Hey you! Alice here in another guest post.
Now I’m no stranger to AMWF internet romance and dating. I’ve never signed up for those websites that promise a boyfriend or a Prince Charming within six months because social networking can give you that for free, but I’m very active on Facebook and admin one of their most popular AMWF groups, so I meet new people daily.
You know how it is…
- You join some group and begin discussing something.
- Someone says something intriguing, so you shoot them a message.
- You start talking, and before you know it, you’re bemoaning that they don’t live next door.
I’ve had guys contact me for various reasons, from “That was hilarious!” to “Your tattoo is AWESOME!” I like talking to people, and I have to regularly purge my friend list so I can keep most of the stalkers out.
A guy falling for me online (and the other way around) is nothing new to me.
My senior year of college, one of the guys who contacted me made my fantasies grow with every message and call. He seemed too good to be true, the man of my dreams- a veritable Asian Prince Charming. He was a hot Korean with a sexy accent that could melt my panties like butter. He was well-educated (PhD in neuroscience) and athletic.
He was as intrigued by me as I was by him, telling me how amazed he was that I knew more about his home country than him. When he found out that I would be in a nearby city for an academic competition, he invited me on our first date.
At first, things were great. He took me to this place that didn’t have an English menu and beamed when I read my order from the Hangul. We talked for hours about why Kwon Sang-woo was hotter than Kim Hyun-joong and why the US military needed to leave South Korea. When we left, it was freezing, so he did the gentlemanly thing and gave me his jacket.
He took me to a bar and got me wine, despite the fact that I don’t drink. That raised enough red flags, and then he invited me to his place. I didn’t want to follow, but he was the one who had picked me up, I had flown into the city, and there weren’t taxis running at that hour; I didn’t know anyone in the area with a car, and if I called my professor, I could have been expelled (my university was private).
I followed him because I felt like I had no other choice.
At his place, he gave me more wine and thought it was funny to grab me and try to plant a hickey on my neck, despite the fact that I had to meet the Saudi Crown Prince the next day. I eventually convinced him to take me back to my hotel.
For months he sent flowers to my apartment and begged me to fly to him on the weekends. He wanted me to abandon moving to Thailand, though I had already signed a contract. I thank my lucky stars that things didn’t get any worse, but it was admittedly a stupid move to blindly follow around somebody I’d “met” just a few months prior.
Worse AMWF internet dating stories than mine have come out of meeting people online.
You hear about people getting raped, robbed, swindled, and murdered, but the fact remains that for every person creeping through the computer, there are other genuine souls. Because I live in a rice paddy, all of my contact with the outside world is on my computer, and if I just ignored everyone, I’d be alone. I have my crippled dog and 600 barking geckos for company if it’s not for the people I talk to online, so I can’t afford to just tell them to piss off.
And I don’t mean to paint all people you meet online as skeezy.
Shortly after I left, a good Thai friend from Vegas stopped just admiring from a distance and began trying to cultivate a long-distance romance. This guy has been a blessing. He was there to comfort me after I broke up with the Chinese guy from my previous article (whose mother, by the way, still wants us to get married).
Rather than trying to get me drunk and naked, and knowing that I still had nearly a year before he had any chance of seeing me, he pursued me anyway. Because I can’t bit torrent on my connection, he sent me an external filled with K-dramas, Bollywood, Disney, and good Hollywood so I could stay sane and not drown myself in the rice fields; he sends more care packages than my family.
He calls me from Vegas to talk for 2-3 hours every night (and all day on the weekends); I’d rather not know what this costs. He says he wants to make sure I’m comfortable over here, so he sends snacks and games; he’s planning to take me back home himself, that way I won’t blow hundreds on fees to fly with my handicapped dog.
Best of all, my friends and family know exactly what’s going on and where I’ll be.
They say that hindsight is 20/20; when I think back, there were warning signs and bits of my own stupidity that could have prevented the problems with Korean Super Fob. I was blinded by the fact that he was everything I could have ever wanted in an Asian man, and he knew how to play the Asian Prince Charming angle.
He told me about how he had this dream of a “fobby white Korean woman” greeting him when he came home from work in a traditional hanbok and with a hot jjigae on the table, teaching the kids to write their Hangul and telling them Korean fairy tales; clearly he had a very fetishistic, controlling personality, and I represented his ultimate trophy. Putting enough trust in somebody who made it clear that he didn’t want me for my personality but for his imagination’s sake was a HUGE risk that my friends threatened to strangle me for taking.
My Thai friend is the complete opposite. He doesn’t have delusions about me being his fairy tale princess. He doesn’t get mad if I cut him off to go to bed early. When I wake up and get dragged off by villagers all day to some remote temple with no cell phone towers, I don’t get back to my computer and find my Facebook crammed with frantic messages and incessant profile trawling.
Although he knows that I face two years of graduate school in Atlanta before I move to California (which I’d planned on anyway and has nothing to do with him), he’s made no pressure for me to abandon my education and be his live-action fantasy. He has no desire to snatch me away from my world and keep me like secluded treasure, or to turn me into some “kept” woman. He doesn’t want me to change anything.
Now that I’m a bit older and a heck of a lot wiser, I’ve realized how essential it is to be careful when meeting and dating people online.
There will always be creeps, psychos, and perverts out there, but when you meet people in person, you can at least judge their body language. You don’t have that luxury online. You don’t see the people this person hangs out with, their history. You have a blank slate that they are filling with what you want to hear. I don’t mean that you shouldn’t pursue AMWF internet dating at all…
On the contrary, for many people it’s their only option. I grew up in an Asian community and Asian men are all that I know, but I went to high school and college in Hicktown, so I was deprived. Some people don’t have time to go to local hangouts and try to meet people. That’s fine, that’s what online dating is for.
But before you rush off to meet a stranger, you MUST be observant of their behavior. This SHOULD go without saying, but many people are like I was in college and are blindly trusting of those who can paint fantasies in words before their eyes.
It’s a huge mistake to just let every Tom, Dick, and Harry into your life via your router.
Here are some warning signs you should ask yourself:
- Are they possessive?
- Do they want to change you?
- Do they want you to abandon your family?
- Your education?
- Are they operating on a fantasy?
- Are you just another trophy to them?
- Another notch on the bedpost?
Think of caution like an e-condom; if you don’t look past the surface that’s blinding you with its seeming perfection, you could end up in a situation that you can’t get yourself out of.
On the other hand, if you just blindly turn away every person online because they’re not next door, you could miss out on someone truly incredible.
Be reasonable, be responsible, and for the love of all things great, don’t be so STUPID as to get in someone’s car without at least one other way of getting home.