Sunday, 21 August 2011

Of Vegetables and Termites

I have a zucchini.

I never thought I'd be lucky enough to find anyone, let alone the wonderful person I have found, let alone someone who understands that romance/sex is never really going to be on the table from the start. (eventually, we'll see. I suspect not, but I can't see the future.)

(By the way, for regular readers of my blog, I suspect none of you will be surprised to learn that my zucchini is S.)

However, this has lead to some unexpected issues.

The least of which is what the hell do I call what we're doing now?

We're not dating (not a romantic relationship, even if S assures me he doesn't expect it to be). It's not friendship, either. I hesitate to use the phrase 'more than friends', but we're not, strictly speaking, purely friends any more.

We're something other than both of these, and while I have a word (actually, I have a word and a phrase!)* to attempt to convey what we are to each other**, I don't have any words to explain what we are actually doing. (again, can't use dating. It's not the right word, and I have this strange need to attempt to label things).

One larger problem I have is the lack of visibility about said relationships. I went to my cousin's the other day, and nigh on the first thing I was asked was if I had a boyfriend.*** And I totally dodged the question. I was the roadrunner to the Wile E. Coyote of the question, that was how much I dodged it. (If I remember correctly, my answer was "How's uni?" Not the most subtle topic change, but it worked, so I'm counting that as a win.)

But as I was lying in bed last night, I got wondering. "How would I have answered that question?"**** I thought to myself. And the answer I received was "I don't know." I probably wouldn't have answered yes, because technically speaking I'm don't have a boyfriend. I will never have a boyfriend. Asking me if I will is like asking a fish if it will ever have a spaceship - mostly pointless.


Society says that if you do not have a boy/girl friend*****, you have no important relationships in your life except those you have with your blood family. And, in my case (and others' cases), this is not true. And so saying "No, I do not have a SO." is generally taken to mean "I do not have a primary relationship outside my family."

And I'm not cool with that. I'm very much not cool with that. I have a primary relationship. I will not stand for people assuming I don't. I will not stand for people disregarding it. It is my relationship, and it is important to me. It is just as worthy of respect as any other.

So I can't answer "No, I do not have a boyfriend."

So my choices of answering is either taking the 3+ hours to explain first asexuality, second being aromantic, and third queer-platonic relationships (and fourth my own said relationship), or dodging the question.

A third, and more worrying, issue that I have recently become aware of, is the fact that  at least one of my friends does not, and has never, believed me about my orientation. The most worrying, and frustrating, thing about this is that she hasn't said so directly to me. (She has actually said so to S though. Which is so far beyond the pale it's not funny.(pro-tip: do not doubt a person's stated orientation. Pro-tip two: DO NOT DOUBT A  PERSON'S IDENTIFIED ORIENTATION. I don't care if it "doesn't make sense". I don't care what you think. Another person's orientation is not something you may have an opinion on. It is not a book, or a piece of art or a movie. IT IS THEIR ORIENTATION, and you must deal with that.)) Even if he wasn't my zucchini, and even if she wasn't assuming we were shagging (which she quite obviously is), this would still not be acceptable******. (Also the fact that I suspect she never intended for me to know that she didn't believe me. As if (what she is assuming) my 'boyfriend' wouldn't tell me. -_-)

It's the fact that she's passive aggressively doubting my orientation that's really pissing me off. (Although it does explain her reactions to my previous comments/linking on Facebook...) If she said she didn't believe me, I could take that. I already have taken it from other people, some who are much closer to me. Obviously, it's not the best state of affairs. It's still better than assuming she's supportive, and then finding out she's not. Now, there's a bit of me that wonders what else she doesn't believe me about. There's a rather large bit of me that wonders who else doesn't believe me, that wonders how many of my support pillars that I thought were strong are actually riddled with termites.

And I hate that. I hate that so much.

But, other than these issues, none of which are my zucchini's fault, I'm beyond ecstatic. I'm in (aromantic)love with the loveliest man on earth, and through some extreme luck he shares my feelings and is willing to wander down this unknown goat track of a path with me.

