Have you ever been hit on in public like while at the gym or getting groceries? How does it make you feel?
I feel a mixture of confusion and wariness the rare time I get approached or flirted with in public. From my being nonbinary but being read as female to being asexual and also throw vegan in, I feel like a faker. This person has no idea who they’re hitting on! It makes me self conscious and then annoyed that I’m self conscious about perfectly fine qualities. At least when someone flirts with me on a dating site they know who I am. They’ve read information about me and then went yes, this is a person I want to know. In person flirting feels like this awkward hiding where revealing anything is too forward and intimate for such a casual interaction. Similarly, I don’t flirt with people in public because I don’t know anything about them. Someone’s hot. So what? What’s their opinion on feminism or queer people? I’m sure you can imagine I do pretty badly on Tinder.
This is part of a series on tropes in fiction with ace characters. To link or follow this series, please use the “ace tropes” tag on this blog.
Content Note: this post discusses (lack of) consent to marriage.
Anette felt nothing when she looked at him. She supposed he was handsome, but what more was supposed to happen? Should she want to kiss him? Should she giggle and blush when he smiled at her? She tried to think of what her maids did around boys they fancied, but nothing seemed like something she could force herself to do. There were girls in the chapel pews who were whispering and giggling to each other, smiling and blushing at Prince Everett. Did they think he was handsome? Did they want to kiss his cheek behind a pillar like her mother had kissed the curly haired serving boy?
She didn’t know, and she had no more time to think. She reached the end of the aisle and stood face to face with him. He had very large brown eyes. He smiled at her again, and she gave him a strained half-smile as she was unable to muster a more sincere one.
“Hello,” Prince Everett said.
Should she have swooned at his voice when he spoke to her? What was she supposed to be doing? She had gone to several weddings, and in all of them, the bride was blushing the entire time…
“Do you take Prince Everett of Estar as your husband?” she was asked suddenly.
Did she take Prince Everett as her husband? Did she want to say yes? Did she have to?
– “The Loveless Princess” by Lilian Bodley
The trope this posts discusses contains the following elements 1) the ace character is engaged to marry someone (or enter some other marriage-like relationship, especially if it is socially binding and sex is an expected component) b) the potential spouse was selected by someone other than the ace c) the ace does not want this marriage (or at least feels reluctant reluctant) and d) the ace’s reluctance is somehow connected to their asexuality.
What sort of “causes” have you heard or thought up for you being ace and/or aro?
One possible cause, kindly suggested by a relative, was that I went to an all-boys high school, and thus did not have a chance to develop an attraction to women during my formative years.
He didn’t really need to make the suggestion, because I already thought of that hypothesis on my own. But it doesn’t make any sense, because for most of my peers, their “formative years” were in middle school. Also, I was not attracted to men in high school even though I am now. Also, I have literally never heard from another ace who made a connection to an all-boys or all-girls high school.
Every Friday, we will share links to news, blogs, and anything else we find interesting. We can’t catch everything, so you are invited to self-promote in the comments!
Siggy reflects on reading gender studies papers about asexuality.
Ace Community Activity
The International Asexuality Conference will take place next month in Madrid. See here for information and registration.
News & Outreach
Ace & Anxious is a short film about an asexual graphic designer who puts up an ad for sex on Craigslist (cn: corrective rape mention). It is premiering at the St. Lawrence International Film Festival, and is publicly viewable at least during June.
Inside the Growing Asexual Community is a write-up in Elle Magazine featuring four aces and their relationships.
Calls for Participants/Submissions
Asexual Artists is looking for more interviewees.
The Carnival of Aces for May has been posted on From Fandom to Family: Sharing my many thoughts. The theme was “Kissing, Hand Holding, Bed Sharing, etc!“. Please take a look!
The next Carnival of Aces is being hosted by Writing Ace. The theme for June is “Asexual Education”. Get your submissions in before the end of the month!
The Carnival of Aces is hosted by volunteers. If you would like to volunteer, please see the masterpost for instructions.
Sara K. blogs at The Notes Which Do Not Fit, and has written a number of book reviews of asexual fiction. She is continuing the ace tropes series.
“So what is my assignment, then?”
Abbie blinked slowly at her, certain that she must have misheard. “Excuse me?”
“Succubus,” Renata repeated, her voice becoming clinical again as she continued. “A being that draws energy from sexual activity or impulses. Every being here gathers energy in one way or another—well, except for ghosts, they tend to siphon it more than anything, but…” She paused, resting a hand on her shoulder, her expression growing concerned when Abbie shrugged away. “Are you all right?”
“I cannot be a succubus. Would you look at what I died in?”
Renata read her shirt, which had a giant pirate ship on it with the caption Asexual Pirate Doesn’t Want Your Booty. She raised her eyes to Abbie’s face again, looking vaguely confused. “So you’re…”
“I’m ace, yeah.”
– “Welcome to Your Afterlife” by Stephanie Rabig
Earlier, we looked at what happens when “Ace Meets Incubus”. But what about when the succubus/incubus/etc. is ace?