As a gay Asian male I have slept with my fair share of “rice queens.” In the unlikely case that anyone reading this blog is unfamiliar with the term, it describes a gay man who seeks the company of gay Asian gay men for sex or a relationship or both. While the stereotypical rice queen is an older white man, last night I was with a Latino guy who definitely fit the definition. I didn’t know he was a rice queen until he mentioned The Web, a predominately gay Asian dance club here in Manhattan.
From the moment he walked through the door, he repeatedly vocalized about how sexy and attractive I am. Of course, it was very flattering to hear such compliments. After we had copulated and as he was getting dressed he asked why I was still single. After all, according to him, I was a hot Asian guy with a “killer” body. Ignoring his question, I asked him the same thing. He responded, “I’m waiting to find the right Asian guy to be with.” So I asked, “What is it about Asians that you like so much?” The best he could manage was, “I’ve been asking myself that question for a very long time and I still don’t have a good answer.”
After he left, I began to wonder: what it is about Asian guys that rice queens find so desirable? As it could be many things I must speculate and generalize. Most non-Asians seem to assume that Asians are smart, have smooth bodies, smile often and are loyal to their partners. Ironically, I don’t really fit this stereotype. I was never any good at math, I’m not smooth and I tend to be promiscuous (although I do frequently grin from ear to ear). Yet rice queens still seek me out, whenever and wherever they get the chance. From this, and from what other gay Asians tell me, it appears that the typical rice queen will snatch us up merely because we are Asian— no matter what we look like. This idea bothers me and I am still unable to understand why rice queens are so stigmatized in the gay community.
I decided long ago to never have a long-term relationship with a rice queen. Most of the men I have dated seriously were not rice queens. Generally, they were close to my age (20s-30s) and I was their first Asian partner. It was refreshing to know that I was different from any guy they had dated before. They were interested in me not because I was Asian, but because I was me. I have nothing against rice queens, but it does disturb me when someone’s interest in me is solely because of my race. It would make me feel both replaceable and interchangeable.
However, I did briefly date a rice queen who was my age a few years ago. Whenever we went out, I would catch him cruising other Asian males, regardless of their size or shape. As long as they were Asian, his eyes would be glued to them. This annoyed me beyond belief and I decided to stop dating him. Nevertheless, we remained friends and to this day he runs through his Asian boyfriends as one goes through the sale rack at Barney’s.
Why are there are so many older white men with younger Asian men in the gay community in New York? It can’t just be by chance. Do they prefer each other without having a fetish for the other’s age or race? I’d like to play psychologist for a minute. Could it be that the older wiser white male has dated many men and know something we don’t? Perhaps they are drawn to Asians because of the frequently accurate stereotype that Asian men are monogamous and devoted to their partners for life?
If this is true, I can’t really blame rice queens for desiring Asians. It only makes sense to want a faithful partner who smiles frequently—and has a smooth, taut body to boot. The combination of these traits is hard to come by, especially in a major metropolis like New York. I guess the truth of the matter is that rice queens have exceptional taste. If only the rest of the gay community could recognize this. But rice queens should also know this: we’re not all the same. After all, I failed math.
C.J. Excalibur is the author of Memoirs of a Ho Bag.