Edge of Everywhere

Archive for May 2009

Yesterday, I spent some time with a guy I met recently. He seems like someone I could become good friends with, but he made me a little uncomfortable by repeatedly complimenting my looks, saying things like “it’s a date” while discussing further activities we could share, and telling me before he went home that although he didn’t want to put any pressure on me, he wanted to put it out there that he’s “interested.” It seems like I should be flattered by these things, but I found myself just being annoyed by them because I don’t operate on the same wavelength. When I first meet someone, all I’m looking ahead to is the next fun thing we’re going to do together, and I am unable to envision any sort of romantic future when I don’t even know them yet.

I’ve written before about wanting the ego boost of male attention. In reality, though, I’ve found that it’s not very satisfying. For some women, knowing that men find them attractive and alluring boosts their self-esteem. I’ve come to realize that for me, this attention rings hollow, and what would really make me feel good about myself is knowing that a guy thinks I’m awesome and wants me in his life even if I end up having no sort of romantic interest in him whatsoever. I’ve heard people talk about how they have “enough friends” and are specifically trying to meet new people with the goal of finding a partner. I have a feeling the guy I was discussing above might fall into this category. I don’t want my value as a person to be tied in any way to whether a guy has a shot at getting with me. I don’t want it to be considered a loss if all I can offer someone is friendship. I don’t click with many people, and I think my friendship is a special thing that should be appreciated. It makes me feel bad about myself to imagine someone not wanting to be friends just because he has a different idea of what he wants from me, as if I’m not smart/funny/interesting/exciting enough to be given a place in his life if I don’t fit a specific role he’s trying to fill.

The way I see it, there are two ways to enter into a “more than friends” type of situation (with the “more” signifying emotional and/or physical intimacy beyond what is generally associated with friendship). The first is by extension of an already close relationship. The second is through mutual attraction, which often serves as a shortcut to intimacy when people don’t know each other very well. Although I know that the latter can be thrilling, the factors that are the most important to me are often absent: complete trust, comfort, and the knowledge that the other person truly appreciates and “gets” me.

For me, the best part of being close to someone is understanding and appreciating all the things, big and small, that make them who they are, and knowing that they understand and appreciate me as well. This is why I have recently resolved to be more forthcoming with information about my asexuality when applicable. Although I want guys to like me and am sometimes hesitant to be honest for fear of pushing them away, I realized that I would rather be honest and push away someone who only likes his own fantasy of me than have a short period of romantic excitement based on a lie. I am so grateful to have gained an understanding of my asexuality and what I want out of relationships, and I know that with the right person, speaking honestly about those things could yield something amazing that I have yet to experience.

I’ve been thinking lately about how as I get older, I’m only going to feel more and more out of step with the rest of society. I’m in my mid-20s, and it freaks me out that my peers are starting to get married and have babies. It’s really going to freak me out when I get to the age where it’s totally normal for everyone my age to be doing those things. When it will seem like everyone around me is a mom and interested in mom things. When people will start assuring me that I am, in fact, attractive enough to “get a man,” as if that’s what I want to hear. When people who don’t know about my asexuality will start coming up with explanations for why I live the way I do. When strangers will start asking me if I have kids and, a few decades later, grandkids. I don’t have much patience for this sort of thing. I just hope I can continue to surround myself with interesting people who don’t fit the mold either, although they may not be asexual.