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April Meetup Recap | Dating: the Good, the Bad, the Mixed

We heated things a bit at the April Meetup! TMS founders Lili Stiefel and Ariel Bastida hopped right into the spring season by hosting an open discussion on the impact of mixed identities on dating, relationships, and love. Lili and Ariel gave the floor to community members and discussed three significant components of romance: courtship, partnership, and settling down/moving on. Topics of the night included dating apps (pre and post-pandemic), dating expectations, feeling seen by your partner, gender norms, and the concept of “the one.”

Before the meetup, we asked our community:

- What happens when you are mixed and enter into relationships?
- What do you experience?
- How are your experiences similar to or different from others?

For the first time at a meetup, we broke out into three breakout room sessions in between conversations. In the first breakout session, groups discussed their feelings on current dating apps and memorable (some better off forgotten) dates. In the second session, groups went over the difficult questions that need to be answered early in a relationship to make one another feel seen. The third breakout session went over passé gender norms and tackled the age-old question: is there such a thing as “the one”?

Community members came with stories of their unique experiences. One community member started by saying, “I almost want to wear a little sign where I'm like: can you handle this?” bringing pure authenticity and a lot of positive energy to the meetup.

Truthful takes on partnerships were shared with a genuine sense of self-awareness. Some realized a clearer understanding of who they were during stay-at-home orders. During our discussion on cultural differences in a relationship, one community member shared the perspective that “it's not about what they look like, or where they come from necessarily, as much as what [it is] they want to build…I think a partnership is the smallest unit of community.”
We also took group polls between each session, rendering fascinating results about our community. One unique common ground held among the community was their experiences with stereotypes and patriarchal standards. One member said in the chat, “I am gaslit by society that stereotypes don't affect my dating prospects.” At the same time, another recommended the book Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation by David Eng and Shinhee Han, a collection of case histories from the mid-1990s to the present to explore the social and psychic predicaments of Asian American young adults from Generation X to Millenials.

It was a relief for many of our community members to learn about their frustrations with dating apps under pre- and post-pandemic circumstances. Some found it was the only way to find your people when feeling isolated in a small town. Others found dating apps to help them come out of their shell or boost their self-esteem in a competitive market.

The conversation could have gone for hours, but we all left the meetup a little more faithful to our true selves and the stories we carry with us. While we never got to figure out if there really is “the one,” we hope everyone had with them a better sense of what to bring to their next (or current) big love.
Community Recommendations:
Book - Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation by David Eng and Shinhee Han.

Remix - Good Thing Osrin Remix by Kehlani and Zedd - “Soooooo good and makes me wanna roller skate in the wind and hug myself.”

Free Online Event: Kink/BDSM 101 by Lucia Gabriela

Extra Song - “On the other end if you’re looking to get in a “😒” mood I’d recommend Nectar by Raveena”

Full Meetup Playlist - a collaborative effort between The Mixed Space and community members
Chat Gems:

“A lot of people will rule you out as a man if you're Asian… I wouldn't want those people anyway, but the algorithm is...sensitive.”
 
“Why do POC have to be spokespeople for their entire culture? That's not expected of white people.”

“I'm pleasantly surprised to even get a smile from a stranger, let alone a conversation of dating intent.”

“I don't particularly like dating apps, but because I am more reserved and don't get out much, I feel like it's a good way to meet people or help with my social anxiety and put myself out there.”

“Communication, communication…”