They walk among Chinese and they look like Chinese – but somehow, for some reason you are unsure about them. The bartender knows, the flight attendant knows, and the Starbucks guy knows – they hold the untold secrets. What exactly sets this rare breed of foreigner apart, though?
After careful study, though, Shameless has finally identified the key differences that let us tell an ABC from a local Chinese person. To our local Chinese friends, all you have to do is follow this simple five-step guide and you’ll be fooling people that you grew up in the US in no time!
1. Get A Tan
Stop holding your umbrella everywhere and wear long sleeves in summer just to protect yourself from the sun. ABCs are equally obsessed with the idea of getting tanned as white people. It’s weird that ABCs hate to be called Bananas, but they’d rather sunburn themselves into a banana that has gone bad.
2. Work Out or Pretend You Work Out
The typical local Chinese physique is characterized by chicken legs and flat chests–ABCs, however, care about their appearance and work out regularly. This drive for self-improvement might come from the insecurity they suffered growing up amid American biceps and badonkadonks. If you want to pass as an ABC, you gotta build some muscle. We all know the truth, though–in appearance they might look more masculine, in bed they are still Chinese.
3. Be an Asian Food Foodie
ABCs reinforce their Asian identity through an obsession with Asian food. As a local Chinese looking to pass, don’t so much as mention KFC or Pizza Hut–that’s a dead giveaway. Work up a repertoire of sushi, ramen, curry, Korean BBQ, and pho places to rave about. If you encounter an ABC who is unable to give you over 5 Asian restaurant recommendations, confiscate their passport please.
4. Swear in English
When we’re pissed off, surprised, or confused, we’re more likely to speak in our native language. Forget the English you’ve been studying since elementary school. The key to really speaking English like you grew up in the US is to get your English swearing down. That means you have to forever abandon “卧槽”, “你妹”, or “碉堡了”, instead, use “Ouch”, “Awesome” and “What the Fuck”. When people elbow you on the subway, take a deep breathe and remember, details tell people out.
5. Talk Endlessly about “Identity”
ABCs love to go on about how hard it is to navigate two different cultures and how special that makes them. This is a hard one for local Chinese to imitate, since they are taught from birth that everyone is the same and that they are not special. Practice dropping these phrases randomly into conversation:
- “As an Asian American, I…”
- “…the dominant culture…”
- “White privilege…”
- “…find that very offensive.”
I’ve given you the basic tips above–once you’ve got those down, you’re ready to live the ABC lifestyle with the advanced level. Start by following a typical day of an ABC below:
You wake up at 10, head for a brunch appointment with your besties (at least one is gay). Pay 100RMB for two scrambled eggs and a piece of bread, without batting an eyelash. In the afternoon, you go to a yoga class, post a bunch of #selfies on Instagram. Boba tea with friends is a must before a fancy dinner at a Japanese place. Finally, party till midnight and go home with a European guy.
You wake up at 10, still a little hung over, but you make it to the gym anyway. After working out and a serving of imported protein powder, you feel great. In the afternoon, you log onto Tinder, match several Chinese girls, still feel great. You take one of them to a date at a Japanese bar and trigger her protective side by talking about your identity issues. You take her home with you and you feel great. But — does she feel great?