Hiring Nikki as managing editor two years ago was easily the best professional decision Nicole and I have ever made. I STILL HAVEN’T MET HER, which is outrageous, but nobody’s fault (surely it’s somebody’s fault), but everything she has ever written here has been absolute gold, and I want to make sure everyone gets a chance to re-read some of her back catalog and say nice things to her on Twitter.
You are a woman of modest means, yet you only seem to date men who own hotels.
You are a nice girl who knows exactly one nice guy. You forget about him a lot, but gosh, he sure is nice. Whoever he is.
You spend roughly 35% of your day sitting in fashionable cafés having very intense conversations.
You own like three Samsung Galaxy S6s and so do all your friends.
The funny thing is, you don’t spend a lot of time wondering what it is about your friend’s life that has led to you being, as you so often are, the only nonwhite person in the room. Instead, you ask what it is about you. How did you — of all the brown people in all the towns in all the world — slip past their usual defenses? What is it that made you acceptable?
If John Cho were your boyfriend, your dad would not be able to help himself; he would insist on inviting the two of you over for an all-day classic Star Trek movie marathon. John Cho would be a good sport about it, even when your dad stubbornly refused to have mercy on you both and skip the odd-numbered films. About halfway through The Wrath of Khan your dad would start on his usual rant about the new Star Trek movies, and how they are certainly entertaining but they aren’treally Star Trek, you know, so much as Star Trek for people who don’t know anything about Star Trek, and John Cho would just nod respectfully and think about how lucky he is to be part of your life.
If John Cho were your boyfriend, you’d learn to like California – you’d have to, because that’s home for him and he needs to be there for work. To make it up to you, in between projects John Cho would take you on thrilling, unforgettable vacations all over the world, and soon you’d have to buy one of those little packs of extra pages for your passport.
The hopeful parents began by asking if I had ever felt as though my adoptive parents weren’t my “real” parents. No, never. They asked if I had ever been in contact with my birth family. At the time, I hadn’t. They asked if I had ever had any “issues” growing up with white parents.
For the first time, I hesitated. “What sort of issues?”
“Any sort,” said the mother-to-be. “Did you ever mind it? You know—not being white, too?”
You discover that you have been flirting with your own brother and think, eh. I could do worse.
You join the priesthood to get over your ex, and end up having sex with her in a church.
Openness in adoption means more than acknowledging the fact of the adoption, “honoring” the birth mother’s decision, celebrating “Gotcha Day” on the legal anniversary. Openness means that everything is on the table. Openness means recognizing the adoptee’s right to their own history (insofar as it can be known) and their own feelings about adoption.
With Helen Cho in Age of Ultron, we get an Asian woman in a big-budget major motion picture who:
1) has a name,
2) gets more than thirty seconds of screen time,
3) does not die immediately after being introduced,
4) has no apparent martial arts skills,
5) is neither a math tutor nor a geisha,
6) gets to talk and say smart things — even in a roomful of white characters, who actually shut up for a minute and listen to her when she is explaining her science and why she’s a boss,
7) does not exist solely to give some white lady no one cares about questionable relationship advice, and
8) is not a crime lord and/or running a shady as fuck business out of a big scary warehouse.
The rational part of me knew all of this was ridiculous. The card wasn’t ours, no matter what the statement said — of course they couldn’t make us pay $1400 plus interest if we hadn’t spent it. But I’ve never been good with money. I don’t mean I can’t earn it, or hold onto it, or value it; I mean just thinking about it makes me feel terrible, uncertain and small and afraid. I never expect good things to happen, financially speaking, and even when things are going well I expect to lose what I have.
The night after Christmas finds me seated with relatives and friends at my in-laws’ crowded dinner table, enjoying a delicious meal and happily chatting about television — one of few topics that’s nearly always safe to discuss in mixed company. Of the fourteen people laughing and passing laden platters around, only one is new to me. Someone mentions my interview with Constance Wu of Fresh Off the Boat, and this, apparently, is her cue to look up and address me for the first time since we exchanged our initial his and nice to meet yous.
“Do people ever tell you that you look just like everyone on that show?” she asks.
This question strikes me as so bizarre, so beside the point, that at first I think I’ve misheard. “Excuse me?” I wait for her to clarify, change course.
She repeats her question. She appears to be perfectly serious: “You must get this a lot,” she adds, when I don’t immediately respond.
Sand Dune Treasure Hunter
Apprentice Taffy Puller
First Mate on a Crabbing Boat
Owner/Sole Employee of the Gently Used Paperback Shop
Local Artist Working Mainly in Seashells and Epoxy
Nosy Librarian With a Penchant for Solving Crimes
Campsite Manager Whose Dark and Mysterious Past We Never, Ever Speak Of
Friends, how I have loved her. We cannot possibly celebrate her enough.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.