Saturday, May 31, 2008

Don't Touch Me (Throw Da Water On 'Em)

You know you're A when you're watching the new Busta Rhymes video, and all you can think about is how it's probably the most inadvertently asexual rap song you've heard in awhile. The chorus is, "Don't touch me, you might burn yourself." I feel like most songs would have something like, "Touch me because I'm hot", but this one is the opposite. Huh. Busta doesn't want random people touching him in clubs, and I don't either. But it does get messy throwing all that water on them.

Oh yeah, forgot the link. Durr.

Some review of the Sex & the City movie (SWOON!) coming soon...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I Wouldn't Know What To Do

More lyrics dissemination. This song by Swedish group (yeah, yeah, I have a thing) The Honeydrips perfectly describes the way I felt when I had a crush on someone. I had an urge to be near this person, but God only knows what we'd do if we were ever alone together. Which we never really were. Sigh. Even the end: "I'm going to get you if it's the last thing I do" applied to my situation-- I just didn't know what "get you" entailed in my case, which made the whole thing a little confusing Here's an excerpt of the lyrics:

I Wouldn't Know What To Do
By The Honeydrips
circa 2007

For a week or two
I've been dreaming about you
And your lovely smile...
Oh, 15 minutes with you
10 minutes with you
5 minutes with you
I wouldn't know what to do.

The actual song can, for once, be found on the band's Myspace page.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tell It Slant?

In Nobody Passes, Amy André wonders, in reference to being a femme lesbian:
Why should I have to teach about that idea?
And I wonder the same thing. As asexuals, we'll always get questions from curious, and sometimes obnoxious, people. How much, and what, should we say? I'm finding that it really varies from person to person. If I say too much, I end up feeling like an educational exhibit and not a person. If I'm in an appropriate context, like a panel, I can break out the Powerpoint presentation. But, long explanations to near-strangers test my sanity. When I was able to say "none of your business!" when a guy I'd known for 10 minutes asked me, "so, you had sex and didn't enjoy it?" I considered this to be personal progress. I used to answer every question for the sake of education, but this left me feeling, for lack of a better word, violated. This advice quoted in What Color is Your Parachute is now my modus operandi: "I used to tell everyone the truth; now I only give it to those that can handle it". I just want to say: You can be totally arbitrary about who you choose to educate. You can educate people in whatever way you see fit. And if you want to tell people to "Just Fucking Google It"? I support that.

Also, I'm happy to tell you that the pamphlets are working! I put some in the SF LGBT Center, and lo and behold, someone posted to AVEN that they were there due to finding these pamphlets. Hurrah! Here's to many more folks finding us!

Monday, May 26, 2008


I promised you the extremely asexy song "Rotterdam", so here you have it. It comes from the fantastic album "Seamonsters" by the Wedding Present (1991), which you really should own. It was produced by my musical hero, Steve Albini, and achieves a fierce moroseness that's kind of amazing (although not for every mood). Although "Rotterdam" comes between songs with titles like "Suck" and "Lovenest", it'll be fairly obvious why I'm profiling it:

by the Wedding Present

I thought you'd come round
And I know how this will sound
I said so much yesterday that I shouldn't have
So what did I do
After I talked to you?
I should've gone home straightaway but I couldn't have
Oh, I stayed with you and my heart began to sink
I wanted you but not the way you think.
So what did I say
Didn't mean it anyway
And I don't want anything that I should do.
I know you're sad
Believe me, I'm feeling bad
If I could change everything then I would do
Oh I stayed with you and my heart began to sink
I wanted you but not the way you think.

Emphasis mine. Here is someone covering the song. Sorry, best I could do. Hope you're having a good Memorial Day, everyone...

Friday, May 23, 2008

You Don't Want a Boyfriend

Happy to read all your comments on my last post. Also, I'm tired of relating to obscure songs that have no internet presence. This one, I found from Jessel's great "mixtape" on his Myspace page. But, since the internet has given me so much, like Wikepedia and you reading this, I'll give back and try to transcribe some lyrics again myself. I did have some trouble with the Irish accent (swoon!), but I deciphered it pretty well this time. Like most of the songs that I find vaguely asexual, this one is extremely twee and also moderately depressing. However, let it be known that this relates more to my own musical choices than the asexual experience at large. Speaking of the Irish, I would want a boyfriend with a cool accent. Even if people aren't "hot" to me, their accents, strangely enough, sure are.

