Maybe It’ll Just Happen

Over the past week or so I have felt sad about my attraction to men. While I love my life without a male romantic partner, I still feel some angst about feeling attracted to men at all. When I let myself luxuriate in my emotions, I recognize that a lot of my pain comes from my lack of control surrounding men, dating, and desire.

As a former anorexic, I tend to prefer situations where I can exert a lot of control. When I look back on the past several years of my life, so many of the men I have encountered have either brought me pain or mediocrity. This lack of fulfilling men instills within me a sense of hopelessness. I then think about how while none of my closest friends are romantically dating right now, my more casual friends’ boyfriends either refuse to go to therapy or kinda bore me bless the boring yet wholesome ones or both. When I reflect a lot on this topic, I feel overwhelmed by how I cannot control men’s socioemotional development, their willingness to go to therapy and commit to it, and any overall lack of compatibility or intriguingness.

Several weeks ago before COVID-19 got as bad as it is now, one of my best friends who’d been quarantining and I rented a boat in Baltimore and got take out from NiHao, an amazing Chinese restaurant. As we ate we talked about our childhoods, our friendship, and how we process emotions and our mortality. Friendship is the most central and healthy relationship for me yay!

I will admit that I myself contribute to this angst. I do not mean my standards – my closest friends are all communicative, compassionate, willing to go to therapy or are in therapy, funny, social justice-oriented, etc. So, I feel I can expect the same from any potential male romantic partner. However, I think my own orientation towards control exacerbates the general angst that accompanies my attraction to men. One of my best friends and I have talked about how I have met some cute Asian guys who checked off some of my boxes yet not all of them, like the really fiery social justice organizer who didn’t have his emotional life together, or the really artsy and wholesome half-Filipino guy who was cute yet not that interesting to me. If I’ve met men who’ve met most of my standards, maybe one will manifest who meets all of them. Another one of my best friends commiserated with me about being attracted to men over text, and she then said that who knows, we don’t know who we’ll meet in our lives who will love us or not. This friend seems way more comfortable with the uncertainty and ambiguity of maybe or maybe not dating a man in the future.

Maybe it’ll just happen. I exert a lot of control in most areas of my life: I work hard in my research and teaching and clinical work, I invest a lot of energy and effort into my friendships, and I commit lots of time to my hobbies like reading and writing. I feel that control does help in these areas of my life because I target what I want to accomplish (e.g., helping others and promoting social justice) and then I take action to make it happen. However, with men, maybe I can let go some of this desire for control. While I can practice some agency surrounding my slight desire to date a man, like going on dates with guys who have some potential, continuing to live a values-based and emotionally healthy life, and being hot not my fault I’m attractive, you can blame BlackPink for their cover of “So Hot” and Audre Lorde for role-modeling self-possession, I also recognize that the man will show up if he shows up. Maybe it can feel pleasant in some way, this notion that I can take a step back and let life run its course.  

I will let myself feel sad about being attracted to men and my slight desire to date a man while still enacting empowerment and resistance against amatonormativity. I feel super happy about my life without a man: my research, teaching, and clinical work are thriving, my friendships are powerful and restorative, and I feel grounded in the present moment on the day to day. And even if I cannot control whether I will meet a man who meets my standards in my own life, I can continue to take action to fight toxic masculinity and racism so that for the next generation of gay pink-haired Vietnamese folx, maybe finding a worthwhile man to date will feel a little easier.

I took this mirror selfie last week after I got my first dose of the Moderna vaccine. Though there’s still a lot of work to eliminate racism in science, especially anti-Black racism, I hope everyone who can get the vaccine does when it becomes more readily available. Just another excuse to broadcast my hair lol.

How do you balance both exerting agency in your life as well as letting things happen? General reactions to this post? My 2021 is extremely busy so far with various work obligations however I refuse to be defined by my work so on top of maintaining my iconic close friendships, reading, and working out I am going to try to keep posting weekly or at least biweekly. Until next post!

7 Comments

Filed under Personal

7 responses to “Maybe It’ll Just Happen

  1. It’s great that you got your vaccine shot.

    I’ve noticed you revisit this theme about finding a romantic partner frequently. Is there something or event that is triggering this? It’s not that this theme isn’t important. Perhaps you’re beginning to accept the conclusion you’ve reached.

    Or maybe it’s 1:30 AM and I’m reading way too much into this.

    p.s. the take out food looks incredibly good.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment Matt! Yep it’s definitely a theme, I think in this post I reached the realization that I think part of what keeps it on my mind is the lack of control that search entails – which I feel more or less fine about now. I also try to ensure that not like, every post is about men because that would be awful. (: Hope you are well and that this upcoming week goes well for you!

  2. I’m so pleased you have had your vaccine! My parents-in-law have had their first dose now, and Claire and I encountered a huge queue of elders waiting for theirs by the health centre yesterday (there’s an admin issue if you don’t bring your NHS number with you that is causing huge queues).

    Regarding the problem with being attracted to men, who tend to fall short as a gender, it seems, are you comparing them with women and yearning for these perfect beings? Because I know a lot of crap women, too. I’m not entirely sure the women I know are any better or worse than the men. Hm. I do think that missing the OOH EXCITEMENT bit is maybe not such an immediate red flag as someone not being into social justice or a racist or a right-winger or something. Because for the long term, the excitement can’t last and what you really need is someone solid and dependable who will take the cats’ samples or get up in the night to investigate that weird noise. So maybe give those ones a chance.

    And you can’t “know” and that is a bit crap, but you accept other stuff you can’t know, really. You can’t control when that new album drops or what exactly your hair dye will do. Does that help at all?

    • I’m glad your parent-in-laws got their first dose! I am curious if the vaccine rollout in the UK is any better than it is in the US because it is not going very well here. Fingers crossed for us all in this pandemic.

      Thanks for raising those points! Yeah I definitely recognize that no man or person is perfect – including my friends – though I definitely want a man who’s on my friends’ level which I feel like is reasonable. Point well taken that there are women who perpetuate oppression too, especially women with more privileged social identities. And I hear that point about the excitement piece; I suppose for me I want someone who can bring both that excitement at first, even if it may fade, as well as enough similar interests/values/conversational chemistry to last the long-term. Though I’m also very happy without a man too so yay.

      Yes thank you for raising those points! I’ve tried to tell myself similar things too, especially about how I literally had no control or clue about BlackPink releasing their music and yet it’s brought me so much happiness. So we’ll see. (:

  3. Kartavya Ratate

    I love the fact that you don’t try to suppress your feelings and thoughts. Instead, you introspect and try to regulate your emotions by exercising compassionate self-talk. I feel like it is so important for our emotional well-being, the choice of accepting what we feel.

    • Aw thanks so much for appreciating my internal process! Yes I try to role model that and to share honestly about both my feelings and how I approach them. So appreciate you taking the time to read and provide such a validating and warm comment.

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