[For your consideration….]
“Eraine!!! What you mean you no go?! He from nice famiree. And Mommy show picha and resume and they like. Why you want be spinster? You meet and marry now!”
My mom’s accent bounced off the white marbled floor and echoed under the spiral staircase where she stood. My mom resembled a small Korean garden gnome standing next to the grand Steinway piano under the spiral staircase – all umbrella-ed under the sky-lit 50 foot ceiling.
“And why no socks?” put socks on – you get sick!” she yelled as I glanced down at my bony feet – cold on the white marble floor.
Repeatedly, I’d explain to my parents that I was barefoot in their home due to their insistence. They made me take my shoes off at the entryway – and since I almost exclusively wore flip flops when I was visiting them in the 105 degrees that blanketed their Encino home, that left me with all toes exposed. Being that F.O.B. Asians (i.e. Fresh Off The Boat) single handedly invented the marriage between the thick white sweat socks and the ubiquitous V-shaped strapped flip flops – to them, I was without reason.
“Ay chumne!” My mom rushed to the shoe closet next to the front door and handed me one of the many flowered slippers that she always had ready for visitors.
Then — with her 10 fast dancing fingers, she grabbed at whatever lint she could find on my black James Perse tank –grasping at the lint so hard – a hard pinch penetrated through to my skin.
“OUCH! STOP IT”!
“Mommy no stop. Why you look homeless? All this lint! Nobody marry you.” She continued to pick up the small white specks stuck along the inside of my arm. As I noticed her nonchalantly heading towards the breast area to do the same lint removal, I pushed her arm away and snapped, “STOP!”
Then she stopped.
“Ok. Mommy stop. But you go and meet Dan Suk Kim.” He take you for nice lunch and his mom say he very nice looking and doctor. He tall! 5’9”!!!!
These Saturday afternoon visits started out fun. I’d trek from my Hollywood Hills home to my parents’ home in the valley – so they could take me out for Korean BBQ– and without fail I was sent home with a box of Styrofoam wrapped Asian pears. Parental lectures and romantic meddling was the price I’d pay.
However, the degree of my mom’s meddling was heightening at an exponential rate as I was approaching my 30th birthday.
The parental inquisitions generally focused on conversations concerning career objectives, whether or not I was eating – complimented with the occasional “Dr. Kim’s daughter is now playing violin at Carnegie Hall at age Fetus.” However, recently and to my dismay, these lunch conversations started centering almost entirely on my marital goals, age spots and my mom’s nonsequitous propositions that she’ll pay for all necessary laser procedures on my face.
“Eraine, wha this?”
“A freckle, mom.”
“Is ok. Mommy pay to fix. Erase dots.”
My mother enthusiastically set out to perfect my imperfections. Laser out my sun spots, plump out the crow’s feet and alter my personality and sandblast it until I had none — all done with the motivation to wed her single, aging sun spotted daughter.
My mom has gone through a series of attempts, trying to set me up with some eager sex deprived Yale medical student– in town for the weekend to meet me, the Mother induced picture bride. I soon discovered that the photo she was sending was from some store opening I attended on Robertson Blvd. – where a photographer had snapped a shot of me and some B-lister gazing at shoes. They were posted up on some website which my friend found on wireimage.com and forwarded to me. I then forwarded the link to my parents to humor them. Unbeknownst to me, my mother printed the photo (and my resume!) and had sent it to the parental unit of all eligible bachelors.
“Ugh!” I hated these arguments circling my mom’s adamant attempts for romantic arrangements. My mom knew nothing about these guys with whom she was setting me up. All that was of her concern was that they fit her two necessary and sufficient prerequisites. Korean and a doctor. They could have been 2’5” paraplegic albino scientologists – but so long as they were A) Korean and B) either practicing medicine (or in medical school), they were my mom’s son in law made in heaven.
“They make good money and be father!…You OLD ERAINE!” my mom growled.
“Gross. I already don’t like him. What’s his name? Eugene Kim? Jon Park? Does he even speak English? He’s probably boring and ugly and not in tune to any of the things I like. If he’s so great, why isn’t he married?”
“Eraine, you stop that! Mommy be mad. YOU GOING!”
I conceded and agreed to meet this Prince Charming for lunch just so my mother would be silenced.
“Eraine, but you no be loud. You no laugh or talk much. You no say funny jokes. Nice girl no make jokes.”
“Really, mom? You mean, don’t be myself? Aren’t you pitching me as the educated, articulate lawyer? And now you want me to be the mute Korean Gucci girl idiot? So glad you sent me to college.”
“Aaaa shikoro!” You listen to mommy! She always told me to shut up when in disagreement with her ways or sarcastic in my tone.
“And what you wear? You wear nice clothes. I buy you nice clothes. Why you homeless? Why you wear shirt like that?”
She tugged at the V-neck of my tank and said, “You show breast and bad guys like! You don’t know. They think bad things and your shirt says OK.”
Hee Jung Aaahhh! Mrs. Kim no will like this. No wear that shirt! Meech Ee Nyun!”
That translates to, “Elaine, don’t wear that shirt. WHORE!”
For those who are interested, I’m still wearing the shirt. It’s buying me time.
I know that if and when I get too old for any of her suitors – my mom will give up hope and will finally let this American born, American educated daughter of hers date and marry whomever she wants.
This I believe.
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