“You can’t have a boyfriend until you’re 16”
That was the extent of my mothers advice when it came to boys. And to be honest, from 12-16, I was perfectly okay with this. Unlike everyone else around me, mental puberty didn’t appear to hit all that quickly. Around me girls and gals were pairing up and doing the lip tango, but me? I just didn’t see the point.
My mum was very proud. All around her friends would complain about their errant children and praise my mother for her parenting skills.
Then I turned 16…and nothing changed.
Don’t get me wrong, I never thought it there would be a switch and I’d suddenly be interested in boys…but mum made such a big deal about not having one until I was 16 that I assumed something would seem different. As it was, there wasn’t, and I continued to live my life as normal, and mum noticed.
I think she was actually disappointed that the absence of boys in my life was less to do with her rules, and more to the fact that I wasn’t interested. Every other month she’d take me aside and tell me that if I was gay, that was okay with her, she’d still be proud of me.
(Gee mum, you make me feel like scum for having an individual dress style and watching Japanese animation but you have no problem with who I pick with a significant other? Somebody’s doing it wrong).
Okay, part of me wondered if I was, and had it been so, I would have been lucky enough to have a parent that was supportive. However, I was no more attracted to women than I was men. It just wasn’t something on my radar.
And when you’re a teenager who doesn’t really fit in, that’s actually a problem. I ended up having to fake crushes to the few friends I had, because they just couldn’t comprehend that I felt nothing, and saying I felt flustered around a certain guy got them off my back. That said, there were suitors along the way. A few guys at school who were interested, but I usually found out after the fact.
Defining my orientation didn’t really happen until my very late teens though, when I became friends with my BFF. We met online, and swapped emails and MSN messages for over a year. His interests were almost identical to mine, and it was genuinely the very first time I’d actually been able to express myself without fear of being rejected – and the same for him. We spent hours talking, and then one day he sent me an email confessing his feelings.
Part of me expected it, and the other part of me was completely freaking out. I initially rejected him on the grounds that we hadn’t actually met yet. When we finally did see each other face to face, it was mentioned briefly then pushed to the side for a few months, before he confessed again. I had to do some harsh thinking, and realised that although I loved him, I wasn’t in love with him. What he wanted from the relationship was more than I could give, and more than I wanted to give – quite possibly to anyone. Thankfully our friendship survived, although friends and family seem rather astonished it never worked out (pretty sure certain friends had bets going on when we’d ‘come out of the closet’ so to speak).
The fact that I couldn’t bring myself to love BFF (and not for lack of trying, believe me. Life would have been so much easier if I could have), despite the fact that he is still very important to me, has pretty much made me conclude that I’m just not interested in a relationship – at least not sexually.
In university I did discover that I seemed to be somewhat attracted to men, and decided to throw caution to the wind and try having a relationship with a guy who I’d met at a convention and had spent online chats flirting with me. I broke it off no less than 24 hours later because I felt so awkward and wrong in the situation. As it turned out, my gut was right cause the guy was a complete conman who swindled a lot of people I know out of money – and I was one of many fish on his hooks. Thank God I never went any further than kissing with the slimeball.
As for the attraction issue, it took a few years, but realised said attraction was the same kind of lust I got when I saw an awesome supercar, or a really snazzy jacket. I find them attractive and desirable…without having any desire to sleep with them.
Ironically, it appears my mother has accepted that she isn’t getting grandchildren out of the eldest, which has made life easier. Dad never appeared to have an opinion…until late last year when the topic came up and he mentioned he felt “I just hadn’t met the right person yet.” Wasn’t entirely sure what to make of that.
At this point I can honestly say I think I’ll be happy as a solo act. If I could find someone who is equally disinterested in the sexual aspects of a relationship, maybe that would change – but that’s a tall order in this day and age, and I’m not losing sleep waiting for them to show up.