Thursday, January 8, 2015

Traveling While Black Part 2


Why I waited so long
As I mentioned, the motivation for sharing this has been brewing, but there've been some other reasons why it's taken me this long to speak out.

1. I have a dear friend who has three daughters.
During my most recent six-month stay in China, I would often write private emails to my friends in the states letting them know everything (and more) that I'm sharing with you in this book and this chapter. Once, I even joked that I should write a book about dating overseas for Black men. One of my female friends half-jokingly, --but with a real exasperation at the underlying reality it hinted at--asked me not to write such a book encouraging mass exodus, as she wanted the pool of eligible and available Black men to be there for her daughters when they reach dating and marrying age. She didn't want me diminishing the pool by telling men what they could be experiencing overseas. (Seriously. I'm not kidding.) So, while I haven't forsaken my friend's daughters, I'm sure she'll understand that in the words of the great philosopher, Mr. Spock, "the needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few."


2. This may offend some.
Yes, a sense of political correctness and politeness prevented me from revealing this until now. But again, the needs of the many... And I'm inspired by my friend, "WH" whom I've already quoted in Chapter 2, who said, "People don't want droll. They want chocolate smashing into peanut butter!" No truer words.

3. I have a reputation to think about!
Another reason has to do with my brand identity. You see, I've spent the last few years crafting a brand identity for my Turn Your Passion Into Profit™ books, philosophy and formula. I've always felt that blogging about my personal life, and specifically talking about dating would compromise that brand.
However, the fact is, I'm also an advocate of "Living True to My Self" and what I've come to understand over the years is that I am here to live my life as an example for others. Consequently, I've learned that the more I incorporate the totality of who I believe myself to be at any moment, into what I do and what I write, the more people relate, the more people respond, the more people I affect, and the better life gets.
Well, it just so happens, in addition to having written 20 books and hundreds of articles, in addition to coaching people on business ideas and marketing, and doing workshops, etc., I am also Black. That's part of the totality. And while it was never something I grew up feeling self conscious about, I've come to accept that in the wider world of people and perceptions, it has significance which cannot be ignored. More to the point, I chose this identity and physical form as part of the totality of my incarnation on the planet (check out Living True To Your Self to discover my belief system) I believe, therefore, that it is part of my mission and purpose and soul's intention to use this physical form to learn, to grow and to share what I know with others.

4. The Secret Oath to the Brotherhood!
The other reason I waited was so I wouldn't betray my "oath" to "The Brotherhood." You see, when I first landed on the island of Saipan, there was an overwhelming ratio of women to men. That's because there were a few dozen garment factories employing thousands of women from China, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. Once I was accepted into "The Brotherhood," there was an unspoken (no, spoken) request to keep the secret safe. After all, who would want to spoil a good thing by telling everybody!?
However, things have changed. The garment factories have closed. The tourism-based economy has been declining a bit, and so the ratio of women to man (plural to singular form is intentional) has changed. Saipan is still a great place to live, but from a dating perspective it's not like it was a few years ago. However, there are still many locations around the world where the women to man ratio is what Saipan once was, and where The Brotherhood does quite well. However, to honor the oath, I won't share those destinations here. You'll have to travel and make friends with a member of The Brotherhood in order to get the memos. I'm sure you understand.

5. I'm a modest sort of guy.
It's true. Believe me. "So, why now?" you may ask. Well, as I said, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. What's life without a little bit of controversy? Time to start upsetting the apple cart.

Caveats
Before we get started, however, (you can see that I'm big on preambles, disclaimers, caveats and prologues) I'd like to suggest a few attitudinal adjustments for getting the most out of this discussion.

This is primarily for Black males living on the US mainland.
Why? Having lived in America for most of my life (technically, I'm still in America here on Saipan), I have a much better idea of the experiences in the US, as well as how those experiences contrast with the reality in certain parts of Asia.
However, rest assured, whether Black or white, the ability to experience what I and others have experienced being in Asia will have more to do with your expectations, energy, personality and willingness to see things differently than with the color of your skin.

I don't take any of this too seriously!
I don't know about you, but I've got a sense of humor about all this. I consider myself an ambassador of sorts. When I travel, I am not at all offended if people ask me "Can you break dance?" or if people walk up to me to touch my skin or take a photo with me. I can laugh about the stereotypes I encounter (eg. "all Jamaicans run fast"), and take it all in stride (pun intended).
Okay, I'll admit that it's a bit uncomfortable when people gather outside on the sidewalk to stare at me while I'm eating in a restaurant in China, but that's my own fault for sitting near the window. I know better now.
My point is, you'd be wise not to take any of this stuff too seriously, either. Yes, in many regards, we are talking about a serious subject. However, it is what it is. Don't get angry. Don't get offended. You'll be wasting YOUR time.

