Enjoy this extract from my new play. It focuses on two asexual characters, Abbie and Max, who meet one another online. Together they hope to understand how best to navigate this sex-crazed world whilst staying true to themselves.

There are only ever two characters on stage: Abbie and Max. The latter is in her late teens, whilst the former is in his mid-twenties. It should be apparent that the pair are in separate rooms, in separate buildings, in separate cities. Yet, also, they should be able to be able to interact with one another, and the entire space. At the start of the piece Abbie is sat cross-legged on the floor, watching with a rapt expression Max, who stands elevated, as if ready to deliver a speech.

Max: Sex. If one thing sums up this current society best, it’s that one, all-encompassing word. Back in the good old Victorian times men and women would shudder at even the mildest thought of a bit of slap-and-tickle. But – Oh – how those dreary days are gone. Sex is everywhere now! You can’t move for it. In TV, film, books, adverts, classrooms – everywhere you look it’s a tit here and a knob there! What an age to be fucking in! It can be raw, it can be primal, it can be beautiful, it can be artistic, it can be anything you want it to be! The age of prudes is over! Without sex what would we be? Who would we be? Nothing, that’s what! Sex is and always will be the main purpose and past time for we simple beings. So, with that sobering thought in mind, I ask: what the hell is wrong with us? I say ‘Us’ because, if you’re reading this, I can only assume you too must be one of those illusive creatures known as ‘Asexual’. Perhaps you came to me and my humble little blog in search of answers – or, if you’re WizardPrik22, to post stupid Gifs in the comment section – I know who you are, believe me. If you are here for answers, then I’m afraid I must disappoint you. What answers I do have are too few to share. All I can do is type these short, cynical articles and send them hurtling off into the web. I may as well be shouting down the toilet for all the good it does me. Still, there’s at least one person reading these things – I know, I check. So, for you, sad and lonely reader – or WizardPrik22, I can at least share my own experiences of living life as an asexual man. Now, where was I – I apologise, by the way. My expertise lies in inevitably pointless tangents. Ah, yes, I remember. Sex! The be all and end all of the human experience. Without it we would not be; so, why are there some of us for whom the very act is – well, can I say abhorrent? I don’t know if that is the word, but something similar. Everyone loves it, can’t get enough of it. Whether man and woman, man and man, woman and woman, man and woman and man, or woman and woman and woman and man, people seem to think it’s absolutely great. Except me, and, presumably, you. For me it’s just . . . I don’t know, sometimes the words avoid me. Which is surprising, I mean, did you just read the mammoth-sized block of text just now? But, like my feeling towards physical touch, when I try and find the words . . . there’s just an empty void. Everything about it just confuses me! I mean, not the technical aspect. What’s there not to get? But in terms of . . . Look, let’s put it this way; You know how with some people, when they have that first touch, they say it’s like an electric shock? Well, how many of you have ever actually had an electric shock? It’s –

Abbie: I have!

Pause.

Max: (Irritated) What?

Abbie: Sorry. I – I didn’t mean to send that. I was responding to your question about the electric shock.

Max: You mean the one that’s halfway through the blog?

Abbie: I know, sorry. I was going to type all my thoughts as I went along, then send the whole thing at the end, but I got a bit excited and pressed enter too soon. You might call it a case of premature exclamation.

Max: But that random ‘I have’ is your only comment.

Abbie: Yeah, I had to go to a lecture, then forgot about it. Anyway, I’ve had an electric shock!

Max: I don’t care.

Abbie: Sorry, just answering your question.

Max: But it was a rhetorical question.

Abbie: And I answered it!

Max: That’s not how rhetorical questions work!

Abbie: I don’t think we’re the sort of people who should be concerned about how things ought to work. Besides, I didn’t think you’d mind me commenting.

Max: Well, I do.

Abbie: Then why have a comments section in the first place?

Max: They’re not my idea; they’re on automatically.

Abbie: You know you can disable them, right?

Max: What?

