Ah, isn’t Valentine’s Day great? The time for roses and relaxation, chocolates and chick flicks, a special day for your special someones. It’s the day where you tell your friends you treasure, love, and value them!
Wait, what do you mean it’s not for friends? Lovers?
Well then, we have a problem because I won’t ever have a lover.
Hold off on those “what” and “don’t be so negative!”s there, my dear readers, because I have to make a point. The above was an act to catch your interest – jeez, I may be oblivious to a lot of things, but I know what Valentine’s Day really is, have a little faith. I know it’s not designed to be a day for friends. Unfortunately, the holiday as it is never meant very much to me. It’s always been more of a *shrug*, “eh” thing to me.
Sure, it’s partially because I’ve never had a date. What’s the use of a lovers’ holiday when you don’t have a lover? However, the more relevant question to ask would be, “Why have you never dated anyone, internet stranger? Didn’t you say you turn twenty this year?”
See, there is a perfectly good reason for that.
No, it’s not because no one likes me!
See, I’m never going to have a lover because I’m never going to desire one. It’s that simple. For the uninitiated, I’m someone who identifies as ‘ace’ – sounds pretty cool, eh?
More specifically though, I’m aroace, which stands for aromantic asexual. This means that I don’t feel romantic or sexual attraction (or I feel it so rarely that I haven’t yet in twenty years of existence). Now, I know, I know. Believe me, I know exactly what some of you are thinking:
- You just haven’t met the right person yet.
- But it’s a natural part of being human!
- How do you know you won’t like it if you don’t try it?
- That doesn’t sound healthy.
Alright, then let me tell you a little story about past-me and her conceptualization of romance in middle school.
Just like everybody else, I was curious about romance. I read the (in retrospect, cringe-worthy) Candy Apple Scholastic books, shoujo manga, Pride and Prejudice – all that good stuff. I listened to people talk about their crushes and stuff. Sounds like standard preteen/early-teen stuff, right?
For the most part, yeah, it was. There was, however, a little detail: in my concept of romance, I never had a partner. My classmates would talk about ideal guys or girls and what kind of dates they hoped to have. I listened and couldn’t relate. They were looking forward to first kisses (or bragging that they already had), which quite honestly only ever sounded unsanitary to me. Meanwhile, I was interested in heartbreak.
You read that correctly. What I was most excited about when reading the romance novels was not necessarily the ‘finding my soulmate’ part (which I will address in a post at a later date). What I was excited about was purely just the experience of falling in love, like how I sometimes go to sleep hoping for a nightmare just for the horrific experience. I wanted to experience the full package, from crush to dating to breaking up.
How did it feel to have “butterflies in your stomach”? How did it feel to blush? How did it feel to not be able to function around a specific individual, because wow that sounded inconvenient and also really stupid. What could possibly make another person so much better than you that your body would give them so much power? Exactly what could be so great about a person that you suffer heartache for days after breaking up? Unless there was some grand betrayal involved, why couldn’t you stay friends?
I never really got my answers. After all, I never did fall in love, and romance was never really a priority I planned to purposefully go looking for.
Now that I am older, and I understand that my experience is not that of the majority of the population. You want to know something interesting? I didn’t know that sex was something people were interested in and wanted to do. I didn’t know that people actually craved sex. I didn’t know that kids in my high school were having sexual relationships until I was in my senior year. All the sex jokes and stuff? I thought people were exaggerating as collective generational joke.
Same with relationships. I didn’t realize that people craved romantic relationships, the intimacy of it. To be quite honest, I still don’t understand what the difference between platonic and romantic relationships are (probably because I have never experienced the latter). No one has been able to explain it to me in a way that wholly makes sense. I’ve wondered if romantic intimacy is about the physical aspects, like kissing and sexual activities, but I know that some romantic asexuals enter non-physical romantic relationships just fine.
People have told me that falling in love is about meeting someone that makes you want to be a better person. But my friends do that for me just fine. In fact, I don’t have any friends that don’t make me want to improve myself in some way, shape, or form. They say that it’s about finding an amazing person you want to spend the rest of your life with – well all my friends are amazing people I wouldn’t mind living with forever?
Others have told me it’s about being completely open with your partner(s), finding someone who feels like family. Again, why can’t you be so open with your friends?
Emotionally, I can’t seem to find a difference between platonic and romantic relationships, even though people insist that there is. Physically, well, I’m just not a very physical person. I’m highly uncomfortable with physical intimacy of any sort.
Oh, I’ve been rambling. Shoot, I don’t think I gave this post a structure, uh. Yeah, so that’s me and romance. We don’t really mix. However, don’t think this means I don’t appreciate the romantic relationships of others – I am happy for couples around me (until they come seeking me for relationship advice), and I have favorite couples in fiction as well. Yeah, I’m on Tumblr, I know what the shipping wars are like.
And apparently my weird, detached but understanding-as-an-outsider point of view is what some people need in their life, seeing as I am designated romance consultant in my circle of associates at school. By failing to understand romance and dissecting its experiences to study them, apparently I’ve become adept at analyzing and interpreting the sources of problems (it’s usually a failure in communication).
I don’t mean to be a representative of all aromantic, asexual, or aroace people. Everyone is different in their experiences. But this is me explaining mine and why Valentine’s Day is kind of a useless holiday to me, which sucks because I’m all about the awful heart puns and chocolate.
Last year, I sent a small box of Godiva chocolate to a dear friend of mine. I arranged for it even though I attend college in the Greater Boston Area and this friend, at the time, lived in Seoul, South Korea. Out of context, that sounds a bit romantic, doesn’t it? Apparently a lot of things I do for my friends sound a little romantic. But, you know what, so be it – chocolates are good, friends are great, and Valentine’s Day is going to be a day where I can celebrate both.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all you lovely people out there, whether you’re in a relationship or not. And to my dear friends all scattered around the world, if you did not receive Godiva this year, I am sorry – I checked and Godiva stores either don’t deliver near you guys or don’t accept my credit card, and I am brand-loyal. Please accept my heartfelt love and care in the form of words instead.
(ALSO IF ANY OF YOU READERS SAW DEADPOOL ALREADY LET ME KNOW HOW IT WAS!!)
[EDIT] I lied the best part of Valentine’s Day is all the awful heart puns you can make