Thursday, July 26, 2012

Asexuality and the Pedant (Or, lookit me bein all pretentious and crap)

An average night of me trawling the internet:

Me: Hmm, I wonder what’s on 9gag tonight?

9gag: Hey, let’s taunt McKinney with a blatantly-incorrect representation of his sexuality and provoke him into writing a boring blog post about it on his boring blog.
So here we are.
As the title of the post states, I am asexual. I experience no desire to have sex with anyone, regardless of their appearance, gender, personality, or philosophy. You’d think this would be an easy concept to grasp, but you’d be wrong. I’ll be using this post to clear up a few common misconceptions about asexuality, because I’m sure everyone will enjoy that.
And the rant: an asexual relationship is NOT the same thing as being “friendzoned” The very concept of the friendzone is founded on butthurt men and women on the internet not grasping that not everyone everywhere who wants to be on friendly terms with them also wants to sleep with them. Asexuality is not about love or an inability thereof. If someone is asexual it can mean a variety of things but generally means they simply have no desire to have sex.
The simplest way to explain it is in terms of a linear scale: In a similar manner to the way Kinsey described the spectrum of human sexuality (from purely heterosexual to purely homosexual) the scale can be expanded into two dimensions to account for the spectrum of hypersexuality to asexuality. This does not cover the entire breadth of what asexuality is to different people, however. For some/most people (indeed, when one immerses oneself in so-called “non-standard sexualities” as I have, it’s easy to forget that I’m talking about a relatively small fraction of the population here.) their desire to be romantically involved with their gender-of-choice is intimately tied to their desire for sexual intercourse with them. For many (though by no means all) asexuals, this tie is still present, so a lack of sexual drive results in a lack of romantic drive. For others, this tie is negligible if even present at all, which leads to a more active romantic life. And there are certainly some who don’t even think about dating in those mechanistic terms! Thus, our newly-2D Kinsey scale (Kinsey Scatter Plot?) must necessarily be expanded to include a 3rd axis: romanticism.
Sex is NOT the universal end-goal for relationships. One can have a wonderful, fulfilling relationship with another person without ever being physically intimate with them in any way. Love is an emotion; what people do in their romantic unions is as unique to them as the couple itself. I’d certainly like to think that if I can maintain a relationship for over a year, then my non-sexual relationship is a bit more emotionally-founded than Joe Blow’s one-night-stand. Dating is like a huge, many-layered cake; some people like the top layer, others like the bottom (Insert dom/sub joke here) and others like different layers in between. Making the assumption our unfortunate example has (that if a guy likes a girl and isn’t boning her six ways to Sunday) belies a sad lack of emotional depth. They assume that the dating cake only has one layer. And a one-layer cake is still going to be delicious, but it’d be remiss of me not to at least understand what the other layers have going on.
I guess the most important thing one should take from this is: love who you want to love, in the way and circumstances you want to love them. Just don’t trash talk other people’s relationship paradigms without learning anything about them. You know who else does stuff like that? Homophobes. And homophobia is not welcome here. And another thing, asexual relationships are not the same thing as friendzoning, and the friendzone isn’t even a thing, and- *is shot*
Well I guess the friendzone rant will have to wait for another night. I hope that this is at least slightly coherent, dear reader. Until next time!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

the "I" in iPod

A lot of literature has been produced on why my generation is so spoiled. Some blame so-called helicopter parents, hovering over their children, obliterating anything that could challenge or hurt them. Others blame media schilling the message of specialism, or snowflake syndrome. I blame music. Specifically, mp3 players. It’s hard not to feel like you’re going someplace important when you’re listening to this while walking there:
On the flip side, few things can exacerbate a feeling of isolation like listening to a playlist full of this for hours on endless repeat:

And with an mp3 player, you can listen to that as much as you want, whenever. You’re in control of the music and no one can make you change it, as long as you’ve got some headphones. Your will is all that matters. The preceding generations had to wait for songs they liked to play on the radio, find a way to record them, or buy their cassette tapes. (and on long car rides it was all down to what the people in the front seat of the car wanted to listen to) The generations that came before THEM had to hope they had friends who could play music or hope for the money to buy a phonograph and records. We are the first generation to grow up with the power to choose the soundtrack of our lives for ourselves. More to the point, we are the first generation that -for good or ill- has the opportunity to truly lose itself (and thereby its perspective of the rest of the world) in its music.