Abbie: Yeah. All you have to do is go into settings, scroll down to – (Beat) Oh. (Reading) ‘Comments are now disabled on this post.’ Guess I had that one coming. (To herself) Come on, Abbie! Pull yourself together! What have we said about pestering people? (Sighs) It is one of my flaws. My many, many flaws. Mum used to say she could write a whole book about the shit I get wrong. I mean, she probably still says it, but I’m an adult now, and that means I don’t have to listen to her anymore. Of course, when I told her that, she said no one likes a smartarse. “I’m not being a smartarse,” I said. “I’m just telling the truth, which you raised me to always do.” She said that’s exactly the sort of thing a smartarse would say. I don’t want people to think that of me. Because I don’t think I’m a smartarse. I’m just trying to be honest. That’s all I’ve ever tried to be. So, being such an honest person, I can truthfully say that this Max person is not my kind of guy, at all. But we have to make do with what we’ve got. And he’s all I’ve got. For better, or for worse. (Beat) Probably worse.

Max: Today I’ll be discussing the very first lesson any of us will learn: How to know if you’re asexual.

Abbie: How do you know? That’s what I want to know. It’s not like being straight or gay. With them it’s easy! You see someone, you get a reaction (nods to her genitalia) and there you have it. You know! But asexuals? You see someone (looks to her genitalia) radio silence. You see another person (another look) Nothing. But can you decide what you are based on what you’re not?

Max: How do you know if you’ve never tried?

Abbie: And you have?

Max: What?

Abbie: Tried it. Have you . . . you know?

Max: Are you going to comment on every post?

Abbie: It’s either me or WizardPrik22.

Max: Not if I disable comments again.

Abbie: What’s the point in this blog then?! Aren’t you writing it to start a conversation?!

Max: No! I’m writing it because I’m an opinionated arsehole that likes to know I’ve got someone’s attention!

Abbie: Is that what being an asexual is?

Max: No.

Abbie: Oh. Then what is it?

Max: (Sighs) You’re not going to give up, are you?

Abbie: I’m very good at pestering people. As my mother would say: It’s my forty-fourth flaw.

Max: She sounds like a bundle of laughs.

Abbie: She’s all right once you get to know her. At least, that’s what everybody tells me. We haven’t got to that stage in our relationship yet. We’re still very much at the: ‘If you don’t do what you’re told, you’ll be grounded for a month!’ Although, can you ground someone when they’re at Uni?

Max: Okay, before you blurt out your whole fractious backstory, perhaps we should start with introductions?

Abbie: Really? But I know who you are.

Max: Yes, but my name is plastered in Bahnschrift Light Condensed type at the top of each page. You, on the other hand, are ‘anonymous user’.

Abbie: (Laughs awkwardly) Oh, right, ‘course, sorry. I’m Abbie!

Max: Well, hello Abbie.

Abbie: Hello, Max.

Pause.

Max: This is a thrilling conversation.

Abbie: Sorry, I’m just not used to this.

Max: Talking to someone?

Abbie: I’m more used to commenting on your blog posts.

Max: In other words, . . .?

Abbie: Could you start?

Max: (Sighs) Fine. Hello, my name is Max, and I’m asexual.

Abbie: Hi, Max. (Pause) Sorry, was that it?

Max: What else do you want? I can’t just churn out an essay at the snap of your fingers! These blog posts can take weeks sometimes!

Abbie: I’m not expecting something that long! Just a – I don’t know – some other, small stuff about you?

Max: Oh, God, we’re not ‘getting to know one another’ are we?

Abbie: What’s wrong with that? You’re the only person I know who identifies as asexual!

Max: And? Why’s that so important?

Abbie: Because . . . well, I think I might be one too.

Max: You think you might be asexual?

Abbie: Yes. Well, I don’t know. I think so. To be honest, I’m still not too sure about what it all means. Sure, I know it means you don’t like sex, but . . . is that it? So, that’s why I’m here. I want the answers, and if I can’t get them from an expert, who can I get them from?

Max: What expert?

Abbie: You!

Max: Me? Oh, no, I wouldn’t make that claim.

Abbie: No?

Max: No.

Abbie: Oh.

Max: You see, asexuality is – I’m loathe to use the word, but it’s . . . complicated.

Abbie: It sounds fairly simple to me.

Max: Does it feel simple?

Abbie: True.

Max: One of the first things you have to understand is that, like most forms of sexuality, it’s more like a blanket term: Asexuality.

Abbie: A blanket term?

Max: Yes. You said it yourself; when you think of asexuals, you just think of people who aren’t that keen on a bit of rumpy-pumpy. When, really, it’s more of a spectrum.

