Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Don't dress so asexually"

The quote is from a friend of mine, when we once ended up at the mall. The point of it is that he was equating the words "asexual" and "androgynous" and while the two terms aren't the same thing, they seem to show up in some of the same people.
In this discussion on AVEN, http://http//, GoAllyGoGo says, "Actually, I think my asexuality affected my gender identity. I'm mentally pretty androgynous, and I really think asexuality has been a major factor in that."

I couldn't have said it better myself. I'm not even going to try, though I am going to elaborate on what that means to me.

This is something I've told very few people: As a teenager, I thought briefly that I might be transgender. I didn't feel like a girl and it was very obvious to me that the other people around me did, in some unfathomable way, feel gendered. People must feel gendered and proof of it exists all around us. I wanted to wear a suit to the Homecoming dance my senior year and go with a friend. I figured that if one of us wore a suit and the other a dress, we'd be able to dance together, and that we'd fit better than if we both wore dresses. Oddly, nobody else saw this.
Further proof of gender- it occured to me that the fact that people feel gendered is what makes the drag show at my school possible. There has to be an opposite to dress up as, if you're going to be in the drag show. So yeah, there's proof everywhere. Gender, social construct or not, exists as a very real thing for the vast majority of people. There's your gender, and the opposite gender.

For me, there's no opposite. Dressing up in a suit feels just as right as wearing a dress. Sometimes one feels better than the other, frequently I'm equally happy with either choice. For Halloween, again, my senior year of High School, I dressed up for a party as (no, I'm not kidding here) a Midshipman of the Royal Navy, Napoleanic War era. I'd been reading too many Patrick O'Brian novels, and I thought that would be really fun. It was; if I ever find a picture of it again, I'll post it here. Anyway, I went all out trying to look as authentic as possible. I pinned my hair like crazy and wore a top hat that covered it all and a big shirt, because I'm girl shaped at least, and I actually tea-stained a pair of white tights, for stockings, and a pair of white gaucho pants which I then cut up and sewed into knee breeches. It looked great. I showed a friend a picture, much later, and she said, "Who's that guy?" I guess some people might have been offended, but I was pleased. It proved that my costume had looked good.

So I finally decided that I'm not actually transgender. I'm... not anything, really. I'm okay with female pronouns and wearing dresses and using my given name, which I'm attached to after all these years. But I still don't feel like a girl should feel. But I'm okay with that, now. I've learned to understand it and how it fits into my life. In my next post, I'll explain how that fits into my identity as an asexual person and what GoAllyGoGo's quote has to do with any of this.

By the way, if anyone knows how to get make a word a link, like making it so people can click on the phrase "this thread" and that's the link, can you tell me? Thanks!

Friday, May 22, 2009


I have a new favorite word! That word is "squish" and I have this AVEN thread to thank for it:

A 'squish' is kind of like a crush, but it's non-romantic. It's that feeling that you'd love to get to know someone better, not to have a romantic or sexual relationship with them, but just because they're an interesting person. If I have a squish on someone, I want to be around them a lot and talking to them. I want to know what they think and I want them to approve of what I think, do and say. I'm probably also a little shy and awkward about them, because that's just me and I kind of go into my shell whenever I'm worried about another person's opinion.

I love the word 'squish' to describe that feeling. It's remarkably different from a crush, in that I don't actually desire to date the person. No kissing is necessary, though I love hugs no matter who they come from. I think this is a feeling that sexual people have also and I think it's what's meant by a 'bromance'(another of my favorite words) but of course 'bromance' isn't the sort of thing you can say about two girls.

So once I started thinking about this whole concept of having a squish, I started kind of classifying my relationships and how I feel about people I know.

