General reactions

For discussion of general issues pertaining to asexuality.
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ghosts
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General reactions

Postby ghosts » Tue Jan 08, 2008 3:03 pm

Ok! I guess I'm starting a relatively simple topic to get us started.

A "coming out" thread of sorts. What have your experiences been when discussing asexuality with friends and family?

I guess I'm just wondering because I often hear a lot of negative stories, and it seems like I've been pretty fortunate. Not that I've told a *ton* of people, but when I have, they've generally been pretty understanding and accepting. Of course, I live in a somewhat more liberal area of the US, and I also hang out with some open-minded people, so maybe that's a reason for my own experiences. But I've only gotten maybe one negative reaction from a friend - just the usual "You'll change your mind someday when you meet the right person" kind of thing, and the disbelief that asexuality is real. Most other people might be confused about what it is at first - my brother was one such person, who was confused at first by the fact that Hu & winter had a relationship when watching a tv clip, but understood pretty quickly after I explained asexuality a bit more.

And while I'm at it - are you pretty open about your asexuality, or do you keep it a secret even among people you're close to?

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Re: General reactions

Postby Kez » Tue Jan 08, 2008 3:07 pm

The people I've told have been pretty open to the idea. They all say that, looking back, that everything makes sense - that I didn't talk about anyone in that way at school, etc etc. Which is good.

I tell people if it comes up in conversation. Most of my friends know that I like girls, but not all of them know that I'm a. I'm not scared of telling them, it just hasn't come up in conversation...

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Jessamyn
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Re: General reactions

Postby Jessamyn » Tue Jan 08, 2008 3:28 pm

my parents have trouble understanding the idea of a romantic relationship without sexual attraction, but then I never did discuss the issue with them very fully. they're pretty accepting, really. the friends that I've told don't really understand it that much, but they're not bothered by it.

I don't really talk about it much because it just doesn't come up, and I'm not really one for big 'coming out' moments. when it does become part of a discussion I'll talk about it openly, but I tend to talk about the concepts without using the terms for them--asexuality, heteroromantic, that kind of thing--because I often feel like the jargon is more confusing than the ideas themselves.
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ghosts
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Re: General reactions

Postby ghosts » Tue Jan 08, 2008 3:47 pm

I think I've only used the term "asexual", rather than the "-romantic" terms, but that's 'cause I'm not that crazy about them. I'll often describe the concepts without using the terms as well.

And yeah, I'm not one for having a "coming out" discussion with other people (and for some reason, the term "coming out" doesn't really do it for me). Generally, it's just a thing that comes up casually in conversation if it's relevant.

Weirdest "coming out" (can't think of another term at the moment!) situation for me: the 20/20 special was airing while I was visiting a friend in another state. I wanted to watch it, but was hoping to do so in privacy - no such luck. My friend was having other people stay over for the night, including 2 bands on tour, so I was watching the thing in the living room with about 5 or 6 other people, and decided to explain the real reason why I wanted to watch it rather than making up some sort of lame excuse. Fortunately, everyone was pretty receptive to the idea, especially the friend I was staying with.

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Nijiiro
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Re: General reactions

Postby Nijiiro » Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:06 pm

People who know about science tend to joke about it.
Others demand to know things about masturbation and fancying people.
Family think I haven't met the right person.

Oddly enough, I quite agree with my family. Maybe I haven't.
However, I'm not jumping on the bandwagon and sleeping with the first person who calls me pretty or whatever it is guys saty to girls...

I generally avoid discussing sexuality. Most people tend to think I'm gay, though...
But whatever will be will be, so if asked, I tell people I'm just not interested or made for relationships. Of course, in today's society that doesn't neccissarily rule out sex. But it does for me.

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Saiya
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Re: General reactions

Postby Saiya » Sat Jan 12, 2008 7:32 pm

I'm generally not a coming out kind of person, the closest people in my life right now might be able to guess
but i haven't said anything to them.

I tend to mention it if asked but nobody has as of yet so i'm reluctant to do the big 'coming out' thing but it also doesn't help that most of my reactions to it have not been good.
My parents are accepting of it but are generally still very awkward around me whether it's unintentional or not but i think that has
more to do with them not understanding it that much.

As for the few friends that i have come out to it has not gone well, with one of them convinced i was just repressed and them
admitting to having a crush on me, said person then went on to become very clingy and possessive of me in a way that made our friendship break down.