Abbie: I feel like one of your blogs had a title like that . . .

Max: That’s right: The Ace Spectrum! Gather round, old and young, for you might learn a thing or three. Now, the Normals have their magnificent blend of flavours, we all know that. There are those who strictly plough the fields of the opposite gender, and then there are some who gladly hump anything that has a pulse. But, what few realise, is that we Aces have our own little variations. Pop quiz! How does the media portray us?

Abbie: Trick question, they don’t!

Max: Ah, almost, but not quite. We do occasionally get a second in the spotlight, but when that does occur, its usually an exaggeration of what we may call the: ‘Atypical Asexual’;

Abbie: The one that’s shown as a heartless, soulless, robot?

Max: Correct. Now, this kind, whilst certainly not being robotic in nature, does have absolutely no inclination towards sex, whatsoever. There’s no physical attraction to other people, no need to satisfy the libido, and certainly nothing that might be mistaken for romantic inclinations. But they’re not all there is to being Ace! Further along the spectrum, you have the aromantics. These people feel no romantic desires; however, they do still engage in the . . . physical activities.

Abbie: It sounds like this would be easier with a diagram.

Max: Maybe, if you think that would help. Probably a Venn diagram.

Abbie: Ooh! Venn diagrams are definitely in my Top 5 best diagrams!

Max: Okay. Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes. The aromantics and their . . . sex. You may ask: ‘If there’s no romantic interest, then why bother with the sex?’ Well, there may be multiple reasons; They may do this because they, dare I say, ‘enjoy’ the sensation; or it’s simply done to relieve their libido, like bleeding a radiator every now and then. For Aromantics, for the most part, sex is just an act with no big meaning. Like exercise. And then, whilst you have those who enjoy the sex without the romance, you have the ones who enjoy the romance without the sex. They can be attracted to another person, and yet still be frankly horrified by the idea of sex. Perhaps, one day down the line, they may do the dirty for the one they love, but don’t count on it.  And there you have the main categories. But, as with any sexuality, you can find asexuals of any kind of blend.

Pause.

Max: Well?

Abbie: What?

Max: What’s wrong?

Abbie: I didn’t say anything!

Max: That’s how I know something is wrong.

Abbie: Nothing’s wrong!

Max: You wanted an explanation, didn’t you?

Abbie: Yes, I did.

Max: Then what was wrong with it?

Abbie: Nothing. It was very . . . educational.

Pause.

Max: But?

Abbie: That’s it. It was educational. It felt like one of those not very entertaining Ted Talks. All you did was paraphrase an old blog!

Max: That’s what you wanted!

Abbie: No! I mean, yes – no, I do mean no! I want to get to know you! I want to know about your experiences!

Max: You want to hear about my experiences of not sleeping with people?

Abbie: I want to know how you cope with being asexual!

Max: I write a sarcastic blog.

Abbie: Should I do that?

Max: No! I don’t need the competition. Besides, you said yourself that you don’t even know if you are asexual yet!

Abbie: That’s why I have to talk to you!

Max: But why me?!

Abbie: Who else is there?

Max: Your family?

Abbie: Ha, not too likely.

Max: Why not? (Beat) Oh, shit, I just realised what I did.

Abbie: Let me tell you a bit about my family.

During the following, Max will take on the personalities of the brothers introduced.

Abbie: I’m the youngest of five; there’s me, and then my four big brothers: Gavin, who’s two years older than me; Finley and Marcus, the twins, who are both six years older, and then, finally: Darren, who, in spite of the full, navel-reaching beard, tapestry of tattoos running up both arms and neck, and the fact he’s on first-name terms with most policemen in our town, is still ‘mummy’s little sweetheart’. I don’t think those four have ever doubted what or who they are. Oh, no, they know exactly what they like. Every car drive was spent listening to the same old argument: breasts or arse? To this day we still don’t have a clear winner. But loser? Well, who doesn’t feel empowered after having their entire gender related to a bucket of fried meat? The idea of not being interested had never even crossed their minds. And as for mum, well, after spending so long raising a tribe of boys, she was a bit ill-equipped to deal with a girl. I mean, her version of The Talk, was:

Max becomes the Mum.

Mum: Make sure they have a rubber, before they shove it up ya.

