I’m starting a cold, so I apologize for how cluttered my head feels. It’s been a long past couple of days.
My parents are currently teaching each other how to tie knots at the dining table. They’re doing a boating class (their third one together and my father is due to start a fourth one independently shortly) and this boating course is handling some of the basics like anchoring, docking, and, of course, knots. My mother is reading most of the instructions from the book but my father, who’s always been more hands on than her, is catching on faster. He’s been walking her through one herself, calling the rope end the “wabbit” going around the tree. Which my mother has taken up as well – the rope is now a “he”. It’s cute to watch.
I recognize its not likely something I’m ever going to achieve. I’m already 25 and I haven’t had any real interest in pursuing a relationship. My asexuality certainly has something to do with it. While I’m certainly not closeted about my sexuality I don’t know how I would approach that conversation with someone I want to have some sort of romantic relationship with. I’m not aromantic, at least I don’t think so. I can at least picture myself in a relationship; snuggling, holding hands, kissing. Just not much more than that.
My friends have generally been accepting of my lack of interest in sex but I have also run into people who don’t understand how I couldn’t be interested in something that society puts at the center of any truly meaningful adult relationship. It’s like I’m not grown up enough because I haven’t shown a graduated interest in sexual activities. It’s cute to only want to hold hands, it sounds like I’m in middle school with a crush on another student.
I have legitimately been told to my face that “that’ll change when you meet the right person”. Yeah. To some that might not sound super inappropriate but it, again, implies that my sexuality is a choice and I’ll eventually make the “right” choice when I meet the “right” person. It’s the asexual version of “You’re gay? You just haven’t meet the right girl yet.” Nope, it doesn’t work that way.
Why am I mentioning it now? Who really knows, it’s a part of me and thus is something I keep in mind at the oddest moments of daily activities. Being reminded of my own sexuality by little things is a little surprising because I can tell you one of the big places I don’t find those reminders: mass media. The LGBTQ2+ community has always struggled to find representation in modern media. I say modern media because a close look at some traditional tales provides us the reminder that heterosexuality has not been the only acceptable form of relationship throughout much of history. I’ll speak to the Greek because those are the stories and histories that I’m more familiar with.
Achilles and Patroclus in the Iliad are often speculated as being in a relationship (though traditional formations of Greek relationships likely wouldn’t have worked for these two characters considering Patroclus was older than Achilles which would have made him the ‘lover’ and Achilles the ‘beloved’ which isn’t the easiest thing to picture). Several of Plato’s dialogues include Alcibiades whom Socrates supposedly courted as a beloved (and who also has one of the best entrances to Plato’s Symposium with the line “Good evening gentlemen, I’m plastered!”).
Apollo was certainly a bi character and people are made the argument that Artemis asked not to be married because she interested in other woman – so why not spend your life frolicking and hunting with your women around you, killing men who expect you to like them? Of course, it does need to be noted that Artemis had a single male possible lover but often hunting partner in Orion who in many stories was a womanizer and such a hunter as wants to kill all the animals of the earth. He has generally two death versions: death by scorpion sting (created by Gaia to stop all the killing) or death by Artemis herself (for assaulting her, for assaulting another of her huntresses, being tricked into it by Apollo, being challenged by Orion himself – there’s really apparently a lot of reasons for Artemis to eventually off him) so the label of bi may also be more appropriate.
And then there’s Athena. Virgin goddess who sprung fully formed from the forehead of Zeus (after he swallowed her likely mother Metis (the titan of crafty thought and wisdom). She doesn’t have any lovers that are known of and is treated as one of the three virgin goddesses along with Artemis (who we mentioned above) and Hestia. Perhaps Hestia suits me even more: a virgin goddess of hearth and home. Not quite as violent as Athena can be. Every hearth becomes a shrine to Hestia who gave up her seat on Olympus to the newbie Dionysus and chose to sit beside the fire in the center of the hall instead. That would probably be me at every party if people still had hearths in their houses. Tending the fire and petting the house pets.
And people wonder why I read Greek mythology so much – I can see myself in some powerful and kick ass characters which I don’t often get the chance to experience. I might not get the relationship my parents have had. I might not sit with my significant other in several years, arguing over how best to tie notes, but that’s not the worst thing in the world. I can be happy and romantically independent: I’ve got several virgin goddesses that prove that. So, pardon me, I’m going to go hunting for hearth and home! Talk to you later!