Your agreement is not required.
The reason you really shouldn't get too bent out of shape about all of this is because your agreement is not required. Your unwillingness or reluctance to believe or accept what you read here won't change that fact of its reality. I'll say that again: Whether or not you choose to believe the reality I describe is completely and utterly irrelevant. Girls will continue to approach me and other Black men in China, Thailand, Bali, Russia, etc., whether you like it or not. As I posted on HappierAbroad.com about my nomadpreneur formula, and which I'll share in relation to my experiences traveling while Black: "I'm not here to convince, justify, defend or apologize for my beliefs, choices or lifestyle. I'm not here for validation, vindication, approval or to respond to your personal attacks. I'm here to share a philosophy & formula that work! And in a world of 6 billion, if ONE person can do it, it MUST be possible for at least ONE other!
Your mileage may vary! (Everyone's experience will be different.)
Your vibe, your demeanor, your expectations and your magnetism will attract and/or create the experiences that will resonate with you. I'm sure there is some Black male right this very minute who is planning to write a book about what a terrible experience he's had traveling in China. It happens. Everyone's experience may differ.
I've always had an affinity for Asian women (from a previous life, I'm sure). So when I walk down the streets of Beijing, I'm sure I give off a different energy (think: kid in a candy store) that makes me more approachable. The ironic thing is, I don't consider myself a particularly outgoing person. I'm a private person. I like my own company. I don't enjoy crowds. In fact, when I lived in New York, people told me that when they would see me walking down the street, I looked "intense" an unapproachable. Women have even called me "intimidating" on more than one occasion. However, even with this introverted personality, my experiences in Asia have been great! A Chinese woman in Beijing told me that the reason I have good experiences with Chinese people is because they can look into my eyes and see I have a good heart. Take that for what it's worth! Your mileage may vary.

Some may seek to create offense.
One cannot write a book that's "pro" women, without alienating a few men. One cannot write a book that tells workers to unite, without pissing off a few bosses. Similarly, one cannot have a discussion about the positives of being a Black man in Asia without offending a few others who aren't Black men--especially when such discussions are perceived as empowering, threatening, or even a betrayal of sorts, and may be purposely framed as divisive--pitting one group against another--when presented by others so as to stir up controversy and sell newspapers, magazines, subscriptions, etc.
From what I've observed, white males can (and have) written books about how great things are for them in the Philippines, for example. Everyone's got a niche. None of this is meant to detract in any way from the reality of YOUR experiences, whoever you are. This is not a contest to see who is more desirable.
So this is my advice to you if you are NOT a Black male who is reading this: do not fall into that trap that others will attempt to set for you. Tell the rabble-rousers that the world is big enough for everyone to have their paradise. Live and let live! So, here we go! (Finally!)

The Truth: A few Anecdotes
For the record, the overriding premise of my message is this: Your dating prospects as a Black male in Asia are absolutely, positively NOT at a disadvantage. In fact, it's quite the opposite-- you are at a distinct advantage as a result of coming Black to Asia!
Unlike many of the men I've met, the strangers I've heard about, and even some of my friends, I'm not "social butterfly" (read: man whore). I've been told I'm very picky, and I don't spread myself too thinly by indulging all comers or chasing all runners.
However, during my limited dating experiences abroad, and in my travels through Asia, I've dated Chinese, Russian, Korean and Thai ladies, and have seen and experienced enough to develop some theories, engage in some experimenting, and come to some conclusions about what is going on.
When guys get together--especially guys who have lived in the states, and who now make their homes in the Pacific or in Asia--the conversation invariably turns to women. The anecdotes of how drastically the women and the dating scene abroad differ from back in the US mainland are legion and legendary.
Quite simply, among the women in this region, there is an intriguing fascination with "things Black" (music, sports, and of course, men). The curious observer in me asks why?

Imagine...
Well, imagine for a moment, that you are a Chinese girl living in a remote area of China, or a Laotian lady in the hills of Laos, or a Pacific Islander on a small island with limited exposure to the outside world. There are no Blacks in your neighborhood, so where do you get your impression of what they're really like? Rumors? Hearsay? Rare visitors to your town? Friends and family who have had the luxury to travel? Perhaps.
Most likely, however, it will be from a combination of all of these sources, in addition to and fueled by your limited exposure to television, movies, or the internet. As a result, your impression of Blacks may be a bit distorted, a bit stereotypical, and perhaps a bit biased as a result of media portrayals, but one thing is for sure, it will be fascinating! Yes, television, the Internet, magazines, sports broadcasts, all exported as "made in the USA" entertainment and consumerism, has helped make the image of Blacks (men and women) a fascination to the outside world. Some anecdotes:

>>>A feeling I can't explain.
I had a shy Chinese girl tell me, she doesn't know quite why, but when she watches movies, she gets inexplicably more excited when she sees the Black actors on the screen.

