Theophanes is a New-England-based blogger, traveler, writer, photographer, sculptor, and lover of cats.
How Could an Asexual find Another's Life Odd?
It was in the wee morning hours that I found myself talking on the phone with a friend and looking up random miscellany on Wikipedia for fun (yes, us with nothing better to do find encyclopedias to be a source of endless hours of amusement.) I'm not really sure how but we somehow ended up wafting onto a Wikipedia entry about an author who was quoted in the entry giving an exceptionally ambiguous answer to an interveiwer pertaining to his sexuality. Said author died at 75 years of age (according to Wikipedia) while never giving even his closest friends the tiniest clue about what his sexuality might have been. It went on to say since he was never married nor had any children that some had theorized him too be asexual. This theory seems to me a good one... I can't think of any other reason a man in this day and age would live to 75 years while claiming he hadn't the foggiest idea what the fuss was all about... gay, straight? Who gives a damn? Everyone apparently.
That brings us back to the conversation. I said I wondered if he'd ever been with anyone in any degree, and that it was weird if he'd never so much been on at least one date in his life. Knowing I myself was asexual and completely inexperienced when it came to romantic relations my friend said, "That's weird hearing you say that." At the time I was drunk on lack of sleep and unable to make a coherent reply to that - hence the reason I'm writing this article.
So why would another romanceless asexual think it'd be odd never to go on one date in their life? The answer is simple. I'm 22, cloistered, and asexual. I've never been on a date, have always despised children, and I spend much of my time observing the world with calculating and cynical eyes. Despite all these things I also know how the world works in a way I know most other people would never understand. It all comes down to supply and demand. We, as a species, want whatever we can't get. This starts when we're toddlers and we claim everyone grows out of it but the truth is none of us ever do.
Why is that straight women form insane crushes on gay and married men? Simple. They can't have them. The same goes for straight men and married or lesbian chicks. As for my own experiences... I spent nineteen years of my life trying to portray myself as the perfect Victorian girl. This was me playing possum, trying to convince the world I was "normal." Victorian women after all were the one culture I knew of that I could point to and say, "They thought asexuality was a good thing - even if the majority of them were completely making it up." I didn't cut my hair, I dressed in form fitting clothing, and refrained from wearing make-up, claiming moral superiority as my reasoning (when in reality I just didn't get why you'd want to lather sludge all over your face on a daily basis.) During this entire time the straight women and girls who I found myself around often despised me or were mistakenly jealous of me and every straight boy in existence tried through great lengths to impress me, even complete strangers! Because I was still pretending to be normal I'd just smile politely and make some excuse, going so far as wearing an engagement ring to school and making up a boyfriend named Bob. Bob never existed outside my head yet he was the most amusing boyfriend I could have possibly had.
Finally one bleak February I had had enough and lopped off most of my hair. In the months and years afterwards I lopped off even more hair and changed my wardrobe to reflect my apathy rather then this lie I was trying to convince everyone of. I took on an androgynous appearance hoping it'd curb the amount of attention I always seemed to receive and also to let the world know I just didn't care anymore. Since then things have gotten infinitely stranger. I've been hit on, stared at, or admired from every race, age, gender, and orientation I have come across in this time. This fascinated me but not in any erotic way, rather I found myself a prop in my own psychological experiments.
However, back to the dating thing. I have come to believe the more you ignore people and the more you let them know there's not a snowball's chance in Hell they'll ever get to be with you in any romantic way, the more they'll follow you trying desperately to impress you. I was watching some sitcom one day (don't remember what it was) and one of the characters said, "If I can't sweep you off your feet I'll just wear you down!" Sweet sentiment... and the reason why I think most asexuals have probably been on at least one date, despite their better judgement.
According to current studies it's possible that as many as one in a hundred individuals could be asexual. Yet everyone thinks we don't exist at all to the extent that when people do find out about our complete lack of interest they all huddle amongst themselves during lunch hour going, "I bet you such n' such is really gay and doesn't want to admit it." This is the kind of comment that's likely to drive me homicidal someday...
I think part of this problem is asexuals are quite often fantastic liars or have a grasp of their native language that allows them to warp it easily. When a peer asks an asexual if they think someone is handsome or pretty they can very honestly say "yes." However yes isn't what it seems. They're likely thinking said person is handsome or pretty in the same way an oriental rug or Faberge egg is handsome or pretty. For the sake of normalcy and for the sake of persecution most of us learn very early these little semantic tricks.
Still, even with semantic tricks, not all of us say boo to love. In fact there are a great many asexuals who do carry on relationships because it's the companionship they crave, not the sex. These are testy waters I must say because so many times I've found relationships to be negative influences as far as bending yourself in ways you shouldn't. I've seen so many people who have made it clear they don't want kids being talked into having kids. One woman who I had never thought would have children fell victim to this and had a son. Now she's divorced and with a son that makes her so anxious on a minute to minute basis that she tells people like me, "If you don't want kids, don't have them!" This isn't to say she doesn't love the boy - only that it wasn't her calling in life to be a mother and she may have been better off listening to that little voice in her head.
So now you can see why I might have made the comment about being odd never to have dated at least once. As for myself I doubt I'll ever go on a date. I'll probably continue on confusing people I meet with my stubborn insistence on being happily "abnormal."
More from this Author:
Catching Marbles - A New England based travel blog
Tales from the Birdello - For all homesteading and farming matters
Deranged Thoughts from a Cluttered Mind - For funny personal anecdotes