So overall i'm not very open about it as being open generally seems to cause problems within my friendships.
I do admit to most that ask that i don't have much interest in sex or relationships but most people haven't heard the term 'asexual' so
saying that doesn't usually cause most people suspect.

IAmAFishFlopFlopFlop
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Re: General reactions

Postby IAmAFishFlopFlopFlop » Sun Jan 20, 2008 12:07 pm

Okay. Wow, this is different from AVEN. It's a little like going from a C64 to a 360. There's like, more emoticons (which I rarely use anyway) and a trazillion font colours and stuff.

Right, first coming-outage to my best friend:
Me:I wonder if I'm asexual.
Her: Maybe.
Me: I think I might be, actually. It would explain why I don't think about sex with girls I like, and just getting close to them, really.

Second coming-outage, to my other best friend:
Me: I think I'm possibly asexual.
Her: [laugh]
Me:You don't really know what it means, do you?
Her: Yes...actually no. Explain
Me: Okay, well. Basically, asexuality is where you don't experience sexual attraction. I don't mean asexual in the amoeba sense.
Her: Oh my.
Me: I preferred Alison's reaction of 'maybe'.
Her: [Laughs] Sorry
Me: At least you're not blethering on about some kind of sexual aversion disorder.
Her: [Laughs] Maybe you'll feel different when your older.
Me: I don't know; it's not like I'm not attracted to girls, more that I don't want to jump into bed with them.
Her: Erm...I don't know what to say here.
Me: You don't have to say anything. I'm just clearing up a fairly common misconception
Her: Okay, so...

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Emmarainbow
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Re: General reactions

Postby Emmarainbow » Sun Jan 20, 2008 1:55 pm

Well, I love talking about sexuality, so it does tend to come up in conversation... so I tend to end up coming out to people all the time! However, not one of my *close* friends has ever doubted me for it. It's generally been seen as a non-issue by them. When I told people at school (considering we were all 15-16) I got some pretty immature reactions and a great deal of curiousity, as well as some plain bizarre questions ('do you masturbate with calculators? No, really?'). In uni, I've come to find a variety of responses, from people thinking I'm a secret lesbian, just 'not ready' yet, to wanting to be enthusiastically in with the cause. Even a couple of people (bless 'em) who expected their animal magnetism to change me somehow. :roll: To AberPride (the gay/etc group on campus) I've had only positive responses, most of them being 'oh, you are too? I know this guy...' which is awesome! To my mum, 'Oh. Fine. Don't tell your dad...' (and knowing what a neurotic worrier my dad is, I agree with her...)

Usually it's sparked a really interesting conversation! :D

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Mysteria
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Re: General reactions

Postby Mysteria » Sun Jan 20, 2008 4:06 pm

LOL, calculators, Emmarainbow? Wow, what was up with that?

I'm pretty open about being asexual. I don't make it a point to come out to everyone, but when sexuality comes up in a conversation I'll usually mention it. I've had a range of reactions, from the very negative to the very positive. The worst reaction I ever got was when I told my dad during an argument we were having about gay rights. He kept insisting that I must be gay, if I'm so interested in gay rights (and had never had a boyfriend or shown any interest in having one), so I told him I was asexual. At first, obviously being confused, he was like, "No you aren't, I saw you when you were born!" So I told him what it really means, and then he said, and this is a direct quote, "You'll change your mind the first time you get raped." :deadpan:

My mother also thought I was a lesbian, but she was much more subtle about it, although still judgmental. The first time I got into a relationship and told her without specifying gender, the first thing she said was, "So what's her name?" It didn't help that this relationship was with an ftm transboy, so she thought that confirmed her beliefs about me. It was a long distance relationship, and I tried to convince her to let me go see him, but since he was a little bit younger than me and I was already 18, she thought I was going to go over there to seduce him and it would be legal trouble for her. So I told her we were both asexual, and she just gave me a tight-lipped "...That's weird." :roll:

Everyone else's reactions weren't nearly so bad. I once gave a speech about asexuality for my comm class, one girl gave me dirty looks the whole time but my teacher and one of the other students really loved it. People in the local LGBTA and feminist groups have either been like, "Oh, okay! That's cool," or "Isn't it boring though?" I think the best reaction I've ever gotten was from a guy who liked me, really wanted to go out with me and enthusiastically promised he'd be totally cool with the asexuality. Unfortunately it wasn't mutual... Interestingly, the only person who's ever given me a, "Well, I'd be inclined to think you just haven't met the right person," turned out to be that person, although he had a slightly different idea of what that means than I do. He thought he could make me sexual (maybe he still does, I don't know), I thought I could become comfortable enough to try it with him even though it's not natural for me.

