Sounds Fake But Okay

Ep 172: Being an Older Asexual/Aromantic feat. Barefoot Backpacker

February 28, 2021 Sounds Fake But Okay
Sounds Fake But Okay
Ep 172: Being an Older Asexual/Aromantic feat. Barefoot Backpacker
Chapters
Sounds Fake But Okay
Ep 172: Being an Older Asexual/Aromantic feat. Barefoot Backpacker
Feb 28, 2021
Sounds Fake But Okay

Hey what's up hello! This week we spoke to the lovely Barefoot Backpacker about their experience as an older member of the aspec community. We talk about queer history and what the aspec community can do to serve its older members.

Episode Transcript: www.soundsfakepod.com/transcripts/being-an-older-asexual-aromantic

Check out Barefoot Backpacker: @RTWBarefoot / www.barefoot-backpacker.com

Donate to the podcast: patreon.com/soundsfakepod    

Twitter/Instagram: @soundsfakepod    

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/hddwsn    

Discord: https://discord.gg/W7VBHMt    

www.soundsfakepod.com

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/soundsfakepod)

Show Notes Transcript

Hey what's up hello! This week we spoke to the lovely Barefoot Backpacker about their experience as an older member of the aspec community. We talk about queer history and what the aspec community can do to serve its older members.

Episode Transcript: www.soundsfakepod.com/transcripts/being-an-older-asexual-aromantic

Check out Barefoot Backpacker: @RTWBarefoot / www.barefoot-backpacker.com

Donate to the podcast: patreon.com/soundsfakepod    

Twitter/Instagram: @soundsfakepod    

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/hddwsn    

Discord: https://discord.gg/W7VBHMt    

www.soundsfakepod.com

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/soundsfakepod)

(0:00)

SARAH: Hey what’s up hello. Welcome to Sounds Fake But Okay, a podcast where an aro-ace girl (I’m Sarah. That’s me.)

KAYLA:… and a demi-straight girl (that’s me, Kayla)

BAREFOOT: And an aro-ace demiboy that’s me, Barefoot!

SARAH: talk about all things to do with love, relationships, sexuality, and pretty much anything else that we just don’t understand.

KAYLA: On today’s episode: being an older aspec.

ALL: — Sounds fake, but okay.

SARAH: Welcome back to the pod.

KAYLA: M’aryland.

SARAH: Why?

KAYLA: It’s all I could think of genuinely.

SARAH: Okay, good. 

BAREFOOT: M’anchester.

KAYLA: Ooh.

SARAH: Good.

BAREFOOT: For the Northerners here.

KAYLA: Getting international with it.

SARAH: Do I have one? M’ontreal. 

KAYLA: Ooh. Okay. All across the world, Mr. Worldwide.
SARAH: Mr. Worldwide, excellent. On that note, hi. We don’t have any housekeeping, right Kayla? So as it turns out we did have housekeeping, hey this is Sarah and Kayla from the future, what’s up what’s good. This is going to be brief because this is a very long episodes.

KAYLA: Apologies, but we do have housekeeping and we’re probably going to talk about it for the next two episodes too but.

SARAH: Yes, we have a lil something something for our patrons that will be going up this week. It is something we’ve been talking about for a lil while. It’s a multi-week patron gift, just look for that in your inboxes, patrons.

KAYLA: Are we not going to say what it is? That’s all we came here from the future to say?

SARAH: No, you can tell them what it is.

KAYLA: So as you all know, I play Dungeons & Dragons regularly. My second podcast Into the Gridge, go check it out. And we’ve had our wonderful friend Perry on to talk about D&D and they are the DM for my D&D game. And we’ve been talking for a while about how Sarah’s never played D&D, how she’d probably really like it, so we got Sarah to play D&D, Perry DM’d us, me and Sarah and our friend Reza from Into the Gridge played and it was very exciting. It’s in the same universe as Into the Gridge if you’re a Gridge fan. If you’re not, it will still make complete sense. If you don’t understand D&D, it’ll still be fun. 

SARAH: If you, like me, don’t know what you’re doing.

KAYLA: It was a very fun time, it was very entertaining. So yeah we recorded 3 episodes, so it’s going to come out the first three weeks of March, so if you’re a patron of any level you’ll get it. If you’re not, become a patron.

SARAH: Here’s the deal. If you are interested in this, and you don’t have the financial means to be a patron, if there were a bootleg link of this, that were being passed to you, there’s nothing we can do about it.

KAYLA: No but what I will say, if you have the financial means, don’t… because we need money.

SARAH: Yes, we do need your money. 

KAYLA: We really need money to fun things like transcription. 

SARAH: And if you can only afford to give money once, you could in theory wait until all of the episodes of have been released.

KAYLA: Yeah I’m not going to be mad if you become—cause you get charged upfront. If you just want to become a patron for March, I get it. And people have done this before. I’m not mad about it.
SARAH: It’s fine. 

KAYLA: Sarah and I have a hard time—this much longer, we said it was going to be short but it’s not—Sarah and I have a problem asking for money. But we are a business I guess and we do need money to make things happen. So, please, give us your money in exchange for this fun content that we made for you.

SARAH: Yaaay. Okay, we’re stopping this now. Back to the episode, bye. As I’m sure you can tell from the dulcet British tones, joining us on the pod today, we have a guest, it is Barefoot Backpacker. Hello, thank you for joining us.

BAREFOOT: Ey Up Mi Duck. One for your transcripter, that one.

SARAH: Yup, sorry Padya. As anyone who is in our Discord probably knows Barefoot Backpacker, he likes to hang about, but for anyone who doesn’t know who you are, can you give a little brief introduction to yourself?

(5:00)

BAREFOOT: I certainly can. I go by the name of Barefoot Backpacker online, a name that was created by friends of mine when I couldn’t think of mine because I travel the world, usually backpacking around the world, and I’m often barefoot. It’s the most obvious name I could think of, and it alliterates so it’s great. 

KAYLA: It does sound good.

BAREFOOT: It does, doesn’t it? The other name that was thought of was the Hippie Highway, which was already taken, unfortunately. And I am an older asexual. And a world traveler and other things. Lots of adjectives and verbednouns.

KAYLA: Good.

SARAH: I imagine you haven’t been doing a lot of traveling in the current state of things. 

BAREFOOT: I went to the seaside in October.

SARAH: Exciting. Excellent, we’re very happy to have you on.

BAREFOOT: I should probably say it at this point, I describe myself as demiboy, my pronouns are they and he or you or hi or anything really. If you call me she or her, you will be wrong and I will laugh at you but I won’t hold it against you.

SARAH: A great introduction to be quite frank.

BAREFOOT: Demiboy is great cause it sounds like a cut-price superhero from a bargain supermarket. We’re not talking Myers or anything, we’re talking like Netto or something or even worse than that. What’s that in the sky? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a bird. There’s Demiboy he’s running for the hill. Oh Demiboy Demiboy, my cat’s stuck up the hill can you help me? No. 

KAYLA: It’s much cooler than saying, I’m a boy. How lame is that? You’re a boy, ugh. No. Demiboy.

BAREFOOT: The cat’s stuck up the tree, can you get it down, no. Why can’t you get it down? Is it you objecting to masculine form of culture? You think this is a job for women cause you believe in equality? No, I’m just afraid of heights. Demiboy, the world’s worst superhero.

SARAH: I would watch that TV show, I would watch the hell out of that TV show. But yeah, we are going to talk about being an older ace in a community that tends to be quite young. 

KAYLA: I think it goes for being an older aro too.

SARAH: Sorry that’s just me conflating them again, bad Sarah.

KAYLA: Being an older aspec. How—do you mind if I ask how old you are?

BAREFOOT: You can ask, I can give you a full sentence but I’m not going to. I am 45. My website is older than the people on Discord.

KAYLA: How old is your website?

BAREFOOT: What year were you born? It was mid-90s wasn’t it?

SARAH: We were born in 97.

BAREFOOT: Oh my website’s older. 

KAYLA: That makes me feel like a baby.

SARAH: Honestly what a delight.

