And who is more asocial than the man himself, Sherlock Holmes? Yes, I finally stumbled out of my cave and watched the BBC's Sherlock. (Lia wants me to say that I watched it with her, a Sherlock Holmes purist.) I'm still working my way through the three episodes (come on, they're very action-packed), and enjoying them so far, but we came here to talk about asexuality, didn't we?
I know that a lot of aces find Sherlock's asexuality to be personally or culturally relevant. I can understand and respect that, but I don't feel the same way. I've met a lot of asexuals, and we all seem to share some similar concerns about living in a sexual world, concerns that don't seem to cross Sherlock's mind. To me, he's not relatable on an asexual level, and he's not the kind of character I'd want to be friends with. I don't know if many people would want to be Sherlock, but still, he seems to have what everyone wants. And it's not "the girl" (or "the guy"), which might be somewhat unique. It's to be recognized for doing what you love and what you do best (and wearing a snazzy coat). While BBC's Sherlock describes himself as a "high-functioning sociopath", he seems more like an autistic savant to me. (How else could he memorize the traffic pattern of every London street?) Sherlock thrives in his own story, but if he were dropped into the real world, I wouldn't count on his success.
Conan Doyle probably never intended this reading, but it does speak to me as a workaholic with no work. I find watching Sherlock oddly poignant for this reason. My mind turns to the fact that our society doesn't tend to do well at utilizing people's special, perhaps Sherlock-like abilities. I start thinking of this quote I'd read a while ago: "I am somehow less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops." So when I look at Sherlock, I don't see his asexuality first, but his "marriage to his work". And that's a hard thing to hold onto these days. I can finally admit that I don't want "the guy", at least not in a Hollywood way. But I still want the work, elusive as it may be.
And forgive my towering expectations, but I would like it if actors playing asexuals would make some kind of educational statement about asexuality. Straight actors playing gay characters do it all the time. On the other hand, Benedict Cumberbatch, the star of Sherlock, "suggests that Holmes is asexual, perhaps the result of being burned in the past by women..."and that's it, as far as I can find. I don't expect actors to take up our cause, but just mentioning the "correct" definition of asexuality would be a small thing for him and a big deal to some of us.
(Also, is it terrible that whenever a show has rapid-fire wordplay, I'm always going, "Ugh, why is this so Gilmore Girls?")