Thursday, January 18, 2018

I'm forty!

It probably doesn’t surprise too many people that I am not at all hung up about turning forty, considering age is a kind of an arbitrary measurement and the associated expectations have rarely had much impact on my life. But here’s something relevant:

There's this thing called the “unassailable asexual” phenomenon. It refers to how there are different aspects of a person's demographics that make them more likely or less likely to be dismissed as having an inauthentic "reason" for being asexual, and there is one set of traits that is said to be the closest to "ideal"--if you hit all of the "ideal" traits, you're much less likely to be told you identify as asexual for a false reason, and you're more likely to be believed as having a valid identity. People in this ideal pocket are said to be better spokespeople for the orientation because skeptics are less likely to write them off as, say, having a disorder, suffering from trauma, being antisocial, being too ugly to get a date, etc. And it is of course completely crap because a) there is no "perfect" asexual who will be believed in every instance, and b) placing some asexual people on a pedestal increases the likelihood that asexuality will be accepted ONLY if there's simply nothing else you could "blame" their orientation on--only as a last resort.

Yeah, it's crap.

Anyway, the "unassailable asexual" is often said to be between the ages of 20 and 40. In other words, if you’re younger than twenty people will blame your asexuality on the expected identity issues and immaturity associated with being too young, and if you’re older than forty people will consider your asexuality a natural function of being too old.

Guys!!! I’m “too old”! FINALLY! Yessss!

Let’s be real for a second and remember that no matter WHAT age you are, invalidation for asexual people and aromantic people is around every corner. No matter how supposedly unassailable you are, people will, um, assail. Even if there’s not something obvious to “blame” it on, detractors will pull out their pet theory and assign it to you, whether that’s an assumption of suppressed abuse, a case of hidden homosexuality, or a pervasive desire to “get attention” and “be different.” Isn’t that right, my fellow snowflakes? They know better than we do, and we should really stop trying to be so special. It earns us all kinds of positive attention, after all!

But anyway, yeah, here I am at forty, that age where people (especially women, let’s not lie) begin to be processed as hardcore failures if they’re not married or partnered. (Actually, I’ve seen that for thirty, too, but I think forty is the new thirty these days.) And I gotta say.

I can’t WAIT to be processed as a failure of an old lady.

It’s at least a change of scene, you know? After all these years of having smug jackasses insist that I’ll spin on a dime WHEN I fall in love pretty soon, and all these years of dealing with science bros explaining that my biological clock WILL kick in and I’ll be forced to throw myself at a man, and all these years of being told one day I will “mature” and realize asexuality was a phase and a fake all along . . . I’m finally going to deal with the other side of the coin: the jerks who will tell me I must have tried and failed to get a mate in my youth, or that my asexuality is a function of a declining sex drive (lol), or that my aromanticism is based on a terrible feminism-poisoned lie that women should be ~independent~, or that they picture me crying myself to sleep in bed alone wiping my tears on my cats.

They sure are nice people, aren’t they. Always gloating over my imagined misery.
All because they can’t imagine that I could be happy this way.

(Not to mention that if I were not happy, it would be disgusting of them to feel satisfied by that.)

I think in truth it won’t be much different—setting aside that of course people won’t be able to TELL I’m past forty for a while (so I’ll still get treated like I’m younger), there’s also the fact that in practical terms “oh you poor thing, didn’t catch a mate while you still could attract one” will probably feel a lot like some of the terrible comments I’ve heard all along: “I bet she’s too ugly to find someone, so she pretends she doesn’t want it anyway”; “She’s clearly just so obnoxious that she drives men away before they would even try to get with her”; “She’s mentally ill/abused/autistic/damaged/secretly gay/hiding a terrible secret, so no one wants her.” 

Many of the very familiar Asexual Bingo items are predicated on the idea that asexuality is a face-saving excuse for the unwanted. They prefer to frame me as desperately desiring a partner and wallowing in my lack of fulfillment. I’m completely used to cruel, willfully ignorant people reinventing me in their minds to represent a version of me they’re more comfortable with. 

They really hate the idea that they’ve been waiting around to say I-told-you-so all this time and I haven’t given them an opportunity to say it. So now maybe some of them will give up and change their tune to "she hit the wall and doesn't want to admit she failed to get married while she still could! Ha ha sad and lonely old spinster!"

Dangit. I don't even have cats. I'd better get on it.

No comments:

Post a Comment