BAREFOOT: I have two websites. It’s not my Barefoot Backpacker website, it’s my writing website. I haven’t updated it since 2003 and it looks like it hasn’t been updated since 2003. 

KAYLA: I would love to see a website that looks that old. Sounds magical.

BAREFOOT: Go to the web archive and look for geocities. All of those geocities websites are dreadful and off the range. One of the things about getting old, a lot of people when they get old they start getting nostalgic about the past and going “oh it was better in my day.” No, it wasn’t.

SARAH: Absolutely not. I saw a tweet recently where someone was like “oh I wish I had been a teenager in 2014” and as someone who a teenager in 2014, I was like, I am ancient. 

KAYLA: I’m confused about who’s saying that though was it someone who’s eight? Someone who was a teenager in 2016?

SARAH: I think it’s someone who is a teenager now. 

KAYLA: That’s basically the same.

SARAH: That’s what we think but we’re old.

KAYLA: Us and our millennial side parts and skinny jeans.

SARAH: Hey! Look at this middle part, okay? I’m up with the Z-ers.

KAYLA: So funny.
BAREFOOT: I got nothing.

SARAH: You’re doing great, you’re doing great. Let’s actually start this episode. Okay, I guess I can start us out. What was your process like in terms of questioning, coming to terms with your identity, how long ago was it, what was it like for you?

(10:00)

BAREFOOT: Interesting point—I didn’t come across the word asexuality until 2012 so, what age was I? 37, 38—I have no idea. Long time ago. Anyway. 2012. Cause it wasn’t mentioned. The word just didn’t exist in my head. And then I read an article on I’m presuming it must have been The Guardian because that’s about the only newspaper I ever read. It was an interview with someone who described themselves as asexual and I read it and I thought, actually that is me. That is exactly how I—

KAYLA: This proves the importance of media representation, folks.

BAREFOOT: Indeed. And I’d never heard the term before. Obviously, it’s been around for a while but I’d never thought to look it up online because I didn’t know what I was looking for. I didn’t know how to describe it. I wouldn’t have used the word because it wouldn’t have occurred to me to use the word.

SARAH: Prior to that, did you just identify as straight or what were you using before then?

BAREFOOT: I mean, yes, principally, I was identifying as straight. I had relationships, at that point, I’d been engaged twice, the second was very much hope beyond expectation. But, when I discovered what asexuality was it made perfect sense because of all the things that happened in my relationships. All of the things I’d gone—okay this relationship has failed, why’s it failed? Because you know, I’m not very sexual and I’m not into that sort of thing and they’re getting very annoyed with me about it. And then either we had arguments or they’d go off and find sexy things with other people. And the other thing that was interesting is that it explains why most of my exes were friends before and they were friends afterwards. Because why we stopped being partners was because of the sexy thing rather than because of any issues that we were having as a partnership. So all the relationships I had tended to fade out. Most people have a breakup day, most people can say “oh my god I broke up with this person on this date and I remember it well.” One of my relationships I don’t know which year we broke up in. 

KAYLA: That’s crazy.

BAREFOOT: I just remember we were dating at this point and then we weren’t dating at this point and at some point in a two-year period we stopped dating but I couldn’t tell when it was.

SARAH: Somewhere in between.

KAYLA: That’s crazy. I don’t have a single ex that I keep in contact with. After that breakup date it’s like, never talking to you again, my body, my mind can’t handle it. Goodbye. 

BAREFOOT: That’s interesting because the fact that I’m friends with my exes whether that’s an asexual thing or an aro thing.

KAYLA: I always wonder if it’s an aro thing because for me the reason I would stop talking to an ex because particularly a couple exes I had we didn’t break up because the feelings were gone, it was—if you listen to the first episodes of the podcast you can hear me breaking up with that—not live on the podcast, imagine.

SARAH: Live on the podcast!

KAYLA: Imagine the numbers we would do if we were like, live on the podcast I’m breaking up with my boyfriend, tune in. 

BAREFOOT: That would go viral.

KAYLA: It really would. Something to consider.
SARAH: Dean watch out.

KAYLA: Dean watch out, no. I think it might be an aro thing because the reason I would stop talking to those exes is because I still had feelings for them and so I wanted to get rid of those feelings.

SARAH: Shut the box.

KAYLA: And after a while of not talking to them, I was like, well I can’t reach back out to them now it’s been months, what am I going to say?

SARAH: I know in lesbian communities it’s very common to remain friends with your exes.

KAYLA: And then date their exes. 

SARAH: And date their exes.

KAYLA: And all live together. It is a straight person thing. 

SARAH: Yeah I think it’s a queer thing to be like, hey this is fine. I know in lesbian communities it’s often like, “there are so few of us.”

BAREFOOT: One of my exes, American, from Michigan actually.

KAYLA & SARAH: Ooh. 

(15:00)

BAREFOOT: One of my exes, I came out as asexual and she realized she was polysexual. So you still got the whole queer thing going on there and we got on really well. So I meet up with her obviously when I’m in the air and stuff like that. The reason I started thinking maybe it was an aro thing was because a lot of my relationships you can’t tell whether they’re relationships or friendships. And that’s been one of the things I’ve discovered since discovering your podcast and the Discord actually. It’s trying to work out my aro identity because I couldn’t work out what romance was and the things that I do with my friends I did with my partners and they didn’t feel different to me. So when we started breaking up if I was in a partnership, you couldn’t tell because we were doing the same things. 

SARAH: That’s fair. Romance is nebulous and stupid.

BAREFOOT: Very. 

KAYLA: Do you identify as flat-out aromantic or would you consider yourself grayromantic or anything like that?

BAREFOOT: I consider myself quoiromantic I guess. 

KAYLA: I guessed because I was like, it sounds like that.

BAREFOOT: Because that’s a word that’s even less well-known than aromantic, aromantic is just easier because people can relate to that a lot more because people know what it is. 
SARAH: And you’re still on the aromantic. I don’t have issue with someone who’s arospec calling themselves aro or someone who’s aspec calling themselves ace for simplicity’s sake.

KAYLA: Sometimes I’ll just call myself asexual if I don’t feel like really getting into anything with someone. 

BAREFOOT: Absolutely. We are all valid. *Announcer voice* We are all valid.

KAYLA: Oh my god I want that as a sound byte to send to people. 

BAREFOOT: I’ll do it again. *Announcer voice* We are all valid. 

SARAH: Beautiful. Pretend it’s 2007 and make it your ringtone.

KAYLA: Your text tone every time you get a message from the Discord, that’s the sound that comes on.

BAREFOOT: Okay you two are obviously a lot younger than me but sometimes I have these young tendencies. Do you have a ringtone? Because my phone’s permanently on silent.

KAYLA: Mine’s on vibrate. I don’t have a sound. The only time sounds happen is an alarm.

SARAH: Yeah. My phone’s not even on vibrate, it’s on silent at all times and they have been since I’ve had a smartphone so yeah. Okay, pivoting back.

BAREFOOT: You knew this was going to happen. 

KAYLA: Oh this happens every time.

BAREFOOT: I’m sure most people are more organized than me I’m sure all the people you’ve had, all of the guests you’ve had, have been unchaotic. 

KAYLA: I think it depends on how well we know the person. If we know them better, then we’re like whatever. But if it’s some fancy person, me and Sarah are usually like uuhhgh. 

SARAH: But with you it’s like—

KAYLA: Not to say you’re not fancy. 

BAREFOOT: Of the three of us, I’m the fangirl here. I’m going, oh my god I’m on Sounds Fake But Okay pod, this is amazing, I’m not worthy of this. 

SARAH: And then you just have to remember that we were born in 1997 and you’re like, oh yeah this is fine, they’re children.

BAREFOOT: Fame and fortune and skill and attribution are not age-related.

KAYLA: Fortune, I wish. Where is the fortune? Where’s she hiding.

SARAH: Where she at?

BAREFOOT: I’m assuming I’m on because you couldn’t get Elliott Simpson. 

SARAH: I mean we need to have Elliott Simpson on. 

KAYLA: We have a whole list of people.

