It was about 2 a.m. when Sam and I walked down the empty hallway, passing by the painted murals and the bedrooms of my snoring housemates.
We had been eye fucking each other all night, and the sexual tension had built to a point where neither of us could contain our cheeky smiles.
As we turned the corner, we met face to face. Already knowing the answer, I put my arms around his neck and bluntly asked, “Could I kiss you?”
What happened next was an instant exchange of sexual desire — without a thought, our lips and pelvises pressed up against each other as we made out against the thin co-op walls.
I led the way to my bedroom as we quietly snuck past the room he was supposed to be staying in, past the housemate he was supposed to be fucking. Was it luck that she had conveniently left him alone for a couple hours, or had I really mastered the art of seduction?
It didn’t matter because on my flowery bedspread, under the twinkly string lights, it was a race to get naked. I untied my white blouse as he helped unbutton it. We pulled off his sweater, and as I sat on top of him, feeling his stiff, denim jeans, I relished in the success of my sexual pursuit. It wasn’t until I began to unbuckle his belt that I noticed the hesitancy in his big blue eyes.
“I feel bad,” he said.
He revealed to me that he had been hooking up with my housemate, and while they hadn’t talked about labels, he supposedly didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
Exasperated by his timing, I removed myself from his lap, taking a moment to formulate my response.
Several weeks before, I confronted my housemate after I found out that we had both slept with Sam. In our rather casual conversation, we marveled at how his fuckboy reputation didn’t seem to match his quiet, passive demeanor. Although we were both warned by our friends that he had a history of being shitty to girls, we were, after all, cooperative and sex-positive housemates. We encouraged the other person to “go for it” — even though I knew her “quirky” Wes Anderson aesthetic meant she was more likely seen as girlfriend material.
Obviously, I knew about everything, so I was a little confused as to why he was telling me all of this; was it my responsibility to stop him from hurting my housemate?
I decided that it wasn’t, and I simply told him, “I really don’t fucking care.” I’ve seen my fair share of assholes, and if he was going to be a fuckboy, I wasn’t going to be the one to comfort his guilt.
Maybe this turned him on because despite his earlier hesitation, we promptly continued hooking up. My fixation with pleasing him turned into this endless cycle where Sam would stop and tell me that he “felt bad” even though we would continue to touch each other anyway.
I eventually grew bored of dry humping, and as I became increasingly aware of his faulty understanding of loyalty — and his blue balls — the whole situation became kind of humorous to me. I cynically told him that I didn’t know he had feelings, to which he responded he was trying to have fewer of them. I told him he had such a great moral conscience.
I didn’t waste my time trying to be nice anymore because I was aware of what I had become: the irrelevant Asian girl in a budding Scott Pilgrim-esque romance. From the countless times that I’ve been rejected for a white girl, I’ve been taught that my desirability was only a fleeting moment whereas a white girl was the one worth getting to know, the one worth bringing home to parents and the one worth being treated as a human. I was the sexual object, whereas my housemate was the one who had feelings worth considering.
Eventually, I showed Sam out the door, and he asked for my number, suggesting that maybe we could “hang out” next semester when our lives were a little bit different.
Fuck that. I’m wise enough — or have been fooled enough times — to recognize that this “maybe one day” trope was a fuckboy specialty. To objectify women like they’re library books, pulling them on and off the shelf whenever it’s convenient — and for women to be OK with that — is a clear example of male privilege.
It’s depressing to realize how much women of color compromise in their relationships with white men. I recall the number of times that my non-white girlfriends and I have praised a white guy for having listened to us, for having genuine interest in us, for seeing us as a real people instead of objects. It’s fucked up that these are exceptions and not expectations.
When society has made the white person the ultimate pursuit, it teaches non-white women to be OK with feeling inferior, to be OK with being submissive and to be OK with being treated like shit.
Until white boys prove to me they’re worth more than a faded fuck, I refuse to take these fuckboys seriously anymore.
Maggie Lam writes about reclaiming the Asian-American narrative surrounding the immigrant experience.