If you’ve reached the third date, that’s a great sign, because most people cut bait between date one and three.  The third date should feel more relaxed than the previous two dates.  Whereas in date one and two, there is a bit of pressure going into it and concerns about making a mistake, date three is more about getting to know each other better without the need for a fancy night out.  I think date three is a good time to invite that person over, or to go over their place. 
This was the first dinner that Alena made for me.

For our third date, we spent it at my place enjoying dinner and a movie.  Alena knew the way to my heart was through my stomach, and she brought over a delicious dinner of sautéed shrimp, salad, a mix of sweet and regular baked potatoes, and some tomatoes with mozzarella cheese.  That was the first time someone that I dated cooked me dinner, and it was a sign to me that she was a keeper, because she was putting in the effort too.  The same night, she looked at my fridge, saw that I had healthy food in there, and told me months later that it got me some points, since I was walking the walk about eating healthy, not just talking the talk like other guys did.

Before the Third Date

- Keep your options open.  Before the third date, I think it is fair game to keep your options open and date other people casually if you haven’t committed to dating anyone exclusive.  It’s not about being a player – it’s about dating efficiently.  It's about giving yourself as many options as possible in case something doesn’t work out, and not making the mistake of going too fast with anyone too soon.  The first or second date can be unpredictable.  The person you’re dating may be dating someone else casually, and may be gone tomorrow.  It’s good to be dating someone else casually if possible so you don’t put all your eggs in one basket too soon, and you don’t get too head over heels for someone, which can scare them away. 

But I caution about keeping the options open too far into the distance – after three or more dates, you should have a better sense of who is a better fit, and you should respectfully narrow the dates down.

- Rejection is likely to happen.  You’ll find as you go on more dates, most of them end before date three.  It’s normal and happens to everyone, and although it can sting after a while of going through it over and over again, just move on and take whatever lessons you can draw from them.  Write the experience down in a dating journal.  Rejection sucks, but I can assure you that it’ll pass, and when you meet the right person, you’ll look back and may even feel like you dodged a bullet!

With all the websites and blogs out there that give dating and relationship advice, why would I spend hours upon hours creating yet another one?  Well, I have five reasons:

1.  I want everyone to benefit from my dating mistakes and discoveries.  Even though the name of the blog sounds more ethnic or interracial relationship focused, the information here is universal for all singles and couples, and will be relevant today and tomorrow.  It was a long, difficult journey for me to find the right person.  I made my mistakes and had my a-ha moments, and I want to take everything I know and pour it into one guide.  If there is even one person who benefits from an idea in this blog, then that’s a win.

2.  I want to help the good fellas and ladies out there in the love department.  There are some dating blogs out there for guys who want to be pick up artists, and some that chronicle all the wild adventures of a girl dating in the city.  I have nothing against those blogs, but this one is for the good guys and girls out there who are looking to play for keeps.  

This blog is for: the guy who was rejected when they were in high school because they didn’t have the fancy car or was not the jock.  The girl who has tried for years to look for a good guy, but ends up meeting jerks.  The guy who worked hard in school, got good grades and a decent job but didn’t have much time to date or doesn’t have a ton of experience.  The single mom who is struggling to meet the right guy who will be there for her and her daughter.  This is the blog I would have liked to read when I was single.

3.  I want to inspire the underdogs out there.  All our lives, we hear and see in pop culture that the masculine ideal is ‘tall, dark, and handsome.’  That’s what we see in Hollywood.  That’s what sexy cologne advertisements in magazines show us.  That’s what Taylor Swift sings in ‘Wildest Dreams.’  And being 5 foot 2 and single, that sucks.  There was nothing I could do in the tall department.  I was the last person you would notice in a crowded room.  When I was doing online dating, there were many girls that said they wouldn’t date anyone under 5 foot 10 and filtered me out.  There is a dating bias against guys who are short – just google ‘height and dating’ and you’ll get a ton of articles about this.  In addition, I didn't come from money or privilege.  When I was dating, I was rejected hundreds of times, and suffered through heartbreak after heartbreak.  I wasn’t able to date anyone past 3 months until I met my wife, Alena.  But that’s what makes this blog unique – it’s not written by a guy who was destined to succeed.  If anything, the odds were against me to end up with anyone, yet alone someone as amazing as Alena.

But every time I fell, I got back up and went back to the drawing board, worked to up my game, and with a bit of fate, I eventually found the right person who didn’t care about something superficial like height.  And if I can do this, so can you.  In the famous words of Marianne Williamson, “As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others.  I want to inspire the underdogs out there.  And in talking about underdogs in love...

