Some people have stamps, others that are more fabulous have shoes, and probably more people, who wouldn’t like to admit it, have sexual partners. But none of these come anything close to the most fabulous of all: socks.

If you haven’t already guessed it and wondered what I am talking about, it’s of course collections. It’s a hoarder’s dream to collect things, and although genetics peg me with a bit of a hoarder problem, I try to restrict it to a few things and thankfully one of them is digital so it doesn’t actually take up physical space.

My late father was a hoarder, and I remember thinking this when I clandestinely went into his office as a child. The odd times I made it in, I was always amazed at how packed it was. There was always dust on one bookshelf or another, but I never could have imagined what was lurking inside the closets, or the filing cabinets, or in the closet, or in the attic.

Sock collection

In some ways it irks me to think that I’m anything similar, but alas fighting genetics is impossible and I yield. I hoard, or rather I like to say I collect, socks. I’ve joked about it over the years and people have mocked me for the huge variety of colours and shapes and sizes, and it’s weird to say but I have an entire dresser dedicated to the storage of them, but yes it’s true.

I counted them and alas here are the totals:

110x ankle socks
14x above-ankle ‘normal’ socks, including ski-socks and leg warmers
21x ‘invisible’ socks, the ones you wear with flats or ‘sail’ shoes
13x leftovers without partners
Total shoes: 158

What worries me most about this is how I could lose the partners of 13 of my pairs. It hurts, like really hurts deep down. But alas, I’m coming clean and setting the record straight. This collection will, of course, add more than subtract due to attrition. Socks, it was only socks, and no I’m most certainly not a man-whore or giggilo.

Many can attest to the fact that asexuality is not mainstream and many people are quite ignorant about it, but when observant people like myself notice things, it makes me wonder.

Belgium’s Eliot Vassamillet singing in Eurovision Song Contest 2019

On Thursday last, Belgium’s Eliot Vassamillet competed in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 Semi-Final 🇧🇪, and in his act I took keen notice to something he was wearing on his hand. On his left middle finger, a black band ring wrapped itself around the finger. This intrigued me for several reasons.

Firstly, in the ace community a black ring on the middle finger of the right hand is generally a symbol of someone being asexual. I have two rings myself and occasionally wear them when out in public, so I was struck with a bit of shock that maybe a symbol I recognised made a public appearance on a huge stage.

Secondly, some might point out that a black band worn on the left hand middle finger might be the sign of a swinger. I did notice the hand on which the ring sat, but it was a bit hard for me to believe that a 19 year old Belgian man would be involved in swingers communities. Thus I assumed it was either a fashion statement, or a sign of asexuality rather than a sign of adult extracurricular activities.

Black ace ring

And so I’m led to believe that either this was an intentional action to bring awareness to asexuality, or rather a fashion choice to go along with the outfit, and thus his styling team being ignorant of the niche symbol.

The latter is more likely, but it did make me think for a minute. It’s rare to encounter people like myself, so when a chance pops up we jump on it. Who knows what the choice was and what he was trying to communicate, but if you’ve got any intel; let me know!

By the way, Belgium, you song was okay! 😋

It’s as good a time as any to have a story time, so here it goes. Once upon a time there was this guy who was trying to meet someone, and living in Sweden means that it’s nearly impossible to do it in person so he went online. He came into contact with someone, a few weeks after he had a very traumatic experience with someone else that left him shaken and unwilling to jump in head first.

It started out basic enough, nice conversation and similar interests in films. The chatting went on for a few weeks here and there, and then moved to Snapchat where the tempo increased and it was clear that both liked each other.

Plans were made to hang out, go for drinks, and watch films together. The only thing that kept them apart was 30km and the Christmas holidays. However, something interesting had happened in this elapsed time. Photos were sent on a daily basis and chats went on every day, and what might be considered flirting ensued.

This new person was asking all sorts of questions, like if it was okay that they lived at home and didn’t have a good job and was a bit messed up from a past relationship with a girl. This didn’t perturb the hero, because at this point he knew what he wanted and the good that was inside, at least what he thought was good.

And so our hero left for the United Arab Emirates for Christmas to meet a a dear friend, but during this time a Snapchat achievement was made…

Photo courtesy of Snapchat

The evil red heart achievement came into the picture, and undoubtedly was noticed by both. No reaction was made, but it was something that was on the mind of our hero for many weeks.

