Language warning for this post - there's a bit of swearing and generally angry words.
I have a group of friends, most of whom I know from high school. Several of them I don’t know from high school, but know because they are either dating said high school friends, or are friends of either high school friends or those they are dating. Anyway, I count all of them as my friends, whether or not I’ve spent years going to high school with them.
These people are among my closest friends. I’m out to all of them (at least, if they don’t know I’m Ace they really haven’t been paying attention. Whether or not they believe me is a separate matter.)
However, I’ve closer to some of them more than others. S*, in particular, is someone whom I’m very close to. Me and S often hug and or cuddle up together. I do this with several of my friends (we’re a very physical bunch), but it seems to be my interactions with S that people take exception to, along with my interactions with B**, another friend of mine who I am similarly close to.
Both S and B are male, although S is currently dating C and B is single.
I’ve had people inform me that me and B are dating, that me and S are dating, or that S is leading me on. I’ve had people imply that I’m shagging both of them (once it was implied that I was shagging both of them at the same time), I’ve had people assume we’re dating, I’ve had people assume that me and B are engaged/married/dating, and I’ve had people assume that me and S are dating. I’ve had people assume that me and S and S’s girlfriend are all dating, or that S’s girlfriend was covering for me dating S. I’ve had people assume that I’m cheating on S’s girlfriend with S, that I was cheating on B’s then-girlfriend with B, that I am pining for B and/or S, that B and/or S is/was pining for me.
I’ve had all of these things assumed or told to me, and I am fucking sick of it.
I am sick of being told that ‘no, your relationship does not work in my world view, so it is actually this’, of being told that my relationships aren’t ‘right’, that they aren’t ‘acceptable’, that I have to stop hugging my friends, that I have to stop receiving comfort from being in the presence of people who accept me, that I have to stop giving whatever comfort I can to those people because, and I quote, “It could be taken the wrong way”. I am sick of being told “You are spending too much time with S/B”. I am sick of having to think about ‘how it would look’ whenever I do anything with them, about having to prepare to explain that no, just because we are sitting together/lying on top of each other/cuddling/talking quietly/hugging/in the same goddamn room, it does not mean we have romantic feelings for each other.
I am also sick of being forced to wonder if, if S and B were female, people would even give a damn.
I suspect they wouldn’t. It would be totally unremarkable that we were close friends, that we’ve fallen asleep on each other, that we derive comfort from being in physical contact. The fact that we know things about each other that many other people don’t would be unremarkable, the fact that I would trust them with both my life and my sanity (one of which I value far above the other) just a mark of friendship to be expected. It wouldn’t be presumed that we were harbouring romantic feelings for each other (which is all other kinds of fucked up. Seriously people, if you’re going to presume romantic actions between two (or more!) people when they perform certain actions, do it for all occurrences of that action. Stop being so fucking heterosexist. Or, alternatively (and better yet!), stop assigning sexual motives to everything that is not explicitly*** sexual)
But, because they are male, suddenly all these things take on another meaning. Suddenly the only reason a female and a male would share these sorts of things, would trust each other like that is because they are in a ~romantic relationship~.
I call bullshit. And I’m going to keep calling bullshit until people stop assuming this.
*Name changed. If you can’t guess who this is, then you don’t need to know.
**You know what; assume all names have been changed. If you can’t work out who they are, you can either ask me if you know me IRL, or you don’t need to know.
***That is, if people are actually shagging, right that very second, then yeah, it’s sexual. If they’re not shagging right that second, then no, it’s not necessarily sexual. In fact, it probably isn’t. STOP MAKING IT ABOUT SHAGGING, YOU'RE ACTING LIKE BLOODY HORNY RABBITS.