Emily, The Awkward Turtle 2: Never Set Emily Up With A Boy

An interesting thing happened the other night. Someone tried to set me up with a Taiwanese man. A girly one.

I went out to dinner with Dingding, her boyfriend and a couple of new folks, Frank and May (not real names). Frank and May are having an affair; May married with a child, and Frank, a coworker. May explained to me that she wasn’t cheating on her husband because she was having an “affair.” That confused me because I thought having an affair was cheating. And so, I asked el internet. (I’ll get back to my Taiwanese encounter as soon as I figure this out.)


An “emotional affair” can be defined as follows:

“A relationship between a person and someone other than (their) spouse (or lover) that has an impact on the level of intimacy, emotional distance and overall dynamic balance in the marriage. The role of an affair is to create emotional distance in the marriage.”[1]

In this view, neither sexual intercourse nor physical affection is necessary to impact the committed relationship(s) of those involved in the affair. It is held that an emotional affair can injure a committed relationship more than a one night stand or other casual sexual encounters.


Are you wondering whether you are having an emotional affair?

  • Do you avoid telling your partner how much time you spend or talk with the other person?
  • Do you tell this person more about your day than your partner? Do you even tell him about your marital dissatisfaction?
  • Do you “ready your appearance” to see him?
  • Is there a sexual attraction (spoken or unspoken) between you?
  • Would you feel guilty if your partner saw you together?

If you answer yes to two or more of these questions, get out of there. You are cheating!

Okay. So according to Wiki and Oprah and several other internet sources, an emotional affair is worse than infidelity, which is physical cheating. I don’t know how many yes’s May has to Oprah’s questions, but she defines her relationship with Frank as an affair and regardless of what Oprah and Wiki say, I’ll just take her word for it that she’s not cheating. She just has feelings for a man who is not her husband.

I miss feelings. I miss having crushes on people like I’m in middle school. I don’t like people setting me up with others unless they’re actually really cool and attractive. Sound shallow? Well, there are certain things people should be picky about. A potential mate is one of them.

As I was saying at the beginning of this post, I was at dinner with Dingding and friends (at this DELICIOUS, 1.5 hour wait, tiny mom-and-pop Sichuan cuisine shop). I was the 5th wheel, but I didn’t mind. Not having a partner means I get to have full portions to myself. F*$! sharing. I’m an only child with a big appetite.

We are all chatting having a grand ol’ time until May decides to set me up with one of her friends. John, the Taiwanese fella, lives nearby, so she calls him up and he comes on over. Black button up shirt, black slacks, a shoulder bag. Meh, not my style, but not terrible. He says hello cheerily to all the others and looks at me like he knows what May was stewing. I give him an awkward, overly friendly wave, he sits down and begins chatting away with Frank and May. Fine with me! Then May nudges me and asks me why I’m not talking to John, who’s sitting just a few seats away, putting me in a very awkward situation. Well because he’s sitting there waving his hands and fingers all over town like a valley girl, not looking at me ever, WHICH I AM FINE WITH, and to be honest, he’s not very interesting. Did I forget to mention that I’m not into Asians? “Oh, he’s really nice. I’m just really awkward.”

(These are some of the photos that came up under image search “awkward”:

Can someone please explain why there are so many animals involved with “awkward”?) 

So May, a friend I might have to cross off my list, starts talking about me to John, saying things like, “Emily is from America,” and “She’s going to Taiwan in July.” Of course I’m not going to Taiwan in July, but okay, to humor everyone else at the table. This is what I chime in, “Taiwanese food is so good!” to which he responds, “Mmhm.” We were a match made in heaven.

Then as all new friendships progress, everyone exchanges Weibo (Chinese twitter) information. As John is busy doing so, I violently, but hopefully not too conspicuously, shake my head at Dingding as to say, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO to her sudden interest in this “set up”. I’m a little shocked that she thinks John and I would make a good couple. My friends back home (in America) would NEVER set me up with a John, and for that, I love them so so so so much.

