For years I’ve pretended like I was completely secure in my independent, single status. As in, when it came to my public/online persona–as a cosplayer, as one who models, as a blogger–I felt as if my personal life should, for the most part, have stayed out of the spotlight. I’ve long lectured lonely people that they needn’t worry about not having a relationship, that it’s better to enjoy the single life while you can and learn as much as you can about yourself so you can improve upon your flaws before entering a relationship. You don’t NEED a girlfriend or boyfriend.
All while saying those words to try to cheer people up, behind the scenes I had grown more and more lonely. I was, for the most part, content with being single throughout my college years. When I entered the Japanese workplace, that’s when I started to see my Japanese male co-workers and wonder, “Would they ever consider dating someone who isn’t Japanese?”
My female Japanese co-workers at work parties would ask me if I had a boyfriend, and looked shocked when I said no. They’d say things like “But you’re so cute!” or, “Would you date a Japanese guy?” because it’s pretty well-known that Japanese men are stuck with the stereotype of being undesirable in the eyes of a foreign woman. (The thing is that I’m totally open to dating a Japanese guy, and in fact I’ve been more intrigued by and interested in them than towards non-Japanese men.)
I’ve been rejected many times by Japanese men, which has led me to think that I am just undesirable–that many Japanese men would rather just have a Japanese woman. I think it’s true for many (but not all) of them. Not only are there the stereotypes of Western women being more forward, blunt, bigger, and less feminine than Japanese women, there’s the perceived language barrier that they would rather not deal with, when in fact I speak conversational Japanese just fine, and am capable of looking up something that I don’t understand, or comprehending after receiving an simplified explanation. Many people can’t see this just from looking at me, though. All they see is someone who looks different from Japanese people, and thus is probably a tourist (even though I don’t dress like a tourist at all). They might even assume that I’m not going to stay in Japan forever, but that’s actually my life wish.
Despite how many times I’ve been rejected, I’ve been pursued by quite a few Japanese men, although mostly online (does that even count)? So now I know that I’m definitely not UNdesirable, but there has always been something that didn’t click with these guys. Some of them were clingy, and were clawing for someone to be their girlfriend because they’ve been single for so long. Some of them saw me as a fetish, or thought I was easy to get into bed. Many of them, like many online men in general, just ignored what was written my profile, didn’t see that we had conflicting interests and personalities, and were very lazy in their introductory messages.
Oh, and then there’s the kid thing. I don’t want kids. So that already eliminates almost every guy in the dating pool.
I’ve been told by many that online dating is “shady” and “risky.” All of these people have never even tried it. It is not what it used to be 10 years ago, and many of us don’t have any other option. My job doesn’t give me an opportunity to meet anyone. And I live in the countryside, which I’ve come to hate more and more. Don’t get me wrong, I like my city and I’m in a very fortunate living and work situation; but the countryside is BORING. It’s even worse when you’re repeating the same cycle and you live in the same city where you work, giving you only the weekend as a chance to escape into the urban jungle, that is, if you’re not tired from working and wouldn’t rather stay home and rest instead.
It’s a lonely life. Five days a week I’m stuck in the sticks. I wake up alone, I come home to an empty apartment (no pets allowed either), and I go to sleep next to my tablet so I can surf the Internet when I wake up.
Now that I’ve admitted all that, I can say that I’m not ashamed. I’m not invincible. I’m not immune to loneliness. I’m unique in who I am, but that doesn’t mean I’m not affected in the same way as others. Of course I’d like to find that special someone. And yeah, I do wish it was sooner than later. I didn’t want to admit it because I didn’t want to be seen as weak and pathetic. I didn’t want to be pitied.
(I wrote this hoping that someone out there would find it useful, and perhaps feel better if they were feeling lonely. Originally this blog was going to be titled “What it’s like being a non-White, non-Japanese woman in the Japan Countryside,” but I figured some people would complain that this wasn’t their experience, or that it had nothing to do with my nationality or ethnic background.)