Ten Year Anniversary Q&A (Part 2)

How has our relationship dynamic changed over the span of a decade? Do we feel pressure to conform to traditional gender norms? How do people react to us being vegan vs being asexual? We answer all these and more!

Featured MarketplACE vendor of the week: Yokanii


Courtney: Hello, everyone, and welcome back. My name is Courtney. I am here with my spouse, Royce. And welcome to Part 2. Last week, we started a Q&A to celebrate our decade of marriage. And we had just far too many questions to answer them all in one episode, so we figured, why not continue the conversation? We’ve got a lot of good questions here.

Courtney: Our first question for today is: “How do you feel your relationship dynamic has changed over time, especially as you’ve both changed as people?”

Royce: I don’t know that I have a clear answer for that one. I think that the way I have changed over the past decade has mostly been coming to a higher degree of self-awareness, and that has just helped communicate what I may need in certain situations. And it’s not like that didn’t exist before; I’ve just gotten better about it. And that just kind of leads to the sort of day-to-day activity planning and the sort of agreed-upon division of labor in our relationship. Like —

Courtney: Mmm.

Royce: — when you break up all of the chores and tasks and things that we have to do to exist, what things are better done by what person, and how can we, you know, make sure things aren’t slipping or one person isn’t getting too overburdened? That sort of thing.

Courtney: Right. And that’s kind of a continuous evolution, and I anticipate it will continue to be, as different situations in our life change. That’s just sort of something you have to do when you cohabitate with someone.

Royce: Yeah. And some of that is sort of reactionary, too. Because, I mean, you’ve stated before, like, “Oh my God, why do I have anxiety now? When did that happen?”

Courtney: Yeah, that’s rude. Of all the mental health issues I have had in my life, [laughs] I have never considered myself to be an anxious person. I had horrible, horrible depression. There was a vast swath of my life where I had suicidal ideation. I’ve talked about OCD. Since we’ve been married, we’ve come to understand different types of neurodivergence. I am finding more and more evidence to suggest that I have the good old trifecta, also, of Autism and ADHD, and those at least made sense. That made sense in the narrative that already was my life. So I’m like, “Yeah, now that I’ve learned more about these things, I see how it fits in and how it’s been present this whole time.” Anxiety: totally new ballpark.

Courtney: And I kind of blame the pandemic. I wasn’t anxious before the pandemic, but now… Like, phone calls are hard now. And I’ve known so many anxious people in my life who have had, like, phone anxiety, and I’ve always been like, “Wow, of all the issues I have, at least this is the one I don’t have.” Nope. [laughs] I still don’t have the kind of just, like ,generalized social anxiety that you have long dealt with, though. So it is a different type of anxiety, but it is still new for me.

Royce: But you have noticed getting social burnout that you didn’t used to have.

Courtney: Yeah. That’s also rude. I’d be curious… Because I have known and loved so many introverted people and so many anxious people, and obviously, the pandemic was a whole, like, once in a lifetime thing — hopefully — that shaped a lot of people’s perceptions of themselves. But I wonder if some amount of the energy and social burnout — like, can some of that just come with age? Is there a big demographic of people that just have that progress as they get older? Because I haven’t been able to relate to, like, “Oh, I’m older now and my back just hurts for no reason,” because I’ve always had those physical body issues, ever since I was a young kid, so.

Royce: It could be. It also could be something that potentially isn’t permanent. It’s just a factor of, you know, you got used to being isolated. And if you were going to go back to being a lot more social, it might need to be something that you ease into and then sustain before you get used to it again.

Courtney: Yeah. I think just the nature of socializing changed so much for so long that… I have always flourished in face-to-face situations, whether it’s one-on-one or in a big group or in, like, a party or public kind of a situation. But I’ve always kind of needed that. So now that there have been so many, like, phone calls, Discord calls… Before the pandemic, anytime I’d have, like, a long-distance call with someone, we’d actually use Zoom and see faces, still, even on the screen. But I think so many people got so sick of Zoom for a while that people just started turning off their cameras. And now it’s like, “I’m having a conversation with you and I can’t see your face!” And I haven’t seen another face that isn’t Royce’s in years. So that’s been interesting.