As far as my best friends are concerned, I've decided that's not a squish. I love them like sibings and while I would like them to think well of me, I'm never anxious about whether they do. I'm secure in the idea that they will love me even when I do crazy stuff and I am totally comfortable with them.
PRISM members on the other hand... I have come to the conclusion that I have a squish on just about everyone in that group. I think the world of them and I am anxious to have them think well of me. I love spending time with them, just hanging around and I love just listening to what they have to say. .
Definite squish.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Romance in Books

Despite the fact that I'm really, really tired, I feel bad because it's been a while since I posted. I figure I'm doing pretty well posting about twice a week and I don't want to do any less than that, since that's about the minimum that would keep me interested in reading a blog. I'm rambling, but I think that this post is going to contain a lot of that.
I wanted to touch on the subject of romance in books/movies/etc. (whatever "etc." entails in this case.) In short, I usually dislike it.
I totally think it's because I'm asexual. I feel like so often the character's romances change them and they stop being an interesting independant person and start sighing over their love interest. This is very boring to me. I love reading books where the main character can handle their problems by themself or with the help of friends- without their hormones coming to life in the middle and the author sticking in a romance just because there should be one, or just for a plot complication.
Now, that isn't to say that I dislike all romance in all media. I have to confess here, I actually do find it cute sometimes. What I dislike is romance as a subplot, just to give the character something to be angsty about. Examples:
I like the romance in 'A Very Long Engagement' because it's the whole point of the movie- that Matilde is in love with Manech and is determined to find him if he's still alive.
I dislike the romance in the Harry Potter books, actually, because I didn't like how neatly everyone paired off at the end.
I liked the romance plotline in 'A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag' (one of my favorite books!) partly because Sean is so unlucky with the girl he likes and partly because it's not at all angsty and dramatic- on the contrary, even their eventual kiss is very funny.
I dislike the romance that they stick in the last few seconds of 'War of the Buttons', because I thought the kids, who are no older than about 13 at the end of the movie, didn't need their future romantic lives mentioned. (Also it's the most frusterating ending ever, because the female narrator, speaking of the two male leads, says that "I married one and the other was our best friend- but I shan't tell you which is which." Argh.)
I liked the romance in 'The Raging Quiet' because it came about slowly and naturally and there was no blushing and sighing over the love interest.
I disliked the romance in just about any of the Tamora Pierce books, because I loved the strong female main characters, and didn't like it when they got whiny about boys. It felt unempowering to me, as a girl who doesn't get whiny about boys.

Now, like I said, I connect that to being asexual. I think that, because of the way my sexuality works, I view relationships pragmatically. Which is not to say that I wasn't upset when my last boyfriend dumped me- I was, but I didn't spend a week sitting around sighing. That's why characters whining over their love interests annoys me. I just don't see how that's mentally healthy and it bothers the heck out of me when actual real life acquaintainces do much of it. Being upset because your relationship didn't work out, sure- you get my sympathy. Sighing and whining because you have a crush on a boy you've never even talked to? Oh for heaven's sake.
Secondly, I dislike when characters are made to look incomplete without a partner. That's why I didn't like when J. K. Rowling paired everyone off. I thought it should be okay for somebody not to get married or something. At least not to the obvious character we'd all known since Book 1! This is also why I dislike gratuitous romance scenes. If your character was okay before, why do you have to have a love interest to make them complete? If they weren't okay before, why is it that only a love interest can make them complete? Newsflash! Single people are complete also!

On that note, I'm going to bed. I think I've said all I can coherently say and I'm making more typos than you can imagine. Goodnight, all!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


