By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Seated in her spacious home, she recalls the pain she felt as a child in Vietnam when her father would go out, cavorting with other women. Her mother would wake her at night, crying. "It was like a trauma to me," she says now. "Vietnamese, all men that way. They say men can have three, four wives. That's why American women should appreciate what they have. They don't know what Asian women have to put up with."
Roberts' life, though, has taken an ironic twist since her husband died. A year after his death, she was introduced to a Vietnamese immigrant who was earning minimum wage as a cable worker. She soon took him in, letting her loneliness get the best of her. Now, she says that she can't get rid of him, that he lives off her and doesn't pay a cent. Through Wang's center, she has spoken by phone with three American men, but they've been duds; two never called back. Even if she meets an American who's half of what her husband was, that would suffice, she says, just so she could be with someone who could show her Vietnamese freeloader the door.
For other Asian women among Wang's clientele, being with an American man just feels more natural. "I'm so Americanized," says a Japanese woman in her 30s who has been in America since high school, and who married--and divorced--a Caucasian American with whom she had two kids. "I have no desire to date an Asian male." Yeah, it's not a "fair statement," but in the world of stereotypes and generalizations, her inner god tells her to stay away from her own kind. "I don't like the way they treat women," she says.