Days went on, and every day while in the UAE they chatted and looked forward to meeting upon return to Stockholm. More plans were made, and even our hero made a comment about the queue of films, and hangouts in the works. This new person acknowledge and was happy about that, and continued to send flirty messages, emojis, and photos.

The return back to Stockholm was a stress filled flight; one of anticipation and fatigue with no entertainment. Our hero returned back and slept for the morning, planning to wake up in the afternoon and hang out as arranged. Time was getting later and later, and the plans became more delayed.

Eventually nerve was built up, and upon a train this new person boarded. Our hero decided to be polite and meet at the train station upon arrival, that way there would be no confusion about where to go even thought the building was across the street.

Polite greetings occurred and they proceeded back for some tea and chat. The guest decided that beer was the beverage of choice, likely due to nerves and shyness. This was evident with the amount of smoking that was needed; normally this would put someone off, but sometimes people have to look past imperfections for the greater good.

Interesting chat ensued and a passing comment was made about our hero’s hair; what a surprise that it was longer. Well what about the Bitmoji which clearly showed long hair? It was not something hidden in the snaps before, so a bit perplexing.

The guest became curious about some tarot cards that were spotted on the bookshelf. A request for a reading arose, and our hero obliged. Almost immediately our hero realised what the query was and what it concerned. It was clearly a question about a new male person in their life and their unwillingness to let go of the past. In order to seek resolution of the conflict, the querent needed to let go and move on.

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Without spilling the beans and speaking a bit vaguely, the hero sensed that it was in direct relation to the current situation. He decided not to say anything, as it would have been very presumptuous. Panic ensued as the time was noticed; it had barely been one hour, but the last train was departing in the next 10 minutes and the guest needed to go. Quick preparations for leaving took place and pleasantries were made while leaving. “We should hang out tomorrow, is that okay?” the guest asked.

Of course this was okay, and the run to the train resulted in making it with two minutes to spare. During the 20 minute journey flirty conversation continued, and when the new person arrived home again a Video Call was made. Much to the hero’s surprise, already being in bed, he answered. This call continued for another 20 minutes before sleep, and all was good in the world.

The next day came up, and our hero slept in and came awake to the world at about noon, having been jet-lagged as well. A daily greeting snap was sent, and it went unopened and unanswered for several hours. Dinner time came, and finally a reply. Negatory on hanging out, after all. No worries, more sleep.

For the next few days, the same question came up about going for a drink, going to see a movie as planned, or having coffee. Negative, negative, negative. Our hero became suspicious and slightly irritated as clearly the tone of the messages had changed. The day before New Years Eve approached and the hero inquired the plan; few options, no decision made. Our hero usually spends New Years Eve alone eating cheese fondue and watching the Muppets, so he invited the other over to join in the tradition. No answer.

Several hours later, our hero received some snaps clearly indicating that other options were chosen. He went to bed, disappointed in the fact that once again he was left alone to celebrate a new year. He knew something was afoot but didn’t dare say anything.

And so a few days passed, and radio silence. It was at this point that our hero sent a message inquiring what was going on. Up until this point it had been mixed signals: we should hang out, we should watch movies, we should go for a drink. However at every instance of asking to do one of those things, it was met with a no.

Then the truth came out. “I stopped messaging you because you seemed more attached than I was.” Stunned and taken aback. How could this be for our hero? It was the the other one that was doing the flirting and had been leading him on to believe that he was liked. “I am not ready to have any serious relationships, I’m only looking for friends.”

Fine, sure. It’s not like the hero had done anything other than to suggest hanging out. After all it was the flirting of the new person that was defining the relationship. This angered the hero because nothing he had said suggested that hanging out would mean anything serious. Isn’t that what friends do? Don’t friends hang out and enjoy each others company?

Our hero was left to ponder this and came to the conclusion that either he’s crazy, or there is something wrong with other people. And so whatever it was that was going on was dead. Another one hits the dust, however promising the previous month had been. And so he’s left to wonder what went wrong and what was it. Then it all came into focus and there could only one logical explanation.

