I’m twenty-four years old, and I can safely say that, until last Sunday at least, I’ve only ever been hit on once in my life, and that was by my girlfriend. (I’m not counting the wannabe boyfriend who Facebook messaged me wanting to get together after having only played two rounds of D&D together.) However, last Sunday was a strange and uncomfortable exception to my life in that not just one, but two girls hit on me in one evening. Both times, for me at least, it was completely unwanted.
The first one identified as a butch lesbian, and my single friend (who was bound and determined to “hook up” with someone) had apparently been eyeing her all evening. Being the oblivious asexual that I am, I had absolutely no clue about any of this. At one point we walked by her, and her eyes followed me this entire time. I made eye contact and smiled, trying to be polite, because what else do you do in a noisy, crowded bar in the middle of a drag show? Not two minutes passed before she joined us outside and she honed in on me, asking about my name, whether my parents had given it to me, have I ever had a girlfriend. It was by this last question that I got suspicious, but her next sentence (“Well, you’re very convincing”) turned me off completely.
Then, as we congregated at a table, another — quite intoxicated — young woman asked me about my tattoo, so I took off my shirt to show it to her. I thought that was the end of it…until we both were back in the bar and she was dancing up on me, grabbing me in places I’d rather not think about and giving me a drunken kiss on the neck. I avoided her the rest of the evening and hid behind my girlfriend whenever she walked by.
At the time I had difficulty in understanding why both encounters upset me so much. The first girl’s comment about me being “convincing” was certainly frustrating, because I wasn’t entirely sure what I was supposed to convince people about; and I told her as much. But between the not-so-subtle flirting on her part and the overly sexual dance session with the other, it occurred to me that my being asexual was entirely why I was so uncomfortable. I was being treated as a sexual object, which is something that I don’t even treat myself as — so why should anyone else? For someone else to treat me as some object of sexual or erotic desire absolutely does not fit my own sense of self, so not only was it incongruous toward my identity as asexual, but it was also entirely against my will.
This is why I hate dancing, clubbing, or anything similar that enables one’s body to be the focus of sexually-driven attention. Before Sunday I’d never even thought of it in those terms, but looking back on my life it makes a lot more sense through an asexual perspective. As uncomfortable and frustrating as Sunday night was for me, it’s also made me aware of two important points. Firstly, I refuse to allow others to erroneously label me as a sexual person, and therefore treat me as a sexual object. But perhaps most importantly, I refuse to allow others to do that to another person that they don’t even know.
I’ve been looking for a reason to become more involved in asexual politics and awareness. I guess one evening of queer women on the prowl was enough to get me started.