*Zucchini and queer-platonic life partner, respectively.

**even if only a tiny handful of people will ever understand what the hell I'm saying.

***There was a rather large bit of me that wanted to comment on the heteronomativity of that question, but I really couldn't deal with the fall out that'd potentially cause. My cousin would probably take it in the spirit I meant it (i.e., not as a confession of my sexuality but as a blanket statement), but my aunt certainly wouldn't.

****Assuming I was the type to actually answer a question like this when asked by my relatives or someone I don't know very well. as I'm not, it was really more a thought exercise than anything else.

*****I am aware of the binarism inherent in that statement, but it is the societal view. It is not my view.

******The fact that she is assuming we're shagging also really pisses me off. Because it means she was, in essence, congratulating my zucchini on "turning me" sexual. She also hadn't been informed (as far as I know) about us starting this relationship, and so was assuming based upon the fact that we were sitting together at a party (not an unusual thing for us). If she had been told, the only other people who knew also knew that he was my zucchini. So she was either drawing her own conclusions (again. this is not the first time she has assumed we were shagging), or she had it explained to her and then disregarded it.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

"best friends"

As I have mentioned before, I don’t like the phrase “Best Friend(s)”.

I don’t like it because it seems to place (or imply) a hierarchical structure on friendship that I really don’t like. It seems to imply that you have (a) best friend(s), and then you have ‘lesser’ friends. I have very close friends, and then I have less close friends, but they are not inherently ‘better’ than each other. I am just closer to some of them, for various reasons.*

The phrase also seems to have a rigid structure of friendship implied, as if you have a friendship that ‘levels up’ once you have completed certain actions.** However, running with the gaming metaphor here, it is as if you can only have so many friendships of each ‘level’, and once you have reached the set amount you have no more slots for friends.***

Society seems to say that you cannot increase your number of friendship slots, you may only have certain people occupying certain slots (other gender? Restricted to level  ~4000 and below. Significant age difference? Level ~3500 and below. etc), and you must start all friendships at lvl 0, working your way up lineally to whatever level you attain. You may not skip levels, you may not do several at once, and you may not pass go and collect $200.

And I’m not cool with that. Everyone should feel free to have as many friends as they want to have, and not feel pressured to only have so many “best friends”/friends/etc. And friendships, relationships in general, don’t progress linearly. No two relationships are the same, so why do we act like they are?

Now, I’m not saying that everyone should have loads of friends. I certainly don’t, and I try not to be hypocritical. I’m saying that the amount of friends you want to have is the right amount of friends for you. If you want to have 50000 close friends, that’s really cool. If you want to have 2? That’s also really cool.

*This is why I use ‘close friends’. It does not presume a value judgement on either my friends or our relationship, but instead vaugly quantifies how close we are as friends. (think of it as plotting places on a map. Place A is closer to place B than it is to place Z. This does not mean that place A’s relationship is ‘better’ than place A and place Z’s, it just means that place A and place B are closer. (except that the metaphorical land distance is emotional distance, and there’s about a million other axes on which distance is measured)

**knowing each other’s names? Lvl 1. Knowing each other well enough that you can interpret their eyebrow wiggles into the entire English dictionary? Lvl 8002.

***in this metaphor, you’d only have room for one “best friend” (lvl >9000), and then more room for each successive ‘lower level’ friend. (i.e, you can have ~2 friends of ‘level’ 8999, and then 3 of lvl 700, and then 5 of lvl 600, and so on and so forth until you reach lvl 1, which would be acquaintances or something. You can have millions of those.

Sunday, 7 August 2011


Tonight I played my first proper session of D&D with my group.  (Our DM runs a blog chronicling our adventures, go read it!)

It was awesome fun, even if I'm now infected with filth fever (got bitten by a dire rat. Along with our bard, who is a shardmind* and thus none of us can understand how the hell he's infected.)