Abbie: As you can tell, I inherited my artistic use of language from her. I’ve never been able to imagine going to her with any problems, no matter how small, so trying to tell her I was suffering from a lack of sexual desire? She wouldn’t understand that, not for a second. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t try talking to someone though, because I did try, once. Just once. That’s how I know it’s a brick wall. Not mum – obviously – but Gavin. Gavin’s always been the nicest to me. I think it’s probably because he’s so grateful I came along. You know, it stopped him from being the youngest anymore. I’ve always been closer to him than I was the others; any time I try talking to the other three they just make me shout or cry – or both. Anyway, there was one day when it was particularly bothering me. This – you know – lack of feeling. All day the only thing I’d been hearing from the other girls was what guys they hooked up with at the weekend, which one in the football team they fancied, and on, and on, and on. I was beginning to think I’d become trapped in a show for teenagers written by a middle-aged man. But, as they were yammering on, all I could think about was: ‘What’s the big deal’?  Then, something inside me just snapped. I suddenly realised that it bothered me. It bothered me more than I liked to admit. I didn’t like that I didn’t understand the big deal, and I wanted to talk to someone about it. Someone I could trust. Well, who can you trust if not your brothers? After all, aren’t they supposed to be there to console and offer advice? I got home and there was Gavin, sat in the living room in his pants, picking his nose, and playing Xbox. He immediately – after I slammed some doors, threw myself onto the sofa, and sighed angrily for ten minutes – realised something was wrong.

Max takes on the role of Gavin.

Gavin: Alright, Abs?

Abbie: Yeah.

Pause.

Gavin: ‘kay.

Pause.

Abbie: Why weren’t you in school?

Gavin: Couldn’t be arsed.

Abbie: Oh. Mr Clayne was looking for you.

Gavin: Prick.

Abbie: Says you’re behind with your essays.

Gavin: Haven’t done ‘em.

Abbie: Guessed that. You probably should do them. (Gavin shrugs. She addresses Max again.) I know you probably think this has nothing to do with the story I’m trying to tell, but – well, if I’m going to tell it, I might as well tell it properly, and that includes all the boring small talk. It didn’t last long anyway. It was obvious that Gavin, never one to pick up on subtle hints, needed some help realising the part he had to play in our conversation. (To Gavin) Gavin. Can – can I talk to you about something?

Gavin grunts, still focusing on his game.

Abbie: (Nervously) What – what would you say if I said . . . if I told you I was . . . Gavin – I’m – I think I’m asexual.

Pause.

Gavin: (Turning to look at her) What?

Abbie: I’m asexual.

Gavin: You what?

Abbie: That’s right.

Gavin: (Angrily) With who?

Abbie: Eh?

Gavin: Who are you havin’ sex with, Abbie?

Abbie: What?

Gavin: Tell me who they are, Abbie! Christ, I swear, I’ll rip his fuckin’ head off! Who is he, Abs? (Shouting) Finn! Marcus! Get your arses in here! Give us the name, Abs, we’ll show ‘em what happens when they lay a finger on our little sis!

Abbie: What? No! Gav, no! That’s not what I meant! I’m not having sex with anyone!

Gavin: But you just said –

Abbie: I’m asexual!

Gavin: Exactly! So, who is the little prick?

Abbie: I’m asexual! I’m not having sex with anyone, that’s what asexual means!

Gavin: I thought sexual meant the opposite.

Abbie: A, Gavin, Asexual. It means . . . well, it means I don’t want to have sex with anyone.

Gavin: Nah.

Abbie: What?

Gavin: Nah, you ain’t . . . whatever you said you was. You’re just not ready, that’s all. And you’d better not be ready for a while, either. I ain’t having my sis sleeping around with the sorts of twats at your school.

Abbie: But . . . I don’t feel like I will . . . ever want to have –

Gavin: Yeah, you will. If you’re anything like us, you will. Couldn’t make us a sandwich, could ya? Mum’s out and I’m starved.

