Don’t Ask an Asian Woman Where She’s From

Alright, dudes. Let’s say you see this woman walking down the street, and you really want to talk to her:

What’s a good line to open with?

If you’re like many guys, you’ll probably mention something about her looks. You may even decide to get specific and ask something about her ethnicity …

“Where are you from?”

“What’s your nationality?”

Something along those lines.

Well, if you’re one of these guys, STOP.




First off, I’ve already written about why the question is such a loaded one. Even if your curiosity is 100% genuine, the question has questionably racist undertones and is going to be an icky topic for many people of color.

Unfortunately, some dudes continue to insist that they’re totally, entirely sincere, that they truly, honestly just want to know about someone’s background. Ergo, their question can’t possibly have racist undertones.

Yeah, look. I’m not here to rehash that argument. If life is easier inside the tenuous comfort of your own self-perceived noble soul, you go ahead and do that.

I will, however, tell you that even if we were to remove the racism issue altogether, you still shouldn’t open with that line.

In fact, it’s the dumbest line you can open with. And it has everything to do with my last post, where I explain why you should avoid parroting lines that you picked up from someone else.

When you approach a stranger you’re hoping to meet, whether for romantic, social, or professional reasons, you ideally want to say something that will impress them. Barring that, you at least want to say something that will make them actually want to converse with you.

Yet, I see so many men say something that the woman they’re approaching has probably heard countless times before. When you do that, you’re not setting yourself apart or inspiring them to chat with you. You’re pinning yourself as just another lame-o.

Really, the concept isn’t that hard:

If you see a woman who is objectively beautiful, don’t let your first words to her be about her looks. Because she’s heard it a thousand times before.

Similarly, if you see a woman who appears to be of a certain ethnicity, don’t let your first words to her be about her ethnicity. Because she’s heard it a thousand times before.

The repetitive comments get boring*.

If you really want to make a strong impression, think of something original to say. Make an observation about her that might not be so obvious, something other guys probably haven’t noticed. If nothing else, she’ll appreciate your effort to not be superficial.

So let’s go back to the woman in the photo above …

If you want to be witty, you can make a comment about her umbrella matching her purse.

If you want to be friendly, you can go the simple route and just say hi.

There are lots of things you can say, really. Just smile and be friendly. Don’t be overly aggressive. Don’t overstay your welcome. Be respectful if she’s not in the mood to talk. And above all else …

Don’t fucking ask, “What kind of Asian are you?”

Seriously, don’t make the same mistake this clueless guy made.

*The one exception is if there’s something she actually wants to be asked about. That takes no small amount of social intelligence to pick up, though, so we’ll save that for a later post.

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4 thoughts on “Don’t Ask an Asian Woman Where She’s From

  1. It’s too lazy to ask “where are you from?” There are so many ways to find out without actually asking the question, if men just paid more attention…


  2. In addition to ‘where are you from,’ I’ve had men comment about how I speak English really well. LOL! Well, I should. I’m fourth-gen American. I’ve even had men come up to me and greet me in Cantonese and Mandarin to show how clever they are. *sigh* So sad.


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