Sunday, 8 July 2012

I haven't posted much lately, for various reasons ranging from the personal-life-collapsing-holy-shit-fuck-gods-why sort to the jesus-christ-I-haven't-slept-in-a-week-and-all-my-assignments-are-due-now sort to the eh-I've-got-nothing-to-write sort, and for that I'm vaguely regretful.

The lack of regular posts will probably continue for a while.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Backseat Gaming, and why I hate it

(I know, this is a mostly asexual blog, but I'm also a nerd and a gamer, so put up with it)

Back seat gaming has got to be one of the most annoying things someone can do, yes? That a physical person in the room with you who is (usually) just watching you play the game can do, at least. For anyone who's got not a clue about what I'm talking about, firstly you are either not a gamer, never play around other people ever, or so goddamn lucky, and secondly, it's when someone who is not playing the game with you tells/tries to tell you what to do in a game, without you asking or indicating you want their help. E.g. - "Please tell me how to shoot a portal on that wall" "Well you have to go over there and portal up to there and then..." is not back seat gaming. You have asked for help and they are giving it to you. Back seat gaming is when you're playing a game and someone watching starts saying "No No No you're doing it wrong you have to go over there there's no point going there to solve the puzzle you just flip the middle leaver twice and the right one once..." and so forth. You did not ask for help, and they have stopped you working things out for yourself and/or discouraged you from exploring.

Most of the time, it's not an intentionally malicious thing - the back seat gamer in question probably thinks they're helping you. However, I tend to find it's like someone who tries to 'help me' read a book by telling me the entire plot when I'm three pages in. It totally spoils the book - now I know what's going to happen, so nothing's surprising. A game example is like if you were playing Portal, and someone walked by and told you how to solve the puzzle just as you walked into the test chamber. More than slightly annoying.

Except with games, I find myself even more annoyed by back seat gamers, because they tend to make me feel like I've cheated -I get no sense of accomplishment from doing exactly what someone else told me to do. It just followed instructions, I didn't work it out for myself or have the chance to try before deciding I needed help.

And, I find, I get really annoyed and kinda hurt because it feels like they're telling me I'm not good enough, not smart enough, to play a goddamn game. I feel like they're saying "Wow, you suck, here, let me help you because you'd never be able to work that out on your own, and there's no point in letting you try because you won't be able to do it". It makes me feel like they think I'm not capable.It makes me feel doubted. And I get enough of that in real life - I really don't have any reason to have to put up with it while I'm just trying to enjoy myself in a hobby.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Tonight (or, the substitution of words)

WARNING - herein lies much swearing, discussion of rape (briefly)

There's a song which has two versions. I'm sure most people have heard the "clean version" of it, I'm not sure how many people have heard the "original" version of it. I'm sure not all that many people even know there's an original version.

The song(s) in question, of course, are "Tonight (I'm loving you)', and the original version of it, "Tonight (I'm fucking you).

This isn't meant to be a discussion of the artistic merits of the songs, or the musical construction. Rather, it is an exploration of the word choice, and it's implications.

In the original song ("Tonight (I'm fucking you)", lyrics here), the singer is, quite obviously, stating his intent to fuck someone. That's it - the video clip also makes this pretty plain, though it becomes intent to fuck multiple women. Fair enough, most people like to fuck, although many probably wouldn't state it so plainly. The lyrics can be a bit creepy from some perspectives ("You know my motivation/given my reputation" springs to mind - sexy or really goddamn creepy? I think from one perspective it could be "sexy" - guy known for fucking, is flirting, you probably know what he wants. On the other hand, could be really goddamn creepy, along rapist lines.), but that's not what I find interesting.

I find the "clean version" interesting. In order to "clean up" the song for radio, the choice was made to change all instances of "fucking" to "loving" (Thus the song becomes "Tonight (I'm loving you)", lyrics here). As if this cleans up the song, instead of giving it an air of "nudge nudge wink wink know what I mean".

It's interesting, because the choice of word to substitute one word for another, "cleaner" word is usually, where possible, done with a word that means the same thing/is understood to mean the same thing. Obviously, some words can't have this done. But here they've substituted "fucking" with "loving", yet kept all  (corrected) most of the other lyrics. Somehow this has magically made the song "clean" enough for radio, which seems very odd to me. Surely the all the lyrics must be considered before something is "clean" or not - one word shouldn't make a difference. But I digress - "loving" is an odd yet understandable choice for "fucking".