I've also talked to a handful of people (mostly online) who I met through things completely unrelated to asexuality, and when I told them about it I got, "Hey, me too!" :lol:

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Mr. Paradox
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Re: General reactions

Postby Mr. Paradox » Sun Jan 20, 2008 4:10 pm

That first one has got to be the worst reaction of all time.
"He cannot, however, long remain asexual when he sees the great peasant girls, as ardent as mares in heat, abandoning themselves to the arms of robust youths."
--Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex

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Emmarainbow
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Re: General reactions

Postby Emmarainbow » Sun Jan 20, 2008 7:14 pm

Mr. Paradox wrote:That first one has got to be the worst reaction of all time.

:shock: seconded!

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Placebo
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Re: General reactions

Postby Placebo » Sun Jan 20, 2008 8:02 pm

The only person I've sort of told (without using the word "asexual", admittedly) was the only person to whom it matters, as it's the only person that I'm participating with in anything resembling sexual activities--and those are limited.

I started slow and took several times to do it, first explaining about previous dating type relationships I'd been in where I didn't understand why I didn't "like" the people more and ended up losing them because I didn't understand myself, nor did I express myself clearly. . . then I started explaining about the multiple different types of attraction--I pointed out that there are multiple types and I don't feel all of the 5 (only three, I'm missing romantic and sexual)--and my friend said, "wait. . . there's more than one? I've never heard of that! Explain!" So I did, and they seemed pretty receptive although clueless about the romantic one--which I obviously can't explain either--and pointed out that I only feel three of the five types, while my friend obviously feels four. At this point my friend seemed a bit confused (and still is) about how physical attraction and sexual attraction don't link in my mind, but is accepting about it and wants to make me feel good--it is obvious to both of us that we feel things differently and that I'm essentially lacking both the attraction and desire part, even though I obviously like cuddling and think that my friend is attractive. So. . .. it was a lovely coming-ish out.

Although my friend is still slightly confused, since what I feel is only extreme disinterest, it's not a relationship breaker (at the moment) and may not ever be--it's just (as I tried to explain) that I don't care enough to do any sexual activities on my own. Ever. And I would never try, except that it's like when I'm with a friend we become a single personality--a super-persona that we build when we are together has a different me component than the "me by myself persona" and it's OK that the super-persona discovers things together that we wouldn't necessarily do on our own, because our relationship is building us into something ever so slightly "other." I know that when I'm with another person I'm not the exact same person as I am when I am on my own, other people's moods and personalities and likes and dislikes affect me and how we interact and what activities we do--and this is no different than any other.
"Now it's right for me to be me."

Phil Halvorsen, from "The [Widget], the [Wadget], and Boff" (Theodore Sturgeon)

Omnes et Nihil
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Re: General reactions

Postby Omnes et Nihil » Sun Jan 20, 2008 9:52 pm

Mysteria wrote:So I told him what it really means, and then he said, and this is a direct quote, "You'll change your mind the first time you get raped." :deadpan:

That's the most shocking thing I've heard in a long time. And not because I've been knee deep in data with almost no human contact for the past while...


I skipped the whole "coming out to everyone" conversation process when I passed around an asexuality-related petition. Lots of explanatory conversations ensued... but they mostly came to me. It's more recently become clear that people who understand that I'm asexual (and not into the whole couple thing) still don't understand the implications of this... namely that my not wanting a partner is NOT evidence of a Peter Pan complex.

On the other hand, every time I see my mother, she finds a way to ask if I still "think" I'm asexual.

In general though... a new person will assume that I am something I'm not (usually a particular denomination of queer) and I'll correct them. Or people will ask about the buttons on my backpack. Or ocasionally I still say classically asexual things that stun people and someone else explains the awkwardness away by referring to the fact that I'm asexual. And these days, I mostly meet people in the capacity of jumping up and down waving my arms about some sort of anti-homophobia or gender and sexual diversity stuff... where my identity descriptors are, for better or for worse rather public... because that's just the way it has to happen here in Canada's Texas. It's is particularly funny though when I of all people unexpectedly find myself explaining to heterosexual guys what dental dams are and how to use them.