Abbie: And that was that. I got what I wanted. I don’t mean any words of profound wisdom, oh no, nothing like that. In spite of being brighter than my other brothers, Gavin’s still only a flickering thirty watt. But he did what an older brother should do: he made me feel better. Usually, when you’re fourteen, you want to stand out, don’t you? You want to be different. You need to be extraordinary! But me? Being told I was perfectly ordinary felt fantastic. You don’t get judged for being normal. You don’t get jeered at, or get funny looks, or given stupid nicknames. I wasn’t asexual, I was just a-delayed-sexual. It was a rarity, but Gavin made me feel better about myself for a while. ‘Course, then the years went by, and still . . . there was nothing. I couldn’t exactly go back and say: ‘Sorry, Gav, but you’re wrong. Guess I’m not like the rest of you after all’. Because time did not make him smarter, and if he couldn’t understand, then there was going to be no hope for the rest of them. (Pause) Sorry, this got a bit longer than I thought. In summary: No, I can’t talk to my family. Or, at the very least, not yet. That’s why I wanted to talk to someone who knows what they are. I want . . . I don’t know. I want to be made to feel normal. What about you? How did your family react? (Pause) Hello? (Pause) Max? (Pause) Are you still there?

Pause.

Max: Sorry, your message just seemed never-ending, so I decided to have a nap. Anyway – yes, I can understand exactly what you mean. All we ever want is to be considered normal, and unique, and happy, and all of those things at exactly the same time. But, really, to be even one of those things sometimes takes a miracle. As I was making my way through your very long story, it reminded me of something I went through not too long ago. I was at work, doing what I normally do: wishing I wasn’t there, when I had one of the strangest conversations of my life. It had been a quiet night, and there wasn’t much going on, so the security guard shuffles up to me. He was new, or at least I hadn’t seen him before, and his name was Marco. I think it was Marco. It was probably Marco. It probably wasn’t Marco. Let’s just say it was Marco. Anyway, he comes up, turns to me, and suddenly, out of the blue, asks:

Abbie takes on the role of Marco.

Marco: So, you have a girlfriend?

Max: Hmm?

Marco: You have a girlfriend?

Max: Oh, erm, no, no I don’t.

Marco: Ah. (Nervously) Boyfriend?

Max: No.

Marco: (Nodding) So, you’re single?

Max: That’s right.

Pause.

Marco: But not a virgin?

Max: (Shocked) What?

Abbie breaks out of character.

Abbie: What? There’s no way he asked that.

Max: Yes, he did!

Abbie: I don’t believe you. No one would ask that, surely?

Max: Don’t believe it all you like, it still happened. Now, do you want to hear the rest of the story?

Abbie: But there was no build-up? No ‘Sorry if this is an awkward question’ sort of thing?

Max: Oh, sure, there was a bit of idle and uncomfortable small talk before hand, but the comment still certainly rocketed out of left-field. Now, may I?

Abbie: All right, all right.

She returns to character.

Max: (Awkwardly clears his throat) Yes, actually, I am.

Marco: (Stunned) Really? (beat) Never? Not even once?

Max: That’s right.

Marco: There’s nothing wrong with you?

Max: I’m sorry? No. I – I just don’t want to.

Marco: (Shakes his head) Amazing. You know, back home, if you are not doing it by sixteen, your family will take you to a psychiatrist to make sure nothing is wrong with your head!

Max: (Uncomfortably) Right.

Marco: Not . . . at all. How old are you?

Max: Twenty-four.

Marco: (Looks him up and down) It will happen. Don’t worry. (Nods) This is London, and you are young. There are many beautiful young women who will throw themselves over you, you will see. I will show you.

Max: Fortunately, in spite of his confident assurances, Marco the Security Guard never made himself my wingman. In fact, after that night I never saw him again.

Abbie: Wow. I still can’t believe that actually happened. Didn’t you complain? I mean, how inappropriate?!

Max: (Shrugs) I grew up in Essex. Inappropriate questions and comments are part and parcel of my everyday life. I was once asked, at school, how many times I wanked off in a week.

Beat.

Abbie: And?

Max: And what?

Abbie: What was the answer?

Max: I said I was used to the questions, not that I liked them.

Abbie: Sorry. (Pause) Thank you for telling me that. The story, I mean. I imagine it can be quite embarrassing.

Max: I don’t find virginity embarrassing. It’s other people who seem to have a problem with it.

Abbie: Not everyone. I think my brothers want me to stay as I am until I’m fifty. When I started Uni, they marched around campus with me and made it very well known that I wasn’t to be touched. In fact, Darren nearly throttled a professor who made the mistake of saying hello.