It's an odd choice because "love" is often viewed as pure, romantic, familial or platonic, and not something that is a "one time thing", but rather a  long, gradual thing. You "love" your SO, your god(s), your country, your family. Love is an emotion, a feeling, divorced from action (you can love someone while not near them, while going about your day, etc).

"Fucking", on the other hand, is not really seen as gentle. It's rough, it's raw and sexy, it's divorced from romance, it's what people do with strangers. It's something you don't do with those you love - it's short term, not long term.  It's vulgar, slang, dirty. It's a young person's thing, it's wrong, it's done before marriage. That's the implications of fucking - sexy, but somewhat forbidden/wrong/other weird societal things.

And despite the recent acceptance of fucking as acceptable, the recent attempts to drop some of those implications, it's still got them. It makes the original song a club song, to be played at clubs and parties in "not family friendly" areas - places people are expected to be either fucking (though please stay out of bathrooms, those are dirty and not really healthy, please don't fuck in public unless everyone in the area is cool with that [i.e. if it's that kind of club, go for it, if it's not, don't]) or wanting to fuck, and the dance style is very close to upright fucking/is grinding/is meant to imply fucking.

The substitution of the word "loving", on the other hand, makes the song playable for radio, while listeners can still understand what's implied by loving. Which is interesting, because on the one hand we have the generally accepted view of love (romantic etc), yet we also have the general understanding that "loving" = "fucking", which, obviously, it doesn't always. There's a reason "making love" is understood common slang for fucking. Yet it's this common acceptance that "loving" includes "fucking" that alienates people, that causes fear and shame and pressure on people, both asexual and sexual, who don't want to fuck (now or ever). It's an implication that has to stop.

Love is not always physical, fucking is not always without love. They can be, but not always.

(also, can I just state that the concept of "clean words" and "not clean" words is really goddamn weird? There are words you shouldn't use because they're insulting slurs [I'm sure you can think of them], and then there are other ones. I can see the whole "some people aren't used to swearing", and that's cool, but the concept that we should avoid some words because they're inherently "dirty" is really goddamn weird. Also, I think, probably a product of a mostly sex-negative society - there's a reason "fucking" is considered dirty, and it's not because it originally meant to plant seeds)

Fun fact to end this : the words "fuck" or "fucking" have been used 25 times in this post, and "love" or "loving" has been used 11 times.

Thursday, 24 November 2011


I've been intending to write a blog post for the carnival of aces for...the entire year, but uni and stuff got on top of me/I couldn't really think of anything to write on the topic which wasn't "yeah, I think what other people have said about this is right/interesting/worth reading...soooo".

But! Now, I'm finished uni for the year, and I have words which I wish to say (type?) on the topic this month.

Which, by the way, is attraction.

I'll start off talking about the kinds of attraction I don't* experience, namely sexual and romantic.

I actually have a hard time with romantic and sexual attraction, mostly because I have no idea what it actually feels like. And not in the "I've never been bitten by a redbacked spider, but I've been bitten by a huntsman so I have a reference point", but in the "everyone keeps talking about invisible elephants and I have no idea what the hell an elephant is".

But. I do have demonstrable interest in cuddling a few people, and extreme interest in skin on skin contact with S. Both of which are things that are mostly classed as sexual attraction. Except the way I feel it, doesn't seem sexual. (I'm equally happy running my hands over S's arms or back as I am running them over somewhere else. Which, from what I've gathered, is not How It Works for most people. And I cuddle with many of my friends, something I've spoken about before, again to an extent I'm fairly sure is quite unusual.) And (primary, at least) sexual attraction is usually described as having a sense of "I want to have sex/be sexual with this person(s) now/at somepoint" which is not a feeling I can say I have ever experienced. On the other hand, if something with S does become sexual, my reaction is usually to continue it. Quite a bit. And enjoy myself thoroughly while doing so.

And as for romantic attraction, I can say the same kind of thing. "I want to spend lots of time with this person, and have a mutually acknowledged important relationship with them, but it doesn't feel romantic (and in the case of people who are not S, it is not my most important relationship but it is important)", whereas the view of romantic attraction I have pieced together is "I want to date that person and be important to them and have ~romantic feelings~ for them (and generally be monogamous)", which is something I don't...really understand. I don't know what these romantic feelings actually are. Except I think I would know what they were if I had them, and since I don't seem to...