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Mysteria
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Re: General reactions

Postby Mysteria » Mon Jan 21, 2008 12:20 am

Yeah, I was pretty shocked when it happened, too. I mean, my dad's always been an intolerant bigot (and also a dangerous alcoholic), and he's said some pretty harsh things to me in the past, but nothing has ever topped that, nor likely ever will. But... that was in 2005, so I've long been over it. I'm used to hearing these kinds of things from him, so I don't let them bother me too much. The topic of asexuality has never really come up since.

IAmAFishFlopFlopFlop
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Re: General reactions

Postby IAmAFishFlopFlopFlop » Mon Jan 21, 2008 10:20 am

Mysteria wrote:"You'll change your mind the first time you get raped."


Uhh...

First time?

8|

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spin
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Re: General reactions

Postby spin » Mon Jan 21, 2008 11:18 am

Yikes, Mysteria. YIKES. But I guess it can only get better from there, right?

My friends are generally very understanding, in the "oh yeah, that makes sense" sort of way. Some have needed more involved explanation or just time to sink in, but everyone's been supportive. I generally use the cake metaphor to explain how I just am not interested in this thing most people can't get enough of, and so usually they just end up getting endlessly distracted with conversations about cake, and trying to stretch the poor metaphor as far as they possibly can.

My fella's reaction has pretty much consistently been, "that's a shame." A shame, but from the start it wasn't enough to make him less interested.

My sister just doesn't get me, but we usually don't get each other. I think she vaguely wants me to be happy, and vaguely understands sex isn't part of that for me. :roll:
My parents are holding out for a late bloom, but not pushing or anything. That's really as much as I can ask.

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Gadfly-in-Chief
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Re: General reactions

Postby Gadfly-in-Chief » Mon Jan 21, 2008 12:12 pm

Omnes et Nihil wrote:....here in Canada's Texas....


I have to ask, if you don't mind saying, where exactly or generally that is.
Yes, the unexamined life is not worth living. But as a student of logic, you must realize that this does not imply that the examined life is.

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Re: General reactions

Postby pretzelboy » Mon Jan 21, 2008 7:49 pm

I've only told about four people so far, but all the reactions have been pretty positive, and they didn't even ask for much clarification. The strangest one was definitely telling my mother about it. I found that to be a lot more difficult to do than with peers (and those were situations where it came up fairly naturally). Since I'm living about 3.5 hours from home and don't have a car, I told my mom over the phone, but was having difficulty doing so. So she asked me, "Is what you're trying to tell me that you're gay." I told her no, and after a bit of rambling I got the the point. Since most people don't know the word "asexual" I decided to introduce it without that word. So I said, "I'm not gay, but I'm not straight or bisexual either."
After a short pause, she said, "Oh, I think so-and-so is asexual too." It was kind of a "Hoy Shit! I didn't expect that response" moment. Evidently she had come up with the term on her own about 30 years ago to describe someone that she knew (and still does). Through watching him, she's come to be fine with asexuality which is why she was fine my asexuality. Later when we spoke in person about it at length, she joked about when I decide to get married , I need to find someone with a low sex drive.

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Re: General reactions

Postby Fosco » Tue Jan 22, 2008 2:04 pm

I've only told people who I think need to know, that's my parents. Other than those 2 people, as far as I am aware nobody else knows. Which is just the way I like it, it's no one else's business and I'm keeping it that way. :silence:

When I first 'came out' I started by telling my mum, I knew it wouldn't really be a problem, but I was still really nervous, which is to be expected; she didn't know what being asexual was, so I had to tell her, which helped to avoid comments like "I'm sure it's just a phase" or "you'll grow out of it". 8|
My mum then told my dad, and he really wasn't bothered either way. I think they were a tad disappointed, they assumed that I would never have children, which I hope will not be the case! Hopefully be able to find an asexual girly that I get on with. ;)

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Vittoria
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Re: General reactions

Postby Vittoria » Tue Jan 22, 2008 5:04 pm

The general reaction has been, "Yeah, that makes sense," from people who know me.

I've also had people ask me if I thought I may be asexual several years prior to my discovering the word, so I suppose I just give it off.

