Thursday, October 30, 2008

Not to Embarrass Anyone...

...But, dude, NYC aces are cool. I can say this from experience now, as I met two of them. I went to a show at the Ace of Clubs (poetic, eh?) with the writer of Edge of Everywhere, and ate dim sum with another AVENite whose website I would promote if I knew she had one. Anyway, I'm glad they decided to meet up with this west coast yokel (me: "the subway runs ALL NIGHT!?!?!?!"); I had a really fun time with both of them.
I also got to (re)meet the folks involved with the upcoming asexuality documentary. I didn't realize how many different topics they were going to be covering, and it was interesting to hear about, and to discover we shared a love of the movie King of Kong. I hope they find success soon in their funding quest.

And next time we talk statements for virgins!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Don't burn down the blogosphere while I'm gone!

Almost time for me to head off to my native soil (err...concrete)...I'll be back to bloggin' on October 30th! And, relevantly, our next SF AVEN meetup is November 9th. We have a new thread about SF meets on AVEN here. After this meet, I will, indeed, not be using the list-serv for that purpose anymore. So I'm a little concerned that no one's commented in the thread...but, hopefully the LAST MEETUP OF 2008! will be a draw. Maybe meeting asexuals was some peoples' long-delayed New Year's resolution. Well, thought it couldn't hurt to mention it...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Can we move our bunkbeds? We'd have more space to do activities!

I have meetup guilt, but it isn't about AVEN. I've been a member of another group (let's call it the Popcorn Society) for about a year now, and I don't want to go to their meetups. I'm not even Catholic, but I thought I could absolve myself by figuring out what was keeping me away, and using that information for my AVEN purposes. To start out, I greatly admire the Popcorn Society, its founder/leader and its (loyal) members. Since I first discovered it, I've viewed it as a role model for AVEN meetups. It's been around for at least 7 years, is on a steady schedule, and usually attracts about 10 people to its meetups. The leader of the Popcorn Society is extremely consciencious. Before the meetups, he calls every member on the phone to remind them (Although lately, he hasn't sounded very happy with my lack of attendance). However, if I don't have plans, I'm usually very easily pursuaded, and this is a strategy I've thought about using for our AVEN meetups.

What I don't like about the Popcorn Society is that it's pretty much just sitting around and talking in a boring environment. It's been said that men prefer to talk over activities, but I think that's just a personality style, as I much prefer talking during activities as well. The Popcorn Society members tend to talk about the same issues over and over, and a few people dominate the discussion. I'm also the only member in my 20's; the youngest person aside from me is in his late 30's. I know we're adults, and can associate with each other regardless of age. But, I start feeling like some sort of mascot. I'm not sure why this bothers me; at sixteen, I was in a choir in which all the other members were in their 60's or older, and I loved that choir. The location is also not convenient to anyone (If it was convenient to some people but not everyone, I would understand that better).

I wrote some of this post and then came back to it later. Apparently, lentil soup is a brain enhancer, because halfway through the bowl, I realized why I'm not thrilled with the Popcorn Society's meetups. It actually doesn't have to do with being youngest, being bored or being in a lame location. It's because the meetings seem to exist in a gray area between fun and productive. While I usually find the meetings interesting, they're not exactly "fun" and while they might expand our conciousness, that's not enough to keep me coming back. Apparently, I want to either have a lot of social fun, or achieve something tangible from our meetings. And it seems easier for me to plan something productive than something fun, since people's ideas of fun seem to vary more. Maybe just one of those easy, cheap visibility ideas I'm always talking about. Late night graffiti! (Just kidding...but only because I don't think people would come to a meetup involving illegal activities.)

Friday, October 17, 2008

To the 5 Boroughs

I haven't been anywhere in forever, and suddenly, in this month only, I get to go to a few places. Like next week, I'm going to New York City. I was born there, but I haven't been there in years. I thought it would be cool to meet up with some A-teamers-- I know the group there isn't as organized as they once were, but it still seemed that there were a lot of people. (And if there's someone in NYC who wants to organize meetups, maybe I could help with that?) I posted on AVEN, and haven't gotten any for-sure responses (which surprised me somehow), so I'm expanding my search radius. Uhh...want to meet up?