But. (there's always a but, isn't there?) I know there is something different about my relationship with S that is not present in my relationships with others. And I do things and say things** and feel things and want things which are typically romantic. (except not this time because they don't feel romantic (oh my god this has become the refrain of my life "it's this except not because it doesn't feel this"), and this is why it is Very Confusing to be me sometimes)

Romantic and sexual attraction are kind of like unknown languages for me, ones that the majority of the world speak fluently. I can see the effects these languages have on native speakers, but I can't understand them. And then the language I speak, which appears to be one I'm making up as I go along half the time, sometimes sounds like these languages. But it's not. And pretending it is just means I and everyone else gets confused (people may pretend my language doesn't exist, but that's a separate matter)

But. Enough about the types of attraction I don't experience. Onto the ones I do.

Um. This is where it gets even trickier.

I experience aesthetic attraction to people, but really it's more just an urge to draw them a whole lot. But this seems to come in two 'stages' - primary and secondary. Primary is more of a "I've never met this person, but god I'd really like to draw them/they're really awesome looking, like a piece of art", whereas secondary is more of a "This person is my friend so they mean a lot to me and also I would like to draw them because they mean a lot to me and I have gotten used to their faces and because their faces remind me of them they are awesome and should be drawn." For some of my friends, there has been both primary and secondary aesthetic attraction, for others only secondary, and still others there just doesn't seem to be an urge to draw at all. They still mean a lot to me, but I'm not aesthetically attracted to them at all. And gender doesn't seem to have any impact on whom I'm aesthetically attracted to - I've been attracted to people all over the gender spectrum.

I also experience what I'd call intellectual attraction - that is, I find myself wanting to talk with some people because they have a really interesting point of view on something/have a huge range of knowledge/ know lots about something I'm interested in/will discuss with me interesting things. And I'll want to talk with these people even if they're kinda arseholes.

So. I've got attractions, and in addition to this I like specific things on people. (Longish hair on men, dark or red hair on any gender, curvy women and skinny-ish guys). Not in a "This is the best, any thing else is ugly", but in the "I prefer Russian caravan tea to Irish breakfast tea -they're both tea (which I like), I just prefer one"***.

And this is the point that I've run out of words.


*or if I do, I sure as hell don't know I do/ do so really weirdly.

**Like, you know, write Gallifreyan sappy notes on his whiteboard. Or other typically romantic/sappy things.

***I cannot think of a non-problematic way of saying this, despite the fact I don't mean it problematicly - if anyone's got any ideas/want me to clarify this, I'm happy to answer in the comments

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Woe post is woe

(apologies for any formatting/spelling errors, this has been typed up on my phone)

So, I've been away for the best part of the past week, and haven't seen S since the Sunday before I left. This is a very long time for us not to see each other - we generally see each other at least two or three times a week. Plus all the time we spend communicating via txt, messenger or Facebook.

I've not really had reliable access to any of these, and I'm missing him terribly.

This is actually the first time I've missed someone like this. I keep turning around to point something out to him, or waiting for his response to a comment, or expecting my phone to tell me I've got a text. I keep going to text him (I've got halfway through a whole heap of texts before remembering I can't text right now), or send a Facebook message. When I sleep, I keep wondering where he is. When I wake up, I have a few seconds of "where's S?" before reality kicks in and I realise he's not here*. I keep wanting to touch him, hold him and curl around him. I'm so skin hungry right now it's like a physical ache in my chest, and I feel like I'm missing a part of me.

And I hate this feeling- if it's this bad now, what about when either if us travels for longer?