No, it won't really be TMI, but I've been wanting to blog and I had the coolest dream last night with an asexual twist to it. So, I have these really vivid dreams sometimes- they have whole complicated plotlines and characters and stuff and they're really fun to have. Me being me, I spend all day thinking about them.
So in the dream I had last night, I was one of a group of four people who were running away from... er, something. It was dangerous, I remember that much, and we were being chased. At one point, one of us got caught by whoever was chasing us and we started to argue and ended up splitting up as a result. (I promise, this gets relevant. Really.)
So I'm standing on the sidewalk someplace and this boy, one of my 'friends' in the dream, is kneeling in front of me, stuffing his belongings in a duffel bag. (His name was Henry. Ask me how I remember this.) I asked him what he was going to do next and he replied that he was going out west ("Santa Fe or someplace." Newsies anybody?) where he could be safe. I asked if I could come along and he wasn't sure that would work out and I suggested that we get asexually married. Not in so many words, though- I remember thinking in the dream that it would be perfect because we loved each other deeply as friends and that way we could stay together forever. The dream version of me was thinking how perfect that would be, me being ase, that Henry wasn't attracted to me 'like that' and that if he would marry me I would have someone to love and grow old with and there would be no relationship pressure. Plus, we could keep each other safe from whoever had been chasing us for the majority of the dream, which was kind of the point.

So yeah, it was weirdly vivid, this dream I had. And somehow it managed to sum up exactly what I want in a relationship someday. Someone I love who loves me, someone to grow old with, somebody who wouldn't pressure me in a relationship and someone who's on the same wavelength as I am. (I'm kind of extrapolating that from the shared goals we had in my dream.)
Plus, the guy in my dream was really cute. Maybe I should write a book about it. I could be the next Stephanie Mayer.
(Kidding, kidding.)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dying Alone

I think this is an asexual's biggest fear. With 'coming out and being laughed at/ignored/disbelieved/put in therapy' as a close second, I think that asexuals spend a lot of time and energy worrying about being alone forever. This worry definitely gets a lot of press on AVEN, I think, and it's not an illogical fear. But I also think that, while 'dying alone' is a valid worry, especially for an asexual, we spend too much time thinking about it. This is why:

To my way of thinking, whether we are alone at any point in our lives is something we can control. Maybe we can't control whether we have a romantic partner and certainly not all of us want that. Maybe we can't control the fact that our friends will get married and be the sexual people they are and might spend less time with us than they used to, and maybe they'll even leave us entirely. But we can control how we spend our time and how we get involved in our communities. We can control our relationships with family members and with neighbors and we can form new relationships in non-traditional ways with people we've never even met.These are some of my suggestions for combating the problem of 'dying alone'.

1) Stay close with your family. I've never wanted kids of my own, really, but I'm totally looking forward to being the fun aunt to my brothers' and sister's kids. I love my own aunts and I enjoy spending time with them and if they ever needed me I'd be right there to help. By being a good aunt, I can have a relationship with younger members of my family who will want to be there to support me and help me out when I get old.

2) Get involved in your church or community service program. Big Brothers, Big Sisters, as I understand, pairs up kids who need mentoring with adults willing to mentor. By getting involved, you can have a non-traditional relationship with a younger person. With a little luck, you could end up having a very good relationship that might continue past their childhood years.

3) Stay close to your friends. Several recent conversations on AVEN have centered around the idea of friends getting into sexual relationships and ignoring their non-sexual relationships. I think to an extent, people are always going to spend more of their energy on their marital relationships. But just because my parents are best friends doesn't mean they don't also have friends other than each other. Maybe as an asexual, without a single sexual partner to focus on, I will just need to cultivate a wider circle of friends in order to increase the chance that somebody will be available to talk or spend time with me. I should probably also learn to plan ahead in order to find time with friends who have busy family lives.

4) Join stuff. Becoming a hardcore member of a group focused on things you're interested in, an asexual can find people with similar interests who are dedicated to spending time together on a regular basis. If you get really involved with a club or group that's close knit, you can bet the group will take care of each other outside of meetings, too.

