Ace of Gays

Graphic Alexandra Nackley

The Characters

JANET (she/her): a 25-year-old woman who took a few psychology electives in her undergraduate degree and now believes she is basically a psychologist. She met JESSIE in one of such classes and somehow befriended them despite the two having nothing in common besides being different shades of queer.

JESSIE (they/he): a 23-year-old androgynous person who writes short stories because they are taking a mental health break from their undergraduate degree in English literature. The break could last anywhere between one and three years.

Ace of Gays

The stage is bare besides a café table with two chairs. JANET and JESSIE are sitting facing each other and JANET is reading something on her computer. JESSIE is sipping from a mug and is tapping nervously on the table with their free hand.

JANET [looking up from her computer screen, on which she had been reading a short story draft written by JESSIE]: Where’s the love arc?

JESSIE [sighing and speaking slowly]: Why does everything in western media need a love arc? [They roll their eyes playfully] Can’t I tell a story for the sake of telling a story without there being a side dish of sex and romance? The message of my story would get lost if I made the main character fall in love. Romantic love is just filler for when you don’t know how to advance your plot. [Pause]

 JESSIE (cont’d) [ in a more genuine tone]: That was a cynical way of putting it. I just wanted to write a story where the focus isn’t romance, for once. While I never state it explicitly, my main character doesn’t experience romantic attraction, but they still have fondness for the people they care about.

JANET [confused]: Are you implying your main character can’t feel love?

JESSIE: No, of course not. My main character loves their friends and family. They just don’t experience romantic love, sexual desire or lust. [Pause] 

 JESSIE (cont’d) [thinking aloud]: Well, they could be both aromantic and asexual, but maybe they are only aromantic, meaning they would experience sexual attraction. I haven’t decided that yet, but it’s probably not important for my story.

JANET [still confused]: Will there be a plot twist where they find the right person? Everyone has a soulmate. [JESSIE gives JANET a glare, reminding JANET that her friend doesn’t believe in soulmates] Okay! Okay! Even if you don’t believe in soulmates, you agree that everyone can fall in love, it’s just a matter of finding the right person! If aromanticism is just an aversion to romance, and asexuality is just an aversion to sex, meeting the right person will change that.

JESSIE [facepalming]: No cause—what are you saying? [Laughs] Aromanticism isn’t necessarily an aversion to romance just like asexuality isn’t necessarily an aversion to sex. Both are spectrums, so the degree to which different aromantic people experience romantic attraction varies, meaning some occasionally do and others never do. It’s not a matter of finding the right person unless you mean the right person is someone who will respect that and won’t try to change who the person is. Now, for asexuals, some are sex-positive, meaning they aren’t averted to sex and may even experience sexual desire without having that desire being elicited by someone they find attractive.

JANET: So asexuals can still find people attractive?

JESSIE: Of course, and some will have sex with people they find attractive either just for fun or to feel closer to their partner or partners. 

JANET [surprised]: I thought asexuals never had sex. I thought they were… what’s the word? Sex-repulsed!

JESSIE: Some asexuals are sex-repulsed, yes, but asexuality is hard to define because asexuals aren’t a monolith.

JANET [finally understanding]: Okay, so the label ‘asexual’ is kind of a misnomer then.

JESSIE: Well, terms like demisexual and greysexual exist to describe those who either sometimes feel sexual attraction or who don’t quite fit the asexual mould. I wasn’t trying to make a statement by making my character appear aromantic and/or asexual, I was just trying to write a story that didn’t have any unnecessary fluff.

JANET [laughing and looking back at her computer screen]: Okay, then in that case, here are some adjustments I would make…

[The stage lights slowly fade to black as JANET says something the audience barely hears. JESSIE listens to JANET attentively and takes notes on a notepad.]

This article originally appeared in Volume 43, Issue 9, published January 10, 2023.