*the thing is, though, when I'm at home I don't get to sleep with him that often (the problem with living in two separate houses, whole my parents disapprove of me sleeping in the same bed as him). I don't get to touch him whenever I want. But suddenly, I'm so aware of the fact he's not here.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Life as an aromantic asexual

(Or; My life, so far)

(WARNINGS: Not exactly all sunshine and rainbows here guys, I was a bit messed up for a few years. Also potentially triggering about mild suicidal thoughts, and general self hate. If you're not in a good place, please don't read this.)
(Obviously, I can only speak for myself here, but this is basically a second person narrative form of my experiences re; love and sex)

You're born, and nothing marks you out from all the other babies (in terms of romantic and sexual orientation, at least). You become a child, and during your childhood you're told and shown that 'everyone falls in love' that there are certain actions (which you're not quite sure of yet) that you do with your husband (and only him, because that's what good women do. Why this makes a woman 'good' is never discussed). You might play "mummies and daddies", or "house", or whatever you call it, with other young girls. Whatever you call it, you will spend hours being forced to sham a family, to make believe that you are the wife, cooking and cleaning for her husband, or the husband, working to get food and clothing for his wife, when really all you want is to go and dig in the sandpit or climb a tree or read a book. Sometimes it will become quite an elaborate game, where there are multiple families "living" on a street. You will never quite understand why there needs to be a "mummy" and "daddy" for each family, why you can't just 'live' alone (or with a cat!) without being the evil old witch who tries to cast mean spells on the good "normal" mummies and daddies. You will decide that, for now at least, being alone is worse than anything, and you will discover that while you can't be alone, you can pretend to be a pet. Pets don't get married, after all, nor do they become "mummies" or "daddies" (you know they have kids, but this, you will know, is not what makes someone a mummy or daddy.)

Eventually, you will get better at avoiding being forced into playing mummies and daddies, and you will learn to like sitting alone and reading. You will not understand the romantic implications of a book - you will see them as close friends, nothing more.

You will get older, and you will go to school. Here, you will be taught about the concept of "love", which is somewhat ill defined. You can love your family, but you don't love them, and loving them is wrong. The only person you will love is you future husband. You will get roped into sham "marriages", where your classmates will pair off and pretend to get married. You will quickly decide that you will be the priest, because the priest can't get married (pretending to be a boy is far better than pretending to get married). You get quite good at marrying people, good enough that people stop asking to marry you and instead ask you to marry them.

You will still not understand what the big deal is about getting married, nor about being in love. An adult will tell you that they "married their best friend", and you will misinterpret that to be that they married their best friend because they were their best friend. Using this misinterpretation, you will suddenly understand why people get married - to stay with their best friend forever. You're not sure why two people of the same gender can't get married though - surely not everyone has a opposite gendered best friend!

You will get older, and suddenly truth or dare becomes truth, dare or kiss. You will still pick dare or truth, and never tell people to kiss anyone - what's the point? it's just pressing your lips to someone else's (lips/cheek/hand/skin, depending). Your friends will see it as a big deal, and you won't, but you'll assume this is just like how some of them see fashion as a big deal and you don't.

At some point, you will start becoming more selective with your reading, avoiding romance novels altogether. You won't understand the driving plot, nor the feeling expressed, and they'll bore you. You'll get equally bored of most chick flicks and rom-coms, instead preferring sci-fi and fantasy (where, if there's no where near as many girls represented, at least there's little romance).

You will also pick up on the fact that, within a few years, you will begin puberty, and start wanting to date and chase after boys. You won't be particularly bothered by the concept, but it will seem foreign and odd to you. 

Some of your class mates may even have crushes on celebrities  - they will say how "hot" they are, or how "cute" they look. You, having associated cute with small kittens and other animals, will be totally confused. Your games of truth or dare or kiss will start having truths about if you've kissed anyone yet, about who you have a crush on or who you like. You will not be believed when you answer in the negative.

You will finish primary school, and get to high school. By this point, you've had the bare basics of sex education, but nothing detailed. You know tab A is inserted to slot B, but not why. You think that it'll be explained to you at some point - there's gotta be a reason people do that, after all! 

You make friends, and some of them are male. People will start rumours about you dating some of them, and when confronted with the rumours you can only express bafflement. You will go to parties, and there will still be discussions about who you "like", and you will still answer in the negative. You will still not be believed, and you will gain a reputation as being secretive about who you like.

You will go through the mandatory sex ed classes, and you will wonder if this is the year that you discover why people have sex. The reasons given are to express love (you're still not sure what love actually is, let alone feels like, let alone why you'd want to bother to have sex), or because the people in question are horny (you have no idea what that feels like - the concept is alien to you).