SARAH: Elliott is on the list. 

KAYLA: Elliott is on the list, just hasn’t happened.

SARAH: Just hasn’t happened yet. 

BAREFOOT: Let’s be serious, serious face.

SARAH: Serious for like 30 seconds and then we’ll get derailed in another minute it’s fine. When you were growing up, what were the narratives around queerness? Were there narratives around queerness? Were you even aware of things? What was that like?

BAREFOOT: This is going to be a long answer, this is one of the only answers I’ve actually thought about. 

SARAH: Mmkay.

(20:00)

BAREFOOT: Trigger warning, I may use some words that people may not like. So, I was born in 1975. Everything I’m going to say is specific thing to the UK but I imagine similar things were happening elsewhere. And it was only in 1967, what’s that, eight years before I was born that homosexuality was legalized. There were still a lot of people, a lot of people in the culture when I was growing up, was of the generation thinking ooh gay men are a bit weird, ooh that’s not right. When I was growing up —and I’m going to talk about gay men for a specific reason that we’ll come on to in a minute—but when I was growing up there seemed to be only two kinds of gay men that were ever in media. One of them was the old, camp, oh loveys. There was also that sense that there was an overlap between gay men and what is now transgender, but in those days, gender bender was a common description to use them. And it always felt that there was so much of an overlap, that if you were gay you were also liable to dress up in women’s clothing. So that was one of the strong cultural things in regards to gay men. The other one was the whole usually topless or leather, sort of mustache, camp but in a different way, very hypersexual, very kinky. If you ever go online, look up the music video to Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Relax. That was one of the big gay anthems of the mid-80s.

KAYLA: It feels very like Village People.

BAREFOOT: Yes, it’s Village People but one step beyond that. So that was the other reference point we had for gay men. So they were the only two queer identities we had. You had the hypersexual kinky gay man, the pervert or you had the camp gender bender poofter which was another one of those insults that was used at the time, you great poof. It was very common, not very nice. And they were the only common queer identities we ever saw in the media. Lesbianism existed but it was never shown. They were just others, we didn’t hear about them at all. They just did not exist. There was no such thing as bisexuality pretty much. It was, oh you sleep with men, therefore you’re gay. That was it. The other thing is that I’m trying to remember the year, so I think I was 87 so I was 12, so very much into it, we had something called Section 28, Section 28 was a government bill, a government law that banned the promotion of homosexuality to schools and libraries and colleges. So, if you’re a teenager, growing up in the late 80s and early 90s and you were confused about homosexuality, you had nowhere to go. You had basically no resource, no knowledge, unless you already knew someone in the scene. And obviously, this was in days before the Internet so we didn’t have easy access to loads of information. We still had the information, sort of surreptitiously it was clandestine, mailed in from the USA but even there, customs officers were very big into “oh no this is illicit, you can’t have this in the country.” So it was very very hard in those days to even get a grasp of what homosexuality was, never mind any of the other sexualities as if they just didn’t exist. There was also the AIDS crisis, which was huge when I was growing up. One of the things the British government did well was advertise AIDS before the American government did. 

KAYLA: Yeah we really fucked that one up, Raegan.

BAREFOOT: AIDS—don’t die of ignorance was a really big advertising campaign in the late 80s and it tried to show that AIDS could affect everyone not just gay men but even so still had the impression that it was a gay man illness. And when we were kids, because kids, we used to have playground games of tag and stuff like that, but instead of “tag you’re it,” we’d go “tag, you’ve got AIDS,” because that’s what kids do. Apparently, they do it now with COVID.

KAYLA: I’m sure they do.

BAREFOOT: And even down in the playground when I was growing up, primary school/elementary school, if we didn’t like someone we’d say “oh you’re gay, oh you’re a poof.” It was that. Homosexality was that, it was othering, it was what other people did. And I concentrate so much of homosexuality because we didn’t have anything else, there was no other reference point as far as I could tell, at least in mainstream media. There were no role models apart from these two types of gay men. Asexuality, we had an asexual Prime Minister once, or at least he didn’t call himself asexual but his official biographer did. Edward Heath, he was Prime Minister in the very early 70s and if he was around now he’d probably have called himself asexual because remember when I said homosexuality was only legalized in 1967? That was 3 years before he became Prime Minister, so he was already a big person, he was already a well-known political figure. And you’d have thought, given the way that heteronormativity works, that if such a high-ranking figure was seen to be homosexual at a time when homosexuality was illegal, someone would have noticed and someone would have leaked it. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. So you’ve got this man, after homosexuality was legalized, no backstory of homosexuality, no rumors there, and he was unmarried with no kind of sense that he was ever going to marry a woman. His biographer said, “yeah he was asexual.” But that’s the only person we had who was that high up and even then people just thought, oh he must be gay.

(25:00)

SARAH: Well he couldn’t say anything about it, obviously. 

KAYLA: He was just a bachelor, or he didn’t have the word for it. Maybe he didn’t know he was asexual.

BAREFOOT: This is the problem that people like me had. I didn’t know I was asexual until 2012 cause I’d never heard the word.

KAYLA: Before the internet, it was underground, the oral history of everything. That’s why I think—obviously, AIDS was awful for a billion different reasons—but it took out so many elders of the community who were holding that oral history before the internet and they died and it was so much of that that already wasn’t there, it was just lost. 

BAREFOOT: And of course it was a queer history, mainstream historians aren’t touching it, didn’t touch it at the time, which means that so much of it was lost. 

SARAH: Yeah. It’s also crazy to me that as you’re talking about the promotion of homosexuality was banned in schools and universities. Those two make sense to me and the fact that it was also libraries, I understand why it was banned in libraries, but to me a library is independent, it’s a separate thing.

KAYLA: Naw man, that’s government-owned shit. 

BAREFOOT: Everything was government-owned. I didn’t go to a government-controlled school, I went to private school but even so, it was a harsh private school. We didn’t talk about that sort of thing. 

SARAH: I just think of libraries as the place to get information pre-internet, where else are you going to get that? Thinking of that makes me angry.

KAYLA: Big government controlling our libraries.

BAREFOOT: The thing about Section 28, it was implemented in 1987, and I’m checking it. Yeah 1988, it was formulated in 1987 but it came to power in 88. And it was only abolished in England and Wales in 2003. It was obviously after the internet started to become a thing.

SARAH: You said it was abolished in England and Wales, did that also apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland?

BAREFOOT: It was abolished in Scotland in 2000.

KAYLA: Oh they were ahead of the times.

BAREFOOT: They always are. I don’t know about Northern Ireland because I’m English no one knows about Northern Ireland, though we don’t understand. We try not to think about that too much. We’ve had wars about this sort of thing. 

SARAH: Yes. It’s not important.

BAREFOOT: Northern Ireland is a lot more religious than everywhere else. It wouldn’t surprise me if there was a legislation about it still in place.

KAYLA: I mean they still have issues—we also have issues with abortion—but from what I understand, even further behind we are with pro-choice because it’s so Catholic.

BAREFOOT: It’s not even the Catholics, bizarrely.

KAYLA: Over here, it’s always the Catholics causing problems. 

BAREFOOT: No no no. It’s great fun. We have hard-line Protestants. They’re big in Northern Ireland, they’re also big in West Ireland and Scotland and the Outer Hebrides and they’re the sort of people who go, oh no you can’t have fun on a Sunday. And they would chain off the swings in children’s play areas.

(30:00)

KAYLA: Closing a Chick-Fil-A on a Sunday on crack.

BAREFOOT: On a couple of the islands on the Outer Hebrides, they even protested when people started putting ferries in even though it’s an island and you can’t do any work. So everything is closed even the petrol stations, the gas stations, except one that takes payment by card. 

KAYLA: What if you have a medical emergency and your car is out of gas?

BAREFOOT: You wait till Monday.

KAYLA: Do you have to take a horse and wagon?

BAREFOOT: I suspect that would be counted as work as well cause you’re not allowed to run. 

KAYLA: They just turn Amish on Sunday.

BAREFOOT: Yeah, basically it’s great.