Courtney: But I don’t know if that’s changed much about our relationship dynamic. Most of the major changes I’m thinking of are just individual ones of self-discovery that I don’t think have really influenced our dynamic much. Unless we talk about the actual, like, life changes that we have gone through together as a unit, like homeownership, buying our house. Now we’re homeowners. Now that is a different type of responsibility than renting. And prior to that, you lived in an apartment. So, even just having your own house. You hadn’t lived with a romantic partner before, had you?

Royce: No, I hadn’t. I had had roommates, but…

Courtney: Mhm.

Royce: Like, I had been in shared living situations, but that was it.

Courtney: Yeah. So, I mean, obviously, making the decision and having the capability — which I’m very grateful for — to be able to buy a home is one thing. But other sort of major life changes… I mean, starting my business was a big change, but that’s something that you had helped me out a lot with, supportively. There have been some more broader family changes. I mean, the death of my grandmother was a very, very big thing. We’ve dealt with other family members who have had, you know, illnesses, other deaths, so just being able to support each other through things of that nature when they arise. But a lot of that I think we have taken as it’s come and handled really well, and, if anything, just sort of strengthened and solidified that we can kind of deal with any situation together. I mean, I’ve said before that there’s no way we could ever split up because you met and got to know my grandmother and my cat before both of them died, and no one else is going to be able to meet or interact with those, like, very important facets of my life that I don’t have access to anymore.

Courtney: I don’t know. I suppose I’ve always sort of conceptualized my sense of self as not really changing. Not being stagnant — like, I do still grow and I do still learn and evolve — but I’ve never really been able to relate to people who are like, “Oh, I look at myself and I look at my 20s and I was a completely different person back then.” There’s no single point in my life I can point to and say, “That was a completely different person.” That was just me doing the best I could in the situation I was in.

Royce: Yeah. I’ve never really understood that either, but I guess I also haven’t dug into it. And I don’t know if, if you got that person to talk, if they were more like, “Oh, I lived a completely different lifestyle.” It just seems weird to have a personality shift of that magnitude, I guess, to me. I don’t understand that.

Courtney: I mean, I think some people do, or at least that’s how they conceptualize their own sense of self. But I certainly have a much more long-term stable living situation than I ever have.

Courtney: At one point, when we, like, unpacked the final box of miscellaneous things — which, embarrassingly, I think was right at the beginning of the pandemic [laughs]. I mean, we bought this house, what, like, nine years ago, about? And I think in 2020, after everything shut down, we are not leaving the house at all, there were still, like, pieces of artwork that had never been hung, lots of bare walls, one closet of just things that we owned but had never found a place for. And so we went through and finally hung up all our last pieces of art. Everything has a place now.

Courtney: And I had to kind of sit back and cry for a minute, because I don’t think I have ever been completely unpacked or moved into somewhere. And when I was growing up, I mean, we moved around a lot. I had a single mother. We were very poor. We never owned a home. We would sometimes move multiple times in a relatively short period, so there was just always — and everything was temporary. There was nothing that was, “This is the forever home. This is where we’re going to stay.” So there was always, like, a box unpacked. Because why would you get fully unpacked if you’re just gonna leave again?

Royce: I was wondering where you were going to go with that, because when I think of packing and unpacking, one, I don’t like leaving things unpacked or leaving things in a temporary state or in an unfinished state. But the idea of intentionally packing something into storage is something that makes sense to me. And so to have this collection of things that just didn’t have an unpacked home yet, their home was storage, I guess, was just a little bit different in my mind. Because I was trying to think, like, “What was that box?”

[Courtney laughs]

Royce: “What did we leave unpacked?” But, no, that makes sense if it was just the collection of paintings that occupied a closet area, or something like that.

Courtney: Yeah. And, I mean, you say you don’t like things in an unfinished state, and yet, occasionally, when I’d be like, “Hey, we should hang out this picture,” you’d be like, “I hate hanging things.”

Royce: Well, yes. That is… That was your stuff that was in a temporary storage state. Like, I didn’t have a vision for it. I didn’t have a place for it. And, yes, hanging things can be frustrating.