You will watch your friends start dating, and you will still not have had a crush on anyone. You will question your orientation - surely you've got to be attracted to someone, anyone. You will read many romantic books, as many as you can get your hands on, trying to find some sort of connection between you and the main characters. You will find none, and you will give up on the entire romantic genre - you prefer to think that the whole genre is totally unrealistic than to think that you're not normal. The thought that you're broken will creep up on you, and stay rooted in the back of your brain.

Eventually, you will still not have had a crush on anyone, but will have learned to lie when asked. You will learn to sham being 'normal' - putting up posters of actors in your room, agreeing when friends say an actor is hot, giving made up names when asked about your first kiss/crush.

You will still not see the point of dating, or what's so special about kisses. You will be already fed up of the response "you just know" when you ask questions about romance or love.

At some point, you will be asked out by a friend, and you will agree because you can't see any reasons why you shouldn't. (you will not count a reason as "I don't feel like dating anyone" as a reason - you are a teenager, you should feel like dating someone.) You will "date" him for a month, before he calls it off and tells you he just doesn't think your heart's in it. You will feel terrible, not because you loved him, but because you didn't. You two will never speak again, and none of your other friends will know you were even dating someone.

You will agree to several stupid things, to being kissed by others and skinny dipping and midnight bike rides across the country side because you don't have that desire for them, and maybe love (sexual desire and romance) are something you need to practice at before you want them. (you will ignore the part of you telling you that doesn't make any sense.) You kiss girls and guys and everyone in between, trying to find if you're attracted to any of them. You don't feel that spark, and you stop, because kissing is really just the pressing of lips and not all that special. You in school friends will still know nothing about this, and you will keep it that way until you find out who you are (at this point you despair of ever actually belonging anywhere -you're pretty much resigned to being a freak)

You'll get asked out again by a different friend, and you'll agree. You'll care for him, and you'll just want to hold him and hug him. You'll put up with his requests for kissing, for making out, because you get to cuddle with someone. You'll be heartbroken when he breaks up with you because you won't sleep with him - you can't see the point, and don't want to until you can- and he tells you that that was the reason he started dating you. You'll still not have told your school friends about this, and some of them will call you repressed because of your perceived lack of relationships.

You'll go back to reading romantic novels, because surely now you've been in two romantic relationships they'll make sense to you (you'll ignore the fact that, while you have dated you still don't think you've felt love (surely you'd know if you had, everyone says you would), and you still don't know why people kiss). Each one is like running sandpaper over your soul - each mention of how  everyone fall in love makes you feel that little bit more alone, the little bit more freakish.  You start to wonder exactly how broken you are - you started reality checking years ago, and you wonder if that's related to your lack of romantic drive. You start having mildly suicidal thoughts, and the fact that you are now coving love in health doesn't help this. Each 45 minute lesson is an exercise in torture and futility - the questions about what you look for in a partner are baffling and alienating. The watching of Love Actually will nearly drive you to tears - on bad days you still can't watch the movie without feeling like you did all those years ago. On good days you only have to skip some parts.

You will decide, eventually, that you will be happy being alone. You will decide you never want to get married, that you're never going to date again, and that you're going to not feel freakish for not knowing why people kiss or what love feels like. You will ignore the fact that this (as far as you know) means you will end up alone (while you don't want that, trying to fake feelings you don't understand is too hard, and you can't spare the energy pretending anymore).

You will be questioned by your friends, your family and strangers about if you're dating, if you have a boyfriend, if you want one, when you want one etc. Each time you're asked, it will feel like they're driving needles under your nails and then hammering them in. You will learn to dodge the questions, and eventually most people stop asking.

You will learn to ignore your mother telling you that dating makes you a less selfish person, that everyone dates, that you'll fall in love. You'll learn to awkwardly deflect the praise for "concentrating on your studies" that not dating gets you.

Then, eventually, you'll come across the words for what you are. You'll find something that fits, that sits right, and you'll let that tiny little voice telling you you're broken go. (It'll return sometimes, when life gets bad or you fail reality checks. You can't get rid of 16+ years of being told you're wrong, that you're broken, that easily. But for the most part, it's gone).

You'll slowly adopt the label that fits you, and eventually you'll tell a couple of your friends. You'll tell them because school is ending, and you know if it goes badly you can always make new friends. They'll be accepting, although one will try to play devil's advocate and inadvertently become offensive. You'll forgive him, and never mention it.