It’s all about the hair…

I recently stumbled upon a magazine article posted online from the artist Sam Smith. It in many ways spoke to me and irritated me at the same time. The quotation of particular interest is found below:

“I do feel I’m a bit behind in my relationships,” Sam confessed. “I wish I’d been in a long-term relationship by this age. But then, I didn’t move to London until I was 19. I’d grown up in an area where I was the only gay guy in school, the only gay guy in my village.
– Stroude, Will. “Sam Smith: ‘I’m a bit behind in my relationships’”. Attitude. 6 Oct. 2017.

And so now we reflect upon the words of this artist who was sprung into stardom from his little village and now prances around in his happy gay life. I guess bitterness is a valid way to describe the emotion I have while reading this. It is a bit irritating to hear a guy of his age complain about lack of relationships or experience, and being behind.

I can distinctly remember feeling similarly, and even today feeling similarly, but never it being a complaint. Personally I’ve always just sort of accepted what is, and tried to brush it off without too much reflection because I believe it can be destructive.

Now on to the actual topic, being behind. Despite how I feel about what he says, it is the truth. People of minorities of sexuality often feel behind in their own development, especially when compared with the majority. There is such a common experience or path that is taken by the masses, and when you don’t take the same, then you stand out.

It’s become apparent to me over the years that there is an insanely strong amount of social pressure people feel towards steps in life. People getting married, having children, and so forth can be seen everywhere: in the workplace, in the streets, on social media, everywhere. While people aren’t necessarily telling you that you need to do it, you feel a pressure from the masses that do. It’s indirect and the older I’ve gotten the stronger the pressure I feel.

So what creates this disconnect? When you aren’t following the same timeline or you feel behind because you’re not close the landmarks that everyone else is. Everyone walks their own path, and it’s clear to me that my path has been very unique and my own throughout my life. I even had someone expressly meet me from my family who recognised that I walked a different path, and thanked me for it.

So why is it a problem? I’ve read online that people that are straight go through formative steps of relationships in the upbringing usually in adolescents. This is often offset for homosexuals due to it not being accepted, or perhaps people not coming out until later in life. During this time adolescents getting affirmations, build confidence navigating social situations from parents and peers, so it’s logical to assume that if most people are navigating this the same supports might not exist for an adult later in life that is beginning.

What can be done in this case? How can someone get on the right path, or feel like they are catching up or at least moving rather then being stationary and in a default state? I guess I’m asking because I don’t know and I don’t have any of those normal supports.

Needless to say, throughout my life I have had a very unlucky time navigating the dating world. Whether it be a result of my asexuality, of my social awkwardness, or of my lack of experience nothing can prepare me for what may happen or what one may find around a new corner.

Photo courtesy of Time Out Abu Dhabi 

I recently travelled to the United Arab Emirates to visit a dear friend and spend Christmas. I was unwilling to spend another Christmas alone, so I ventured to a foreign desert land. While the trip was filled with going here and there, what struck me most was a complete turnaround in my dating life. I’ve been living in Sweden for 3 years and I’ve been on two dates, so as you can imagine that sounds pretty dismal and only one of them was a positive experience.

What might explain this is unknown to me, but I can do nothing else but surmise that what I offer here, is just not wanted. In three years I manage about twenty or so matches on Tinder, a few of which chat to me. I set foot in the UAE and for shits and giggles I load up Tinder. In the span of a few hours, I’m getting matches left right and centre. After two days of swiping, I garnered about 50 matches, most of which were actually talking to me.  I was confused, surprised, and speechless.

I decided to take it somewhere and meet up with a few people for dinner or to hang out at local spots. In 5 days I managed to fit in 6 dates in two cities, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I can say with positive reflection that while they were a bit nerve wracking to start for fear of police or similar traps, they were all positive experiences. How could this be? How could my luck change so dramatically and my match rate increase to 95 in the span of a few days?

I reflect on it, and possible explanations come to mind. Is it because I’m foreign? Is it because I’m white? Is it because I’m an amazing person? All are possibilities, but I’m lost as for how or why this can be. How can I have more success in dates in a country so repressed and restricted, while living in a free society of Sweden I am a complete lemon? Thinking about it confuses me and makes me very emotional because of the situational irony.

Here I can marry, have children, and live an authentic life and I can’t find a partner, barely even dates. I go to a place where I can’t get married, can’t have kids, and can’t live an authentic and open life and I get several people really interested in me, even for marriage. It just feels like a huge slap in the face, and leads me to question whether it’s something wrong with me, or something wrong with everybody else.

All I can say is I’m thankful, but now even more confused than before.