Round-Up for the Carnival of Aros December 2019 Edition: “Love”

First of all, I heartily thank everyone who submitted to this carnival.

I am making TWO lists. The first list is purely links for people who want to access the submissions in a compact form. The second list contains descriptions and quotes. All submissions are represented in both lists, I’m just trying to accommodate different reading styles. Both lists are in the order that I received the submissions.


I Ramble About Love. by Sara K.
“Those Magic Words ‘I Love You'” by Siggy
“Obsessed With Love” by Chara C.
“Love vs. Radical Kindness” by techno
“My Experiences Feeling Demiplatonic” by Magni
“Love is Just a Feeling” by Magni
Carnival of Aros – Love by Neir
“On ‘I Love You'” by Lokiana
“What about love?” by Scoop
“My experience with “love” being aromantic” by Isaac
“Love Is a Flower” by Ax
“The Baggage of Love” by Briar
“Growing Up Platoniromantic: Colours of Love” by Blue Ice-Tea
“Thoughts and Quotes about Love” by Soulriser
“Some Thoughts on Love” by raavenb2619
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It’s harder for me to figure out my romantic orientation…

I think I’ve known on some level that I am asexual and aromantic from a very young age (let’s say 10 years old), though it’s taken more than a decade to actually start identifying that way.

Identifying as aromantic happened later than identifying as asexual. In fact, I think I’ve only started labelling myself as ‘aromantic’ this year (last year I was still in the questioning phase).

I think it’s because there more discourse around sexual orientation than romantic orientation. There are simply a lot more clearly articulated ideas about sexual orientation that are readily accessible. This makes it much easier to frame my own thoughts and compare with other people’s experiences. The later is quite important – I think having an understanding of people with both different and similar experiences is necessary because orientation is relevant primarily because it affects our interactions with other people.

It’s much easier to find examples of people describing their asexual experiences than their aromantic experiences. So it was harder for me to figure out that I could, for example, enjoy tales of fictional romance and be aromantic.

And now I think my aromantic orientation has a greater impact on my life than my asexual orientation.

Non-romantic sex, as least for white middle-class female adults, is not expected, so the discovery that I don’t have non-romantic-sex doesn’t change the way people behave towards me. However, such adults are expected to pursue romance, so the discovery that I am *not* pursuing romance definitely changes the way most people react to me.

Perhaps if I had been engaging in romance, my asexuality would have affected my relationships to a greater degree, since sex is expected of romantic relationships. But I haven’t gone there.

And I definitely haven’t finished defining myself. Sometimes I think I am more asexual than I am aromantic, sometimes I feel I am more aromantic than asexual (today, for example, I am definitely leaning towards ‘aromantic’). This might because my ratio of fundamental aromanticism vs. fundamental asexuality does change, or maybe it is only my understanding of it which changes.

This post less coherent and more wandering that most posts here. This is a reflection of the fact that I still haven’t come to a conclusion. The lack of discourse around romantic orientation means it takes me more time to arrive at conclusions.

Aromanticism is harder for me to figure out than asexuality.

Fantasyland Romance

The other day, I had a general conversation about romantic relationships. I described a hypothetical situation, and somebody answered ‘you just described a movie!’ She didn’t mean that I was describing any specific movie – she meant that I was describing the way romance works out in movies. I didn’t consciously mean to do that, but upon reflection, I realize she is right.

Last week, I talked about how places transition from fantasy to reality. This does not just apply to geographic places – it can apply to any part of the human experience. Even though I am well into my 20s, I have extremely little practical experience with romance. I have made some observations of people in romantic relationships around me, and I’ve read/watched some relevant non-fiction, but the vast majority of what I know about romance comes from fiction – novels, plays, comics, movies, TV. Thus, romance is still the Mysterious Land across the Metaphorical Ocean.

I really do love good romance in fiction. People have much more choice in who is their romantic partner than, say, who is their parent, yet in most fiction I’ve encountered, characters have much more trouble getting romance to work than, say, getting friendship to work. It can be touching. It can be exciting. Of course, if I read/watched fiction from a culture which considered friendship to be more important than romance, and where intense friendships were the primary focus of the drama, I might be a big fan of friendship in fiction.

However, loving romance in fiction is not the same as wanted romance for myself (it took me a while to figure that one out). Something else I love in fiction is character death. I love endings where main characters die. I have one friend who used be scared when I recommended a book because she knew that my tastes ran towards wrenching violence. This does not mean I want to be a murderer or that I want to die myself. Thus, desiring something in a fantasy is not the same thing as desiring something in real life.

That said, I am not going to try to avoid romance in real life. If it happens, it happens. If I knew I were going to live for 500 years, I would probably even try to actively pursue romance in order to expand my experience of life. But I am not going to live for 500 years, there are many lands I want to explore, and I can be satisfied with my life without ever crossing that metaphorical ocean and exploring real romance.

A Persistent Fantasy of an Ephemeral Evening

There is a dance ball. It’s outdoors. There’s a pool full of water lilies and lotuses. Everybody is dressed like the 1930s or 1940s, and I am too – I am there in a tuxedo.

I meet a sweet young woman, and we dance. I lead, she follows. We dance and dance. The dance intimately connects us – I feel what she feels, she feels what I feels. Through the dance I take care of her and make her feel like the most wonderful dancer in the world.

Indeed, I make this night the best night of her life, and my pleasure comes from knowing that I made it so.

As the music fades, we sit down, hold hands, and enjoy each other’s presence for a few, final, precious moments. We part, never to contact each other ever again.

When I was 15 I went to an outdoor masque ball, and a couple hours before, I decided I would pretend to be a boy and dance with all the girls. With so little preparation, I sucked as a boy, though I did dance with girls, and I even fooled one into thinking I really was a boy.

One time, I brought some female friends to downtown San Jose. I drove. One friend commented ‘Wow, you can drive a stick!’ That pleased me because of the masculine connotations of driving stick-shift. I navigated, because I was the one who knew downtown San Jose best. I picked the restaurant – and everybody really liked it. We saw a mounted policeman, rode on a ferris wheel, then saw a play. The play was disappointing, but that was not my fault. Then, I drove them back home. It was exhilarating be responsible for giving girls a great evening.

I once took a swing dance class, largely because of this fantasy. During the first class, I followed, but dancing with guys felt wrong. Next class, I led, and felt much better. I was the only female leader in the class. One girl asked me if I was a lesbian, and I honestly answered ‘no’, but quite frankly I did not care what people thought. I really do want to take another swing class some day, and actually go to swing dance clubs on a regular basis.

And once, I was in a tap dance performance – and not only was I wearing a tuxedo, I was paired with a girl in a dress.

In this fantasy, I think of myself as being an extreme tomboy, not truly male. My cis-female identity does not change. I do not even consider this a romantic fantasy in the traditional sense because, while I do become psychologically intimate with the girl, we do not kiss, or even hug. Most of all, I think it is a fantasy about transcending the mundane and, for a moment, connecting with another human being, a moment made all the more precious because it is fleeting.