Courtney: [laughs] Well, it really is just a huge difference in living situation. Because it is wild to me to think I have lived in the same place for nine years — the same neighborhood for 10, the same actual house for nine. I have never had that amount of permanence. So it has been interesting to see who Courtney is when all of her basic needs are met and she has a very supportive partner. [laughs]

Courtney: Although I will say — and I probably can’t get too far into this, lest this become the entire episode, but — there’s absolutely a weird type of, like, class guilt that I kind of just always passively feel now. Because we are now very comfortable middle class, but I was very, very poor for most of my life. And people kind of say, like, as you get older, and as you get more money, and when you get married, like, they always kind of say, like, you’ll get more conservative. But if anything, I have gone in the opposite direction, because now I have seen both sides of things, and I know how much luck and/or exploitation goes into keeping the system the way it is. But maybe we’ll save that for another episode. Do a whole thing on drastically changing class.

Courtney: Here’s a question for you kind of along those same lines, though, with our relationship dynamic changing: what has it been like for you? Because even before we started this podcast, I started getting certain amounts of acclaim from my artwork and my business, and we’d have, like, news crews wanting to come out to our house to interview us, or I’d be doing a local event, or even traveling across the country or to different countries to do events, and sometimes you’d come and help. You being a more generally socially anxious person, what was that change like for you, where, when we first started our relationship, we could go out pretty anonymously, and then there were periods of times where I would be, like, flagged down and recognized by people?

Royce: I don’t know if I really have much to say about that. There were a couple of cases where someone got kind of suddenly, like, loud and excited, and, like, it was a little uncomfortable, but it also wasn’t directed at me, so it wasn’t that big of a deal.

[Courtney laughs]

Royce: When it comes to, like, vending, I mean, I worked in retail when I was in high school, so there’s just a sort of repetition that you learn to do, and you get used to that for a little bit, and it’s not that big of a deal. I mean, it was… In many extents, it was just, you know, your business was just a job for us to do, and there were different things that needed to be done.

Courtney: Mhm. But, like, the few times we’ve had, like, someone come up and completely fangirling, you’re like, “This is fine, because it’s not towards me.” [laughs]

Royce: Yeah. I just sort of stood on the periphery.

Courtney: Interesting. Yeah, no. There have been some other stuff, which I don’t know that we’re ready to talk about right now. But I do feel like, even though this is the most stable my life has ever been, I feel like I’ve added maybe a little bit of chaos to yours. Because, even though this is like, “Wow, this is super breezy and super, super stable,” there’s still just, like, things that happen to me that usually don’t happen to other people. [laughs] And so I’ve often wondered if there was ever a moment where you’ve been like, “This was not something I ever expected from my life, was to have a partner where… this was going wrong or this was happening.”

Royce: I mean, you’re intentionally underplaying it by saying “a bit of chaos.”

Courtney: [laughs] Oh?

Royce: Again, just pick a person at random and compare their life. I sometimes feel like not a lot is going on in our life, and then we talk to someone else, and when we just talk about what’s going on, they’re always like, “You two are always so busy. You two always have so many things going on.”

Courtney: Or they’re saying, “Wow, you’re really like sitcom characters.” [laughs] It’s like, no, this is actually our baseline. This is pretty normal.

Courtney: Well, along those lines, we also have a question of: “Is there anything that being with your spouse had made you change your mind about, like a belief you once held, that being with each other has given you a different perspective on, or even something you explicitly talked about?”

Royce: Not that I can think of off the top of my head. I think that there have been many ways where we’ve just learned about ourselves and each other and just have progressed in that regard, but I don’t think that I’ve had a belief that just drastically changed.

Courtney: I wouldn’t say drastically changed, because there certainly hasn’t been a situation where, like, we both had a different perspective on something, and then, after hearing you out, I’m like, “Yeah, you’re right.” First of all, there aren’t a lot of things that we have drastically different perspectives on. I think our natural inclinations are very similar, so when presented with a similar set of information, so… If anything, it’s like, “I don’t know anything about this topic, but you happen to, so let me learn about it from you.”

Courtney: But I think there have been some conversations that we’ve had that, in the moment, I have thought that the way you were articulating it didn’t quite seem right to me. But you also have sort of a… I don’t know if it’s confidence or bluntness, but when you believe in something and you have an understanding of it, you will just say it without needing to caveat it, like I have sort of — or, society has sort of trained me to do. And there are some situations where you will say something with your whole chest that I would never say that bluntly. And sometimes I have to take a step back and be like, “But do I believe it that confidently?” Even — and this is really silly now, because one of our very, very earliest conversations — you so directly and nonchalantly just, like, said that you were an atheist. And even though I was also an atheist, I was like, “I have actually not had so many conversations with people that are so confident and forthcoming about this.” So I was like, “Wow!”