Max: Your brother sound like a right bundle of laughs.

Abbie: They’re not as bad as they sound. Sure, growing up with them was a bit . . . hellish. But I miss them, now they’re not around.

Max: I’ve never had that.

Abbie: You’ve never missed someone?

Max: I meant I’ve never had brothers.

Abbie: Oh. (Pause) It’s not just my brothers though. It’s . . . (Pause) Do you ever get lonely? (Silence) Do you ever feel like reaching out for someone?

Max: Only to make sure they’re at arm’s length.

Abbie: How do you explain this then?

Max: This?

Abbie: We’re talking, aren’t we? Isn’t that a form of reaching out?

Max: This is different. This is me keeping in touch with my fan base.

Abbie: And there’s me thinking I was special.

Max: Well, you are my only fan.

Abbie: What about WizardPrick22?

Max: Judging by some of what he posts, I can’t say he’s much of a fan.

Abbie: And there’s no one else?

Max: Nope. Trust me, I check the numbers.

Abbie: But what about other asexuals? Surely someone else must have tried reaching out?

Max: You’re the first. And, to be honest, I’m not sure I could handle another one. Especially if they’re like you.

Abbie: Well . . . doesn’t that worry you? Don’t you ever start to think that we’re . . . alone?

Max: I learned long ago that no one is ever truly alone. I’m still disappointed.

Abbie: Where are they?

Max: Oh, they’re around. You just need to know where to look.

Abbie: Well, they’re nowhere to be seen! What were you saying earlier about representation?

Max: Not much. It’s hard to say a lot about something that isn’t there.

Abbie: Exactly. How many gay icons and celebrities are there?

Max: Oh, most of them. The interesting ones, anyway.

Abbie: They get Ian McKellen, Oscar Wilde, Jodie Foster, Stephen Fry, Sandi Toksvig, but who do we have?

Max: Look, I get where you’re coming from, but you’re comparing apples to Australian finger limes.

Abbie: What?

Max: Only one percent of the global population identifies as asexual. One percent!

Abbie: What? Really?

Max: (Nodding) According to research done in Canada, or wherever it was.

Abbie: But only that we know of.

Max: I’m sorry?      

Abbie: How can we really believe statistics? They’re never really conclusive, are they? You could look at a hundred different polls, and they’d all have different results. Besides, asexuality only ever shows up in a survey, if the survey is about asexuality!

Max: That is true I suppose. I’ve filled in dozens of medical forms, and equality act forms, and Lord-knows-what-else forms, and when it comes to stating your sexual identity, the asexual option is always absent.

Abbie: Instead, you have to tick ‘Other’. So, the whole one percent, is just the people who know what they are. The lucky ones. There could be hundreds more, thousands more! People who feel the way I’m feeling, but have no idea what it all means. Who do they have? Who can they look up to?

Max: Salvador Dali.

Abbie: What?

Max: Salvador Dali.

Abbie: Really? The painter?

Max: (Nods) Though he was a bit odd. (Beat) A very bit odd. Liked to watch, rather than take part. But you know . . . artists.

Abbie: Okay, okay . . . Dali’s pretty cool. Anybody else?

Max: (Shrugs) Maybe. To be honest, I don’t really do that much research.

Abbie: But – but you knew about Dali! You knew about the percentage of asexuals across the world!

Max: Just stuff I’ve seen pop up on Instagram.

Abbie: Aren’t you at all interested? Don’t you think it’s important? That we ought to be seen? That the world needs to see us, to see that we’re out there and not some weird phenomenon?

Max: I told you, Dali was weird.

Abbie: Well, then let’s find someone else!

Max: Knock yourself out.

Abbie: What about you?

Max: I’m not that interested.

Abbie: Why?

Max: It’s just not my thing.

Abbie: It should be your thing!

Max: What about you? Why aren’t you doing the research? Why aren’t you finding these people?

Abbie: I am! I found you!

Max: And?

Abbie: What?

Max: Who else? Who else have you found from the Ace community?

Abbie: Well, there’s you . . .

Max: And that’s it? You found me and . . . what? Stopped looking?

Abbie: Well . . . I wanted to talk to you.

Max: Why? Why curse me with such a cruel fate?