"You Don't Want a Boyfriend"
By Brian, circa 1992

You don't want a boyfriend
With sloppy kisses.
You don't want a boyfriend

Who'll put up with you.

Sit and be impatient every day.

Scream and shout and sulk and make him (marry?)

You don't want a boyfriend

Who can't resist you.

You don't want a boyfriend

Who's honest with you

I've heard it said before, and I find it's true

The more you give yourself away to someone

The less they'll think--

You don't want a boyfriend

And that's forever.

You don't want a boyfriend

You could do better
I've heard it said before and I find it's true
The more you give yourself away to someone

The less they'll think of you.

Baby, baby, you're leaving me.

It wasn't about you.

It wasn't about you.

Baby, you're hurting me.

It wasn't about you.
It wasn't about you.

Baby, baby, you're leaving me.

It wasn't about you,

It wasn't about you, &c.

Here's the single, which is selling for $85 online:

I know I probably project asexuality onto songs that don't contain it, but I consider that part of the fun of this blog. "You Don't Want a Boyfriend" isn't full-on asexy, but I get a subtle vibe: "You don't want a boyfriend that can't resist you" and all that. It sounds like it's covering a similar theme to "Rotterdam" (which I can't believe I haven't posted yet, and need to remedy): "I wanted you, but not the way you think". The song could easily be the forlorn sounds of an extremely twee asexual person. But not guilty.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Gayness Thrust Upon Them

"Some are born gay,
Some achieve gayness,
And some have gayness thrust upon them."
--Shakespeare, sort of.

"The lesbian personality manifests itself in independence of spirit, in willingness to take responsibility for oneself, to think for oneself, not to take 'authorities' and their dictum on trust. It usually includes erotic attraction to women, although we know there have been many women of lesbian personality who never had sexual relations with one another."
--Elsa Gidlow, quoted in Surpassing the Love of Men, pg. 385

Yes folkswagons, I've finished Surpassing the Love of Men. There are way too many quotes that I want to share with you. One amazing thing about the book is that it gives you gaydar. Since I started it, I suddenly see lesbians everywhere. I don't know how to explain that. Someone even thought I was a lesbian, which has never happened before, to my knowledge.

Anyway, magical powers aside, it's the end of the book, about the modern lesbian, where Faderman's more unusual ideas come into play. Lesbians, she seems to say, are not a sexual orientation, but a socio-political category. She divorces lesbians from gay men entirely, and wonders what feminist in her right mind wouldn't seriously consider becoming a lesbian. I have to say, I admire the abandon with which Faderman rejects the defensive "we were born this way!" credo that every minority sexual orientation hangs onto. Like Faderman might, I also believe that the obsession for finding scientific "causes" for our orientations are just distractions from our acceptance. If you're not looking for a cure (yuck!), why bother with a cause?
Saying that you choose to be a lesbian because you hate the patriarchy is the biggest screw-you to hetero norms that I can imagine. I have to give that mad respect. Faderman also takes sex out of the lesbian equation (like Elsa Gidlow above), which I appreciate. But what is the implication for everyone else's orientation? Faderman would probably call me a lesbian, because I'm a feminist (and the most logical choice for feminists is to be lesbian) and I see her book's "romantic friendship" as my ideal. Never mind that my few experiences with attraction have all been with men, I'd probably be a lesbian anyway.

