From the archive: A few years I lost a lot of weight and noticed some interesting changes in the way people responded to me. Here’s a snippet of what I reflected on back then. 

I don’t make any secret of the fact that I’m as single as a single person comes – never been on a date, never held hands, never been kissed. I do consider myself to be in possession of a fairly healthy sexuality. I’ve certainly met my fair share of men who, in possession of depth, character and a sense of humour have won my affection. In other words – I’ve never been not open to the idea. In fact – if there is one thing in this world that I know how to do.. it’s crush. I’mreally good at seeing the beauty, goodness and wonder in the people around me.

Still – something in the wind has changed.

The only thing that’s changed is my physical appearance. And I’m not offended by it. It’s the most honest thing to acknowledge. Sometimes love and romance needs a trigger; sex certainly does.

Whatever the threshold of commonly accepted desirability/eligibility is – I think I’ve passed it. For the first time in my adult life, people are taking an interest in my love life. They’re suggesting people to connect with. It’s intensely strange to experience something that feels so adolescent at this stage of my life. Some in jest, some in resolute seriousness, have begun to talk about my relationship status, potential mates. From the most unusual places, comes commentary, speculation and suggestion.

The only thing that’s changed is my physical appearance. And I’m not offended by it. It’s the most honest thing to acknowledge. No more of that, true love loves regardless stuff. Sometimes love and romance needs a trigger, and sex definitely does. Chemistry might still exist but it has a hard time getting out there when you’re carrying extra kilos than you should. There’s no issue in that for me. I’m so different now to how I was and so much the same. I’m no more or less sexually aware or available than I ever was… but others’ awareness of me has changed.

In fact, it’s almost a rewarding gratification. It’s a relief to be noticed at last. It’s a relief to have my sexuality, my gender recognised and attributed to my attractiveness. It’s confirming and affirming my identity and participation within the species. I am no more woman than ever I was, but oh, you should hear me roar now.

What I wonder is – to what extent does physicality impact our overall perception of sexuality/eligibility and attraction? I’m not really that different in mind or heart than I was 10 months ago, but still I think a friend said it best, when he said “You’ll be married any minute now – just look at you!” I’m thinking it impacts us quite a lot. In fact, more so the group and community dynamic than the individual. After all, in years past – the art of matchmaking has always had a place in community ritual. So, community affirmation of sexuality and gender identity is important.

So, is there a threshold at which we subconsciously categorize people and attribute a certain level of asexuality to their persona? A point at which we stop considering the attributes of sexuality in the consideration of a whole person?

From Another Side
I’ve always felt guilty of failure, as if there was a part of my understanding of human nature that was simply underdeveloped, unqualified due to my inexperience. I’ve had to consciously shirk off feelings of “less-than” and the looks that suggested a sub-text I’d only understand once I’d had a relationship of my own.

I can agree that there are many nuances of human behaviour that I have not experienced for myself. Still, my observation skills seem to increase exponentially as the years tick by. Last night around drinks, there was a refreshing and unheard of perspective shared for the first time ever. With it, a bit of a bubble broke and I felt somehow released.

“Still,” he said (being the recipient of a recently shattered heart), “you’ve got to be thankful that you don’t have any of that baggage of poor relationships to carry into the future. Everything’s a fresh clean slate.”

Yes – there is something delightful about that. Whatever tragedies I have suffered on my own or lived vicariously through my friends … I have no significant love wounds. All unnecessary and unfounded conjecture on love may abound – but I can believe the best of love between a man and a woman. I can believe in soulmates, in connection as deep of the deepest oceans. I can believe in patience and appreciating someone for who they are, not how they make me feel. I can love freely out of knowing myself. I can believe the best of love and how it is.

Now, the world says I am qualified for love; acceptably attractive. The community expects it of me. Isn’t that strange?

This was written more than five years ago. I’m slightly heavier now than I was writing this, but just as single. A few stolen kisses and plenty of confirmation of my robust, vital sexuality. Still unscarred from love and yet, not without wounds. My community has changed expectation too. Now, those who speak say it’s my intelligence and independence. Others nod sympathetically, I just nod. I am more myself now than I was then but I have always been me.