We finally leave the restaurant and thank God — if there is one — that John is not coming to the bar with us. As we bid him farewell, forever from me, John begs May, “Please don’t say anything yet! Please please please, not while I’m still here!” I think he was just as disinterested in me as I was in him. Phew. Although also a little bit insulting. People always wants what they can’t have, but in this case, I still don’t want him.

As we head over to the bar, May asks why I’m not interested in John. But before I can answer, she explains to me how many Taiwanese men are quite girly. The way John spoke, the way he flicked his wrists when speaking, just part of his Taiwanese nature. I’m sure this isn’t true of all Taiwanese men (HELLOOO? Jeremy Lin!), but John, he’s just….not for me.

I’m itching for some companionship, but being set up is not the way to do it. It/I was too awkward and uncomfortable. I prefer doing it my own way, whatever that way is, even if it takes a million years and a lot of mistakes. At least I can learn from my mistakes. But do I?

13 Comments on “Emily, The Awkward Turtle 2: Never Set Emily Up With A Boy”

  1. lostnchina says:

    Hilarious post. And thanks for pingback on A LOT OF MISTAKES. I have way more mistakes, but if I post them all you’ll start wondering if I’m blonde (no offense to blonde people). If you’re in Taipei during July, then we could go to the love bus tour together. Have some kind of parallel blog post…ha!

    • Emily He says:

      hahahaha! you’re welcome for the pingback! And oh my gosh, now that you’ve brought up the love bus, I have a weird desire/urge to sign up! We could be like Mr Mary and daterofboys and blog about it, like you said! We would be going purely for blogging sake…not the fun Chinese dating games, nope.

  2. daterofboys says:

    Very funny (as always) – I’m sorry that John was too girly (I can relate to dates with the effeminate). You will find someone more appropriate (and less awkward, with or without animals) for you! Make mistakes and friends 🙂

    • Emily He says:

      Coming from the dating guru, that is extremely reassuring! I will take your advice! Btw, I forgot to mention that I was wearing my new strategic date shirt — you know, the kind that exposes cleavage from certain angles… I didn’t wear it for anyone in particular that night, obviously, since it was unplanned. But I’m just telling you that I got one!!!! You’ve taught me so much.

  3. Funny, my husband is Taiwanese and he is not girly. None of his classmates or friends are girly. haha. Funny, though. 🙂 You must go to Taiwan when I’m there, please! I feel like you’ll be fun to be around. Refreshing.

    • Emily He says:

      Eileen, I thought about you and your husband when I wrote this post. I hope I didn’t offend you in any way about Taiwanese men! My thoughts were solely based on John’s behavior, promise! And yes, I would LOVE to hang out with you if we’re ever in Taiwan at the same time!!!

      • Oh no, not at all! You wrote this with class and was tasteful about it. You even said that not all men are like John. I am just reassuring you that if I ever set you up, it will not be like John. haha! Then again, I totally agree with you. It’s great to find people your own way – it’s more comfortable that way. 😀 Who knows you more than you do?:)

        Seriously, when you visit Taiwan – I got to make sure you also get outside of Taipei. Taipei is great but Taiwan is more than Taipei. What fun. 😀

      • Emily He says:

        Phewf. Thanks, Eileen. You’re so sweet! And yes, I would definitely want to see more than just the city. Oh how I crave a bubble tea right now!

  4. Tamar Dart says:

    bahaha never trust a man with limp wrists. There are implications, elsewhere

  5. This was funny, I’m sorry you had to go through that homey. I dont think that makes u an awkward turtle, it just means u may have to put ur friends in check. Your friend did you dirty setting you with a twinkie boy from a twilight spin off, that warrants a prank or some sorta payback. I’m sure patience will pay off, you are clearly a real catch!

    • Emily He says:

      haha twinkie boy! LOL. It wasn’t a prank though…they were new people setting me up with other new people all in good fun (even though it wasn’t fun for me). Oh well, it made for a fun blog post, and for that, I am totally grateful.

  6. Currie Rose says:

    Oh Emily, I get it. I cannot stand set-ups. To me, they are artificial and honestly, I love my friends but I’d rather find someone for me on my own time. I feel I could do a better job. And honestly, if that means I have to continue to wait or make mistakes, I can handle that. 🙂

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