Also, I have no idea what the cool things to do in New York are. A guy I used to work with said that NYC had more creative energy than anywhere he'd ever been, and when I heard this, it made me want to go back and see for myself. Any tips on things to see and do?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mix Tape = Love

Well, I lose at this whole "post less often" thing...what else am I supposed to do with my time? I finally found something to do with my time, but it doesn't start until December. Maybe I'll post less then. Anyway, I made a mixtape with many songs that I've written about here, and others that seemed to have a relevant theme. It's mostly pop/rock, with some hip-hop in the middle. Anyway, if you have something you need to accomplish today, don't go to the Mixwit site. Trust me, just don't. And don't have this be one of those things where you get so curious that you do it anyway. Really.

MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Yours in Horror

Anyone will tell you, I'm a paranoid person. But the election season makes it much, much worse. I've ended up on the list of every organization, and I get alarmist e-mails every day. What worries me most are the missives from No on 8. As you may know, 8 is the proposition that, if passed, would eliminate gay marriage in California. The fact that it might actually pass (and current polls support this) horrifies me. "Focus on the Family"-types from all over the country are mobilizing to donate money to Prop 8. Yesterday, I heard one of the Pro-8 ads, and was horrified all over again by the lies it contained-- stuff about churches and schools that aren't mentioned anywhere in the proposition. No on 8, a grassroots effort, doesn't have the money to compete (well, unless you donate, especially important if you don't live in CA). But since I have no money and no canvassing skills whatsoever, I feel completely helpless. Funny that I have a vote and still feel this way.

But it pisses me off to no end that elections are all about how much money you have. If I had my way, all campaign spending would be eliminated. Just let people read those booklets that come in their mailboxes and let that be the end of it. The truth gets lost under the fancy ad campaigns, and that saddens me immensely.

And, dude. As an asexual, it's hard enough to find a partner. We should at least be able to marry whatever gender of person we want. "Gay marriage" is for bisexual and asexual folk, too, but of course, you don't need to be queer to support it.

I thought that if Obama is elected, he might turn this all around and make the whole country have gay marriage! But as it turns out, Obama doesn't support gay marriage at all. He says "I personally believe that civil unions represent the best way to secure that equal treatment." Obama supports the status of marriage/unions being left up to the states, which is the same thing that McCain supports. What a cop-out. You could say that the difference between unions and marriage is just semantic, but asexuals know better. We're constantly told that marriage is the best thing ever (because tales or marital woe will probably turn us more asexual), and so we know that it holds a rarefied position that "unions" don't compete with. Besides, we really like the cake.

I think I need some consolation, a cupcake and probably a hug. If this "marriage is between a man and a woman" stuff gets written into our state constitution, it can be changed again, can't it?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

We Remember Moments

Today is National Coming Out Day, which has a very cute logo:

Even though I haven't written about it for awhile, I still think coming out is crucial for asexuals. (And here's why I think so.) I realized about two minutes ago that there are two ways to come out, "active" and "passive". Coming out actively is sitting people down for "the talk" or otherwise working a variation of "I'm asexual" into a conversation. This type of coming out unfairly gets all the glory. There is also a passive form of coming out, which basically involves putting information out there and waiting for people to find it. When I first started identifying as asexual, I tried to come out actively. But now, I've switched entirely to the passive method, which pretty much involves giving people the link to this blog. There's always the risk that people won't look or be interested, but if they're a friend, they'll probably put two and two together. So if you haven't already, try the passive method. Make a blog post, send people a link to a website, write a note. There's nothing shameful about using the passive method-- that's why I'm trying to promote it. It all depends on your personal style. This poll on AVEN showed that the vast majority of respondents were introverts, for which the passive method might work better.
And, in case you missed it, here was my list of ways to come out in the 21st century.

If Coming Out Day isn't enough for you, tomorrow is the Asexuality Visibility and Education Day (AVED). Apparently, the official Asexuality Day is May 29th (who knew? I didn't). But, AVED is designed specifically for students to spread awareness at their school (Although it's a Sunday...but I guess that doesn't matter so much at colleges. Seriously, I wish I was still at school just so I could spread my asexual missives to a captive audience.). Trust me folks, special days are good. They're what press releases are made on. So know and keep these holidays...hopefully, we'll soon figure out how to celebrate them.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Other in Da Hizzouse

A housekeeping thing: I'm thinking of posting less often-- every 3 days rather than every 2 days probably wouldn't tear apart our worlds too much. I want to make sure that people have time to read all the posts if they want to, but I also want to make sure that posts are appearing on some kind of schedule. Anyone have a strong opinion on the matter?