4.  I want this blog to help break stereotypes and change the image of Asian American men.    Google ‘Asian American men’ and all the articles that pop up either talk about the difficulties of Asian guys in dating or try to dispels myths about them.  Research shows that Asian American men have a tougher time getting a date on OkCupid.  And it’s not due to the lack of their education, income, or attractiveness.  I think it partly has to do with their game (and this blog should help), and partly how they're seen in society or the lack of their visibility in romantic roles. 

In Hollywood, you can likely name 10 white male romantic leads.  Can you name even two Asian ones?  What we do see instead are Asian guys who are nerdy or who can do kung fu.  And that’s not reality.  And if I can’t be John Cho, Daniel Dae Kim, or Steven Yuen, I’m going to change that image online in the way I know how – through writing and speaking out.   

My goal is to give hope to those Asian men or anyone feeling stereotyped out there that it is possible to succeed in dating, neutralize the BS that’s out there that Asian guys lack in the love department, and normalize the uncommon interracial relationship between Asian males and White females.   This is part of the reason why we named this blog Bao Meets Bagel. 

Do I think that this one blog will change the world?  Not at all.  But my hope that it will empower one Asian American guy to succeed and inspire him to do his own blog, and then another and another, until the stereotypes and images become out of date.  We can’t wait for media and Hollywood to change stereotypes – we have to make our own images and channel our inner Gandhi to be the change we wish to see.  I want my future son, Liam, to have better odds in dating than I had.   

5.  If nothing else – if just my wife reads this – it’s a nice memento to capture a special time in our lives.  I want to capture these thoughts while I'm still young and when it's still fresh in my mind instead of waiting too long and being the middle aged dad giving dating advice by starting with "when I was your age...." J
By: John Chu

On October 20, 2012, I met my wife Alena for the first time at a Michael Jackson Thriller dance class at Ultrabar in Washington, DC.  I taught the class and Alena was one of my students.

We Almost Never Met

When my friend J.T. (who organized the class as part of his 20s and 30s Going Out Meetup group) approached me about teaching Thriller, I initially declined.  I was taking a break from teaching dance, and was focusing instead on my work, finding a good relationship, and training as a runner.  But after some thought, I said yes as J.T. is a good friend, and decided to professionally film the class, since I didn’t do so with my previous lessons and thought it was my last class at the time.  The cool thing is that because of the filming, Alena and I have pictures from the first time we talked, and a video from the night we met:
The video of our Thriller dance flash mob at Ultrabar in DC; Alena appears at 0:45 to 0:47, and 1:24-1:26.  Courtesy of Brandon Bentley, B2 Pictures
First Impressions

John: “Wow, she’s hot and has a nice sense of style.  I wonder whether she’s with that guy.”
Alena: “He’s good looking, friendly, and confident.”
A Bold, First Conversation

After class, I asked my friend Tomasz whether he thought the guy that Alena came in with was her boyfriend.  He said, “I don’t think so.  It looks like she’s been avoiding him all night.”  If Tomasz had just said, “probably,” I probably would not have done the next thing…   

I approached Alena when she was by herself, made a little small talk, and asked her if the guy she came to the lesson with was her boyfriend.  She said, “No, we’re just friends.  He’s not looking for a relationship.”  I then said without hesitation, “I’m looking for a relationship.  Do you want to get a drink or coffee next week and talk some more?”  And she said, “Yes.”  I then got her number.  It was a quick, one minute conversation.

- The best way to meet someone is to get involved in an activity that is enjoyable and enriching for you, and where you can meet potential attractive singles.  That way it is a win for you even if you don’t meet anyone.  And if you do, even better.  That night, I was going to have fun at that class even if I didn’t meet anyone, but I happened to meet Alena there.

- Be brave and just talk to someone you’re interested in – just go for it.  I approached Alena after class to chat even though she arrived with a guy.  After talking for a little bit, I politely asked her if she was with that guy.  The worst thing that could have happened was that she could have said, “Yes, he’s my boyfriend.”  And I would just move on and talk to someone else.  There is never any harm to say hello, introduce yourself, ask questions, listen, and see if they are interested in talking more, so just be brave and go for it.

- A little note about rejections – shake them off.  I can tell you that as a guy who’s been through the rejections and now has found the right person, you don’t remember the rejections.  I frankly don’t even remember the name, face, or conversation that I had with the girls who immediately brushed me off.  And I don’t remember the girls I turned down.  A rejection is temporary and forgettable in the grand scheme of things, so channel your Taylor Swift and shake it off.

- Have a wingman or wingwoman with you.  The best wingman or wingwoman brings out the best in you, and gives you a vote of confidence to make the first move, like Tomasz did for me.  And a good wingman is willing to take the lesser attractive of the two girls if you both go on a double date.  I’ve been a wingman for my guy friends, and I’ve had awesome wingmen.