Follower Friday: ro-mantik

Follower Fridays is a series of profiles highlighting members of Gaysian Third Space to showcase the diversity of gaysians in the Community. This week’s featured member is @ro-mantik.

Who are you?

Who am I, you ask?

I am a binge-drinker of jasmine green tea when I am upset or stressed, and I am wholly uncomfortable with the idea of squishing insects and arachnids in order to get rid of them (please stay out of my home! I do not wish to touch nor kill you by smashing your tiny bodies). But, invite me to an insect petting zoo, and I will be more than happy to put a tarantula on my face or a hissing cockroach into my pants (I think it’s a dirty vermin vs. zoo environment thing, which is totally irrational because who knows what kind of microbes could be hiding in their cute exoskeletons…okay no more tarantulas on my face).

I’m a law student right now, but at one point in my life, I thought I had the chops to become a professional tennis player. I even thought of which sponsors I would solicit endorsement deals from (Prince with the tacky ‘P’ logo? No way. Babolat for sure. Nike makes nice apparel, but “dare to be different.” I’ll go with Lacoste because French in English means inherently fancy. And I need a Rolex endorsement just because – which begs the question: why do so many professional tennis players wear watches on court? The sweat that would collect between the skin and watchband = ew).

I am a major neat freak and slight germaphobe. I like things on my desk to sit parallel to one another or at perpendicular angles. Dirty dishes left in sinks for prolonged periods of time are my mortal enemy, and I cannot understand for the life of me why anyone would wear their shoes inside their home. The amount of hand sanitizer and cleansers I use on a daily basis probably means my skin is a hotbed of resistant, super bacteria that will kill all of us. I tell my boyfriend I feel sorry that he has to put up with my crazy, and he just laughs. That’s why I love him.

I am a son, brother, lover (not necessarily in that order, not necessarily all at the same time), and, even though I try to convince myself otherwise, I am lost at times. Aren’t we all? But I’d like to think that I am slowly “finding,” “discovering,” and “creating” who I am.

Where are you from?

If you were to ask this question to my mom while she is in a joking mood, she would probably bring up a likely fictional anecdote about how she picked me up out of the garbage as a pitiful and dirtied baby and decided to take me as one of her own (and maybe that’s how it became psychologically easier for her to call me “trash” and “worthless” later on in life – Oof heavy stuff. Sorry! But I do love my crazy mom).

In all seriousness, I was born, raised, and still currently living in Northern Virginia (as opposed to Southern Virginia *gasp* or Western Virginia *the horror* – just kidding! I have no problems with those parts of my home state that are siphoning off a disproportionate share of our tax base). But for many people who have no conception of Virginia beyond Jamestown, Williamsburg, the former Confederacy, and tobacco plantations, I tell them that I am from the “D.C. Area,” a scary place where people talk policy/politics and complain about Metro all day.

For those who are curious about where I am “really from,” my parents are Chinese-Vietnamese, Chinese by way of Vietnam, of former Vietnamese nationality but of Chinese ethnicity…specifically Guangzhou and Shantou (shout-out to my Teochew homies – is it culturally insensitive of me to say that?).

What do you do?

I sleep a lot. I complain a lot too. I cry out in anguish from time to time thanks to my relentless ennui. And that’s most definitely a direct result of attending law school (don’t do it! Just kidding. Do it for the right reasons!). But I like to think I do more than just study in school. The sad fact is that I don’t.

I eat a lot too. I love food of all kinds (okay, maybe not seafood that much, but that is a story for another time). I am a firm believer that the combination of grains, protein, and cheese in a holy matrimony of a dish causes the heavenly angels to cry beautiful tears upon our desolate earth (it’s scientific fact that food bloggers publishing more cheesy recipes are causing El Nino).

I enjoy writing (as evidenced clearly by my verbosity), and I also love reading (as if I didn’t have enough to read in school already – but if you love books, let’s talk books!).

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about pomeranians (to all those who call them furry rats, I wish great misfortune upon you) and generally all fluffy mammals. I am passionate about trying many different types of chocolate and tea, and I am passionate about maintaining my success at running in an attempt to catch a soon-departing bus or train. As far as passions go, I have to say those are pretty good considering some of past passions included Pokemon cards, K-pop boys, and my supermarket vending machine bouncy ball collection.

But, to be serious for a moment, I am also passionate about cultivating and building meaningful relationships with people, including family, friends, clients, and strangers. I am passionate about using my skills to uplift others in the ways I know, and I am passionate about giving back to the communities that helped me to flourish. I am passionate about public service and social justice (but still trying to figure out what exactly that means for myself). I am passionate about making a tangible difference in the world, whether by dreaming up some amazing cheesy concoction that forever changes modern notions of food or fighting to save a client from deportation and probable death.

What is your dream job (real or fantasy)?

I would like to own a cafe/bakery/house of confectionery, where I would work as head baker and sugar magician, and my boyfriend would be barista. Our shop would be one of those converted homes with a small porch out front. That’s where our old German Shepherd, Chester, would gently raise his head from time to time to sleepily welcome in our regulars. Inside among our tastefully chosen furniture, our cat, Mittens, and our pom, Leo, would delightfully terrorize our patrons with their spats of mischief and incessant begging for treats.

Our shop would be lined with bookshelves containing all the volumes I love, and of course we’d have at least one chalkboard wall because that’s the cool thing to have. Fresh flowers from the garden will populate the tables. And in my infinite free time as head baker and entrepreneur, I would write essays, poetry, novels and read the greats for inspiration. This is all assuming I somehow become a multi-billionaire with the abilities to finance this enterprise.

Or become a member of a nondescript European nation’s mostly powerless, but insanely rich, royal family.

If you could change the world with one idea, what would it be?

That anyone can make a tangible difference for the betterment of society


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