Carnival of Aros March 2019: It’s Great to be Aro!

This is my submission for the Carnival of Aros for March 2019 hosted this month by Aromanticism on the topic of “It’s Great to be Aro!” For more information about the Carnival of Aros or to volunteer to become a future host please check out https://carnivalofaros.wordpress.com/

I probably can’t stress this enough, but I actually love, love being aromantic. The first time I took myself to a movie was after my dad and brother went seen The Martian (2015) without me even after I had told them repeatedly that I wanted to see it too. I decided to go by myself to the movie theater two blocks down from where I worked. I was still in my work uniform and it felt awkward saying “one ticket” at the counter, but I got through it and had the brilliant insight to buy a cup of coffee instead of popcorn and soda. With a warm cup of coffee in my hand and an entire row to myself I had the best movie experience of my life. Now if I want to see a movie I’ll pick a day in the middle of the week when it’s not busy and buy a cup of coffee instead of movie snacks.

I won’t deny that humans are social creatures by nature, but some of my best moments when I feel the most like myself are when I’m alone doing my own thing. When I’m hanging out with other people the need to fit-in and avoid social faux-pas kind of sucks the fun out of it. It’s much easier to dance like no one is watching when you know for a fact that nobody is actually watching. I feel like I’m constantly flirting the line between being my best self and a crazy loner and some days are easier keep that healthy balance than others. I definitely felt some minor angst when I first realized I was aromantic years ago and realized that wouldn’t get that classic Hollywood ending promised in almost every movie ever, but I did eventually learn to accepted it as my normal and I’ve been focusing on celebrating my singularity rather than worrying about my nonexistent relationships.

It’s kind of like…well, for example, a lot, and I mean a LOT, of folks at my work play Magic the Gathering. One of my coworkers even offered to give me $50 to build a starter deck, but Magic is seriously not my thing. Sure, I feel left out when they talk about planning game days and I see a bunch of them leave together with chips and soda under each arm. It’s frustrating to hear all the talk about trading cards or meeting up to open new packs and I can’t join in, but Magic just isn’t my thing. It’s an expensive hobby that I have zero interest in. You can pitch it to me anyway you like, but I don’t do trading card games. I will play Liverpool rummy any day of the week. Hearts? I’m down. Spades? Sure thing. BS, Slap Jack, Black Jack? You bet ‘cha. Hell, I’ll even play Crazy 8’s in a pinch, but Magic the gathering is just. not. my. thing. and I’m not going to force myself to play a game that I know I don’t like just so I can fit in. My view on romance is like that almost verbatim. Most folks love to gush about mushy stuff and I’m like, “….uhhhh what about all these other awesome stuff that isn’t, ya know, romantic?”

I don’t get crushes on people. I get “let’s-quit-this-dead-end-job-and-run-away-to-become-space-pirates”es on people which is sooo much cooler in my opinion. I haven’t quite figured out how to explain to people that I don’t want to “date” them so much as just slay a few dragons at the ol’ 9-5 together before they go home to the wife and I go home to my cat. I want to belong to something magical, epic, heroic, that doesn’t have the executive meddlers saying “Hmmm, this needs an unnecessary love triangle and more romantic tension to boost ratings.” As an aromantic I have all these wonderful, unique and different feelings that nobody talks about that I think are worth exploring and celebrating in media and in everyday conversations.

Aromanticism is the most dominant of my identity labels. Most of the time I don’t even think about being asexual or agender, but hoo boy, my aromanticism is cranked up to 100 all day everyday. That might have something to do with how pervasive romance is in western culture, but that doesn’t change that my aromanticness has the most impact on my way of thinking, feeling, and behaving. I’ve literally never dated. I’ve never pursued any possible romantic ties and I’m uncomfortable when people try to ask me out. I’m also get very defensive when people even joke about me dating. One of my coworkers was poking fun at me because someone had asked me out and they were like, “I’m going tell him you changed your mind. You would look so cute together.” and I got super defensive and reminded him that it takes something like six weeks for knee caps to heal. The reason I was so defensive is because I felt like my identity was being targeted. It’s like telling a gay guy, “Oh, you should totally go out with this girl, you’d make a cute couple.” and that’s super not okay and very hurtful, but for some inexplicable reason it’s soooo hard for people to understand that.

Jerk-ass coworkers aside, I really do love being aro because I wouldn’t be myself if I wasn’t. I’ve worked really hard to become comfortable with who I am and what it means to be “me”. I think Liverpool rummy is more fun than Magic the Gathering. My ideal “date” is when I take myself to coffee and a movie. I think there are other feelings and relationships besides romantic relationships that are worth celebrating and talking about. I treasure the journey of growth and self discovery it took to get me to this point in my life where I can appreciate and celebrate being a single person. So, I didn’t get to slay any dragons with anybody today and people still don’t understand that a life without romance is just as fulfilling and rewarding, if not even more so, as one where romance is the central focus, but that’s not going to stop me from celebrating being aro.

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