What Dating Advice Did You Get From Your Immigrant Parents?

By Team Mash-Up

Email addresses are permanent. Also, marry a Chinese man.

Sometimes people come to America from other countries and then they have kids and then they give their kids dating advice. We’ve collected some of the best of the best advice from our first-generation Mash-Ups. There’s quite a bit of old-country wisdom, a little bit of absurdity, a teensy bit of racism and a lot of hilarity. Here, we’ll start.

Amy, Korean-American

“My mom told me to date Chinese men, not Korean men, because Chinese men cook. Based on my one Chinese boyfriend, my mom was right!”

Rebecca, Salvadoran-Jewish

“My mom’s only relationship advice was ‘Get married young, otherwise you will get stuck in your ways and never get used to him.'”

Gabriel Bermeo, Colombian-Mexican-American (also Amy’s husband)

“Once, when I was a freshman in college [at Northwestern], my dad emailed me a link to the profile of a Colombian girl at MIT. That was it, no explanation, no context, nothing. Does that count?” [Editor’s note: No.]

Tanya Paz, Chilean-Jewish-American

“Dating was not even something discussed until college. But my mom did say the best thing about not being married is that you can break up. And that there is no reason to turn down dates just because you have a boyfriend. Definitely keep all doors open. Obviously it should not be tolerated should he opt to date others though! And her take on contemporary media: If he texts, email back. If he calls, text. They should never expect what is coming!”

Yanik Breving, Cuban-American

“My mom told me, ‘Marry a white man. They take care of their women. Even though they can’t dance.’”

Vince Tseng, Chinese-American

“I never once had a conversation about dating with my immigrant parents. Actually, that’s not quite true. The one time I mentioned to my mom that Geoff had given me an email account on his server (this was after we were living together) she said, ‘Oh, you better be careful. Sometimes these things don’t last and email addresses are permanent.’” [Editor’s note: Vince and Geoff have been married for four years.]

Megha Ralapati, Indian-American

“When I was a freshman in high school, my dad, an immigrant from India and obvious expert on American boys, insisted that after 11pm, boys turned into werewolves. They didn’t mean to, but their hormones could get the better of them and physiologically all bets were off, so it was better to stay away from them after dark.”

Cindy Bokser, Korean-American

“My mom told me Chinese men cook. After having a Chinese roommate, I have concluded this to be true. Very surprisingly, she also told me no yoo-hak-sengs, or international students. This was coming fresh off a breakup with a Korean international student. And also not to date people with divorced parents. So to sum it up: Yes to Chinese men, no to yoo-hak-sengs, and no to children of divorcees.”

Peter Lee, Chinese-Taiwanese-American

“I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 21, lest the girls distracted me from my studies and straight As. Little did my parents know that girls distracted me without me having to date them and I quickly ended my streak of straight As in my first quarter at college. There was also a hierarchy of races I was allowed to date or marry. I won’t go into details, but there weren’t a whole lot of races at the top of the list!”

Ana Monroe, Panamanian-American

“I was worried because my long term live-in boyfriend kept telling me how this girl at work kept walking with him to the subway in the evening and getting lunch and coffee with him. I could tell it was pre-Oh-She’s-Into-Me realization on his part, so I asked my mother what to do to make sure he didn’t realize it. My Latina mother, a leftist sympathizer and strident feminist, told me to (1) never talk to him about it (2) never let on that she even enters my mind and (3) wear all the things he likes best for the next couple weeks, including this one dress that has a V plunge to my belly button. It worked.”

Anonymous, Armenian-Syrian-Jewish-American

“Epic dating advice: Don’t. Also, make sure he loves you more than you love him. Assume your best friend is stealing your boyfriend at all times. Finally, you can’t order a person a la carte. You need to deal with the package; assume a maximum of 5 percent change.”

Isadora Tang, Chinese-Taiwanese-American

“I would say in general my mom has advised me against men.”

For more on American boys and werewolves, check out Megha’s full story here!

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