By June dela Rosa (Click here for Korean translation)
Dating someone older or younger than yourself comes with its insecurities but an interracial relationship (specifically between Asian and White people) can increase these challenges twofold.
Between me and my white husband, everything becomes apparent: Age, colour, height. Dealing with the age challenge is difficult. For instance, he does not want me to shave because when I do, he feels I look like a teenager. And him being white, I don’t think he looks his real age either – he looks older. Shaving his facial hair does not help him look younger, nor does dressing in hip clothes.
North American society is suspicious of odd couples. Gay or straight, the “norm” is to stick to your age bracket. In our modern, democratic culture many assume that we no longer have age gaps in relationships – the image being linked to the extremes of prepubescent girls marrying men thrice their age or ancient Greek pederasty. We associate the older as preying on the young and taking advantage of the innocent.
None of our friends seriously think we are too young/old for each other but that does not prevent the jokes now and then. There has been name calling. The generic rice/potato queen comments have been coupled with labels like cougar, cradle snatcher, dirty old man.
The popularity of pop psychology has not helped either. The more intellectual friend would diagnose some sort of psychological disorder in me: an unresolved Oedipus complexity, the search for a father figure.
Though we look different in age, we are the same in spirit. I have always thought that I have defined myself at a young age, what I like and dislike. I no longer look for who I am from my peers which we all do when we are young. This matured trait is perhaps what makes an older man appealing. Like a lot of people, I have equated age with experience, self-confidence and maturity, all of which I have found in my partner.