Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Kinsey X


When I was in year 7, I eventually came out to my classmates as celibate.

I say my classmates, rather than friends, due to the simple fact that in year 7 I didn't have any friends. I began to make real friends towards the summer term and at the beginning of year 8 I was part of, effectively, a group of four. By the time I reached the sixth form, everyone seemed to like me, but nevertheless, at the beginning, there was virtually nobody.

"Don't tell anyone you believe in faeries," my mother told me, "or you'll have lost all your friends before you've made them." Naturally, I told everyone that I believed in faeries; I wanted friends who liked me for me, and I wasn't going to alter myself according to that - similarly, I was open about the fact that I was a pacifist, strict vegetarian, liberal Christian, and celibate. (I'm still three of those things and - if you are curious - yes, I do still believe in faeries.) Then again, it was my mother who told me that she thought I was celibate, so she's partially to blame.

I don't think she meant "celibate" anyway, I think she meant "asexual". Interestingly, one of the foursome I ended up as part of - not me, though - is probably the most asexual person I know. He's never shown any signs of interest in romance or attractive members of either sex, preferring instead to have married physics (he's doing his PhD on astrophysics as I write this, please forgive me if I avoid the "it's not rocket science" jokes). He's a lovely guy, but shows all the signs of being Kinsey X, and that goes beyond the initial impressions of shyness. But originally, I thought that was me.

You see, I'd gotten to year 7 and had started secondary school being uninterested in sex. In fact, I was interested, but didn't want to admit that to anyone. I had a conversation with my mother, which I remember word for word - "I'm not heterosexual," I said, "I'm not homosexual, I'm not bisexual, I'm not self-sexual, so what am I?" So my mother explained to me the concept of celibacy - except she probably meant asexuality; celibacy is a freely chosen state of sexual abstinence, rather than just not having the feeling - and I readily agreed that that sounded about right. So I attached the label to myself: celibate. I didn't have to worry about the whole dating or sex thing. After seeing what it had done to some people I knew, it was a relief.

Eventually I told everyone. I had no shame, I had nothing to hide - I was already an outcast, after the first thing I said to anyone on my first day - "violence isn't the only solution" - had branded me a cissy anyway. I was going to be a cissy by conviction if anything, and so I told everyone I was celibate. Naturally, they took this well. Well for them, of course, because that meant they had something else they could bully me for.

Turns out, of course, that I wasn't at all celibate or asexual, because halfway through the year, I got a crush on a girl. My primary bully worked out who it was in about half an hour, but I managed to worm my way out of total embarrassment by pretending that I actually had a crush on my imaginary (girl)friend. Of course, this meant that I got bullied for having an imaginary friend at the age of 11, even though I hadn't, so eventually I went back to the celibacy story. It made me original, at least.

By the beginning of year 8, all that debacle was forgotten. I had friends, and everyone had forgotten about why they were bullying me in the first place and started afresh because I was clever. And I no longer had a crush on the fashionable blonde Cockney girl I had had in year 7, nor did I pretend to have an imaginary friend. I was, as they say, free-and-easy, and no longer had a sexuality to have to define myself by.

And then, of course, I got a crush on another girl - and this one lasted for over two years. But that's not really something I should talk about...


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