photo via Nicholas LA Photography on Flickr
Justin Huang, a.k.a. Yellow Peril, our newest Wise Guy, has a confession to make, entitled “Asian Men with Balls: The Sociosexual Implications of Linsanity”:
I didnāt pay much attention to Jeremy Lin until I realized he was getting me laid.
Story of my life: In which my insecurities take the form of mild-to-moderate narcissism and I ignore a cultural sensation ā the Asian Obama, if you think about it ā until it directly becomes pertinent to my sex life.
But there this pretty boy stood in front of me, who I considered far out of my league, offering to buy me a drink at Akbar, a trendy gay dive in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles.
The boy, who Iāll call Tim, was I think mixed race, and generally too attractive for me. (I tend to like gruff guys anyway, the type who look like they can take a punch.) But itās always pleasant when an Adonis turns out to be good conversation, and after a few drinks, I asked him what he was looking for.
āTo be honest,ā Tim replied, taking a swig of Anchor Steam, āIāve been on an Asian kick ever since Linsanity. I think heās so hot, and Iām surprised Iāve never been with an Asian guy before.ā
Normally I donāt like it when guys bring up my race when theyāre hitting on me. Without question, race is usually a major component of sexual chemistry (and I certainly have my own preferences), but thereās no easier way to feel like a piece of meat than when youāre being compared to an anime character. But this was different. And it was entirely new to me.
I was being likened to an all-American mainstream superstar, not a niche fetish.
Since then, Iāve gotten wing-manned by Linsanity on several more occasions. On myĀ Adam4AdamĀ account, I have a picture posted that features me clutching a strategically-placed basketball. (I took this picture as one of the subjects of a photography project calledĀ Sexy Geeks.) The photoshoot was taken months before Jeremyās Shakespearean rise to meteoric stardom, when the image of an Asian man clutching a basketball was meant to be a critique on societal stereotypes. How quickly things change.
Now, Iād gotten no less than 30 messages on Adam4Adam that directly comment on the basketball picture, gushing about Jeremy Lin.
I havenāt really paid attention to the NBA since the end of the Golden Age of the Lakers in 2004. And the only reason I paid attention toĀ thatĀ was because of the diva bitchfight that was the Kobe/Shaq rivalry. (āJust makeout already!ā Iād yell at the screen.) But this Jeremy Lin figure was ramping up my sex life, and I was curious as to why. So I Googled him.
On paper, Jeremy Lin and I have a lot in common. We are both American born. Weāre both from good Christian families, we both were stellar students in school, we both grew up in California. Like my mom and dad, his parents came from Taiwan with hopes of a better future for their kids. Like my maternal grandparents, his maternal grandparents fled China to Taiwan during Mao Zedongās takeover.
But the similarities end there. I was confused. Was it really just skin deep, this sudden spike in interest? Or is something greater at work here?
You see, I grew up completely devoid any role models that I could physically identify with. I am a thoroughly Americanized Asian man, but Iāve always felt that when it comes to my identity, I am an army of one. I feel marginalized by the stereotypes thrust upon me, even defensive. The image I present ā one that I believe makes me a serious contender in my social surroundings ā Iāve carefully cultivated myself, without a face to base it on.
But now, we have Jeremy. Heās two years younger than me, and while Iām a bit past the age of having role models, Iām quite happy that the younger generation has him to look up to.
It helps that Jeremy Lin is indeed quite handsome, with a megawatt smile and killer body, and, even better, in interviews he seems to be a humble and grounded guy. Heās also openly Christian, so middle America will eat him right up with extra gravy.
And while the rumors ofĀ a fling with Kim KardashianĀ seem at first to just be eye-roll worthy tabloid fodder, you gotta realize that she has been linked to whole roster of male sex icons, from Nick Lachey to Gabriel Aubry to Reggie Bush. In a social context, Jeremy Linās sexuality is acknowledged in a titillating manner. Whereas before him the sexuality of Asian men has long been ignored or even ridiculed by American pop culture, Jeremy Lin could very well be the first true Asian American stud.
This was the pre-Linsanity mainstream perception of the Asian male. Yeah... I prefer Jeremy Lin. Let's all scroll back up to his dreamy picture.
And what are the implications of this cultural messiah? Yes, first weāre going to get all the bad puns, ranging from corny toĀ hilariously offensive. But beyond that, Linsanity could very well redefine the Asian American man as a sexually acknowledged being. Frankly put, our basketball whiz kid has given the rest of us balls. (Hey, who said I couldnāt join the bad pun train?)
Because sex is an aspirational sport. Weāre hardwired to desire the likeness of success; itās a remnant of our primordial survival skills mixed with pop culture. Itās why I have a huge crush on my neighbor who looks just like Ewan McGregor, because I associate his face with that of my favorite movie star. And itās why Tim (the aforementioned pretty boy) suddenly was made aware of my sexual potential as a mate. Heās now been given context in the muscled form of an NBA superstar.
In this sense, Linsanity applies not just to me, but to all Asian men, regardless on where they fall on the sexual orientation spectrum. You see, blonde twinks have David Beckham, and we have Jeremy Lin.
Linsanity is a welcome phenomenon, I donāt think any athlete has gotten this much love since pre-zombie-Ambien-sex Tiger Woods, and I think it foretells a future where the Asian influence on the world extends beyond āOh, theyāre good at math, arenāt they?ā Iām sure there are many Jeremy Lins out there, and in due time they will emerge as well.
And the result of these monumental shifts in the tectonic plates of global pop culture? Iāll get laid. Progress!
This article originally appeared on Justin’s blog, I Am Yellow Peril. It went viral and ended up on the Huffington Post. Which just goes to show, we have excellent taste in Wise Guys. Thanks to Justin for allowing us to republish here!