I have a hard time with sincerity. Not with being sincere, myself–that’s easy. More with determining whether other people are being sincere with me. This is especially difficult with straight men, because I am always aware in the back of my mind that they have an ulterior motive. For this reason, I’ve always been pretty uncomfortable around them. Most of my friends are gay men, and those that aren’t are either asexual, genderqueer, or cisgendered females. I feel so much more at home with people who aren’t sexually attracted to me, and especially so in queer company.
Compliments in general kind of bother me. Aside from the whole “he just wants to fuck me” thing, a lot of times when people compliment me I just kind of sit there and wonder how I’m supposed to respond. I’ve had people go on and on about how my “stupidly beautiful” eyes are like “icebergs melting into a shimmering pool,” and I’m just sitting here thinking, “Yeah, so?” Why do you have to tell me, and if you must, why do you have to go on and on about it? I’ve had them all my life, I kind of already know. Christ, at the very least be less corny and cliché about it. If you’re attempting to woo me with your words, don’t your words have to be impressive in order for it to work?
I don’t know, I guess for a lot of people, women especially, compliments boost their self-esteem. But for me, it either has no effect at all, or has the opposite effect. I remember sitting at a stop light when I was five or so, crinkling my nose because my grandpa had called me “smart.” I took issue with the word then for reasons I couldn’t articulate, and I still take issue with it now, because I feel like… what, so you have to tell me I’m smart? I’m not smart enough that I can tell you think I’m smart without having to actually hear it from you? You think I’m not that smart, but I need to be encouraged? The word smart, specifically, is one that is more meant for children than adults, so thankfully I don’t hear it that often anymore, but it still bothers me whenever anyone makes a point of complimenting me, because it seems to me like it is actually a veiled, usually unwitting insult. As if I need to hear such things, because my self-esteem depends on it.
That’s not to say that I bristle every time I am complimented. Usually I just say thanks and get on with it, and it only really bothers me when people draw it out, or press me for a reaction. I’m not sure whether it’s because I’m asexual, or because I am a classic example of an INTJ personality, but I just see compliments on my physical appearance (and even, to some extent, my personality) as largely irrelevant, and very much pointless. The only point I could possibly see to it is flirting, but since I’m asexual, that falls flat on its face. If I’m complimented on anything, I would rather it be on my work, because that is something I have actually put effort into. My physical appearance is just something I was born with.
When I was younger, I used to wear the most unflattering clothes I could possibly find, just because I didn’t want attention from guys. I hate it. Hate hate hate it. It embarrasses me because I don’t know how to respond, and it makes me uncomfortable because I don’t like being seen as a sexual object. A couple of months ago, I went to a Korean restaurant with M and some of his friends, and the owner (presumably) made a special point of showing me how to eat the food, and gave us free food when we were finished. We didn’t know why at first, but then figured it was probably because I was wearing a low-cut top. I turned BRIGHT RED, because I am a total introvert and I really do not like being given special attention. Especially when that attention is suspect.
Which brings me back to sincerity. How can I know if someone is sincerely, genuinely interested in me for my personality, rather than for my body? How can I tell if they’re not just trying to make me think they care about me as a person and my well-being so that they can get in my pants? I thought M honestly cared about me as a friend, but I was never entirely sure. I gave him the benefit of the doubt, but I still wonder… was I wrong? It seems like an awful lot of effort to go to, to maintain a relationship with me for so long, if he didn’t really care, but…
I know these doubts are kind of pointless, since there really is no way to tell one way or the other. And I know that sexuals face these same doubts, but I still can’t help feeling it would probably be easier to deal with if I were sexual. Stupid feeling, because it probably wouldn’t. But still…