Korean-American Teenage Boy Worries His GF Only Dates Him Because She Likes K-Pop, and The Internet Chimes In
Redditor u/kid_colby has a unique romantic issue. He thinks his girlfriend may have an ulterior motive to their love story. And he's not sure if it's a problem or not. He wrote... Am I(17M) being fetishized by my girlfriend(17F)...
So we are both in high school and we met through her being a friend of my cousin and we both liked K-pop started talking about that the fact that i speak a semi fluent Korean (because my mom sometimes speaks Korean) came up and the next day she asked me out in Korean and said yes; i thought it was cute. so now we have been dating for 4 months (keep in my mind I am nowhere near looking as good as a K-pop star. I don't have any sugary or anything like that) and she always says about how much I look like this idol or this idol and whenever she compliments me it's always comparing me to one of her guys in a group that she likes. I honestly think I'm being fetishized what do you think.
You're not the only one!
I'm a black guy from a pretty exclusively white community. I'm VERY familiar with that weird uncertainty that you're feeling. I've found it really is best to trust your guy and, above all else, be direct. Just call her out when she says something that you're interpreting as problematic, and then see what she has to say. If she says you look like someone, say "I definitely don't see it, why do you think we look alike?" If she says she loves Korean guys, ask "ALL Korean guys? Every single one? What are you saying?" Most effective of all, just straight up ask her if she likes you or if she likes the fact that you're Korean, and be prepared to elaborate why and how she makes you feel that way.
Calling her out is uncomfortable, but, if you're too uncertain to otherwise just break up with her, it might be worth it. That said, 9.5 times out of 10, I have found that when someone bring up my race or a race-specific comparison (like saying I look like black or mixed-race celebrities I realllllllllly don't actually look like), then my gut about them was right and they're more into their weird, fetishized "idea" of me than the actual, imperfect, but very real me.
I'm not either of the people you posed this question to, but I understand the point of view.
It doesn't feel good to have yourself basically erased, especially when it comes from someone you care about. Fetishizing basically means that the person is not interested in you as a person, but whatever group you represent to them. It could be any group.
Who likes vanilla?
I'm a white guy and when I was using online dating sites I was bombarded by black girls who always seemed to start every message off about how they are into white boys. It was weird. Who the hell talks like that?
We are not the same person!
I think "why do you think we all look alike" is definitely the wrong way to approach that. It's a leading question that instantly puts someone on the defense rather than giving them an honest opportunity to explain themselves. I also doubt a 17-year-old girl is going to be able to recognize and respond to leading question in any way that won't cause conflict.
It would be better to ask "why do I look similar to them" or "why do you think we look alike?" Finding out the truth doesn't require creating conflict.
Use your words...
She's most likely a koreaboo and is dating you because you can fulfill her fantasy. I feel like every K-pop fan goes through this phase in their life. It's so cringe and she will regret it one day. Does she ever speak to you in Korean or do aegyo?
She may love ALL of you...
It might depend on how she is doing it, if it is just something about you she particularly likes, then that would be fine, but if it seems like it is all she likes about you, or if she likes this fact about you above who you are as a person, then that might be worrying.
How do you feel about her?
Do you feel like you have a sincere connection otherwise? Does she seem interested in your life and feelings? Does she comment on qualities of yours that go deeper than your race? You say that K-pop is an interest you share, is it possible that her actual intention in talking about it or in making these comparisons is not to assimilate you into it, but to use it to connect with or flatter you?
K-pop can be a romance killer!
I like K-pop and when I was 17 I went on a language learning app to learn Korean and I ended up meeting my ex who was Korean (i'm white). I never compared him to idols and I wasn't exclusively looking for a Korean boyfriend either, and still am not now. From what you said it sounds like yeah, she is fetishizing you. If she doesn't like you for you and only likes you cuz she thinks you look like ____ from ____ K-pop group I'd be upset :/
Be the fetish?
To me, it in fact sounds like she is fetishizing you.
OP, do not be with someone who wants to be with you because of your specific race and who compares you to idols instead of complimenting your individuality. You're young so you might not always see the signs of fetishizing but the things you listed are very valid.
If you are personally okay with this then continue but do not enable her to continue to fetishize, there is a point where it needs to be stopped and controlled.
My BF is Chinese and I like K-pop myself so I can relate to you on some parts.
She seems a bit off...
Hey, mixed girl here. Usually your gut feeling is right when it comes to being fetishized. My ex was definitely into me because I looked Asian (I'm a lightskinned Latina so... no?!) and another few guys dated me because they wanted a feisty Latina with my body shape.
My fiance loves the way I look and learned how to cook better Colombian food than I can. He loves learning about my culture and is trying to learn some Spanish. He definitely didn't start dating me because of my ethnicity, but even before we dated he asked about my upbringing, etc.
