On Monday a friend engaged me in conversation about my last post (which was a cool thing to happen). He wanted to jump ahead to some of the information I don’t quite have yet — the specifics of who I want. But he also posed a question that feeds right into this (probably pretty long) post.
I’m a woman and I declared I am looking for a husband, but then all the part about wanting to love someone used the gender neutral terms ‘someone’ and ‘them’ and ‘partner.’ I was deliberate about that when I was writing that post, and I’m glad someone asked me about it. Below are a bunch of answers.
Why a man? — I am a heterosexual female. Marrying a heterosexual male seems like the best, most likely, mutually fulfilling option.
If you want a man, why indulge in the use of gender neutral pronouns? — Inclusivity, my ‘gender second’ world view, my desire for an absolutely equal relationship.
First –even though I was speaking about my desire to love someone specifically in the context of pair-bonding– I do believe that love, even romantic love, can bloom in any context. And when people read my journey, I want them to be able to relate without feeling that their emotions or experiences are different because they don’t match my desired gender combination. Whomever you want to love, their absence and the search for them comes with the same weight and struggles.
Second, I have a world view that we are all humans first, everything else second. The foundation of my empathy and joy in other people is my faith in the idea that we are all the same in every way that matters: made of the same materials, got here in the same way, facing the same challenges in living life (albeit sometimes in vastly different contexts), hungering, suffering, delighting in effectively the same ways. If every human is equal to you, the falling in love bit is transacted with the personality and character of your human of interest, and gender is secondary. It is in fact only necessary to specify your sexual orientation and/or your gender of interest, if you are only interested in sex with that one gender. Well, mostly.
I feel open to loving anyone. In fact in my late youth, I am finding a depth of emotion about many things that I did not used to indulge. This means I take great joy, and find much to love about every good person I meet, regardless of demographics. However, I am only interested in having sex with men. So I have to slap on the label heterosexual. Which is accurate. Well, mostly
I say that I am “heterosexual, well, mostly” because I’m not sure sexuality is actually the right proxy for the relationship I want. I am very literally heterosexual in two ways: 1) I love and lust for men’s bodies and physicality. I am a fan of everything that makes a man physiologically separate from me. 2) Men are my preferred company. I want to pair bond with a man. Sounds great! Totally on the heterosexual track. But it falls apart when it comes to how I am supposed to work to attract a man, and what I want our relationship to be.
Third, and here I stray into some gender theory that may just be plain wrong, but it makes some sense to me and I’m trying it out. In a heterosexual context it is assumed the each partner actively desires their opposite. The man wants the woman because of all the ways she is not a man (and vice versa). It follows then that in a homosexual context each partner desires their same. So, there is an underlying assumption of equality in homosexual relationships that is absent or at least very different in heterosexual relationships. Because the whole point of heterosexual relationships is union between different (opposite) beings, I think the assumption of equality is absent. Perhaps it seems like there is no need for that assumption because two things as different as man and woman could not possibly be equal. To use a (weak) food analogy, tofu and bacon will never be equal. They just aren’t alike enough.
So my heterosexuality ‘stops’ at a point because I want a relationship with an underlying assumption of equality. I’m not really interested in being desired for being a woman. I don’t want to have children or be a mother by other means, or look hot so he can impress his friends. I want to live in the world, and think about it and enjoy it with a trustworthy friend who is as curious about it, excited about it, and eager to find joy and humor in it as I am. In short, I want the kind of love 10-year-old best friends have for each other.
I know I can’t control why someone desires me, so I need to give that part up. If he will act like mine, and treat me like his, ’10-year-old best friend.’ That’s good enough. But I guess I don’t know how to get things started. Men who approach me because they find me attractive intimidate me. I get totally frightened and effectively run away screaming. Men I’m attracted to, I befriend and the message he needs to hear about my interest is totally lost. So I’m looking for a man who wants (a lot of) what I want in a relationship, and is similarly defective at speaking social norms. It would also help a lot if his approach was empty of any haste to get laid.