Three AAM Sites for You to Check Out

So any day now I'm going to be a dad. It's been one long waiting game for the past week, and I have no idea how much longer it's going to take. I'm looking forward to this next chapter in my life, that of fatherhood and being a family man. I've resolved myself to the fact that everything I do and plan from here on out will revolve around my child.

To say that raising a child will dominate your life is an understatement. When a coworker of mine found out my wife were having our first child, he said to me, "You can forget about working out ever again."

I don't plan to withdraw completely from my interests and hobbies, but I do plan to pull back a bit. In my bodybuilding book Neo-Classical Bodybuilding there is a training strategy called "body part specialization."

Body part specialization is a strategy where you devote most of your training to one or two muscle groups and put the training of all other muscle groups on maintenance mode. Your body has limited recuperative abilities, so body part specialization allows you to focus your energies on developing a muscle group lagging in size or strength without losing size or strength on other muscle groups.

Specialization is something you can apply to your life outside the gym as well. For me the next 3 months it's about all the baby. Everything else (training, blogging, writing) is on maintenance mode. This means I'm pulling back somewhat from my involvement on the Alpha Asian blog. I'm not pulling back completely, mind you. But I feel like I've built this blog to a point where it can sustain itself, thanks to my co-bloggers.

The bottom line is that the message is more important than the messenger. The message of this blog has always been respect for the Asian American male image. Respect, however, is not simply given. It is earned, and the way you earn it is to put yourself out there and be damn good at something. Talent and expertise earns you respect. The Alpha Asian blog showcases the stories and the talents of Asian Americans and Asians all over the world. It showcases how we've been creating our own images and how we're closing the gap between perception and reality.

The common goal of respect for the Asian American male image is more important than the individual methods that everyone employs. So although I'm pulling back in my involvement in the Alpha Asian blog, there are many sites that will fill the void. The following are sites that promote respect for the AA male:

1) Ask Asian Men: This is a lifestyle channel for the Asian American man which includes restaurant, arts and nightlife reviews as well articles about dating, sex, health and fitness.

2) AM Revolutions: The principal reason we started AMR was to address the social and political needs of an acutely under-serviced segment of the American population: the Asian-American Man... We believe that the primary reason for this void in awareness (and the oudated, 'binary' black-white thinking in racial matters) is a colossal failure by the American Media to treat Asian-American men as equals to white and black men. That they systematically ignore Asian-American men while trumpeting the equality of black and white men as a major social achievement smacks of blatant and absurd hypocrisy.

3) AZN Lover: A social networking site for Asian men and women of all ethnicities. Here's a blurb from a Jeff Yang's Asian Pop column on AZN Lover:

The site is no recent novelty; it's been around since 2004, and, having expanded dramatically from blog to forum to full-fledged social networking community, now has over 6,000 active registered members and a constant flow of lurkers. According to Tom C., the site's owner, about 60 percent of the site's 30,000 unique visitors per month are Asian males, with the rest being "females who admire them." The site isn't unique — Tom admits that there is a surprisingly large number of online communities dedicated to similar interests — but AznLover is among the oldest and largest, and distinguishes itself, its members assert, by not being focused on making romantic connections.

"It goes without saying that relationships happen here," says Tom. "But AznLover's real mission is to help debunk the common stereotypes associated with Asian males, to provide community between people with similar issues, questions and curiosities, and to foster interaction between females of all races and Asian males, so that they realize that, yes, they too are 'sought after items.'"

Some who sign up for the site are women already part of AM/XF couples, seeking to become more informed on the cultural and social issues that they're confronting, and to connect with females in a similar situation. Kristina Nicholas of Santa Cruz joined AznLover hoping to better understand her Japanese American fiance: "We'd just become engaged, and I was looking for other women in my situation to gain insight and even support for the challenges that might arise from marrying into a different culture," she says.

Others, like San Francisco resident Elizabeth M., joined the site hoping to make new friends (and more). "I joined the site to find like-minded individuals who understood my love of Asian men," says Elizabeth. "In the process, I feel like I've grown a lot as a person — I've learned from many people's experiences in travel and relationships, I've learned more about different cultures. And I feel like I've made a difference in helping people cross boundaries that most people don't discuss and aren't even aware of."

That includes psychological boundaries, like the ones faced by Melissa Palmer, an AznLover from Detroit, MI who calls herself a "white chick from the whitest-white background imaginable." "My vast knowledge of the Asian male was based on John Hughes movies and influenced by the regional racism toward Japanese at the time, so I'd already made my decision regarding Asian men; I just wasn't attracted to them," she says. "But fast forward to the near present: What started as a friendship with a Chinese male grew into love. One day, it all came flooding out — we admitted to each other that the pull was there. God, I love that day!"

For Asian American men, AznLover feels like a kind of parallel dimension, where their status is inverted: Rather than being exiled to the margins, Asian males are at the center of this particular universe; not just "accepted," but revered. "I love the fact that people on the site acknowledge the beauty in Asian men," says Harry Li, a Malaysian American member living in Texas. "Society still makes women feel self-conscious about saying they like Asian features, or particularly, Asian guys, so even if they do, they won't let their attraction out in public. At AznLover, we all know why we're there — we share a common bond, in that one group has the qualities, physical and otherwise, that the other appreciates."

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