By Hillary Donnell
I had just seen “Frozen,” and I was pumped, not because it was the most amazing thing in the world or anything, but because of Elsa, an amazing young queen with no romantic plot and seemingly no interest in romance!
There is, of course, no confirmation that this character is aromantic, but I was so happy I shouted something along the lines of “Elsa ended up with nobody!” Then, as if the universe decided that my identity needed to be punched in the face for the eight hundredth time, a person exiting the theater with me said assuringly, “I’m sure she’ll find true love someday.”
What do you say to that? I’d like to say, “No, I really hope she doesn’t.” However, pointing out that it is okay not be romantic or sexual is seen as negative, as if I am wishing Elsa a life of misery and isolation, which is not the case at all. I hope she stays single forever; loves herself, her queendom, and her sister; eats as much chocolate as she likes; and learns to control the awesome magical powers she was born with.
It feels as if people think there is something wrong with being aromantic. In fact, my spellcheck insists that I am trying to say “a romantic.” An aromantic is a person who generally does not experience romantic desire or attraction. I am aromantic as well as asexual. Not all aromantics are asexual, as one’s romantic orientation does not always match one’s sexuality. Aromantics can feel romantic attraction and asexuals can want and enjoy sexual experiences. Sexuality is fluid and different for each individual. My personal experience is that I do not often have either of these feelings. This in no way lowers the quality of my life.
I do, however, experience a lot of painful erasure. In high school a classmate insisted that my undervaluing of romance was because my parents didn’t have a good relationship. I could hear the tears in my mother’s voice when she asked me if I wanted to be alone all of my life. I’ve come to hate the way people use that word. I am not alone.
I think that this is an important issue to bring up on Valentine’s Day, as this day highlights the ever-present cultural idea that something in your life is lacking if you aren’t interested or involved in romance.
Please, be respectful of aromantic and asexual orientations. Do not tell someone that the quality of their life is lowered by your standards or act like these romantic and sexual orientations are not real. These are very real feelings that I have, and I am tired of being pitied or becoming a punchline.