Maybe when you're sexual, it's easier to change the gender of your desire than to produce desire that was never there. I wouldn't know. I wish I could say, "I choose to be asexual!" but I can't, because I was definitely born this way. I've tried to manufacture attraction, and I couldn't do it. Does it make sense that asexuality is inborn (at least for me) but lesbianism is a political choice?
Cause is probably, like Shakespeare might say, a multi-faceted thing. We may not choose to be asexual, but choosing to identify as such is just as much a socio-political stance as the choice to be a lesbian. As asexuals, we're also independent spirits who want to choose our own destinies. If we weren't, we'd pretend to be straight. Faderman emphasizes all the things that lesbians gain by so identifying. Asexuals tend to focus on the negative-- but we have just as much reason to hold our heads high as we surpass the love of...well, everyone.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I Love Me

Self-love can be a tricky proposition. We live in such an individualistic, me-first kind of society, but it also tears us down the moment we fail to live up to its standards. And a lot of the time, we're complicit. Loving myself unconditionally is one of the hardest things I've ever tried to do. There's nothing particularly asexual about that, but there's something that's just so goshdarn asexual about this song, I have to share it:

"I Love Me"
performed by Tiny Tim
Music by Edwin J. Weber
Words by Jack Hoins and Will Mahoney

When people write their songs of love they write of one another
It's always sis, or ma, or pa, or sweetheart, wife, or brother
But love songs that they've aimed at me have all gone on the shelf
I don't think that it's fair, so now I'll write one for myself.

I love me, I love me, I love myself to death
I love me, I love me, till I'm all out of breath
I stop at every slot machine that I should chance to pass
And give myself a hug and squeeze as I look in the glass!

Oh, I love me, I love me, I'm wild about sweet me
I love me, only me, so I'm content you see,
I like myself with such delight
I take me right straight home each night
And sleep with me till broad daylight
I'm wild about myself.

I love me, I love me, my birthday's once a year
I love me, Only me, and when my birthday's near
I go with me and buy myself some gifts to put away
Then I surprise myself with them when I wakes up that day!

I love me, I love me, I'll marry me some day
Right away, Saturday, I'll give me all my pay
With me I like to make a date
To meet myself at half-past eight
If I'm not there I never wait
I'm wild about myself.

I know a girl who has the boys proposing by the dozen
Among her lists are rich and poor and even one lone cousin
But when she speaks of love to me I treat her with disdain
I loudly shout, "There's someone else!"
And then this wild refrain:

Oh I love me, I love me, and every place I go
I love me, I love me, and at the movie show
I take myself right by the arm and push me through the crowd
And listen to myself repeat the titles right out loud.
I love me, I love me, I love to squeeze my hand
I love me, I love me, It always feels so grand
With me I get right in my tub
I let myself give me a rub
Oh how I love to feel me scrub
I'm wild about myself.

I love me, I love me, I'm wild about myself
I love me, I love me, my picture's on my shelf.
You may not think I look so good, but me thinks I'm divine
It's grand when I look in my eyes and know I'm mine, all mine!

I love me, I love me, and my love doesn't bore
Day by day in every way I love me more and more.
I take me to a quiet place
I put my arm around my waist...
If me gets fresh I slap my face!
I'm wild about myself.

Now, isn't that asexual, but also kind of bizarre? And not just due to Tiny Tim's associations with it. Most of the things mentioned in the song are really healthy things to do with yourself, but when put into song, they just seem...weird. Maybe even a little shocking. Are we just so used to songs about lovers that the "lifelong romance" with ourselves is jarring? But our relationships with ourselves are, dare I say, the most important ones we'll ever have. I think they merit a little song and dance.

[Above: The late Tiny Tim, unclassifiable musical personality, whose "...distaste for sex seemed logical when paired with his gentle, asexual demeanor." (Allmusic)]

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Want to Fail at Passing?

"These responses reflect the way that, in order to pass as politically sucessful, social movements often feel compelled to adopt the language and goals of the state, a phenomenon that is particularly disturbing in an era when the state incresaingly defines "fixing" individual behavior or putting people in prison as the only solutions to social problems."
--Marked by me as "let's not do this", Priya Kandaswamy, Nobody Passes pg. 94

I'm also reading a book called Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity. It's all about one of my favorite topics, "passing". Passing is basically the ability to be regarded as another, usually more privileged group than the one you belong to. The book is fascinating, almost exhilarating stuff, but it begs the question: As asexuals, how can we NOT pass? We can come out to everyone in shouting distance, but how do we stay out? Aces are in the strange position of being forced to pass. By people I don't know, I'm assumed to be straight, unless I have a book about queer sexuality open (which I often do), and then I'm percieved as gay. The fact that asexuals can so easily pass as straight, with all the social privelege that comes with that, is a huge conundrum of A life. Without any defining characteristics to go on, how am I supposed to find others like me? No wonder hooking up as an asexual is so hard.

