Imagine a large room. It has a bar on each wall, as well as a circular one in the center. Each serves any drink conceivable. Imagine this room is comfortably housing one thousand people, with relatively normal personal space requirements. There are people of all genders, most ages and a vast range of favourite drinks. They’re chatting, mingling or ordering said favourite drinks.
Nine hundred and ninety of these people eat meat. Some are voracious carnivores. Some are quite choosy with their dishes. Some like a few different meats. Some only like one kind. They are chatting to people about meat, offering to cook for one another and swapping recipes. Everyone wants to know who eats meat with whom, how they prepared it, what they ate. Around the room are posters depicting meat dishes. All the songs that play have meat as their underlying theme. It’s all very catered to those nine hundred and ninety people.
But that isn’t everybody. Scattered throughout the crowd are ten vegetarians. One sits at the center bar, dejectedly staring into her tall glass of pink lemonade while she listens to countless people banging on about something she doesn’t understand the appeal of. She wonders what memo she missed, which of her wires aren’t connected that resulted in this incomprehension.
Another is standing in the corner. He honestly couldn’t care less about meat. He just wants to have a conversation that isn’t dominated by it.
A third – in a one on one conversation with a bubbly carnivore – has eaten meat before, but didn’t develop a taste for it, despite the claims made by their peers.
A fourth is sitting at the south bar, reflecting that he’d be okay with eating meat if he ended up falling for a carnivore, to preserve the relationship.
Another vegetarian is in a circle of carnivores, quietly sipping his sarsaparilla, when the conversation changes to dairy products. Finally, a topic he can relate to! He puts his word in on how much milk is too much to put on cereal, as well as which soft cheese best complements a water cracker. Eggs prove common ground for another veggie, who eagerly champions poaching them so that the yolk stays runny.
Wonderful! You may be thinking. They have common ground after all, despite their differences. Hold that thought.
The rest of the ten are vegans.
One is repulsed, he doesn’t understand how people can eat meat, eggs or dairy without feeling uncomfortable at the very least. He feels alone, a changeling mistakenly left in the cradle of a human.
Another sits at the east bar, using a straw to play with the ice in her virgin daiquiri. She wants companionship, but won’t cook with meat, eggs or dairy, as her personal principles are too high a price to pay for it. She yearns for a culinary companion who would be able to satisfy this need, but is far too afraid of depriving someone of an important part of their diet to pursue such a thing.
The last two sit at the north bar. One sips her green tea. The other sighs at her irish coffee, and says, almost under her breath:
“I don’t understand why they all aren’t satisfied with fruit, vegetables and chocolate.”
Green Tea’s eyes widen briefly in surprise, before she looks up from the rim of her cup to face Irish Coffee. “Neither do I.”
Now for a dash of exposition.
This is quite close to what being asexual sometimes feels like, for me. The analogy isn’t quite perfect, of course, because no analogy ever is. I didn’t mention the carnivores who didn’t like eggs and dairy, representing aromantic non-asexuals. An important point is that a person’s affinity for certain foods is not a choice, but whether or not they eat them is, thus illustrating the difference between asexuality and celibacy. For example, a person who despises or is indifferent to fish is still capable of eating it, and may, to please someone they care about. Finally, the drinks were added to accentuate the individuality of each of the people involved.