KAYLA: And I can make fun of the Amish cause none of them are listening. 

SARAH: Remember when you gave me shit a couple episodes ago about saying certain things about religion and now you’re just sitting here.

KAYLA: That was obviously a joke but if someone is a currently practicing Amish person, they’re probably not going to hear this. 

SARAH: When they certain age, they go out into the world.

KAYLA: There was a reality TV show, Leaving Amish, I don’t know how true that was. They could have someone print our transcript and mail it to them and then they would know.
SARAH: Put the transcripts of our podcasts in their Amish libraries and have them be absolutely scandalized by the shit we say. Not even to do with asexuality, just the other stuff.

KAYLA: I’m sorry that was a joke and if there are any Amish or former Amish people listening, I didn’t mean it. I respect you a lot.

SARAH: She loves you. 

KAYLA: Great bread and butter.

BAREFOOT: We have some jokes in the anarchist communities about anarcho primitives. They don’t speak English. Anarcho primitivism, it’s like, if anyone’s listening to this and has an argument, then I’ll probably hit them with a rock. That’s kind of where they go.

KAYLA: Never even heard of them before, that’s wild. 

SARAH: Going to hard pivot again. This is sort of to do with what we were just talking about, not anarcho primitivism, about queer elders and how in a lot of gay communities, those elders have died. The aspec community doesn’t have elders in the same way because it is a younger community. We’re going to be the elders eventually I guess. Kayla just made a face.

KAYLA: Sometimes it already feels like we’re the elders. There’s kids in our Discord who are like, I’m a freshman in high school, like don’t listen to me. Don’t follow my advice.

BAREFOOT: There are people in the Discord I’m old enough to be their grandparent. Theoretically.

SARAH: It’s scary. It’s alarming.

BAREFOOT: And I tell them adulthood is really fine. Adulthood means that if at 2 o’clock in the morning I want to get out of my bed, go to my kitchen, take out some cheese and dunk it in some peanut butter and eat it, I can because I’m an adult and that’s my privilege.

SARAH: You can, but you also have to pay taxes. It’s a give and take.

KAYLA: It’s the check engine light in your car, that I’m too lazy to fix.

SARAH: Just become Barefoot Backpacker as an adult and you’ll be fine. 

BAREFOOT: As I often say on my own podcast, I am not a role model. 

KAYLA: I think we should start saying that more.

SARAH: Because we don’t have those elders, do you ever feel like as an older ace, you have some sort of pressure to show some sort of responsibility to the younger aces or is it more of just like, we’re buds we’re the same level, I’m an adult, we’re in the same place in the process?

BAREFOOT: I mean principally it should be the former and I do feel some kind of responsibility, just to say, yeah you can be ace at any age and you will grow up and you will stay ace regardless if anyone tells you “oh you just haven’t found the right person yet.” Hi, I’m proof that you don’t. Cause that’s not what it’s about. But, my personality is such that I don’t do hierarchies. I would say though that the reason that there aren’t very many older aces is kind of because it’s a new identity, but it’s more because, because it’s not a word or not an idea that people thought of, people didn’t have a word for it that people couldn’t identify with it. People just assumed they were either straight or gay I guess and lived under the radar. So, what you’ve got are potentially a lot of asexual people who have reached my age and not realized it. They’ve just gone, “I’m really really bad at relationships. Wonder why that is.” 

(35:00)

KAYLA: Or they find out about it and are like, “oh it doesn’t matter anyway, I’m married and I have kids.”

SARAH: For every full actual adult person who discovers asexuality and realizes it applies to them I’m sure there’s five other people it might apply to, it’s not important to them or or or.

BAREFOOT: “It’s too late to change.” That’s what you often hear. But then equally hear of people who go, I was married and then my husband died and I realized I’m a lesbian and I’m going to live this life I was hiding for 25 years because I can. So, I’d like to think there’s a bit of that in it somewhere. Suddenly there are a lot more asexuals out there than we realize. We were never taught that we could be, we were never taught that we existed, we were never taught what our feelings meant, so we’ve just gone through life faking it.

SARAH: And we say this all the time, when you find out about the aspec, it kind of changes your worldview and it changes your perspective of what it is to be a human and what it to experience relationships as a human. And for some people, they’re not just ready or willing to have that worldview questioned.

KAYLA: Or if you don’t know about asexuality or aromanticism, it might not even enter your mind especially if you’re not part of a generation of us where it was even more taboo to be single for your whole life. It isn’t even an option to you to be like oh I could just not date, I could just not have sex. That’s even still a taboo for us and you think about years ago, as you go back it gets even worse and worse. People might not have even considered it.

BAREFOOT: I was going to say I subtweet my mother a lot. My mother is very much like this. Every time I have a conversation with her, she’ll go, “have you found someone yet? Do I need to buy a hat yet?” Everytime I mention a female—

KAYLA: What does that mean? Like for a wedding?

BAREFOOT: Yes, that’s exactly what it means. Every time I mention a female name, that’s what she says. And you know, when are you going to get all the travel out of your system? When are you going to settle down and find someone? I’m an only child. I think she’s finally realized that she’s not going to get grandchildren there’s that. Basically, the way I’ve described it, is she wants me to be happy. That’s what she says. She says, “I just want you to be happy.” What is unsaid, but very very loud in that statement is, “the way I was.” Like mother, you got divorced when I was a month old. You’re not going to be telling me about settling down and getting married. 

SARAH: I feel like it’s so often well-intentioned, “I want this person to be happy. I want fulfillment. I want them to be respected by society.” But for some people, their happiness is going to be an existence that is not respected by society or not considered the norm and you have to let that be okay.

BAREFOOT: And the thing is my mother is 71 next month. So she’s of that generation which is quite weird really considering I had to have a conversation with her once that even I didn’t want to have. She would have been 18/19 in that first summer of love, so I asked her if she was a hippie. And the one thing you do not hear your mother say is, “oh yes I was a hippie. I was really into that free love.” I don’t want to know, I do not want to know, even if I wasn’t asexual, I do not want to know. 

(40:00)

KAYLA: That’s just weird, no one wants to hear about that from a parent. 

BAREFOOT: But it is just weird, that was her upbringing, that was the way she was when she was of the age where you first start exploring your own sexuality and personality. And now she is a very conservative, traditional person.

KAYLA: It is kind of confusing, all of these “boomers” if you think about all of the—my cat’s being so obnoxious, climbing all about, there’s that one, she’s being fine, usually she’s the bitch.

BAREFOOT: Yeah I’m a little worried about your ornamentation I have to say.

SARAH: Billie!

KAYLA: It’s a bit confusing, we think about the time they were growing up again, like ooh hippie, free love, lots of weed and stuff and now those are the people that are like, “don’t legalize weed!” and it’s like we know how much you smoked, we’ve seen the pictures of Woodstock, shut up. 

SARAH: It is so interesting when people are like, you’ll get more conservative as you get older, and it’s like—

KAYLA: No thank you.

SARAH: I would rather not. 

BAREFOOT: My background is relatively middle class and I went to a private free-paying school. I grew up as a Tory boy. You had Reagan we had Thatcher. That was the mindset people had, the first neoliberals, when it first started, these were the ones that started the shit we’re in now. That’s where I started and that’s how I was until I reached the real world. And since then, I’ve been like, I’ve gotten left.

KAYLA: Every year I get more and more left.

SARAH: Every year. 

BAREFOOT: I’m somewhere to the left of Bernie Sanders I suspect.

KAYLA: That’s left.

BAREFOOT: Relatively. Bernie Sanders would be fair, a standard left-wing person in Britain. Your Democrats would be fairly right-wing.

KAYLA: You have so many parties over there, we have our two dumb ones.

SARAH: Our Democrats are quite a bit more moderate than we think they are. 

BAREFOOT: Yes, very much so.

SARAH: Kind of along those lines of your mother’s expectations, how broadly out are you in real life? Do the people around you know you identify as aspec or is it more of just like a thing of part of your online identity and you don’t necessarily talk about it with people in real life?

BAREFOOT: Alright give me a second.

SARAH: I’m ready.

