Someone I know was told this the other day. The person who told her was an acquaintance, and it was in response to her explaining that, as an aromatic asexual, she will never date.
Of course, when she mentioned it on FaceBook, there was a lot of discussion about what he might have meant. The range of opinions included:
- He fancies you.
- He’s worried that you’re going to miss out on all the experiences you get from a relationship, such as sex, love, marriage, companionship, etc.
- He thinks you’re beautiful, and your beauty will be wasted if you don’t date.
While all of those things may have been true, my answer would simply be, it was none of his damn business.
When I was growing up, my family had high hopes for me. I was an extremely bright kid, and I had the potential to be anything I wanted to be, in an academic sense. I was good at maths and English, arts and sciences. I could turn my hand to languages, if I wanted to, and I was generally quick to learn. My mother was very unhappy when I dropped out of college, and was always quick to make a snide remark about the wasted opportunities.
The trouble was, college didn’t make me happy. The things she wanted for me wouldn’t have made me happy. She hoped I would educate myself and get a well paid job that made best use of my talents. I remember engineering being mentioned at one point, and she pointed out how it would give me the chance to work on exciting projects like the new road that had just been built to give our local towns in North Devon better access to the rest of the UK. I’m sure I’d told her – several times – how much I despised the new road, for the damage it did to the beautiful countryside!
As a teenager, all I really wanted was to be a writer, so my education and future career took a back seat to that. In the eyes of my family, I definitely wasted my potential.
But the good thing is, as we grow older, we don’t have to answer to anyone but ourselves. And there comes a point when we all realise that the only thing that really matters is happiness.
We have the “potential” to do/be lots of things. I had the potential to be a wife and mother, or to have a high flying executive career like my father, but none of those things appealed to me. My mother was very disappointed about my refusal to pursue the kind of career she wanted for me, and that’s what it all comes down to really. People get worked up when you don’t want to do the things they think they would want to do if they were in your place (ie. what they think is “best” for you). Really the answer to wasting your potential, is, “What? My potential to be something I don’t want to be.”
I’m sure there are plenty of men out there who look at my profile on OKCupid and get annoyed with me because I’m wasting my potential to have amazing sex with them, but I’m not going to conform to someone else’s expectations of what I should be if it isn’t going to make me happy.