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Like trying to play poker using chess pieces


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It took me five and a half years after I started ID'ing as ace to realise I was aro as well.

During that time, I'd gone through a few labels despite not having much love for the practice of labelling, because I'm a writer and I live for the rush of "finding the perfect word". At first I called myself a romantic ace, if an unconventional one. Then, as I became more proficient in Queer diction, I adopted grey-romantic as my go-to answer. I did so on the false premises that what I felt for this one particular man could only be romantic in nature.

I had a rulebook for poker in my hand (one word: amatonormativity), and a set of chess pieces in front of me (all those feelings, all those half-formed wishes and dreams), and I attempted to play poker with the chess pieces because some of it actually made sense: I had Kings, I had Queens, it stood to reason that I had the game figured out. Until the game started to make no sense.

I mean, I knew what a crush was supposed to feel like: your heart raced, your face warmed, your stomach fluttered; you thought about them all the time. I knew those were the signs of a crush, and when I noticed the same signs on myself, I took it for granted that I had a crush. And I never stopped to contemplate the thoughts that accompanied those physiological signs: even in the safety of my own fantasies, my "crush" and I weren't romantically involved. I had plenty of fantasies about kissing him, I'll grant you, because I've always had a slight obsession with kissing but haven't had the occasion to try it. That aside, I felt uncomfortable imagining we were romantic partners (I almost wrote boyfriends but I hate that word with a passion); I felt uncomfortable imagining we said "I love you" in a romantic context. But I had a chess piece in my hand I knew was called a King (those fantasies about kissing him), so I thought I had the means to play poker when the rulebook called for a King (romantic attraction). I was dead certain I was grey-romantic at the very least. A few days ago, I had to admit I'd been wrong about that.

It irks me to no end that it took me so long to figure it all out. There were times I showed signs of having a crush on one man or another but knew not to call my feelings romantic; I admired them, I wanted to have them be part of my life, but I didn't want to kiss them, which I thought was the Golden Rule for me as far as the difference between platonic and romantic attraction was concerned. Shows me what I know. There came a man I did want to kiss and I still didn't want to be his romantic partner, not even in my head.

I'm well aware that some people would call it romantic attraction nonetheless. I did so as well. But I came to realise it'd been queerplatonic all along: the thought of a close bond with him intrigued me enough to want to kiss him as a token of my deep affection. I still wouldn't go around kissing my friends, no -- but I would kiss my QPP if I ever had one.

Checkmate, alloromantics.

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