This month’s blog carnival topic is „change“, and at first this was so vast a field that I had no idea what to write.
Then Siggy made some enlightening observations about aesthetic attraction, which made me consider how that has changed for me since I started identifying as ace in early 2011.
The short version is: I now ogle women.
When I was a teenager, I believed myself to be straight. I’d get those crushes on boys who were way out of my league, and therefore, in retrospect, safe – meaning they’d never notice me anyway, so if I mooned over them, I wouldn’t have to follow through with the physical affection part.
So. Until I was in my twenties, my self definition was of a straight, but mistrustful asshole (given the rare disappointments I’ve caused) who was also incompetent at flirting. As I once told a colleague, I have never had bad experiences with men, however, I might be some guys‘ bad experience…
Obviously, she laughed back then, and didn’t realize that I was rather serious about this assessment of my behavior, which does, thanks to my feminine looks and my rather expressive dancing, occasionally border on “ice queen”.
In my late-ish twenties I stumbled over the term „asexuality“, and struggled with my self image for a couple of years, until I was ready to admit that I was even further from the majority than I thought. I now categorize myself as ace/aro.
So first the “straight” part of myself was irrevocably gone, then I learned about the varieties of attractions that exist. Along the way my unconscious decided that I was now free to enjoy aesthetic attraction, upon which I started to notice interesting looking persons, or people who moved in ways that I liked, regardless of gender.
Apart from this thought barrier that came crumbling down, I’ve also started to realize how I, as a woman, have learned to assess other women from other women. We silently crow in triumph at finding someone fatter than we are at a party, we criticize a conventionally pretty woman’s bad style to make ourselves feel less inferior, or judge someone’s looks as plain or unfortunate. All to make ourselves feel better.
I am still doing this despite the fact that I’m not vying for a husband, or even a romantic partner. Which just goes to show how ingrained that way of thinking is. Actually, I find it kind of creepy.
I’m quite grateful to now be able to look at others envy-less, at least some of the time.