In the 1970s, gay men used the bandana code to find others who shared their sexual proclivities. (No, you can't remember them all-- just the ones that apply to you. But did anyone really go out sporting Kewpie dolls or mosquito netting?) This was before bars could call themselves "gay bars". And with the dearth of A-bars, how many people would actually register any bandana code we could invent? Would my purple bandana, intent on flagging fellow As, draw people trying to pierce me instead?

There are asexual shirts, such as the ones available for sale on AVEN, and I know people have also made their own. There were the wristbands, which I think two people have. There was discussion on AVEN of wearing a black hemitite ring on the right middle finger, and it seems like a group of people actually went ahead and ordered these rings. But, how to differentiate ourselves from all the other people wearing hemitite rings? I know at least two people have gotten asexual tattoos. Apparently, lesbians used to identify themselves with nautical star tattoos (although these days everyone and their mom has one). That's pretty intense, even for me. What could help is some day when we all wear the same thing. But AVEN only has 14,000 members, which isn't really enough because we're not geographically concentrated.

I guess the short answer is, I don't know. Do you? I hope someone does.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

More Paneltasticness

Tomorrow, I'm going to be on another panel, this time at Stanford University with the always-illuminating Karli and DJ. Here's some of the things we'll be talking about:

How do asexual people define themselves and build community?

We drink coffee and talk about dating? I try to build community by doing visibility stuff (like this panel) and organizing meetups, and I'm not sure what else I can do. If there are other ways of building community, I'm frothing at the mouth to learn what they are!

Are asexual people queer and feminist?

Not all women are feminist, let alone all asexual people, although my feminist self thinks everyone in the world needs to be feminist. Feminism's great for all of us, I promise! When it comes to "sex-as-power", women tend to get a raw deal, and asexuality does provide some liberation from this. It also frees men from having to associate their masculinity with sexual prowess. I think As are queer (as far as everything that doesn't follow a heterosexual model is), but I know not all of us want to use that identifier.

How do asexual people disrupt gender norms?

Well, since most gender norms have some component of sexual desirability, when you stop trying to attract people of the opposite (or any) sex, you tend to "lose" your gender. At least, this has been my experience. I identify as a woman, but it's not as large a part of my identity as it seems to be for other women.

How do asexual people hook up?

I really have no idea. Still waiting for the A-bar.

What's the difference between sexual relationships and friendship?

Besides the sex, I'd say it's probably the amount of time and dedication you spend on the person. And I think it's regrettable that we're taught to only see sexual relationships as "primary" in our lives. But that's just me.

Also, I'm being billed as a "radical asexual blogger", which is exciting. My first thought was, "What do radical asexual bloggers wear?" At any rate, this will be fun.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Vote for me!

Aha, voting is up for Best of Blogs! Thanks to you, I've reached the final stages of competition. So, if you like this blog, go and vote for me! It could be good visibility-- apparently, the BoB site has had 376,620 visitors. If you hate this blog and want me to be destroyed by fame, go and vote for me! If you're bored and want something to do, vote as well. You can do it every day until the voting ends. Here's how to do it:

Go here:

Scroll down to "Best LGBT blog" and then cast your vote for "theonepercentclub" (my URL).

If I win, I don't think I get anything of material value. But, I will get glory, which you will share if you vote! I know my readers are enmeshed in the democratic process...

Finally: Making Love the Way I Understand It

Well, I thought all the nominees for the "Best of Blog" awards would be announced this morning, but I guess not, so I'll have to find something else to write about (and some other way to promote myself, har har). Because we all need some more silliness in these trying economic and political times, here's a form of sex that I can wholeheartedly enjoy:

Makin' Love Ukulele Style
by Dean Martin

Making love ukulele style you needn't be in Waikiki
Making love ukulele style to a lovely ukulele serenade.