Royce: That’s interesting, because I had a whole group of friends in high school, as people were just starting to talk about more things — because, like, there was a whole sophomore year biology discussion about creationism in schools, for example, and I just happened to be friends with, like, half a dozen people who would very easily just say, “Yes, I am an atheist.”

Courtney: Mhm.

Royce: So that was not unusual for me.

Courtney: Mhm. And, like, yeah, now it’s no big deal, and I have met more people that are also just as direct and confident about that. But that was one thing that my reaction now seems silly to me, 10 years later.

Courtney: But I think there have been elements of viewpoints of yours that I haven’t adopted completely, but I have sat on it and thought about it long enough that I have incorporated elements of it into my viewpoint. And the one that I’m thinking of is some of the earlier conversations we had about gender. Because I couldn’t even quote you directly at this point from some of our earliest, earliest conversations of gender, but you very bluntly and very confidently just said, like, basically, “Gender is not real.” Like, it is not a thing. And there was just something about the way you were saying it that was at odds. And this was before you had started actually using the term Agender for yourself.

Royce: To clarify the “not real” comment, that would have been more of a, “It is a social or behavioral thing, not something that is somehow, like, genetically innate in humanity —

Courtney: Right.

Royce: — sort of a thing.”

Courtney: Which, the way you’re saying it now, like, yes, I agree with that. There was something about the way you phrased it in, like, our very first conversation about gender ever that I was thinking was at odds with trans people who were in my life. And at the time, I knew a lot more binary trans people — you know, female to male, male to female, vice versa — and so many of them had articulated their experience as being something that is innate, something inherent, something I have always been, I was born with.

Courtney: And the way you were saying, like, “Gender is not real” — and I wish, at this point, that I did know exactly what it was that you said, because it wasn’t just that. There was something that was a little more specific that I was like, “That doesn’t sound like the experience of people I know and what they’re telling me, though.” And so, my concern was, “Are you so steadfast in this belief that you are maybe, like, potentially dismissing the experience of some of these binary trans folks that believe this way, and this is how they conceptualize their gender identity?”

Courtney: However, I sat with that for so long and compared it to other beliefs I have about other things, and I think I have adopted the concept of gender to fit my concept of ghosts and the paranormal, [laughing] which I don’t know if I’ve talked much about on this podcast, but anytime people ask me if I believe in ghosts, my answer is, “No, I do not literally believe in ghosts, but I don’t think ghosts need to be real to be important.” And if I have the time and it’s that kind of conversation, I’ll go further into my feelings about how, you know, ghost stories, superstitions often tell stories of deep injustices from history. They often can tell little elements of truth about the history of a place, even if the ghost itself is not literally present. And so, that’s kind of where I am there. And so the longer I sat with your concept of gender versus what was, at the time, my understanding of gender, I’ve come to say, like, “You know what? Gender doesn’t have to be real to be important.”

Royce: Yeah. The word “real” is overloaded and has a lot of meaning, and that’s definitely [laughing] a statement that can be taken the wrong way. Because even something that is a social construct or that is a part of our widespread society has a lot of impact. And I’ve heard binary trans people describe transitioning and, many years after the the fact, realizing that, early on in transition, they found themselves somewhat confused because they were sort of trying to embody their gender-stereotyped idea of this identity, and then once they sat in it for a little while, they realized that that isn’t exactly who they are. Like, them being a woman is not their stereotype of a woman. It’s a little bit different. There may be a significant overlap, but it’s not exactly the same thing.

Royce: And I guess, from my standpoint, I’ve talked about gender — the way that I experienced gender — on a few different episodes, on a few different episodes. But every gender label — including the label Agender, which is the one that I use currently — I don’t feel an affinity with any of them. Agender feels correct, but every gender label feels like I’ve been pulled into a room with a bunch of different boxes and told to pick one, but I’m standing there going, “These aren’t my boxes.”

[Courtney laughs]

Royce: “None of these are mine. You made them.”

Courtney: “I don’t like things in a half-finished state. I have unpacked all of my boxes.”

Royce: Yeah, none of these boxes are mine.