KAYLA: Are we getting a presentation?

SARAH: For those of you at home who are listening to the podcast, Barefoot Backpacker has put on a mask that is the ace flag. 

KAYLA: There you go that is the answer.

BAREFOOT: I have the same issues that many people have, I never even know where to begin. 

KAYLA: It’s upside down.

SARAH: Doesn’t matter.

BAREFOOT: The non-binary flag is easier because they glow yellow. You can’t go wrong, you know exactly what the glow yellow is. And it goes at the top. I’ve written about this and I’ve pod-ed about this. I have an asexual mask, I have two asexual sweatshirts, one of which is the cake one says they’d rather be eating cake, and the other one is, it’s not that you’re not hot, I just don’t care, in the ace flag colors. And I also have an aromantic hoodie. I’ve walked down the streets round here. Sheffield is a big city, 500,000 people it’s one of the biggest cities in the country. No one’s noticed aside from one person in a pub. One person who was behind the bar in a micropub in Hillsbury, Sheffield was the only person who recognized it. No one else recognized it. And the thing about being out, say if you’re gay, it’s blatantly obvious if you’re gay because either you’ll have a recognizable gay pride flag or you’ll be walking down the streets holding hands with someone of the same gender. It’s hard to be out as asexual because you can’t prove that you’re asexual because it’s like the absence of something. I did a whole thing about traveling as an asexual. The difference between me as an asexual, me as a single traveler is almost none. And no one recognizes the flag because it’s not recognized, not known. I’m out in the sense that my social media profiles say the word asexual. I put an asexual flag on my Facebook profile for a bit which caused absolutely no reaction whatsoever. I’m out but I’m out in the sense that no one knows. I can shoot it in your face but you won’t see it cause you won’t know what you’re looking at. I’ve been on the radio, I’ve been on BBC Radio Sheffield, the radio station here talking about asexuality, talking about what it means to be an asexual but almost no comeback from that, none whatsoever. No one knows who we are.

SARAH: I think that’s a super common experience for aspec people especially for aspec people who are cis-presenting and they don’t have a queer romantic and/or sexual romantic that is not aro or ace. Obviously, if a person is a woman dating a woman who also identifies as ace, that’s going to be a different situation but for someone like me or for you, I’m aro-ace I’m cis, I look like what people expect a woman to look like, so no one’s going to clock me like oh that one’s definitely ace. They might clock me as gay because of the way I dress which has happened but there’s nothing about aspecs that can make someone say, “oh yeah that person’s definitely aspec” just by looking at us.

BAREFOOT: People think I’m gay. My ex-girlfriend thinks I’m gay which is quite amusing. But yeah because of my attitude, people say I’m camp. Certainly the people in the canteen where I used to work said I reminded them of a chap from the 70s and 80s called Kenny Everett look him up, when I was talking about gay men earlier, he’s very much of the first camp poofter women’s clothing type of gay and they said I reminded them of him because of my casual attitude, the chaos, the hair, the clothing because I didn’t conform to normal masculine types. I have issues with masculinity as you probably know.

SARAH: Don’t we all.

BAREFOOT: I did a whole blog post on how toxic masculinity also affect men. One reason why I describe myself as demiboy because I don’t associate with what men do. I am not one of those strange people. Where am I going with that. I have no idea where I was going with that. Can’t remember what it was. Can’t remember, what was I saying?

SARAH: I forgot what the question was. Kayla? 

KAYLA: Uhhh…..

BAREFOOT: I have undiagnosed ADHD it’s really not good.

SARAH: And I have diagnosed ADHD. And this is me on Adderall.

KAYLA: And I’m just here.

BAREFOOT: You know how much it costs me to get a diagnosis in this country? And going to a doctor at the age of 45 going hi I think I’ve got ADHD and he goes, “sure ADHD.” It would cost me 1000 pounds to get a private diagnosis for this. 

KAYLA: Medicine!

BAREFOOT: Apparently caffeine, oh yeah apparently coffee, I can’t stand that stuff and I’m not fond of Coke, so, Coca Cola for the record, not coke. There’s a drug that’s chewed in Yemen and Somalia and around the Red Sea called Khat which apparently when you chew it has a methamphetamine type effect. It’s all legal there, and I’m thinking maybe that would work.

SARAH: Chuck some of these across the ocean. 

BAREFOOT: That would be cool. What does it taste like?

SARAH: Honestly it doesn’t taste bad at all. You know when a pill dissolves in your mouth and you’re like that’s disgusting? Adderall is totally fine if that happens. It’s not bad at all.

KAYLA: See that’s why people take it recreationally.

BAREFOOT: I mean, you know. Oh yes, ah right okay. Traveling alone, I present as gay, apparently. You know I’ve sucked quite a few cocks in my times they’re quite tasty.

KAYLA: HAH. Sorry, that really got me.

BAREFOOT: This is one of those statements my mother completely ignored. I’m cis presenting, I come across as gay but I don’t come across as asexual because no one knows what asexual is. There isn’t an asexual stereotype. There isn’t a, you can’t look at someone and go, ooh they’re asexual because no one knows what it is. There isn’t a thing for it. 

KAYLA: Yeah. There isn’t a ooh cuff your jeans and listen to Girl in Red.

BAREFOOT: Cuffing jeans, okay now this is something I didn’t know. When I was traveling in 2014, I took a year out of my job to travel the world and I had these three-quarter length cuffed jeans and I didn’t know. I nicked them from my girlfriend at the time.

KAYLA: Even gayer.

BAREFOOT: I know. They had pockets. That was cool. I didn’t know that this was a queer thing until about 4 days ago. I’ve never had another pair because I had to give her them back and I’ve always wanted my own pair cause I thought they were cool and I thought they were really great and I thought they captured the essence of my personality. And then four days ago, I find out they’re a gay icon and I’m like, who knew.

SARAH: I really love how you said four days ago. I was expecting you to say like, partway through my trip in 2014. But no, four days ago. Incredible.

BAREFOOT: This shirt, it’s a women’s shirt because the buttons are on the wrong side, but this is a flannel shirt.

KAYLA: Flannel, very gay.

BAREFOOT: Absolutely. One of my good friends, online, who I’ve travelled with says that basically, this look makes me a lesbian with a beard. Which I’m fine to get with. I think it’s cool. It’s not asexual, there is no asexual look. Cuffed three-quarter length jeans and I’m rocking this.

SARAH: Yeah you are. Can confirm for the listeners, you look great. 

KAYLA: They’re rocking it.

BAREFOOT: Cheers.

KAYLA: What do you wish the community as a whole knew about your experience as an older aspec or what the community as a whole could do for older aspecs? Cause I feel like as a community we focus on the younger people because when you picture an ace person, you feel like you picture a teenager or whatever. What do you wish younger people knew about your experience?

BAREFOOT: I don’t know if I can answer that. And the reason I can’t answer that is because the community is young and I think all that I need the community to know is that we exist. It depends on what the community wants. If the community wants world domination, which to be fair, who wouldn’t? Except me because I don’t want the responsibility of that shit. 

SARAH: Fair.

BAREFOOT: I’m Generation X you know? On a football field, I’m the person that goes, you’ve got the ball, I’ll pass it on to someone else. The world is currently run by boomers, my ambition is to get the world run by millennials. 

SARAH: Pass it right on off.

BAREFOOT: I don’t want that shit. I don’t want that responsibility. 

KAYLA: I wish every boomer was like you.

BAREFOOT: I’m not a boomer! 

SARAH: He’s not a boomer, that’s the point.

BAREFOOT: I’m five years older than being a millennial. Generation X.

SARAH: Kayla are your parents boomers or are they Gen X? Mine are Gen X.

(55:00)

KAYLA: My dad is right on the cusp, my mom is probably Gen X. My dad is like us where we’re in the middle of millennial and Gen Z. I think the last year of being a boomer is where he is. 

BAREFOOT: You know who else is a Gen X-millennial crossover? Macaulay Culkin from Home Alone is just about Gen X. Harry Potter is just about Gen X.

SARAH: Time is an illusion. 