But I want to talk about the gender distribution of our group and our characters, which is something I find really cool.

There's 6 of us playing (or will be, once our cleric recovers from surgery), plus our DM (who is S, for regular readers of this blog).  So, we've got fairly large group, most of whom have either never played or have played little.

The gender distribution of our group is 4 guys to 2 girls, plus our DM is also male. Considering the stereotypical group set up (mostly all male, maybe one female at the best of times), we're doing pretty well. I'm the only girl actually able to play at the moment (again. cleric's in the hospital), but once the cleric's joined us it'll be a little less unevenly gendered. (Not that this is actually a problem. The guys are all really awesome people, ones whom I'd be comfortable being the only girl in the group with.)

Anyway, the group's gender division is not the thing which I find really, really, really cool about it. What I find cool is the character’s gender divisions.

We've got a male shardmind bard, played by a guy (F), a male human fighter, played by a guy(T), a male halfling rouge, played by a guy (M), a female halfling wizard, played by a girl (me), and our cleric has neither a race nor a gender yet (or even a name. She just knows she's going to be a cleric).

We also have an undecided/gender neutral dragonborn sorcerer, played by a guy (W).

The fact that we can have a non-binary character, that no-one raised the "but that's not possible" argument , is fucking awesome. Yeah, we've had a few "too afraid to look" jokes. But none of them were serious. Not once was it actually doubted that someone (or in this case, some dragonborn) could not know their gender or not be either male or female. It wasn't even an issue. It was just "This is my character. They don't have a gender." "Alright, mine is male."

And for a group of people who, as far as I'm aware, have mostly little to no knowledge of queer issues and/or gender issues (our DM has some, as does W), that's fucking awesome. The fact that they could accept someone, albeit a fictional someone, not having a standard gender, gives me hope that someday the whole world will be just as accepting as they are.

*basically a swarm of living crystal, who takes humanoid form. He's jokingly called the group's pet rock.

30 Day Asexuality Challenge, Day 29 -30

So, I haven't really been up to blogging for the past fews days, and thus have missed posting my final two responses to the 30 day challenge. Thus, I'm posting them now.

29. Where did you first learn about asexuality?

The internet, during a disscussion on the (then new) series of Sherlock.

30. Tell us anything about asexuality that you want to end with.

We're here, guys. We withstand trolls, and more trolls, and people insulting us, and people pretending we don't exist and hate and rage and sorrow and so much shit for being who we are, but we're still here.

And we're not going anywhere.


Friday, 5 August 2011

not happy, jan

(also emotional whiny shit. I know lots of people have it far worse than I do. I am not actually capable of caring at the moment of posting though.)

I'm pretty pissed off right now, and it's making me more pissed off.

Tonight I could have gone to see friends, but instead stayed home to cook a dessert for a friend of my parents. (I'd agreed to do so, this is not the whole reason I'm pissed). It was a fairly labor intensive dessert, all of which I preformed myself.

I made it while being yelled at for not being prepared earlier (I'd just come home from uni, which is where I'd been for the past 6 hours), for taking up the kitchen, and generally for being around and thus a convenient target. I was not thanked for doing so, nor was it acknowledged that I was doing so on request. (still not the reason I'm pissed. a small, niggly issue, but not the reason)

After sitting through a long and boring dinner where the main topics of conversation was either about people I don't know or an overseas trip I'm not going on, I was then mocked for falling asleep, mocked about my relationships and generally made fun of by my own mother. She seems to have agreed with my cousins that making fun of me and my life is and/or embarrassing me a perfectly acceptable source of humour for others.

Afterwards, while cleaning up, I asked for someone to clean out some space in the fridge so I could put the leftover dessert away (as my hands were full at the time, and thus I couldn't do so). When the person who did so cleaned out a tiny space, and I commented that we'd need more room, I got yelled at (again) and told I was "being a bitch." I also got threatened that if I didn't "pick up my act" that I wouldn't be allowed to see my closest friend*, because he "seems like he's having a bad influence on me".  (Not that this really would have any effect. I'd just have to be more circumspect about my visits to him.)