There's a way to be interested in your interracial SO without being a creep, and I think your GF is a creep.
In movies and TV, a character who is portrayed as highly intellectual has visible signifiers.
In real life, however, a person with a high IQ is not as easily identified by common Hollywood stereotypes of smart people.
"What is a subtle sign that someone is really intelligent?"
The minds of really smart individuals never stop working.
"They draw wisdom from multiple sources. Wait but that might be more wise than intelligent... But I guess those two tend to be seen together a lot."
"They are curious about everything."
"To be intelligent you need to be knowledgeable and you cant be knowledgeable if you are never curious."
The way highly intelligent people interact with others is slightly different.
"They can switch up the way they talk to match the person they're talking to without sounding condescending. They listen to how others learn and explain it in that person's language of understanding."
Talking On Level Ground
"Talking to people as if they're intelligent at their level and without being condescending or even letting on that it's lower than their level."
"I used to work with a doctor - Tom Howard - and the day I realized he was a genius was the time he guessed every single condition a patient of mine had based on minute pieces of information about him."
The Humble Professor
"No joke. The smartest professor I had in engineering school was also the most humble. She was an astounding human being. By week 2, she knew everyone's names by heart in the intro engineering course. In College. With like 180 students. Later, in upper division classes, people would occasionally ask some really stupid questions."
"Like, it happens... you get so deep into some fluid mechanics derivation or something you forget something really basic. People would ask a question like this and everyone would be thinking like; 'Wow, how did you even make it this far?' but then... it's like she would spot the flaw in their understanding so perfectly, and then respond with such clarity and wisdom that the person asking the question would look less stupid and the whole class would be enlightened."
"And here's the thing... I pride myself on being really good at that exact skill. I tutored a lot of people. I was easily one of the brightest amongst my peers. But that woman was on another level. It was mind-blowing."
"And it wasn't just her intelligence, but her organizational skills, discipline, consistency.... And yet... she was so humble. She was quiet and physically quite small. But she just exuded competence and immediately commanded every room she walked into. I've never seen anything quite like it."
A Positive Effect
"When they explain something they make you feel intelligent."
When In Doubt
"They know when their knowledge ends and say something to the extent of 'I don't know and anything else i say on this topic is ignorant speculation.'"
Some with impressive IQs may deal with questions in the following ways.
Reaction To Delayed Responses
"'You really think about everything don't you?' - a doctor, to me, after he asked me a question and I took longer than 2 seconds to answer it."
"No, I just pull something out of my ass every time and those extra seconds you waited for me to answer were purely to irritate you for my own enjoyment."
The Really Good Questions
"They can ask really good questions."
"Edit: to anyone not understanding what mean, I’m talking about people who ask 'really good questions,' not just any questions, really good ones. I don’t know how one would achieve this skill(I know I haven’t)."
"They spend time thinking before asking a question."
"Some of the smartest people don’t comment at all."
I agree with many of the comments saying a really intelligent person knows how to cater the conversation towards another person's level of understanding.
They do have the impressive skill to convey something in a way that can easily be understood. Some of the most venerated professors at my university were like this, and their classes were always the hardest to get in to.
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There are roughly 7 billion people on earth so being the top 1% of anything sounds like it might be an incredible honor.
Maybe you've received an award or a certification that only a few people have gotten. Or maybe you have a rare disease, which doesn't sound as fun.
We went to Ask Reddit to find the people who are in a top 1% of people.
Redditor I_Love_Small_Breasts asked:
"What are you in the 1% of?"
Here's some of the rare groups people are apart of or things they experience.
Could be totally great or totally inconvenient.
"If I shake my head in a certain way, I can give myself an orgasm. Never met anyone who can do that."
"Wow that sounds incredibly inconvenient."
"'Shaking my head' has a whole new meaning now. Damn."
Survived a flesh eating bacteria.
"Survived flesh eating bacteria in the bloodstream after sepsis. Most people die within 3 days."
"Had MRSA and sepsis because of an open wound on my left foot. Thing is a nurse was treating the wound with Santyl and it was fully bandaged at all times. The nurse changed the dressings 3 times a week but I still ended up in the hospital with antibiotics IV'd into each arm plus oral antibiotics. Spent 15 days in ICU having all my organs sonogramed for signs of the infection spreading. X-rays and MRI's to check for bone infections and when they released me I had to wear a wound vac pump for 2 months to seal the wound on my foot."
"I can stop my hiccups on command."
"There’s a superpower for sure."
This is way less than 1%
"I am one of only 1300 board certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners for the adult and adolescent population. In the world."
"I'm unsettled by how small that number is."
"To be fair, there are more SANE nurses, meaning nurses who take care of these patients and are qualified to do so. Being board certified just means I took an extra step after I reached a qualifying time to take a test to prove it. I’m actually up for renewal. At the time I first tested, I was one of something like 1100."