When you love ukulele style
Well everyone knows you're heart will float far away
To a tropic isle while a ukulele tune is softly played.

Strolling along beneath the starlight
Dreaming a lover's dream for two
Soon you will see her eyes of starlight
As the ukulele magic comes through.

Now if you want to satisfy
The one that you love all else above
Take a tip and be sure you try the ukulele style of making love.

Strolling along beneath the starlight
Dreaming a lover's dream for two
Soon you will see her eyes of starlight
As the ukulele magic comes through.

Now if you want to satisfy
The one that you love all else above
Take a tip and be sure you try the ukulele style of making love
Try the ukulele style of making love!

Hear an old-skool version of the song here. And an utterly loungetastic Youtube video version here. The latter is not safe for work; your boss may make fun of you indefinitely. And I wouldn't leave you hanging without letting you know how to make love ukulele style for yourself: Here are chords! (And yes, it even shows you positions.)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Harold & Kumar: Boston Marriage for Guys

"Your love was wonderful to me, passing the love of women."
--David to Jonathan, 2 Samuel, I, 26

"You're my best friend. I love you."
--Kumar to Harold, Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

After spending time with Surpassing the Love of Men, watching Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay seemed oddly relevant. If Harold and Kumar had been Victorian women, they definitely would have been "romantic friends". If that seems like a strange statement, just look at their relationship: They live together, seem to spend little time apart, bring out the possibilities in each other, and no matter what dangers they face-- everything from crazed Homeland Security officers to being carjacked by Neil Patrick Harris, they stick together through it. Even when one of them makes a horrible decision, their destinies remain intertwined. They pursue women (mostly for sex), but this never affects their friendship, as it's just one more thing they do together.

[Above: Harold and Kumar. I'll never let go!]

The "inseparable buddy characters" are an archetype that resonates with me as an A person. But where is the female version? In the trailers before Guantanamo Bay, I saw two more male buddy movies: College and The Pineapple Express. The only mainstream female buddy movie that I think I've ever seen has been Muriel's Wedding (one of my all-time favorite movies). I'm thinking of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but you don't get the idea, as you do with Harold and Kumar, that the characters will probably spend the rest of their lives together.

Why the dearth of female buddies? If there was a large market for those movies, they'd probably get made, so perhaps there isn't one. But maybe it's the way women are perceived as being dependent on men, and competitive for men. There's no reason why two female friends couldn't rely on each other to the degree that Harold and Kumar do. But this is something we're hardly ever shown, which gives an impression that there's something about women that makes this kind of friendship impossible. I'm hardly the only person to take issue with this; here's an interesting blog post that discusses the issue:
Does the Female "Buddy" Movie Exist?
And if it doesn't, then goodness gracious, shouldn't it?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Surpassing the Love of Men

"We have learned to deny such a depth of feeling toward any one but a prospective or an actual mate. Other societies did not demand this kind of suppression."
--Lillian Faderman, 1981

I tried to watch Daytime TV, but once I learned that Jerry Springer's bodyguard has his own show, I fled to my local Hawaiian cafe in fear. For as long as I'm unemployed, I figure I'll be doing quite a bit of reading. Right now, I'm working on Surpassing the Love of Men by Lillian Faderman. Its subtitle is "Romantic friendship and love between women from the Renaissance to the present". I'm only about a third through it, but I can already tell that I'll be recommending this book extremely highly to everyone. For an academic book, it's an easy read, and it's absolutely fascinating, sometimes shocking, and maybe even a little tragic. I'm very glad that someone wrote this book, which is probably one of the highest praises I can give.

