I was only 25 when I met the man of my dreams. Brad walked right up to me at a bar and demanded to know my nationality. Flattered, I told him that my nationality was American because I was born in America and that’s how that works. Then I asked if he meant to ask me what my ethnicity was, because that’s usually what they mean.
I’ll never forget Brad’s response. It was perfect. He said: “Whatever. What are you? It’s hot.”
Talking to Brad immediately felt natural. I told him I was Chinese. As soon as he heard this, he started haphazardly saying random fragments of Mandarin sentences he’d picked up here and there on a business trip he took to Hong Kong one time when he was trying to invest in bubble tea futures.
“Ni hao,” Brad kept saying to me. “Si si.”
Now, I have to admit something: I didn’t like Brad when I first met him. However, I was incredibly impressed with his grasp of my language. It was just a hop, skip and a thousand oceans away from competency. I mean, “Ni hao? Si si?” I’d never heard of anyone who could say those things besides over fifty members of my extended family, every single person living in the entire country of China and myself.
As soon as Brad spoke I knew we needed to get married.
Just ten minutes later, after Brad followed me from the bar to the bathroom line to the lounge area all while eye-molesting me against my will, I asked him to be my husband.
Seized with emotion, I got down on one knee and proposed.
“Brad,” I said as I took a deep breath. “I’m blown away by how bad you are at the language I grew up speaking. I’ve never wanted to get married before, but your grasp of Mandarin is roughly equivalent to a one-year old on Benadryl, and I would be a fool to let a man with your skills slip through my small Asian fingers which have only ever touched silk. So Brad, will you please marry me?”
“BIAOGE!” Brad shouted, which is the Chinese word for an elder male relative on your maternal side.
His words didn’t make any sense, but I knew he meant, “YES.”
After my proposal Brad and I spent the best evening I could imagine together. I listened to him ramble on about how much he “loves Asian culture” and has “always found Asian women more attractive” for many hours that, with Brad, felt like only a few hours.
Now that Brad and I are married, our life is nothing short of joyful. He has all the qualities I could possibly ask for in a man: a rudimentary knowledge of a foreign language and the kind of weird, offensive obsession with Asian women that keeps this romance alive. I know that the story of our marriage might be unconventional, but I couldn’t be happier with my husband or with his confident misunderstanding of my entire culture. So cheers; I love you Brad!