BAREFOOT: Time is an illusion, time is a construct. 

SARAH: Time is a flat circle.

BAREFOOT: Unless you’re going for world domination, there’s no need for people to declare at the age of 63 to declare ooh I’m asexual. So makes sense for the community to concentrate on where they have the biggest numbers which is obviously you guys, it’s the people younger than you, it’s the Gen Zeds, the Gen Zs. 

SARAH: I like how you’ve been translating everything, like just in case you didn’t know. 

BAREFOOT: Absolutely. I can speak both variants. I can’t speak Australian, though. So it makes sense to concentrate on younger generations. In that respect, I don’t think it matters. All that matters is that you appreciate the fact that we exist and if you need us, we can tell you what life was like when we had no resources. As I said, we’d get things in plain brown paper packages from the USA that were disguised as superhero magazines or something and inserts, a foldover sheet of paper with inserts going “so these are all of the resources you’ve got, this is what safe sex is, these are helplines that you can call if you need some help.” But in terms of going forward, remember we’ll all die off at some point.

KAYLA: Oh no!
SARAH: Hey we’re all going to die off at some point.

KAYLA: I mean, I guess but like. 

BAREFOOT: That‘s the thing, it makes sense to concentrate because there’s more of you and you know what you’re doing. We don’t. There’s people like me that have embraced but as we’ve said earlier there are people under the radar who I can’t change now. We can tell them you can change it’s not do we want to force them to change it’s, should we be asking them, is this who you are? Would it make a difference to them after all this time? It may make a difference to their mental health, it may sort of, finally at last I can be who I want to be but I don’t know, is it? I’m not saying is it worth it cause it’s obviously worth it, is it worth it to them? If you’ve got a limited number of resources it would make sense to concentrate on where you’ve got your biggest efforts. 

SARAH: I honestly feel like the existence of older aces—obviously y’all are important to the community cause you’re part of the community, it’s almost more important as just like a figurehead, like, okay look, you can be aspec at any age and it’s proof to people outside the community, it’s proof to young people in the community who may be trying to explain themselves to people outside the community like you know, this is a real thing, it’s not a fleeting teenager oh it’s a phase, you know, there are real people of all ages who identify this way and it’s important to be able to see those people. It’s important to have people like you who are, you know, I’m 45, I’m aro-ace, or arospec aspec whatever terms you want to use, hey what’s up. 

BAREFOOT: It’s important for two reasons. It’s important to know that as you get older, your orientations won’t change. They may do and that’s equally valid but it doesn’t have to and as I said earlier, the concept of oh you haven’t found the right person yet or settled down isn’t the case, we are living proof that it isn’t. And I think the other thing that is important to recognize is that because we’re older, it means that asexuality isn’t a new thing and that we have been around for longer, even though we didn’t embrace the word cause we didn’t know it. We still had those feelings. The thing that gets me when I think about it is I only discovered the word in 2012 but it explained a heck of a lot about my childhood, my teenagerhood and my early 20s. It explained a heck of a lot about my attitudes towards relationships. I used to keep a diary at about 17 and you’d imagine a lot of people who keep a diary at the age of 17 go, “oh my god they’re really hot, oh my god I want to bonk them.” Mine wasn’t like that. Mine was “ I want to be with them, I want to be around them, I want to talk to them.” I think I only wrote “I want to kiss them” once. There was nothing sexual there. Looking back in hindsight, even then, the clues were there. This is going to be too much information. I don’t care. I lost my virginity at the age of 20.5 and I lost it to my second girlfriend and the reason I lost it was because she’d been badgering me for it for about 6 months and I figured, oh what the hell, I might as well see what it feels like. Which is an interesting reason to have sex. My thought was, it’s going to be rubbish but let’s do it anyway. Ooh, who knew. 

(1:00:00)

KAYLA: Oh yeah that is a very ace sentiment right there.

BAREFOOT: This was 1996 so I was like, you know, I didn’t know in those days.

KAYLA: We weren’t even born!

BAREFOOT: March the 17th.

KAYLA: Of 96? We weren’t born yet. 

SARAH: I like how you know this date but you don’t know the year you broke up with someone. 

BAREFOOT: It was St. Patrick’s Day. So yeah the clues were there even in my childhood. I’d always been like this even if I didn’t always know it. So that’s kind of important to know, asexuality wasn’t always a thing, a concept that people had feelings of and people were even before the word itself came. It’s not a new thing, it was a new word for something that hadn’t been described. And I’m not sure if it was described. Yeah, you’ve got words like bachelor and spinster. When I was growing up it was, oh they’re gay. When I was growing up, that was the default option. The default option was, oh you’re not married with children, you’re gay. Even if you weren’t, that’s kind of what people thought. So I imagine a lot of asexuals would have been assumed to be gay and possibly still are. 

KAYLA: Yeah it’s like how we were talking about how the bi community at first was like anything but straight or gay, it was a catch-all, it kind of reminds me of that. People were like, oh I know I’m different and the only way that people are described as different is if they’re gay so I must be gay that’s the only other option than straight.

BAREFOOT: Also interestingly, the word queer obviously when I was growing up, queer was an insult like poofter and gender bender and things like that. But we’ve reclaimed. But I still find it uncomfortable because for me it’s a very sexual word. So for me queer means you have a queer sexuality, as in, you still have sex, you still have sexual attraction, it’s just not heterosexual. Getting used to the idea of playing the word queer, simply out of responsibiltiy it’s like, oh what other word am I going to use? I’m starting to feel like I have to claim it. For me it’s still a very sexual word but one of my good friends online is an asexual homoromantic woman, I would say lesbian, she describes herself as an asexual lesbian but I think it’s more asexual homoromantic, she’s quite happy with the word queer because it very much encompasses the way she is. I mean if I think about it the whole LGBTQIA rainbow acronym, I’m basically four letters of that and I really should use it more.

BOTH: No we don’t should.
BAREFOOT: Yeah.

SARAH: I do see what you mean, it’s an overarching term that the community has kind of chosen it seems as the broad term. I know there are some people who are just uncomfortable with it. I don’t want those people to feel like they don’t have to use it if they want to. 

BAREFOOT: Yeah, I’m just uncomfortable with it because it’s highly sexualized for me rather than because it was an originally an insult. I mean gay was an insult in Britain so. 

SARAH: What changes have you noticed in the queer or aspec spaces over time? I guess you kind of talked about changes you’ve seen a lot in the queer spaces but since 2012, when you discovered asexuality, has there been a lot of change or has it seemed pretty consistent to you?

BAREFOOT: It’s kind of hard to judge because my personality is an introvert so I didn’t used to go to queer spaces anyway. Have I ever been to a gay pub? I’ve been to a gay pub but not a gay club, cause I never used to go clubbing so it was never—and there’s no such thing as an asexual club. Or, anything could be an asexual club if you’re just not interested so, who knows? 

SARAH: Any club I’m at is an asexual club.

BAREFOOT: Absolutely. Also, it’s hard to judge because so much is online now. So I don’t know if there’s more queer representation as more queer community or it’s just the spaces I hang out in. And I’ve managed to find them. So it’s hard to judge. But one thing I’ll say though is back before the Internet, you had specific gay bars, you had specific gay clubs, you had specific lesbian clubs. Now they still exist but I don’t know if they’re quite as demarcated as they were or quite as popular.

SARAH: I do think the difference in how I thought of that question versus how you thought of that question is that you thought of more like physical spaces where my brain went straight to online community and that shows the difference right in the way that things are happening now and that I assume that we’re going straight to online spaces and you’re thinking more about those physical spaces that we don’t necessarily have still. Scary thought. Yeah, it’s all easier to meet people now and that’s a good thing.

SARAH: It’s easier to find each other.

BAREFOOT: Absolutely. Given asexuality and asexual as a concept, if we didn’t have the Internet, I’d have known about it cause I’d seen the newspaper article but would the newspaper article even be written if we didn’t have the internet? So I don’t know. 

SARAH: Would there exist an aspec community in the way that it exists now without the internet? I’m not sure. 