Surpassing the Love of Men
will make you think, but not in the brain-zapping way of Gender Trouble. It's easy to think that our own time's sexual mores are somehow truer than those of other eras. But Faderman confuses that notion. She spends a lot of time exploring the idea that until the 20th century, all "good women" were completely asexual. Now, all women are sexual. If we were seen as uniquely sexual beings, I would consider that a great improvement. But, we aren't seen that way by our culture at large. Women are still just sex objects, as we've always been. However, in previous times, women could have passionate relationships with each other, and because they were presumed to be asexual, these relationships were encouraged and condoned by society (unlike, perhaps, people's views of lesbianism in 1981?).

While reading about these "romantic friendships", I saw my ideal relationships being described again and again. The famous "Ladies of Llangollen", Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby, escaped marriage to live happily, inseparably, and asexually together in their own cottage in Wales. But the sad truth is, most women of the age couldn't live out the fantasy of spending their lives with their female beloved, and were forced to marry men. Can we ever win?

There's a short chapter called "The Asexual Woman", but don't get too excited. It's concerned with a court case in which the judges ruled that two women couldn't possibly have sex with each other because it was against their nature and good character. As Faderman reminds us, all women during the 1800s were seen as asexual, unless they were prostitutes, actresses, or hedonistic nobility types. But, this is a book that I think will be of great interest to all asexual people-- and anyone else interested in human relationships. (Which is, purposely, almost everyone.)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Get Auties

We had a meetup on Saturday, and I'm happy to say that it went well. We had 4 people show up, which is twice the number we've been getting lately (I kind of don't want to say that-- can't be revealing our weaknesses! But, at least you know it will be a cozy, welcoming group that you don't have to be intimidated about joining!). I was especially pleased that we had two new people. New people, especially if they're enthusiastic, are probably more important than the number of people alone. Everyone seemed to express some interest in hiking, so I think I'll plan some low-key hiking for our next meetup.
We talked about many interesting things. One of these was an attempt to figure out why some groups seem to have a much harder time organizing than others. One meetup-goer had noticed that bisexuals seem to have an especially difficult time organizing themselves. I have a few theories as to why this might be:

They're already covered in the LGBT umbrella.
They're a more diverse group than Ls or Gs-- they're any gender and some bi folks can pass as straight, while others can't or don't want to.
Many people see bisexuality as being a phase. (For the record, I don't.)

If I had to choose an orientation that was "closest" to asexuality, it would be bisexuality. The diversity of people who so identify is a great strength, but also a barrier to community-building. Evangelical Christians seem to organize effortlessly because they all have similar views. Not so in our case. However, I've noticed another very diverse group that seems to be better at organizing than asexuals are: People on the autistic spectrum. They've had major successes in many places, and I'm learning a lot from some of these groups. For example, there are about 3 autism-related groups that meet in my area, and each of them draws anywhere from 10-30 people per meeting, who sometimes travel very long distances to be there.

I have no idea why autistic people are better at grassroots organizing than asexuals. You'd think that wouldn't be the case, but you'd be incorrect. Maybe it's because autistic folks often need assistance to get by in a society that's built for other people. What I do know is that there are a disproportionate number of autistic spectrum denizens on AVEN. I also know that the autistic spectrum is misunderstood by almost all. Many think autism is a pathology; many autistic folks think it isn't. "Coming out" is an issue for those who can pass as "normal", however, in the case of autism it's called "disclosure". I've heard autistic people call themselves "neuroqueers", and I know that awareness and education are major parts of their movement.
This is starting to sound real familiar, isn't it?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

What Do You Want to Hear?

Once, someone asked me if "this" was a date. I wasn't thrilled with the question, since I wasn't then, and still am not, sure how exactly to distinguish an asexual date from a friendly get-together. I replied, "It's whatever you want it to be". I thought that was an answer that no one could possibly argue with, but my companion was extremely annoyed by my non-committal attitude to our meeting. This is one of the reasons why I think it would be edifying to read Is it a Date, or Just Coffee? Apparently, this is a book all about that troublesome question: Is this a date? If anything, just the idea that a book like this exists is highly amusing. It's written for lesbians, but I wonder if female As could pick up an insight or two. I'll add it to my (very long) list...

And I have to say, San Francisco's best asexual publicity effort right now is probably my resume, which has AVEN on it. Seriously, hundreds of people are going to be seeing that thing...