I met Seung Yong Chung three times before I kissed him. I wanted to kiss him every time but something kept holding me back. It was not just that I couldn’t pronounce any of his names. I was introduced to him as “Sing,” which was the nickname he’d had since age three from the other American kids couldn’t pronounce his very Korean names.
When I met him, at age 34, I found him to be handsome and smart. I was unsure about making him a romantic contender though. He was different looking from me—a half-Irish, half-Italian, New Yorker through and through—but it wasn’t a looks thing.
I think I knew from our first meeting that Seung was the yin to my yang and there would be no turning back to my wildly fun single days after that first kiss. Seung was well-spoken where I was outspoken. He was respectful where I liked to “dis” and be funny about things that are not supposed to be funny. And it was immediately apparent that he was the kind of man who would let me shine at whatever I wanted to do, while never feeling for one minute that allowing me to go big somehow made him small.
What pushed me over the edge on date three though, finally, was his disco dancing. Yes, Seung had an MBA and kick-ass retirement package but his moves on the dance floor made women flock to him. I jumped in to shake my shoulders beside his, only moments before I lost him forever.
Then I fell for him hard which made it all the more uncomfortable to learn that his parents had told him he was not allowed to marry someone like me. To this, I could not find the funny, because I’d never thought of myself as “less than.” And certainly not because of my race.
There were “restrictive conversations” in my house when I was growing up about which races and ethnicities were worthy for marriage and children. But I fought my family’s prejudices about who was acceptable to love and they, thankfully, evolved. But twenty years later, did I really want to be the cause of someone else’s family feud? And was I up to finding out if Seung even had it within him to stand up for his principles over his family values?
In the end, I’m glad I had it in me on both counts, because although the journey wasn’t always easy or smooth over two years of dating and seeking council from so many friends of my generation, I was shocked to learn just how many of us have had to contend with restrictions around who we can love by those who profess to love us the most.
Today Seung’s parents support our union and get to fully enjoy their three half Asian/half Caucasian grandchildren. Which gives me hope that our journey to finding acceptance for our love within our own families, is a fight our children will never have to bare.
Diane Farr is most known for her work as an actress on Californication, Numb3rs and Rescue Me. Her second book Kissing Outside The Lines has just been released. You can find more of her writing at www.GetDianeFarr.com, Facebook.com/GetDianeFarr and Twitter.com/GetDianeFarr.
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