You'll slowly come out to more people, some of whom will accept you. You'll not know how to feel when you realise that the people you came out to whom you haven't spent the last five years attending school with are more accepting than the people who attended high school with are. Some of the people you come out to will believe you. None of them will know what you're talking about at first. Some people will assume you're being ironic, or lying or mistaken. You will never tell them how much it hurts you (being told that you should go back to how you were, that how you were was right, that loathing yourself and wanting to not exist was how you should always feel and that you're deluding yourself to think otherwise).

You'll get to a point that you can't remember whom you're out to and whom you're not - except for your parents. You'll feel guilty for not being honest with them, but you'll be too afraid of their reaction and too inept at talking about this sort of thing with them to change it.

You'll come out to your high school deputy principal, and be immensely surprised when he knows what you mean. You'll learn to come out on the defensive, to expect people to scoff and not understand. You'll spend a night convincing someone that just because you don't see the big deal, doesn't mean that you want to date or make out or shag someone ("I don't care" does not mean "So it doesn't matter to me if I do"). You'll stop talking to them because they can't understand that being told "you're the only person I want to cheat on (current partner) with" is not a compliment.

You'll re-meet someone you connected with, and you'll wonder to yourself if maybe you identified wrong, because maybe this is love. You'll read about zucchini, and squishes, and realise this is a squish. You'll become close friends, and you'll watch as he starts dating a friend of yours. You'll become closer, and you'll start worrying that you're going to break his relationships. You'll contemplate trying to distance yourself, to pull back a bit, and then not be able to deal with the very idea of doing so. Throughout all this, you'll deal with the fact your parents think you're pining for him (you are, just not how they think you are), with people assuming you're dating, with friends thinking you're cheating. 

You'll slowly start hoping that that future you planned on, the one where you were alone and lonely but not lying to yourself isn't going to happen, that you'll be able to have a partner that knows how you feel and doesn't hate you for it. You start daring to plan your future for two, not one and a cat.

You'll become zucchini to him, and you'll feel so, so  lucky. You'll find you need to make up convoluted metaphors, and run into issues you didn't see coming because it never occurred to you that it could be an issue. You'll learn why people like kissing, and you'll have someone to turn to when you get skin hungry. You'll love someone, and even if it's not love you'll be happy because you don't need love, just his company. You'll realise you're actually a really weird combination of cheesy romantic behaviours and aromantic asexual feelings, and you'll be ok with that.

But you'll never, ever really be "normal", and you'll still get those moments when your experiences aren't counted, aren't real for the rest of the world. You'll still be highly surprised when people use the term asexual, when people know what you're talking about, when people believe you. Statements like "Everyone is attracted to...", "All people are sexual" and "everyone falls in love" will still be like fine sandpaper across your soul. 

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Queer meetings and Cohorts

Today I went to my first uni queer group meeting (I know, we're starting late (only a few weeks left of this year!)). I was some what nervous - what if they told me that I'm not welcome? what if they tell me I'm broken, or repressed, or a freak, or don't belong?

Happily, they didn't. They were all really welcoming, and I'm very much glad I went.

There was a fair chunk of the time that I'm fairly sure they all thought I was actually lesbian, until we had a conversation about who was out/who wasn't in regards to parents (and discussed coming out stories, for those that had them). I was eventually asked my out status, and when I disclosed I wasn't out to my parents I was asked if I was subtly directing them towards it with TV choice. At this point, I really felt I had to say I was ace, and thus had no TV choices. And they sympathised with me. They sympathised, something I wasn't expecting (most people don't even think about the fact there's little to no representation of aces in popular culture).

Before the meeting, however, I was doing some uni work in one of the computer labs. A couple of the other people in my course, M and B, were there doing their assignments too. We got talking as we did our assignments, and it eventually came up that I was going to the queer meeting at 5:30. I came out to them, too (so much coming out today! o.o) and they took it so very well. B was the one who actually asked what Asexual meant, and he and M both listened as I explained, asked a couple of questions, and accepted me. They didn't try to tell me I was wrong, or 'too young to decide' (both are a couple of years older than me), or caution me not to label myself. They just accepted who I was, and wished me luck with my meeting.

And I'm so very thankful to both of them for that.