Another Five Years

If you read this blog, you know I dislike my attraction to men. I always say that I love being gay, I just disdain feeling romantic attraction toward a gender socialized to be uncommunicative, uncaring, and unself-aware. In my day to day life my attraction to men affects me very little because I feel fulfilled by my intimate friendships and more casual friends, I have meaningful ways to contribute to compassion and social justice, and I love myself. This past week though, I reflected on another reason I wish I were not attracted to men: if I were to be with a guy, I would want someone who has and continues to work on himself, which I have no control over.

I feel like this prerequisite frustrates me because I like planning and some level of control. For example, I considered becoming a psychologist at around eight years old, and I solidified psychology as my desired career path at the beginning of undergrad. I then worked super hard so I could enter a PhD program right away at 22, as the youngest person in my cohort by a few years. Now I am on track to graduate and be an actual licensed psychologist by 28. I write this not to glorify accomplishing things at a young age one of my former crushes won one of the most “prestigious” scholarships in the world in his early 20s and treated me like garbage when he was 29 so accomplishments don’t mean shit but to highlight my personality and work ethic. Most things with some level of control feel easy for me. I figure out what I want (e.g., to make a difference in the lives of others), make a plan to get it, and execute my plan. Then I have it.

What sucks about this planning predisposition when it comes to men is that I have no control whether men will work on themselves or not. I don’t have control about whether a man exists who I’d ever actually be into beyond a crush who I write one to seven blog posts about who turns out to be mediocre at best.

This past week, I felt some small hope about encountering a man after reading the amazing novel A World Between by Emily Hashimoto. The book follows two queer Asian American women who fall into and out of each other’s lives throughout their 20s and 30s. What I loved most about the book: though these two women engage in an on-and-off romantic relationship, they also grow in distinct and meaningful ways as individuals outside of their relationship with one another.

This book both gave me hope for romantic love and reinforced the importance of loving yourself first. Iconic.

I still felt a bit hopeless after reading the novel because women are more likely to invest in their self-growth compared to men. But I also thought that maybe, just maybe, my potential future boyfriend omg I literally said “ew” out loud sitting in my kitchen after I wrote the word “boyfriend” is out there working on himself and growing as a person, just like Eleanor and Leena from A World Between. Maybe he’s an architect who’s learning to accept his sexual orientation after growing up in a religious household where his parents prioritized academic achievements over self-exploration. Perhaps he’s an anti-capitalist growing to love himself after engaging in a codependent relationship with an ex-boyfriend who didn’t appreciate Jeni’s ice cream and therefore isn’t worthy. Maybe he’s an Australian firefighter recognizing that he should pursue a redhead Vietnamese BlackPink stan who discloses heavily about his life on the internet and clearly lost control of this paragraph after he wrote it while listening to the instrumental version of “Lovesick Girls.”

Or maybe this man does not exist and I will never date anyone. If that’s the case I’d be 100% content because I love my life with myself and my closest friends. I often wonder if we lived in a society where friendship was prioritized as much as romance if I’d even want to date at all, regardless if a hot book-loving social-justice-oriented dude showed up. Somewhat tangentially, one of my closest friends and I joked the other night about a guy I find kinda cute, and she said “Thomas [redacted] won’t be good enough for you for another five years, if ever” which I agreed with. Whether it be five years, ten years, or never – I’m ready, because I already know and love myself.

I came across this quote again and loved it! I begrudgingly accept that I am attracted to men and will make efforts to change the societal conditions that make men so difficult to be attracted to.

How do you cope with or make meaning from things in your life that you cannot control? If you are attracted to men and feel similarly about it to me, how have you tried to prosper or not despite your attraction to men? General reactions to this post? I am going to go grocery shopping while listening to BlackPink’s “Lovesick Girls” (which has been on constant repeat, lol yay) after I publish this post and then respond to comments from my most recent post after that. Until next time!

5 Comments

Filed under Personal

5 responses to “Another Five Years

  1. I have had so many times when I wished I wasn’t straight (although I have a good friend who’s gay whose girlfriend is basically my husband in female form* so …) *I just typed “human form” oops. I’d rather be alone than with someone sub-standard although my standards have relaxed over the years probably. M is certainly proving exceptionally supportive over some awful news I’ve just had about a good friend, while caring for our pets and (over??) caring about politics. And I LOVE the look of A World Between and am going to put it on my wishlist so it appears at Christmas or birthday or I can buy it when my book-buying ban because of the above is lifted, so thanks for the rec.

    • Yesss thanks for sharing your processes re: your various relationships! Omg yesss I’m honestly already waiting for your review or thoughts on A World Between whenever you allow yourself to get a copy of it, it’s soooo good. Yay for people who have blogs who love books (aka us!)

  2. Brittany

    This is my number one requirement for men too!! Personal growth AND has no problems seeing a therapist/counselling on a regular basis, even if it’s just for personal growth. And yes, this is tough to find, hetero or not.

    P.s. I follow you on goodreads and love your reviews and taste in books. 🙂

    • Yesss we love requiring personal growth and someone willing to see a therapist/counselor! Thank you for your solidarity re: it being difficult to find. Also appreciate your kind words re: my reviews and tastes in books! Please don’t be a stranger if you don’t want to and looking forward to further interactions on here/Goodreads, and/or thanks for taking the time to read my writing in general. (:

  3. Thomas – my apologies with being so late with my comment. I read this and wanted to think about how I would answer (which I frequently do). Then my brain stopped working.

    I think you have a lot of what you’re looking for in friendships and relationships. Being in a relationship with a partner means giving up control. You have control of your destiny. That’s how you got out of the house and into a successful academic field of your choosing. Relationships are challenging and rewarding. People change over time. There isn’t one fully formed person – we all have issues. Some of us have the insight and initiative to work on them. Some of us don’t. And some of us will give up.

    I remember my bf and I arguing once. He said “I want the old Matt back.” I told him I’ve changed. Anyways… not easy.

    If you’re happy where you are in life then just go with it.

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