To understate it a bit, I didn't react well to this. I (fucking calmly) pointed out that A: I've been awake from 5:30 am, B:had just cooked half the meal, C: spent most of my time being an unpaid babysitter, D: wasn't the one shouting and calling people bitches, and E: could have seen my friends tonight instead of spending the entire evening listening to gossip about people I will never know, and being mocked about said friends, my uni course choice, my lack of traditional romantic relationship(s) and my general gender presentation. (These are the reasons I'm pissed. That, and there's a bit of me that spent the whole night saying "Why did you give up seeing your friends for this, again?)

I then got told I was being irrational, and "unreasonably angry". This caused me to realise something.

I’m not allowed to be angry.

If I’m angry, or grumpy, or pissed, or annoyed or livid or irritated or (insert synonym here), I’m told I’m “acting irrationally”, that “I should stop making trouble”, that “I have no need to act out”. I’m told my feelings are because I’m tired, or because I’m pms-ing, or because I’m being "a teenager", that my feelings are irrational and don't matter compared to others, that "I have nothing to be angry about", that basically, I cannot express myself because it might bother others when I do so.

If I criticize others, I'm told I'm "being too harsh", whereas others can use the exact same words and tone to criticize me and it is not considered an issue. If I tell someone that the job they have done is unsatisfactory, I'm "being a bitch", whereas others who tell me this are "pointing out my errors". If I don't give an answer of a satisfactory length to a question, I'm "being extremely rude", whereas others are "summarizing".

I get told that I may not raise my voice**, that I may not have space to myself, that I must be kind and welcoming and submissive to every other person's whims at all times, regardless of my wants. I get told that I must be available to do any and all tasks at any time, regardless of what I'm doing or have planned. I have my actions dictated to me, or my motives questioned.

And never, not once, am I asked why I actually feel this way. Never does anyone think to ask, or indicate they care. 

And I'm fucking sick of it.

*My mother has irrationally decided today that my closest friend is having a bad influence on me. Yesterday, she thought he was a good influence, and the day before that she was neutral. It appears that his "influence on me" is directly related to how angry she is at me at the time.

**Not that I tend to. I go by the idea that 'if you have to raise your voice to win an argument, you've already lost. Others don't.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

30 Day Asexuality Challenge; Day 28

28. What is your favorite type of pie? (Or, is pie an acceptable replacement for cake?)

I like all pie. All pie is good. Pie shared with friends is better. Pie which I have cooked to share with friends is even better than that
Which reminds me, I need to bake some pies this spring.

Anyway. Pie is totally acceptable, not as a replacement for cake, but as well as cake.

Replacing cake with pie is like having two old friends, and losing one (cake), but then expecting your relationship with the other (pie) to be identical to the one you had with the first friend (cake again). It just doesn't work that way, and it's not fair to either friend (or baked good) to pretend it does.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

30 Day Asexuality Challenge; Day 27

27. What is your favorite types of cake?

All types of cake are good!

I actually don't have a favourite flavor/type of cake. There's a different cake for every situation, and all are fun to bake.

What makes a cake awesome is having friends to share it with/feed it to.

Monday, 1 August 2011

30 Day Asexuality Challenge; Day 26

26. Who is your biggest ally?

To regular readers of this blog, this will come as no surprise. To those of you who have never read my blog, allow me to elucidate.

Without question, S (I have mentioned him before) is my biggest ally. Not only because he's there for me, and because he puts up with me randomly ranting/crying/breaking down/etc at him when people are stupid (on the internet or  off), and not only because he's my closest friend. 

No, he is also my biggest ally because he's willing to learn. If he doesn't understand a term/phrase/acronym, he asks respectfully. He treats me like a proper person, and he explains things I have no frame of reference for. He also manages to take into consideration my lack of understanding re: romantic/sexual desire, without being patronizing when he references it.