Omnes et Nihil
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Re: General reactions

Postby Omnes et Nihil » Tue Jan 22, 2008 9:53 pm

Gadfly-in-Chief wrote:
Omnes et Nihil wrote:....here in Canada's Texas....

I have to ask, if you don't mind saying, where exactly or generally that is.


Oh Alberta. It's the twilight zone out here. Less than a year to go though.

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Mr. Paradox
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Re: General reactions

Postby Mr. Paradox » Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:28 am

I always thought it was the Kansas of Canada. I liked it that way, because I could tell Canadians that I was from the Alberta of the United States.
"He cannot, however, long remain asexual when he sees the great peasant girls, as ardent as mares in heat, abandoning themselves to the arms of robust youths."
--Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex

Omnes et Nihil
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Re: General reactions

Postby Omnes et Nihil » Wed Jan 23, 2008 11:18 pm

Mr. Paradox wrote:I always thought it was the Kansas of Canada. I liked it that way, because I could tell Canadians that I was from the Alberta of the United States.


It might have been at one point. I think Texas has gained particular red-neck notoriety since the current Bush. I've definitely heard other people talk about Canada's Texas, but nobody talking about Canada's Kansas. Then again, the number of provinces and states ensures that there is no clean one-to-one mapping. Alberta could be both Texas and Kansas, and as long as nobody's trying to invert it, it will function mathematically soundly.

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cijay
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Re: General reactions

Postby cijay » Fri Jan 25, 2008 10:37 pm

I always thought of us more as the Kansas or Nebraska than the Texas...but for we both have oil.

Anyway, my coming out stories are rather uneventful and...well...yeah, uneventful. I've had nothing unforgiveably stupid said to me. Not that I tell a great number of people but people I know have seen the articles and the only person who has brought anything up was one smartass friend who wanted it autographed :lol:

I love this smilie :hmph: I have no idea when I'm going to use it so I'll just use it now :hmph: :hmph: :hmph: :hmph: :hmph: :hmph:

Omnes et Nihil
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Re: General reactions

Postby Omnes et Nihil » Sat Jan 26, 2008 1:31 am

cijay wrote:
I love this smilie :hmph: I have no idea when I'm going to use it so I'll just use it now :hmph: :hmph: :hmph: :hmph: :hmph: :hmph:


I have not idea what that smilie is supposed to be (other than "hmph!").

I do have to comment, that of the current 30 members on this board, at least 1/15 of us are currently residing in Alberta. Given both Alberta, and the purpose of apositive... that's feeling oddly radical. I'm terribly amused.

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cijay
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Re: General reactions

Postby cijay » Sat Jan 26, 2008 10:54 pm

Omnes et Nihil wrote:
cijay wrote:
I love this smilie :hmph: I have no idea when I'm going to use it so I'll just use it now :hmph: :hmph: :hmph: :hmph: :hmph: :hmph:


I have not idea what that smilie is supposed to be (other than "hmph!").

I do have to comment, that of the current 30 members on this board, at least 1/15 of us are currently residing in Alberta. Given both Alberta, and the purpose of apositive... that's feeling oddly radical. I'm terribly amused.


I know you said currently residing but I'll ALWAYS be Albertan LOL

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Spooky
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Re: General reactions

Postby Spooky » Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:18 am

Another one with uneventful coming out's. I have had the odd humorous reaction from friends - either "I could've told you that!" or totally off-the-ball remarks when they've obviously mistaken my meaning - or just had it shrugged off as another 'quirk' as it were. :)

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Shockwave
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Re: General reactions

Postby Shockwave » Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:57 am

I can honestly say that the worst reaction I've ever gotten was the classic "you just haven't met the right person" and that I only got once. I only come out when I feel it's necessary or to someone I think will be accepting. The rest of the world can just think whatever they want to.

Omnes et Nihil
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Re: General reactions

Postby Omnes et Nihil » Sun Jan 27, 2008 8:24 pm

cijay wrote:I know you said currently residing but I'll ALWAYS be Albertan LOL


Well, my months here are numbered. I'll always be an Ontarian.

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Shockwave
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Re: General reactions

Postby Shockwave » Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:47 pm

Mysteria wrote:"You'll change your mind the first time you get raped." :deadpan:


Yeah, you'd go from being uninterested to wanting to hack the testes off of everyone that has them.