Being Pretty and Being Ace

This is another submission for the May Carnival of Aces.

Just yesterday, on two different occasions strangers came up to me just to say that I’m beautiful.

As I’ve written before, I have had to deal with an internalized voice saying that my pretty looks are wasted on an ace like me.

Now where did that voice come from?

The tiny subset of people who both know what I look like and know that I’m asexual is a) not sexually attracted to me and c) on the other side of the Pacific ocean, so I haven’t had to deal with people saying directly ‘it’s such a shame to have a woman as pretty as you being an ace’. So that’s not where I got the internalized awful thought from.

However, while I do not go around telling people ‘hey, I’m asexual’, I don’t hide the fact that I am boyfriend-free. Many people here (both Taiwanese and foreigners) assume when they meet me that I have a boyfriend, and will even say thing like ‘oh, you can do this with your boyfriend’ at which point I point out that I don’t have a boyfriend … which they find pretty shocking. ‘But you’re so pretty!’ Yeah, all pretty women MUST have boyfriends/husbands (can’t they at least consider that I might have a girlfriend?)

I often use the way people react to my voluntary singlehood is a proxy for how they might react to my asexuality … and since most people are taken aback by my voluntary singlehood, I generally don’t come out to them about my asexuality (I have not come out as asexual to a single person I’ve met in Taiwan).

It’s not just my day-to-day interactions with people, it’s also the media. For example, in the famous novel 笑傲江湖 (Xiào Ào​ ​Jiāng​hú​), there is a very pretty young Buddhist nun. When she first appears, a bunch of men sigh and are surprised that such a pretty girl would be a nun. This scene definitely bothered me precisely because it touches on my sore spot of being a pretty young woman who has chosen celibacy. I’m not blaming the writer – I think the writer is accurately depicting the way many men react to this. And throughout the novel, a lot of characters expect her to stop being celibate because, well, she’s so pretty (and she also has a crush, but a lot of the expectation is because of her looks, not her feelings).

Because of the way people react to my singleness, I know in my guts that I would get the ‘but you’re too pretty to stay celibate’ reaction if I were more out about my asexuality offline. And it’s one thing which keeps me quiet about my asexuality. The flack I get for being single and celibate is enough.


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5 thoughts on “Being Pretty and Being Ace

  1. Pingback: Carnival of Aces: Appearances | The Asexual Agenda

  2. I am another reasonably good-looking woman who has not dated for almost 9 years. It’s terribly difficult to socialize anywhere, anytime. I’ve written a couple of short stories and have wondered what the response would be, so have not done anything with them. I am in a weird gray place where I am attracted to guys, but I don’t want to have sex. I’ve spent my nights dreaming of platonic relationships, never believing I’d find one. I’m now following Aven @asexuality on Twitter and now have hope for the possibility of a relationship when I had pretty much come to terms that I was going to have to spend the rest of my life alone. The emotions that keep coming up, realizing there are actually other people who like me, are overwhelming. (Have you checked out http://www.ace-book.net? I live in a fairly remote place, so not sure, still, if I should sign up.)

    • No, I haven’t checked out ace-book. For some reason, the idea does not interest me that much.

      However, it’s great that you no longer feel alone! I hope you will be able to form the kind of relationship that you yearn for. And thanks for commenting 🙂

  3. An excellent example of what you’re saying can be found in fanfictions involving aesexual characters.
    In which they’re turned straight.
    All of them.
    Always.
    And then they live happily ever after. Anyway, much sympathy. Of course, I’m never jealous that someone’s dating someone I’m not–but I’m always immensely jealous of the relationship. A common pattern in my life is this: 1) male and I form friendship. 2) male makes some sort of advance. 3) Not wanting to waste his time, because I’m a lovely and considerate person, I explain my situation. 4) he insists I’m wrong. I say I’m not. 5) He starts dating a girl. I am happy for him. 6) Girl immediately decides that him having a close female friend is a cause for jealousy. And then I’m left alone to weep in my cellar. One thing that I continually get nervous about is that my friends will, in all likelihood, form long-lasting sexual relationships. Due to the nature of sex (oxytocin, dopamine, happy chemicals), they will put that person first. And where does that leave me?

    Ha, just kidding. I don’t have a cellar. I weep in my bathroom.

    • I can understand being jealous of the relationship in this way. I have read that jealousy is a secondary emotion – it comes from another emotion. In a case such as you describe, it is the fear of losing a friendship.

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