Courtney: We shredded the boxes and gave them to our mouse circus. So, yeah, that’s probably one of the biggest ones. And I think… I think, over the years, you have become better at explaining your lack of relationship to gender and your feelings on gender in society, I think, a little more eloquently than you did in those first couple of conversations as well, so…

Royce: Yeah. Because particularly in my early concept and frustration with gender was just all of the rigid forms that people put on it.

Courtney: Mhm.

Royce: Which is something that I’ve been frustrated with forever, even when it didn’t directly relate to me — like, just when I was around it.

Courtney: Right. So I think we weren’t as far off on opinions on that as we maybe thought in that very first conversation. I think it just took some more exploration to articulate better where we stood.

Courtney: I guess, while we’re speaking of gender: “Do you both feel pressure, internal or external, to match traditional gender roles of femme and masc/butch person in the relationship? I’ve seen this in relationships of lesbians, trans, etc., despite queer relationships technically not being the same as straight relationships.”

Royce: Nope.

Courtney: Not one bit.

Royce: That’s something that I, again, have rejected the idea of basically forever.

Courtney: Mhm. And in terms of, like, super rigid binary gender roles, like household chores being the woman’s job — like, I would argue that you do more of those.

Royce: Yeah.

Courtney: And one time, when the door-to-door salesman who came to our house asked me if the man of the house was home, I said, “I am the man of the house,” and he didn’t know how to respond to that because I went off-script! [laughs]

Courtney: “Do you ever feel socially excluded from events, either by not being invited or being treated differently due to being Ace? If so, how do you deal with that?” Not anymore. There were a couple of times earlier on. I mean, we’ve told the story of when Pokemon Go first came out and we started playing. There was, like, a group for queer people and women to, like, go out to parks and do raids and play Pokemon Go together. And they were gonna let me come because I’m a woman, but they were not gonna let you come because they were like, “No, you can’t bring your straight husband!” And that wasn’t very cool.

Courtney: But generally speaking, aside from, like, a couple of weirdos, we — or primarily I have been very much welcomed into, like, local queer communities for drag shows, pageants. And even more recently, very recently, we have started to be asked to appear at, like, local pride events or give talks. And so that’s cool, and I don’t feel excluded at all. But I also kind of feel like, we had to get like an internationally-listened-to podcast before people at home were like, “Hey, we should ask these folks to talk.” [laughs] So I guess, in terms of how to deal with it, just be relentless. Either don’t go away or find somewhere better to be or make somewhere better to be.

Courtney: Oooh, this is a really good one: “How would you say people’s reactions to you being vegans compares to their reactions to you being Ace? I’ve heard that people report similarly negative views on both groups in surveys.” That is super interesting, because, yeah, I actually do see a lot of parallels, but most of the examples I have to pull from were probably before we got married, when I was just vegetarian, before cutting out eggs and dairy. I don’t know if anyone’s ever said or done anything weird to you on that front, but I also don’t know if you’ve yet been in a situation where that would be a possibility.

Royce: Yeah. Well, first of all, I don’t follow dietary things as strictly as you do. I am basically vegan and basically ate vegetarian before — since we started living together — and I continue to intentionally avoid, you know, making purchases that involve animal products. But when there’s a case of, like, a meal comes in incorrectly and we need to get it refunded, I would eat the food to avoid the food waste.

Courtney: Right.

Royce: Whereas you wouldn’t. And when I was actually out with coworkers going out to, like, a burger joint or something like that, that would be the one exception where I would eat meat, in a lot of cases. And that’s sort of changed over time. But I also just don’t sit down at restaurants and eat with people hardly at all anymore, so I just haven’t been in that situation.

Courtney: Well, that probably does go back to the “How have things changed over time?” question. Because, yeah, you were perfectly happy to not keep meat in the house or cook meat, but early on, you would order meat if we were at a restaurant or a situation. But then you kind of stopped doing that.

Royce: For the most part. I found — well, one, we basically started only eating from places that had a decent menu for vegetarian or vegan meals, and I found some things that I liked.

Courtney: Yeah. Because even recently, if we’d ever, like, order delivery or something, I don’t remember the last time you have ordered anything with meat or dairy. And so, at some point, you made a more conscious decision.

Royce: Yeah. When the restaurant allows, there are often things that are the same price, if not a little cheaper, that I like just as much, so might as well.