"Still, even knowing that, there aren’t enough SANEs or FNEs overall."
"I’m naturally ambidextrous. Apparently that’s something only 1% of people naturally are. I can use both right and left hands ably for any task. For example, I often switch which hand I write with based on how I’m sitting."
"It’s worth noting natural ambidexterity is not the same as learned or acquired ambidexterity. For example, left handed people often have to use things designed for right handed people but otherwise are left handed."
"I’m of the .002% of people with osteopoikilosis. This freaked the sh*t out of me because when I was diagnosed the first thing the doctor said was 'wow I’ve never seen this in anything but textbooks before.'"
"Basically, I have bones growing inside my bones. It’s not anything I should be worried about, at least for a while, so that’s nice."
How many people can say this?
"I've represented my country in the Paralympic games."
"That’s a really nice one! Which specialty?"
"Volleyball for Great Britain in the 1996 games in Atlanta."
"Not me but my dad."
"He was born with a backwards heart and didn’t find out till his heart attack a few years ago and it actually saved his life."
"His doctor later told him that after being a doctor for over 30 years he’d never seen someone with a backwards heart and that apparently 1% of people on the planet have it."
"I am diagnosed with Visual snow syndrome. Basically seeing through static. It may not be rare as thought but I am one of very few people to be formally diagnosed."
"Same! I figured it out when people didn’t see the static and I heard it mentioned! Used to think I was seeing molecules when I was a little kid haha."
HIV resistant gene mutation.
"I have a double gene mutation that makes me highly resistant or even immune to the HIV virus."
"Can doctors use your blood to help those with HIV?"
"I have the same mutation and I've donated samples towards research. I got an email last year about vaccine hopes but I'm not sure where it went."
There are some incredible people out there in the world, and thankfully the internet is bringing them all together.
It's fascinating to see how diverse humans really are.
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How you approach life's many trials and tribulations can say a lot about who you are. However, many of us don't necessarily learn some lessons so easily.
Life is complicated. It's messy. Few, if any things, go according to plan. On top of that, sometimes the way we handle our relationships or our obligations might not be the most healthy one.
You live, you learn... or so the saying goes.
People shared their stories after Redditor ryanblumenow asked the online community,
"What did you learn at great personal cost?"
"I broke three..."
"Never trust a ladder set up by someone else. I broke three of my lumbar vertebrae. Thankfully I recovered fully, but damn was that scary. I also bit through my lower lip. I have a nice scar as a memento."
This is terrifying. Glad you're still alive–that you healed is miraculous!
"Even if you work your hardest..."
"Even if you work your hardest, do everything right, and are a great employee… you may still be seen as expendable."
This is true. Your company will never be loyal to you. Don't bend over backwards. Do your job–don't sell your soul.
"That you need to be careful..."
"That you need to be careful what you put up with as it teaches people how to treat you. I lost a lot of 'friends' once I started to set boundaries."
This is very true. I can relate: I definitely lost a few so-called "friends" the second I began standing up for myself.
"This goes for all relationships..."
"Don't listen to what people say, but what they do. This goes for all relationships, both professional and personal."
Amen to that. It's a cliche, but actions absolutely do speak louder than words.
"Family can be just as toxic..."
"Family can be just as toxic for you as anyone else. Sometimes it's best to cut them out."
Ain't that the truth.
Are we trading toxic family stories now?
"If someone gets upset..."
"If someone gets upset at you for trying to establish boundaries with them, it's not you being mean or unreasonable, it's them not caring about your happiness."
This is spot on. Don't trust people who violate your boundaries. Your gut won't lie to you, not about this.
"You can't convince them."
"You cannot, even subtly, force someone to love you. You can't convince them. They either do or they don't, and it's on you to decide what to do with that unchangeable position in mind."
I feel like many people go through their 20s without learning this.
Not that I know anything about this... or anything like that.
"Just because you try to be a good friend..."
"That people aren't always your friend. Gaslighting is real. Just because you try to be a good person doesn't mean good things will happen to you."
Very true. Be very careful about what you put out there. Not everyone has good intentions, though this is not in anyway meant to imply that the world is terrible.
It isn't. Just be judicious.
"You can accomplish..."
"You can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Doesn't mean you should. Everything will cost more than you anticipate in ways you can't imagine."
That's a poetic way to put it! Spot on. Everything costs something, even your success.
"That you don't have to run off and get married. A marriage that only lasted one year cost me more than $10K. Life is not a race and you don't need to be married by a certain point or at all for that matter."
"Be patient, make yourself available, gravitate to those who understand you the most."
Awful. It sounds like you have peace of mind now, however, which is priceless.
Don't be so hard on yourself, by the way. We all learn at our own pace.
Here's a tip before we go: Your education is never complete. Life always something to teach you, so just accept it, be open to it, and go in grace.
