One of the security guards at work wants to know why I don’t have a boyfriend. He doesn’t know that I’m asexual, and I don’t think I’m going to tell him. It’s not like I’m hiding it out of shame, but I really don’t think he’d get it, and he doesn’t need to know about my personal life anyway.
“I just don’t. Maybe I’m not a relationship person,” I tell him.
“But you’re so pretty!” he exclaims. “It doesn’t make any sense.”
We’re not going to talk about how that minimizes my agency as a person by completely overlooking my own potential desires and abilities when it comes to relationships, and instead only attributing my availability for having a boyfriend to the interests of all the men around me. That would be a whole other thought process.
I’ve been thinking a lot about beauty recently. Maybe it’s because I’ve only recently started to consider the possibility that I could be a beautiful person. I love it when people compliment me. I love being told that I look nice, I love being called beautiful, and when he said that I was pretty, I beamed and truly meant it when I thanked him. The thing is, I’m having a hard time figuring out why this matters.
Why should being pretty give someone a better chance of falling in love, or (if that’s too serious) being in a relationship? I used to think that if I was beautiful, my asexuality wouldn’t matter. That being attractive would pull people in and they would stay for your personality, and this intense, loving bond would form. But it seems that people don’t want to be with beautiful things, anyway. They want to fuck beautiful things.
A lot of us, when we’re kids, if we walk past pretty flowers, we pick them. We don’t allow them to grow, coming back to see them and cherishing how pretty they are in a more lasting way. That’s beyond our processing abilities. No. If we see pretty flowers, we want to have them, so we pick them, and they die. Then we move onto the next flowers we see. Occasionally, we run into flowers with thorns, and those we leave alone for good. People, not all people, but many people, treat other people like flowers.
The last guy who wanted to be with me asked me if I cuddled with a lot of people, since I wasn’t interested in hooking up.
“I would if I could,” I told him, “But most people aren’t interested in only cuddling. It leads to expectations, and disappointment, and complications.”
“Well, you can’t blame them,” he told me. “It’s hard for a guy to be in bed with a girl he finds attractive, and not try anything.”
“Maybe guys should learn that they can’t automatically have something because they want it,” I responded.
We cuddled once. It didn’t work out.
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever,” until it isn’t. The thing is, what makes something beautiful? How do we know, when we look at something, whether it actually looks good or not? Aesthetics are a tricky thing, and beauty standards are changing all the time. What’s beautiful now was probably grotesque a couple centuries ago, and vice versa. They’re calling Generation Y the ass-loving generation. In my mother’s generation, having a big butt was not something to wish for (funny story: when mine started developing, she had me stand in front of the mirror and do posture exercises to try to hide it. They didn’t work, obviously, but she’s come around in the past few years).
And does beauty have to be seen? Can it be felt, or heard, or felt? And once it has been experienced, what are we supposed to do with it? It’s intangible, and ephemeral. It has no purpose, other than to tauntingly draw others along after it. Being with a beautiful person, or having beautiful things, doesn’t do anything for you. Being a beautiful person doesn’t really mean shit, either. This is something I recognize.
Still, if you call me beautiful and I think you mean it, it’ll probably make my day. Sad.