Also, a short story: Since I started ID'ing as asexual, I've learned many things about a lot of other under-the-radar ways of being. 5 years ago, I had no idea what transpeople were, for example. In the spring, when I was in school, I received a survey about the school with the gender choices "male" and "female". I checked "female", but wrote next to it: "You should include 'other' as a gender option". And today, I received a new school survey with "other" as a gender option. I thought that was vindicated me for never getting OKCupid to add "asexual". (Unlike a lot of dating sites that just have you specify what gender you're seeking, OkC made you specify orientation. The most annoying thing was that the site purported to be "hip and new" blah blah blah.) I guess the moral of the story is that if it's a fairly small-scale organization, they'll probably be open to a simple request. Actually improving the school? Eeeh, not so much...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Eat the Cats First

I'm sorry to return to you with a sad topic. But you can see this as a sequel to "Things about the asexual community that we shouldn't be ashamed of, but that we should intelligently address amongst ourselves". Amongst ourselves, we shouldn't have to put on a happy, well-adjusted face if that isn't how we're really feeling. The topic of today is depression. Dun dun dun...

Depression can be thorny because the language we use to describe it is inadequate. The way we feel when Cafe Kaleo isn't serving pecan brownies is also the same word we use to describe a mental illness that kills people every year. Depression as an illness, not just a momentary state of sadness, is a very serious thing. Most studies seem to agree that about 8-10% of the US population suffers from it. But according to an unsientific survey on AVEN, 23% of AVENites are currently depressed. And when you're talking about a mental illness, 23% is a very large number (hell, even 10% is too large). But, this isn't surprising. Rates of depression are heightened in every queer group (The statistics on transgender depression and suicide are especially harrowing). While asexuality doesn't cause depression, feeling alone and misunderstood can, if not cause it, certainly worsen a pre-existing predilection towards it. Add to this the fact that many asexuals are also part of other marginalized groups, such as autistic and trans folks, and the asexual depression rates make sense.

As usual, our cultural views are extremely decisive on some topics and unsure on others. Under-30 dot-com millionaire? You're happy, live with it. But on the topic of asexuals, our culture can't seem to decide whether we're very sad or incredibly happy. There seem to be two basic views of asexuals. Here's the first:

Having missed out on love (of course, love and sex can't be separated), our poor asexual becomes a bitter misanthrope. They are constantly frustrated by their lot in life, and die alone. Their body is eaten by cats.

As I understand it, the depressed brain becomes wired to relate to worst-case scenarios, and it's no surprise that this story can seem prophetic to a depressed ace. But it also seems true that in humanity as a whole, tragedy seems to stick out in our minds above a lot of other stuff. It's striking. (For an example of this, see the fact that many people think planes are more dangerous than cars. Even though more people die in car crashes, plane crashes are more tragic/dramatic/reported.) And so this first trope is what we tend to remember. However, there is another, just as stereotyped, but also prevalent:

The asexual leads an innocent life filled with a childlike wonder. Their life is easier without the complexities of sexual relationships. Unswayed by the sex-sells dictums of advertising, the asexual leads a simple life that is in tune with nature. They are valued for being a loyal friend and family member, and they are likely to be talented in science, mathematics, the arts, or education. Without the distractions of sex, they have more time to spend on these pursuits, and their sucess makes them a role model for others.

Our lives will take unique paths. But most people seem to think of life in some sort ofnarrative that is usually socially condoned. If you have to choose one about asexuals, choose the latter one. But when you're depressed, that can be impossible. Believing the worst that is said about you is a symptom of depression. And when you're asexual, those statements can be bizarre and disturbing. Being depressed is nothing to be ashamed of. But it deserves to be talked about in a senstive and productive way.

If we had enough people that wanted to be involved, I'd want to create some sort of asexual mental health taskforce. That would be rad...

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I'll be in Texas until Tuesday, and will say hi to an armadillo for you. (Going to Texas reminds me of one of my favorite children's books-- Gila Monsters Meet You at the Airport.) Anyway, I'm reading The Bone People right now, which is the only novel known to me that has an intentionally asexual character. (Although the story has nothing to do with asexuality, as far as I understand it.) I always have trouble commenting on a book before I'm done with it, but I can say that it's extremely well written, and the sort of story that you keep thinking about after you put the book down. I don't mean to be a total sell-out here (I did go to school in a mall for two years, afterall), but why hasn't this book been made into a movie? I think it would definitely be one of those sweep-the-Oscars type films if it had skilled people working on it. At least I would vote for it. That academian who really loves abstract crime dramas and is apparently a swing voter? I would hope so.
Oh, and find my asexual city poll here.