So I had my first real-life discussion about the aromantic loss of privilege today, and it was with the irascible V, of all people. Talking to V is sometimes surprisingly cool, because she’s conservative through simple lack of thought, so I explain what I think in simple ways and see it click. For example, last week, I had to explain to her why gender stereotyping is bad. It’s challenging because she doesn’t have the same worldview as me, so I have to explain right from basics.
The conversation went something like this:
V: (thoughtlessly) I don’t think you’ll ever fall in love
V: Sorry, that was a really horrible thing to say. Of course you’ll...
Me: No. I don’t think I will ever fall in love. (first time I’d ever said that, out loud or possibly even in my head. Felt weird)
V: Ok. Are you upset about that?
Me: (pause) Not about not falling in love. I’d be ok with that. It’s just all the other things that automatically come with it.
V: (thinking of sex) But I thought you didn’t want those things?
Me: No, like the fact that it’d be almost impossible for me to have children. Like the fact that it’d be much easier to set up a home if I had a partner and lots of useful wedding presents. Like the fact that, as people get older, they automatically withdraw into their romantic relationships and leave the friendships, so I have so much less security against being alone than others.
V: I’d never thought of it like that. I suppose most married people don’t spend much time with their friends any more.
V: (later) Maybe you could marry [mutual friend who doesn’t seem interested in sex or relationships].
I think the thing about my conversations with V is that I’ve realised the extent to which anyone, even someone of a completely different mindset to you, can eventually understand what makes you tick if you just both take the effort to meet in the middle and you make sure you use the right sort of language and the right shape of ideas.