5) Have an unusual relationship. This is probably the hardest, but it's my favorite option- I'd love to have a partner to spend my life with. Ideally, I think we'd be like live-in best friends. We might have our own rooms, but because we would live together, we could share vacations, or a mortgage or pets... but unlike a traditional marriage, maybe my partner would be another woman (who I wouldn't be attracted to, cause I'm romantically interested in guys) or they'd be a man who I just didn't have a sexual relationship with. If both parties were happy with it, I actually think this sounds like a lot of fun.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Why I Love Alex Sanchez

If you've never read anything by Alex Sanchez, you really ought to. A couple years ago, I read the 'Rainboy Boys' series and got hooked- it's about three gay teenagers and tells the story of their last year of high school and first summer before college. I've liked all the books I've read by Alex Sanchez and I think there are a few reasons why. Since I discovered AVEN and asexuality, I've always felt a kind of attachment to the LGBT community, which has only gotten stronger since I started college and got involved in PRISM. But in High School, I wasn't allowed to join the school GSA and I didn't know many people who were gay. I didn't feel like part of that community and Alex Sanchez's books...well, they gave me something gay in my life. They gave me a link to other queer teenagers at a time when I had almost no other link to the LGBT community.
The books have never mentioned asexuality...until now!! Since I started 'Rainbow Boys', his first book and the first of the trilogy that got me hooked on Alex Sanchez, I've had my eyes peeled for him to mention asexuality. It always seemed like the sort of thing he would do, since his writing seems to go out of it's way to include all types of people.
So I got to the library this week and picked up the two books of his that I haven't read- "Getting It" and "The God Box".
Now "The God Box'' is about reconciling Christianity and being gay, which, as a Christian, I think more people ought to be talking about. I was really excited to read this book and I'm thrilled I did because halfway through the main character's friend tells him this:"Even if sexual orientation were a choice, aren't we a country where we're supposed to be free to pursue our happiness, whether we're hetero-, homo-, bi-, trans- or even a- sexual?"
I love the assumption that ases are normal. I love the assumption that asexuality is just another option for human sexuality and identity. I love the assumption that we fit in with the LGBT community.
I love Alex Sanchez! *cake*

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Why Being Ase is Ace

I've sat through a few heavy conversations today about death. Specifically, my parents (and other adults I love) talking about how awful it would be to lose your child and then about what it was like to lose a parent. As a kid, (I'm not that young, but I'm just young enough not to think of myself as a grownup) that was really kind of upsetting. After that, I need something happy. So today I'm blogging about the nice things about being asexual.

1) I feel like I have more love to spread around.
Because I'm not caught up in looking for 'the one', meaning a sexual partner, I spend all that love on my friends. I'm not waiting around for a single person who I will then consider the most important relationship of my life. Every sexual person to whom I try to explain this, denies it. They don't see their eventual sexual partner as the person who will be the primary focus of their love and attention. Guess what? I think they're wrong about themselves.

2) I can talk to guys. And they like me.
Once, when I was in Girl Scouts, we went to a scout-sponsored beach weekend for both Boy and Girl Scouts. The girls in my troop, much more boy-crazy than me and much less sensible (if I do say so myself) decided to spend the evening 'picking up boys'. Keep in mind we were in the 8th grade and I guess their hormones were kicking in. The boys we "picked up" happened to be high school sophmores or so and a bit on the dorky side. The other girls in my troop were kind of eyeing them and giggling, despite having invited them to go on a carnival ride with us. I made my way over to them and said hello, as though I had a brain in my head. Turned out they were in their school band, like me, and they spent the evening talking to me and going on the carnival rides with me. I don't think my Girl Scout troop ever forgave me but boy, did that make me laugh.

3) I can be comfortable in my own skin.
I don't spend any of my time trying to please a potential sexual partner. I once had a friend tell me that she thinks my motives are more pure than hers, because she'll sometimes get to know someone purely based on attraction, which I can honestly say I've never done. I don't worry about looking good enough to pick up boys and I don't worry about being the prettiest girl in the room. Actually, in a large group of girls I feel like the token boy (/masculine person, I guess I don't really feel like a boy either) so I certainly don't think about being prettier than anyone. I'm also unafraid to be a dork, as evidenced by several years in the marching band, the debate team, and a reenacting habit... I mean- hobby. Yeah, that's right. It's just a hobby, I swear.