BAREFOOT: I would guess not because gay spaces were so huge because there were a lot more gay men. So one of the ways they used to promote their gay meetups, the gay parties, the gay festivals, back in the early 90s was to have a kind of tree effect on the telephone. So one person would organize, they’d phone 5 people, those 5 people would then phone 5 other people, those 5 people phoned 5 other people and before you know it, you’ve got couple of hundred people in a warehouse somewhere out of town. Hard to do that in the asexual community cause if you don’t have that many people. I don’t think I could phone 5 people. 

SARAH: Could I—I’m trying to think of people whose phone numbers that I have.

BAREFOOT: I’m using phone as an example, so.

SARAH: I know but I’m thinking people that I know well enough that I would be like sure yeah. I’m just like, uhh, I have two phone numbers. I could call David Jay and invite David Jay, just a small flex for everyone that I have David Jay’s phone number. In case you didn’t know.

BAREFOOT: I am really on a podcast with the high and mighty of the asexual community here. I’m a nobody. But the other point of course as well is, I remembered this when I was listening to your podcast with Slice of Ace, Daniel. We’re all in different countries. It’s not a case that—maybe in London or New York or Chicago or something—that you’d phone up and you’d know five people in the same city. It’s not that I don’t know five people who are asexual. I’m not even sure that the people I know are in the same country never mind the same city so having an early 90s asexual rave as it were, wouldn’t happen.

SARAH: Well yeah and I’m thinking about the people I know who are aspec that I don’t know through the podcast and I can count them on one hand and I met all of them through communities that were already very queer. And also, none of them live in the same place anymore. I met them in college but we’re all elsewhere now. So, I really don’t think the community would exist in the same form without the internet. Big ups to the internet. Last question for you, do you have any advice for younger aspecs, you are allowed to say no.

BAREFOOT: I’d love to say yes. Do I have any advice for them? Ignore your parents, is that advice? Your parents talking shit, don’t listen to them. You are valid, you will always be valid. Oh no I have some advice. There comes a point in your life and it will vary from person to person and for me it was late 30s but it could happen a lot earlier. There will come a point in your life when you will realize something. You will realize that nothing matters. You will realize that no one cares and that you’re old enough now to not worry because you’ve already established yourself. You will have some kind of career potentially. You will have a friendship group that means a lot to you and there will come a point where you’ll realize that you won’t need other people to validate you because you will be happy and comfortable with the validation you’ve got. And when you’re 17 and your parents go “oh but it’s not like that in the real world, you’ll have to settle down because that’s what everyone expects,” bullshit. Because you’ll get to an age where you’ll still be the same person that you are and you’ll be surrounded by people that appreciate you for who you are and not for who your parents think you should be. Once you reach that point, it’ll become very liberating. It’s interesting that it came to me the same time that I understood what asexuality was. So the two went most hand in hand. It’s a really good feeling to know that you are you.

SARAH: I’ve always found that reassuring that nothing matters, I am a tiny speck of dust in the universe and I know a lot of people have an existential about that but for me I find it reassuring, in the long run nothing matters, nothing anyone says matters, you can just live your life how you want to and it doesn’t matter.

BAREFOOT: It’s coupled with the fact that there comes a point where nothing that other people say makes a difference or will make a difference. When you’re about 19, 20-21—

SARAH: I haven’t fully escaped that. 

BAREFOOT: Yeah, but also, the way you act, it affects who likes you, it affects who employs you, it affects who you hang around with, sort of career decisions can be made or lost based on your views so sometimes you have to hide yourself away but when you reach mid 30s you don’t have to please anyone anymore. You’ve already established who you are, you’ve already established that you are good enough as yourself. You’ve had 10-15 years of work behind you or you’ve had 10-15 years of academia behind you. I can stand up for myself, this is me, this is who I am and then when you add in, this is what I believe, and you can’t judge me for what I believe because of this, my record, judge me from my abilities in the last 15 years in my job, in my writings, and oh by the way I’m asexual but that doesn’t matter, because it doesn’t at that point. People don’t care.

SARAH: Everything that we ascribe value to, it has value because we gave it value so if you don’t want to value the things that society tells you you should, don’t. 

BAREFOOT: And there comes a point where you don’t have to. You may be seen as weird.

SARAH: What’s wrong with that?

BAREFOOT: Absolutely nothing, I’ve been seen as weird all my life. It’s been great. I was bullied for it at school but now I’m reveling in it. 

SARAH: Yeah, here you are, on world-renowned podcast, Sounds Fake But Okay.

BAREFOOT: Absolutely. You get more listeners than I do. 

SARAH: We don’t have that many listeners but I appreciate your confidence in us. Yeah, look forward to that. It may seem difficult now but it doesn’t have to be difficult forever. 

BAREFOOT: Yeah you may have a few years in your early 20s where it becomes a bit rough but after that it gets better.

SARAH: Yeah and I’m right in there. I’m in those early 20 years so guys if I could survive it, you could survive it, we’re good. Excellent, Kayla what’s our poll for this week?

KAYLA: Uhhh, yes.

SARAH: Good poll.

KAYLA: I feel like we’ve done how old were you when you realized you were ace or aro. We’ve done that before surely. We could just do a straight poll of you’re ace or aro, which of these age groups are you part of? And I could put some age ranges.

SARAH: Okay, why not? 

KAYLA: Get a lil poll of how old everyone is.

SARAH: And next we’ll ask for your social security number and your credit card.

KAYLA: Yes.

SARAH: Kayla what’s your beef and your juice this week?

KAYLA: My beef is that the post office is bad and I went today to go to my PO Box to see if I had anything to get a boost of serotonin if I had a little letter, everyone loves getting a letter but then there was a complication and they shut my box for some reason. So if you’ve sent me something recently and it gets sent back to you, I’m very sorry. I don’t know what happened but I now remember why everyone hates the post office so much. But the lady I talked to was very nice, Francis, thank you if you’re listening.

SARAH: For the listeners, her address will be remaining the same.

KAYLA: Yes.

SARAH: It’s just possible that you have something sent back to you.

KAYLA: If you have something sent back to you, I’m sorry, you can either just send it back or—I’m not going to tell you what to do, you don’t have to waste your time sending it back if you don’t want to. But also you should because I like getting letters. Anyway, that’s my beef. My juice is that I’ve gotten into making little clay items recently, it’s my new craft fixation of the month. We all know I have these. For a while, it was the paper and now it’s making clay. But it’s been fun, I made Sarah a little egg, going to send her a little egg.

SARAH: She was like this was supposed to be a surprise.

KAYLA:  I know I could have sent it to you and let her get mail as a surprise and open it, but then I was like, I’m too excited. So I didn’t.

SARAH: Delightful. Barefoot Backpacker, what is your beef and juice this week?

BAREFOOT: I could go on forever about beef, I have fingers in many pies and I just have to say that my current beef is politics, as it probably should be.

SARAH: Always.

BAREFOOT: A number of political issues including TERFs should be terfed out. There’s a whole myriad of issues, there’s one issue about TERFs being vocals about this year’s census survey because we’re for the first time asking a question about gender identity. We’ve always had the question of “what is your sex?” which is either “male” or “female” in the survey and now we have a subquestion of is your gender identity different from the gender you were assigned at birth? And it’s a very simple question it is either a “yes it is” or a “no it isn’t.” But the TERFs are particularly vocal about this for reasons I’m not quite sure I understand because it makes no sense because they don’t make any sense.

SARAH: Yeah they don’t make any sense at all.

BAREFOOT: Yeah there’s that. There’s also issues with LGBTQIA crackdowns in Ghana of all places where the government have closed a LGBTQIA resource center and there’s a whole community of journalists now against LGBT, quite popular, so my Twitter timeline is full of people in Ghana being completely outraged. But because it’s Ghana, it’s not a country you think about or hear a lot about.

SARAH: Yeah I hadn’t even heard of that, so. Something to look it up.

BAREFOOT: I mention it because I think it’s important we have solidarity across the world.

SARAH: Absolutely. Got any juice?