Have some suggestions of your own? Feel free to tell us more in the comments below!
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Is there anyone who loved high school?
High school is a disaster. That is true for like... 95% of us.
it's like being branded. "I survived high school because of this!!"
The past is never really past, is it? What did you see?
Redditor HelloProxima wanted to go back and visit the teenage years, by asking:
"What is the most f**ked up thing that happened in your high school?"
I'm on the fence about high school. I want to hate it, but nostalgia haunts me. I saw a lot of violence, there is that.
We were on CNN.don lemon nodding GIF by Red Table TalkGiphy
"They started charging us for ketchup in the cafeteria. Most of the school boycotted cafeteria lunch and brought all manner of condiments from home. We were on CNN. They eventually caved." ~ Ash3Monti
No one liked him.
"I was big into drama club and musical theatre when I was in high school. There was a girl in the drama club in her freshmen or sophomore year who was super nice and everyone loved her. Her older brother on the the other hand, was a complete and total douchebag. No one liked him."
"He always made inappropriate comments or jokes and no one liked to be around him. One night, he was driving him and his sister back from school when he took a steep curve going around 100 mph. He lost control and hit a telephone pole. His sister died instantly and he was in a coma for a few weeks but ultimately survived."
"Myself and my friends in the drama club were devastated. She was one of the sweetest girls you'll ever met and we all loved her. A year or two later, the brother messages my sister and tries to use his sister's death as leverage to get laid. F**k you, you piece of crap." ~ FearTheKeflex
"Guidance counselor was taking bribes to change grades (Both money and sexual favors). Invited one male student over to his house. Had the student tie him up and hang him by chains in his basement "dungeon." Student was homophobic and while the counselor was tied up, bludgeoned him to death." ~ monthos
"This is not that extreme, but it's still disgusting. We have drinking water taps instead of fountains. One parent was suspicious of whether they were cleaning the tanks or not. So they made an announcement that the tank was being cleaned every single day."
"A lot of us didn't believe it, so a group of boys decided to see for themselves if it was true or not. So they put a dead frog in the tank when there was no one around. I don't even know where they found the frog but they swear they didn't kill it. Anyway the frog was there for a few weeks. And obviously the water started tasting weird."
"After the teachers got multiple complaints, they opened the tank and found the frog. The boys were punished, but they fired back with the fact that they lied about cleaning the tanks. They were still punished, because they proved it in a disgusting way. They could've put literally anything in the tank, but they chose a dead frog." ~ R00mTemperature
The QuadAcds2 Look Away GIF by Anime Crimes DivisionGiphy
"A worker doing stuff on the roof. He fell off. Landed in the 'quad' at lunch. A large piece of machinery fell and squished his head. Like a cartoon, only funny. Like 150 Kids saw this." ~ LordInventus
"The Latin kings gang threatened my cousin and his friends and they had 10 squad cars guarding the whole school and dismissed us the same day early." ~ Terrykrinkle
“it’s gonna blow”
"I had just moved in from Egypt to the states in my senior year of high school. A teacher thought it would be funny to fold a bunch of papers and wrap them in duck tape to make it look like a bomb and threw it my direction and went under his desk saying 'it’s gonna blow.' Everybody started laughing and I was so clueless then I just laughed along. It infuriates me to this day that I didn’t call him out on it or report him." ~ ezzabousaif
"Someone somehow made a bomb threat on a Swedish fish candy. Like one single piece. I don’t know how it happened but he got arrested." ~ ts_13_
"A couple weeks before graduation, this kid hacked into the school system and put a Hitler quote and a Boston bomber reference in the senior quotes for the yearbook. One of the affected parties was a trans girl, and we're still not sure if it was a targeted act because of that."
"Administration didn't find out until the entire senior class had received their books. Some people turned theirs in to get their pages replaced, but some kept it because it was a 'limited edition item' or some stupid sh*t like that. Kid got arrested and charged with cybercrime, since he hacked everyone in our school system's school passwords."
"He was so close to graduating too, but got expelled like two weeks before he could. Looked like a rat too. It was all over the news, and everyone in the state of CT basically knows about this now. Got out on bail for $5000." ~ kocorpsie
Good God!Season 3 What GIF by On My BlockGiphy
"We had a huge fight happen in the girls bathroom."
"Apparently one student brought drugs to school and was selling it to her friends. A completely unrelated student caught on and stole the drugs while everyone else was in class. She was caught snorting the drugs in the bathroom by the group selling the drugs and got the crap beat out of her."
"We also had a recently graduated student murder his parents for insurance money . He hid the bodies in a chicken coop and told everybody they were on vacation. It wasn't until 7 months later the bodies were found by the landlord because the rent was late." ~ randomgenericcow
Enjoy high school, at least try too. Maybe if more kids do that, it wouldn't be so insane.
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