>>> Just what I've always wanted!
A friend told me that months after he started dating his Filipina girlfriend, he found "Black Guy/Asian Girl" porn on her computer. She shyly admitted that she's always wanted a Black guy.

>>>Can I be your friend?
While walking down the street in Jinghong city, I greeted a young lady who was on break from her job. She smiled broadly and said, "Can I be your friend?" (She turned out to be crazy, but it's the thought that counts.)

>>>Can I touch your hair?
Variations on this theme include "Can I touch your skin?" "Can I touch your eyelashes?" Within a few minutes of our first meeting in a Xishuangbanna bus station, as we struggled to communicate with my limited Mandarin, and her limited English, "Suzy" couldn't resist touching her fingers to my cheek and telling me "Hěn xìnggǎn" (translation: "Very sexy") in reference to my skin color.

>>>Verdict on Sanya beach: "We same same."
As I'm walking on the beach in Sanya, Hainan, People's Republic of China, a Chinese man shifts his gait and heads towards me. (In New York, I might start preparing for a confrontation.) He smiles, lifts his sun-baked arm, puts it up next to mine to show that we are almost the same complexion, and then gives me a thumbs up. All this with not a word being spoken between us.

>>>"Quick! Turn on the game!"
I had a Thai girl tell me that her friend really wants to have a Black boyfriend. She watches basketball, and is really hot for the guys she sees on television.

>>>Me? Really?
My Black male friend told me that he was his Filipina girlfriend's first Black boyfriend. She had always wanted a Black boyfriend but had resigned herself to the fact that she didn't have the physical "assets" that she had heard that Black guys prefer.

>>>EEEEEE! Wow!
I've had women gasp and others scream when I cycled past them in Laos (And no, she wasn't screaming while running away, she was screaming in fascination while running towards me!)

>>>They treat me like crap!
My well-traveled, army friend tells the story of his travels with his white military friends. They would go to bars, clubs and restaurants together, and after a while, his friend would states, "Hey, how come they treat YOU like a king, and treat ME like crap??"

>>> "I've never met you, but...."
One day, while living on the island of Hainan, I returned to my hotel room, and opened up my QQ* account to read this:
GOOGLE TRANSLATION: "Hello! I have not seen you, but my colleagues said you often come to the supermarket to buy things, she said you are very interesting! Now we have a great time difference may be that you might be at right?"

>>> Black American famous in Japan
And I'm not the only one, and it's not just in China. Check out this story of what Black American actor, Dante Carver, experiences in Japan: http://mto.mediatakeout.com/external/45436; or google "Dante Carver Japan"]

NOTE: After reading the postings on many travel forums, I slowly started to realized that when many guys ask "how are the girls, there?" they're referring to ladies whose company can be purchased (i.e. "bar girls") who make a living selling their time and talents. It's a fact of life. Travelers with limited time in search of warm bodies, who don't care to start relationships in every town seek an easy solution. So, let me say for the record that in all the previous anecdotes, I was NOT talking about purchased companionship. There are far too many regular "girls next door" who want boyfriends or new experiences for a man to have to pay for companionship. (My friends who know me know I'm way too cheap for that!) However, if you're traveling while Black, and bar girls are YOUR cup of tea, check this out:

>>>We've become the show!
My friend and I went to Angeles City in Manila. It was our first time. All his friends had told him about it, and he wanted to do the only thing one does in Angeles City--visit all the girlie bars. Well, in just about every bar we entered, the dancing girls, stopped, stared, then started hooting and hollering and clapping, and many came off the stage and rushed over to where we were, leaving the "other" guys alone (I did feel sort of bad for them), and spent an inordinate amount of time with us, chatting and um, groping.

>>>Look out! Manila girl ambush!
At another club we visited, the minute we walked in, a girl literally jumped on my friend's back to claim him for herself. She wouldn't let him out of her sight or clutches for the entire night. All for money, you say? I would have thought so, too, but my friend ended up being propositioned by her, they spent the night together... no charge, even becoming Facebook friends to boot!
I could go on, but modesty, humility and political correctness prevent me from sharing every single anecdote of what it's like being Black in Asia. My goal is not to make anyone else feel bad about who they are, but to increase the rolls of those who feel GOOD about who they are and who are not discouraged from traveling because of ingrained fears of rejection based on racism.

The Why and Wherefore
So, why are all these cool things happening to me and my Black friends? Why is dating so easy? Why are the girls so friendly and inviting? Let's explore a few possibilities, shall we?  Stay tuned for Part 3! Or download the Full ebook at http://www.jamaicaninchina.com/jicpreview.html

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