Courtney: But, yeah, to go back to the question, [laughing] the cult of meat consumption has really strong parallels to compulsory sexuality.

Royce: That makes sense. I don’t think I’ve heard it described in those words, but there is definitely a social and societal expectation that this is the way you’re supposed to be.

Courtney: Yeah. And the fact that, if you aren’t this way, you are fair game to poke fun at, to break boundaries, to assault. Like, think even about situations where sometimes, there is a generally queer-favorable niche, but still very allocentric, very intolerant of Ace identity — we see that sometimes there. But especially in cishetallo corners, like, Aces are kind of the punching bag, right? Like, I have seen people defend trans rights and then turn around and be like, “Yeah, but Aces we can make fun of. Aces don’t deserve rights.”

Courtney: And same thing with vegetarians or vegans. Like, even if you are a very unassuming… Like, people kind of like to say, like, “Oh, well, vegetarians or vegans — they they just proselytize, and they’re shoving their lifestyle down everyone’s throats.” And there’s sort of, like, the trope of the militant vegan. But people will kind of assume that about you, even if you’re just stating a fact. Like, you could be very unassuming and go to, like, a cookout, go to a barbecue, and even if there are no decent vegetarian options — you could be sitting here eating, like, the hot dog bun [laughs] with ketchup, because that’s your only thing you have to eat, and then someone will be like, “Why aren’t you having a burger or a hot dog? Why aren’t you eating a brat?” You can be like, “Oh it’s, you know, it’s because I’m a vegetarian.” And then they’ll be like, “Stop shoving your lifestyle down everyone’s throats!”

Royce: Yeah. That is very much like bigots getting mad that gay people or trans people just exist.

Courtney: Yeah! And to make matters worse, for as often as it’s like “Stop shoving your lifestyle down my throat,” I have literally had people try to shove meat down my throat. I have literally had people hold me down and, like, dangle meat over my face, just because I’m like, “I’m a vegetarian.” And, like, compare that to “Oh, I’m Asexual.” Or people are like, “Oh, meat’s so delicious. You just have to try it. You just have to eat it.” And, like…

Royce: As if I’ve never had meat before.

Courtney: As if I’ve never had meat before. But also, like, compare that to “Oh, I’m Asexual,” like, “You just haven’t had the right dick yet,” or, “I can fix that.” You know, corrective rape is absolutely a thing that happens and exists, and in my experience, that’s really similar to the thought process that leads someone to hold you down and dangle meat over your face or try to, like, slyly sneak meat into your food. Like, people do that. People actually do that. And yet, people often think it’s okay because they are society’s acceptable punching bags.

Courtney: And think, just… I don’t know. There’s a long history of meat consumption being tied to traditional masculinity — like, men who need their meat, and you’re not a real man if you don’t eat meat. And this could probably also be its entirely own episode, so maybe we’ll cut it a little short for now. But I think veganism and Asexuality both challenge the patriarchal system in similar ways, and therefore, the visceral reaction of hatred toward it often feels very similar. But that is something that, over time, I am seeing at least baby steps toward progress. It has been a good number of years since someone tried to force-feed me meat, [laughs] so that’s good.

Courtney: But I will say, we have a couple of new friends in our life — delightful gay couple, super cool with our Asexuality, and, like, that’s a thing we’ve talked about. They, you know, know some of the Ace advocacy stuff that we do and all that, and they’ve been very cool, very respectful about it. And not too long ago, they were like, “Hey, we’re trying to make some flavored jello shots, but we know you’re vegan, so we want to try to make it with agar agar instead of gelatin so that you guys can try some.” And that was so thoughtful that I actually cried. Because it wasn’t something we asked for. It wasn’t something we demanded. It was something that they just had that consideration toward us. And I literally had not ever had a jello shot before because of the gelatin. Because even before going full vegan, I was about as strict as you can get on not eating meat or byproducts, short of completely cutting out dairy and eggs. So I also haven’t eaten gelatin in, like, over 20 years at this point, something like that. So I’ve never had a jello shot. And here’s someone just preemptively like, “I want to make a jello shot that you can also eat, because I think it’ll be good and I want you to try it.” And it’s like, “Oh! I’m so lucky to have you in my life!” So there are very good people out there.