Abbie: I don’t know. You just seemed so . . . angry.

Pause.

Max: There are other sites out there; blogs like mine, chat rooms, even some fancy health sites try and explain our condition.

Abbie: Really?

Max: In this vast and breath-taking ocean of electronic information? Oh, there must be at least a dozen.

Abbie: Chatrooms?

Max: Oh yes. That old relic of the noughties still clings to life.

Abbie: And have you ever used one?

Max: I think, by now, you should know my opinions on chatting.

Abbie: I know your opinions on a lot of things.

Max: And yet, here you still are. You could be speaking to anyone! Trust me, there are others out there. I know it may seem like a delusion, but there are. Just because you’re the only one in your little pond doesn’t mean you can write off the rest of the world. No one’s unique in this world. We’re all depressingly similar.

Abbie: What are they like?

Max: What makes you think I’ve connected with them?

Abbie: You know where they are. You found them, online, right?

Max: That doesn’t mean I’ve spoken to them. Remember, I’m not too keen on the whole chatting trend.

Abbie: Why not?

Max: They’re . . . how do I put this? They’re . . . kooky.

Pause.

Abbie: Kooky? Well, what’s wrong with that?

Max: What’s wrong with being kooky? You obviously didn’t read my September post: ‘Everything That’s Wrong with Being Kooky’

Abbie: I was going to, but it seemed quite long.

Max: Let me just give you an abridged version then.

Abbie: No, no thank you, not anymore.

Max: I’m sorry?

Abbie: Are you always like this?

Max: Always like what?

Abbie: (Struggling to find the word) . . . Snide! I’ve had enough of your angry, cynical rants! Sure, sometimes they’re funny, and more often than not I agree with you, but not about us! Not about our community. We should be standing up for one another! Sticking together!

Max: What’s suddenly brought this on?

Abbie: What do you think?

Max: How should I know what’s made you so angry?

Abbie: I’m not angry, I’m just . . . I don’t know what I am.

Max: What a surprise. You don’t know if you’re asexual; you don’t know if you’re angry. Just what do you know?

Abbie: I just don’t understand how you can be so – so . . . uninterested! How can you not feel the same way? Don’t you want to be a part of something? They’re like us, aren’t they? As much as you might not like it, they’re the same! Just like Dali! It doesn’t matter how kooky, or weird they might be, they’re all we’ve got! So, why are you so bitter about it all?

Max: I don’t see why you’re so desperate to find these other people. After all, from my experience, other people only bring one thing into your life.

Abbie: It’s because I’ve never felt like I’ve belonged before! That I could . . . that I could be myself around people!

Max: And that’s what you want?

Abbie: Yes!

Max: Then tell me, who have you been up until now?

Abbie: What?

Max: Who exactly have you been? Have you been sleeping around?

Abbie: No –

Max: Have you been watching people and going: ‘Ooh, look at the arse on that hunk!’

Abbie: Well –

Max: You’ve been you since the day you were born! What you mean is you want to find a group of people who act the way you imagine you want to act, so you can copy them in the hopes of living up to your idealised version of yourself. But, guess what? That won’t be you!

Abbie: But . . . I don’t feel like me.

Max: That’s not a problem other people can fix.

Abbie: You don’t know that!

Max: What?

Abbie: You may act different, but you’re the same as me! You’re just as confused as I am.

Max: And where did you get that idea from?

Abbie: Sure, you cover it up with all this sarcasm and cynicism, but I bet you’re just as scared as I am! You said you’d found all these groups – these asexual communities. Well, why aren’t you part of them? They can’t all be as kooky as you say! Surely some of them are full of robotic, cold-hearted people like you! Or – or maybe that’s what you’re afraid of? That you’ll reach out to one of these groups and you’ll find that, actually, you’re not that special. You’re not that unique. You’re just ordinary. You’re one of the Normals!

Pause.

Max: Well, that’s quite a speech.

Abbie: Max . . .

Max: Maybe you should write your own blog.

Abbie: I . . .

Max: Best of luck with finding yourself then. If Uni doesn’t help, maybe you could always buy a self-help book. I hear they work wonders for people like you.

Abbie: Max . . . I’m . . .

Max: Comments are disabled for this post.

TO BE CONTINUED . . .

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s