BAREFOOT: That beer was good. I forgot to make notes of it which is really annoying. I have a beer app On Tap that I make notes on about beer, and I completely forgot to make notes about that beer. So that’s really annoying me now.

SARAH: Well the notes are, “enjoyed during Sounds Fake But Okay,” what further information do you need?

BAREFOOT: I might actually do that. Other juice, I’m still alive, which is always a good thing, what can I say?

SARAH: Yeah, good. My beef, is, I don’t know, taxes. I need to track down a form for my taxes and my dad helped me with my taxes, thanks dad but this is the first time I’m filing outside the state of Michigan, so we’ll see how that goes. My juice is BTS doing a cover of Fix You by Coldplay. 

BAREFOOT: How is your Korean going?

SARAH: It’s still pretty rusty, not even rusty, just bad but you know what, I have a 72-day streak of learning Korean, so we’re doing something. Wonderful. You can tell us your beef, your juice, answer our poll, tell us your social security number (please don’t do that), on our social media @soundsfakepod. Barefoot Backpacker, where can the people of the internet find you?

BAREFOOT: I basically live on Twitter. At one point I was doing 200 tweets a day, that does include retweets to be fair, I retweet a lot. If you follow me on Twitter, turn of retweets. I can be found on Twitter @RTWBarefoot, again a name I did not invent. It was created by friends of mine. Twitter has a really really narrow character limit for handles which is really annoying because Barefoot Backpacker is too long, so. RTWBarefoot.

SARAH: I have a friend whose name is too long. His actual name is too long. 

BAREFOOT: I live on Twitter @RTWBarefoot. I have a website barefoot-backpacker.com. I also have a podcast called Travel Tales from Beyond the Brochure.

SARAH: And if you want to hear more of this delightful voice, that is the place to find it.

BAREFOOT: At the time of recording, my last episode was on gender identity and toxic masculinity but by the time this episode comes out I will have an episode about alcohol around the world that isn’t beet.

SARAH: Wow, you’re really running the gamut with that. Nice. Excellent. Is there anything aside from what you’re promoting being a patron, is there anything you want to promote before I dive into the patrons that isn’t yourself?

BAREFOOT: I haven’t told you what I want to promote as a patron huh?

SARAH: Well i never said what you said last week.

BAREFOOT: Yeah say that, be you for you.

SARAH: Be you for you.

BAREFOOT: Do I have anything else to promote? I don’t think so. I would like to promote the Sounds Fake But Okay discord cause it’s full of really really cool people. 

SARAH: It is, I’m not one of them, I mean I’m there I’m not cool. But there are cool people.

BAREFOOT: She occasionally pops in.

SARAH: I occasionally pop in and I put the emote reaction that says Moms are watching. That’s how I exist on Discord. Yeah. Well I’m going to promote you just so you know. Everyone go follow Barefoot Backpacker what a delight. Barefoot Backpacker is also a patron, thank you for your money. If you want to also become a patron and be as cool as Barefoot Backpacker, you can find us patreon.com/soundsfakepod.

BAREFOOT: I’m not cool.

SARAH: Okay we’ve established that no one here is cool but you could be cool if you become a patron. We have a new $2 patron it’s JR, thank you JR. Actually it’s J_R, want to get the name right, of course. Thank you very much for giving us your 2 pounds technically. This is not a $2 patron this is a 2 pound patron.

BAREFOOT: With the exchange rate going as they are, it’ll probably turn to $4 at some point.

SARAH: We’ll have to bump you up to $5 patron just because of the exchange rate. Our $5 patrons are Jennifer Smart, Asritha Vinnakota, Austin Le, Derry— live bloopers, just going to leave all that in. 

BAREFOOT: I don’t know why you don’t pre-record this?

SARAH: They change too often. There’s too much. I’d have to re-record it all the time. Perry Fiero, Dee, Quinn Pollock, Emily Collins, Bookmarvel, Changeling MX, Simona Sajmon, Jamie Jack, Jessica Shea, Ria Faustino, Daniel Walker, Livvy, Madeline Askew, Lily, James, Corinne, AliceIsInSpace, Skye Simpson, Brooke Siegel, Ashley W, Savannah Cozart, Harry Haston-Dougan, SOUP, Amanda Kyker, Vishakh, Jacob Weber, Rory, Amberle Istar, Rachel, Kate Costello, John, Ariel Laxo, Ellie, Tessa, MattiousT, Chris Lauretano, Sam, Kelly, Scott Ainsli, Orla Nieve Eisley, and Julianne.  Our $10 patrons, I’m going to move this over so I can see it better— are Arcnes who would like to promote the Trevor Project, Benjamin Ybarra who would like to promote me playing D&D, anonymous who would like to promote Halloween, Sarah McCoy who would like to promote Podcast From Planet Weird, my Aunt Jeannie who would like to promote Christopher’s Haven, Cassandra who would like to promote manifesting positivity, Doug Rice who would like to promote "Native" by Kaitlin Curtice, Maggie Capalbo who would like to promote their dogs Leia and Minnie, and also H. Valdis, who is our next patron. Purple Chickadee, who would like to promote figuring out one’s gender identity and the non-binary community, Barefoot Backpacker, who would like to promote being you for you. Any additions or that just speaks for itself?

BAREFOOT: No, that’s cool. 

SARAH: Beautiful.

BAREFOOT: Be you for you and you are valid.

SARAH: Yep. We love that. The Steve who would like to promote Ecosia, Ari K. who would like to promote The The Eyeball Zone, I said it like scon like British people say scone, The Eyeball Zone, Mattie who would like to promote The Union Series by T.H. Hernandez, Derek and Carissa who would like to promote the overthrow of heteronormativity in support of Melody the hamster, Andrew Hillum who would like to promote—Andrew what are you promoting now? You still promoting Aro Week even though that’s in the past? Let us know. Aaron who would like to promote free forehead kisses, Khadir who would like to promote Gnocchi Feta Fettuccine as a wonderful name for any cat, and Potater who is a new patron and who is promoting potatoes. 

BAREFOOT: Woo.

SARAH: Potater did tell us last week that they wanted to promote potatoes but me and Kayla can’t read so sorry for not saying last week that you’re promoting potatoes but potatoes are a great thing to promote. Our $15 patrons are Nathaniel White - NathanielJWhiteDesigns.com, my mom Julie who would like to promote Free Mom Hugs, Sara Jones who is @eternalloli everywhere, Andy A who would like to promote Being in unions and IWW, Martin Chiesel who would like to promote his podcast, Everyone’s Special and No One is, Leila, who would like to promote love is love applying to aro people, Shrubbery who would like to promote the Planet Earth, Dia Chappell who would like to promote their twitch.tv/MelodyDia, Sherronda J Brown, who didn’t have anything to promote so we’re promoting her and Dragonfly who would like to promote having Barefoot Backpacker on your podcast. Thanks for listening, thank you for joining, it was a delight to talk to you, I’m sure we’ll have to cut some of that out but listeners just know we had a great time.

BAREFOOT: I talk too much.

SARAH: So do I. Tune in next Sunday for more of us in your ears. 

KAYLA: Until then, take good care of your cows.

BAREFOOT: One thing I like about your take good care of your cows is the pause between “your” and “cows” I really like that.

KAYLA: It’s the intro. We have such a cadence of it now.

SARAH: We can’t do one bit of it.

KAYLA: I can’t remember what we say until we do it.

BAREFOOT: I have a little confession about your intro. It’s your theme tune. The second time I heard your podcast, I was on a bus and I was listening to it and I heard that theme tune and I cried a little because I was happy about it. I was like, this is a really funky theme tune, this means a lot to me. It was that kind of, it showed how powerful it was and what you guys do.

KAYLA: See Sarah, our theme song is good, Sarah.

BAREFOOT: Oh does Sarah not like it?

KAYLA: Sarah hates it. She has to listen to it so often when she’s editing, plus you’re the one that made it.

SARAH: Yeah I’m like we could have a higher quality theme song but we don’t because neither of us don’t.

KAYLA: That’s so sweet.

SARAH: That’s really sweet. I have no idea where in the podcast I’m going to put that. I’ll put it at the end.