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Token White Guy: My Daughter and the Five Year Old Sluts

Jonathan has played the token white guy in more than 60 Chinese films and sitcoms, not surprisingly, he has a few tales to tell about his experiences.

I've been feeling old lately. The evidence for my advanced age can be summarised thus:

* I actually am on the cusp of a birthday that will place me squarely in the totally-not-young-and-can't-pretend-I-am-anymore category. I will turn 38 in February.

* Lately, instead of thinking about all the amazing opportunities in the future, I've been obsessing about the missed opportunities of the past.

*I've been desperately attempting to recapture the wild insouciance of youth by going out with my 20-something friends, dressing in expensive clothes in the secret-but-obvious hope that 20-something girls will be impressed.

*I have been trying to learn ‘young people slang’.

* I'm writing shit meta-articles like this where I'm ‘knowing about knowing’ about this descent, which are really just thinly disguised attempts at edginess but betraying to all readers the obvious reality.

*And most damning, I am about to write another column about my daughter. Wonderful as she is, when a writer makes that fatal step from drink, loose women and desperation into family and responsibility then that writer has, with a very steady hand and a sharp scalpel, excised himself from the interest of his former audience.

* I know this and still am doing it anyway because… I can't help myself; this is the final nail in the coffin. 

Daddy Lesson #127

I got a call for a movie. Which wouldn’t be that odd except they didn't want me, they wanted my four year old daughter, Roxanne. The movie was a big budget romantic comedy with big stars. The plot goes like this: A hard working French career woman decides to have a kid alone. Who needs men? She goes to the best sperm bank in Paris and orders the best sperm on the menu; ‘Oui oui,’ she thinks. ‘I will have a tall Teutonic god.’ But nine months later out pops a little half Chinese girl. Oh no! There was a mix up at the sperm bank! Jump ahead four years and this precocious little tyke is wise beyond her years. And then one day, through a hilarious cascade of charming near misses and fateful coincidences, she meets her real dad. With a heart-warming mix of spunky determination and four year old cleverness she convinces her mother that this shy, down on his luck but jolly Chinese fellow is just what she needs to turn her life around. And then they all live happily ever after.

I wasn't sure if I wanted my daughter to be in a movie. I know what it's like because I do it. It's hard on me and I'm almost 38. She's four. On the other hand, I believe I should allow my daughter to choose the road she takes. It is my job as a father to provide her with the tools and the love for her to make her own decisions. So after I got off the phone, I sat down with Rox and tried to explain what a movie was and ask if she wanted to go meet these people. She did.

When we got there it was about what I expected. A bunch of old, ugly parents who, through either miracle, serendipitous gene mixing or wifely infidelity had been given a beautiful little daughter. The little sweety-poos were all trained to be 'adorable'. Every time somebody important came into the room, their parents would whisper to them and the kid's face would suddenly stretch out in a massive skin-wrenching smile, eyes wide enough you worried her eyeballs would fall out.

The assistant director, an old buddy of mine, told me the director would get there in about 20 minutes. The stage parents waited, aflutter with excitement. Their little butterflies all tarted up in Jon Benet Ramsey-esque outfits. Roxanne got interested in some goldfish in the lobby.


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