Monday, March 9, 2009

Juicy Questions

"I swear I'll never kiss anyone who doesn't burn me like the sun."
--Jens Lekman

I'm lucky enough to have a few issues of Seventeen magazine at my disposal. Although every issue is pretty much the same (use bright eyeshadow! look at some clothes for your body type!), I do enjoy seeing what sorts of flirty text messages they suggest girls send. Apparently, "Hey, leave some chips for the rest of us!" is a winner. (I have to admit, the idea of sending flirty texts had never occured to me.) Anyway, one issue had a short interview with David Archuleta, an 18-year-old singer from American Idol. The page is pictured below. The interview goes like:

Seventeen: Last year you told Seventeen you hadn't had your first kiss yet. Any updates?
DA: No! I'm still waiting for the right moment. I think so many people want to rush things-- they want to rush hanging out, they want to rush making out-- and then it's like they don't even know the person they're with.
Seventeen: You're such a romantic!

It's funny how they make such a big deal out of it-- I can practically hear a girly, gossipy, over-excited voice saying those lines. However, in next month's issue, a 14-year-old reader had this to say in a letter to the editor:

"David Archuleta is my new idol! His answers in February's "Juicy Questions for..." column helped me realize that there are guys who really want to know someone before making out with her. I was embarrassed not to have had my first kiss yet (he hasn't either), but now I'm proud to be myself!"

Well if that's the case, then she would love me! But in all seriousness, how powerful is that-- some dude saying he's never been kissed is enough to give this girl the pride to be herself. That's the sort of thing I'd like to think asexuals can be on the forefront of. As a teen, I thought my lack of romantic and sexual experience was a dirty secret. But now, I try to be open about it (of course, if it's relevant). If Seventeen's definition of a romantic holds, then I, along with Mr. Archuleta, am a big one. In college, I avoided casual hookups by claiming that I wanted to wait until I was in love to have sex. And in general, that is still true. (However, I would not have sex with someone just because I was in love with them. It would have to be something I decided to do for my own desires or purposes.) Likewise, I have no desire to kiss anyone that I don't at least like a lot. Will I ever "be in love" and able to test this theory out? Much like the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop, "the world may never know".

Relatedly, I made this statement back in November: "The passive language with which most sexual/romantic rites of passage are discussed merit further exploration. " And in the next post, that's exactly what I'll do.


asexualist said...

The only problem with that is that you don't want people to start thinking they're asexual just because they've never been in a relationship... but then again, it's probably better to have people aware of the possibility of asexuality than not.

Or am I not catching your drift...?

Ily said...

Yeah, of course not, that would be weird. It's more like "I've never been on a date" [and you never have because you're asexual and not interested] than "If you've never been on a date, you're asexual". Asexuals are a good group of people to break into the stigma surrounding "inexperience", because we do tend to be more inexperienced. But our actual asexuality isn't necessarily relavant in this case (although it does explain a lot).

gatto said...

I'll never forget the first time I kissed Sunny. It was so romantic. The lights were off, and it was winter... You know how the air gets in winter? When we touched, there were actually little sparks, little sparks in the dark. I love him so much. He was my very first kitty.

Ily said...

Gatto, coming from anyone else, that would be a liiiitle freaky...but I like how you're taking the "first kiss" idea out of a sexual context. Goodness, if we're counting pets here, I would have had my first kiss over with by the age of 6.

Noskcaj Llahsram said...

I always find it odd how people are inspired by others self denial, and appalled by others. Sidenote, I find it also odd that most individuals find intent of action more important then result of action.

Anonymous said...

Aww, David Archuleta is my hero! I think it's amazing that he's inspiring people to be proud of who they are by admitting that he's never kissed anyone. I also secretly love his song "Crush"...shh!

But seriously, I always felt like my lack of experience was a dirty secret, too, and it would be great if more people, asexual or not, could realize they don't have to see it that way.

willendork said...

I'd be curious whether there's a similar response to articles where the teen idol in question is female. I mean, the perception is probably still different -- just because it *is* a teen idol we're dealing with -- and not some more "everyday" type. But I think there's a general tendency to assume boys/ men who hold off are impressive (presuming their heterosexuality is still clear), but girls/ women who do the same are somehow pity-worthy. Probably because girls are supposed to wait around for someone to be interested (traditionally), and so they're perceived not as having made a choice, but as never having been chosen. ALL of that said, dismantling the stigma around inexperience strikes me as a FANTASTIC project, for the asexual community and anyone else who wants to join in. :)

The Impossible K said...

Um... I hate to burst your asexual bubble, but I have a friend with a strong gaydar who says he's definitely gay... that doesn't dismantle your point, however - I would love to see more examples of "inexperienced" people being viewed as romantic... because regardless of orientation, it really IS romantic to reserve affection for someone you really love.

Ily said...

Yeah, I wasn't saying that I thought he was asexual. Statistically, that is unlikely :-)

icarus said...

I like this analysis. And your blog, as usual! :-)