in an Asian household. Even if you are a broke college student, spend that extra money on some fruit from Whole Foods. 

  1. Eat all the food. 

Be ready to enter a food coma with dishes such as dumplings and butter chicken. Lick every plate clean or you will surely insult the Asian mother and you might end up with an eruption of acne scars on your face, a very popular Chinese superstition that is one of many from all of the different Asian cultures.

  1. Don’t insult the food.

Speaking of food, never insult the food unless you want to end the relationship then and there. Always insist on how amazing the food is. “No, it’s not too bland. Too spicy? No way!”

  1. Offer to pay.

Whenever given the chance, always offer to pay the check. They might fight you on it, but whatever you do, fight back. This is your warning now.

  1. Learn the language.

If you are struggling in every other department, this is a sure fire way to get brownie points. Duolingo to the rescue.

  1. Be prepared to be interrogated about your achievements.

That first place trophy you got in the eighth grade for the spelling bee? Mention it. That science fair project you got a ribbon for? Yep. That participation trophy from a soccer tournament… Maybe not. If it had no actual reward, don’t bother talking about it. Hype yourself up otherwise. Especially, discuss your perfect SAT score. 

  1. Your career aspirations matter. 

If you are a “business bro,” tough luck. In order to impress an Asian mother, you have two options: law and medicine.

  1. Your hobbies don’t matter. 

Similar to your career paths, if it has no prestige, they will not care. Well unless you are a chess grandmaster. 

  1. No PDA.

It may seem a little awkward considering you are both adults, but touching is a big no-no. There are no hugs or kisses since many Asian cultures emphasize preserving composure. 

  1. Last but not least, and probably the most important rule, take off your shoes in the house. 

Pro tip: bring your own house shoes. 

Finding love is hard no matter who you are and having an Asian mother can certainly be… an interesting experience. But deep down – very deep down – your Asian mother is just strict because they care and want a quality man for their child. Although, this could very well leave you single for the rest of your life.

Featured image: Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

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