Svetlana + Belmont
My dad never called you a "yariman" (the Japanese word for floozie), I just made that up to hurt you after you said you were thinking of joining the SOS, which was my fucked-up way of translating my insecurity into slut shaming, it was my fucked-up way to debase your sexuality by chaining you to the vicious and dense and disfiguring history of that word. I'm ashamed and sorry for that. I think my issue is that deep inside my heart I've never been able to forgive you for the time we were sucking down peanut butter and chocolate milk shakes from the Chicago Diner and speedwalking to the Century Obama Mall to see that new Duran Duran Murasaki flick, and you said matter-of-factly that Asian men are too delicate to be manly. You were quick to correct yourself and say that I was an exception and also that you had a limited sample size, but what I heard (and what I kept hearing for years after that inside my head) was that Asian men aren't real men. Asian men aren't powerful (unless they're in martial arts). Asian men can't be sexy. Asian men can't be sexual. Asian men can't be hot or strong to you, they can't even be desirable. What I heard was that Asian men have failed their own masculinity test by not being violent and angry and entitled enough (which, by the way, is also a toxic and old-fashioned definition of masculinity, one I thought the world had taken apart and fed to the robot dogs). Again, I'm not justifying anything, I'm just saying that for a split second, you became a white supremacist and an ignorant, dataphobic philistine, and I suddenly didn't recognize Wrigleyville, even though I'm named after a street there.