Courtney: “How would you say the Ace community has changed over time?” Wow, where to start with that? I mean, there are simple, more surface-level, like, Ace culture things. I’ve mentioned before that, like, axolotls used to be all over the place. And in recent years I’ve heard people say, like, “Oh, are axolotls an Ace thing because of that character on BoJack Horseman?” It’s like, no, that character on BoJack Horseman is an axolotl because it was already an Ace thing. So, like, that hasn’t been as present. There have been just some, like, jokes and memes that haven’t really stood the test of time. We used to say, like, “Asexual pirates don’t want your booty,” and I haven’t seen that in a good long while.

Courtney: We have added garlic bread as a symbol. That is relatively new. The one, like, Ace culture thing that has completely stood the test of time is cake, but now it’s… “Cake or garlic bread?” is sort of the question you ask people, where — it was just cake for so long, but of course, there were a few people here and there that’d be like, “Oh, well, in my real life, in non-theoretical situations, I don’t actually like cake all that much.” So the question used to be, “Cake or pie?” And we don’t talk about pie anymore. Pie has been replaced by garlic bread. So there are little things like that.

Courtney: The Ace community has definitely started to make progress in recent years in talking about more intersectional experiences and being more tolerant of Aces with disabilities, the experiences of Aces of color. There is progress being made there. There’s still a long way to go, but I’ve seen some incremental progress. I mean, we are, right now, a long way away from, like, three years ago when I almost got chased off the internet for talking about being a disabled Ace and experiencing some of the discriminations I have in medical care — by other Aces. That wasn’t from outside of our community; that was our community doing that, and that’s why it hurt so bad at the time. And it is unfortunate that it does take some voices in the community choosing to be relentless and not be driven away, despite harassment that does show up. But that kind of does still seem to be the state of things. I feel like we have in many ways started getting a more nuanced understanding of Ace-spec identity and the different ways there are to be Ace.

Courtney: But something I’ve always seen and I think is still true is that there’s kind of a predominant talking point at any given point in time. And those talking points have changed a lot over the last 10 years, and they even changed prior to 10 years ago. There was definitely a period of time where I was seeing a lot of jokes and humor centered around not having sex, not liking sex. And then I also saw it swing so hard in the other direction that if you made a joke about not having or not liking sex, it would get a lot of pushback from even other Aces. And I think the common talking point right now, at this point in time — because it has changed a lot, and I anticipate it will continue to change as discourse evolves, but the talking point of the last couple of years, I think, is “Asexuality is about attraction, not action.”

Courtney: And I think every talking point — not only in the Ace community but in the broader queer community — only serves a specific demographic within that population, and I think that’s always going to be true. Even more broadly queer — like, “Love is love” was the talking point around, like, 2014 and the couple years preceding it, before Obergefell v. Hodges passed. And in more recent years, we started to hear more critique of “Love is love.” I have done this myself, and I said that I was also someone who said “Love is love.” And now, in hindsight, some of those people saying “Love is love” don’t necessarily think that is true for our relationship. Because, sure, love is love, but it still has to be romantic, it still has to be sexual. So there is a limitation to who “Love is love” serves as a talking point.

Courtney: And I would say that the “It’s about attraction, not action” does serve and benefit certain Aces. That is very empowering for Aces who do have sex, Aces who like sex, Aces who have had sex in the past can hear that and feel comforted in the sense of, “Oh, what I have done or what my sexual activity is does not actually change who I am inside.” However, there is also a certain percentage of Aces who do think that their lack of desire to engage in sex is a fundamental component of their Asexuality. And that’s such a common talking point that we hear parroted so often that if anyone tries to challenge it, I’ve still started seeing a good amount of pushback to it.

Courtney: But it doesn’t even really serve all of the Aces that it purports to serve, because a lot of people might say, “Oh, well, what about, you know, Gray Aces or Demis, people who might experience attraction, but only in certain situations, under certain conditions?” I have had conversations with Aces somewhere in the gray spectrum who say, “I don’t totally know if I experience sexual attraction. In fact, I think maybe I do, at least sometimes. But I have absolutely no desire to engage in sex with another person, and that is the one thing that is definite. That is the one thing that gives me security in identifying as Asexual, because I don’t have a desire to engage in sexual activity.”

Courtney: So I think, even though the talking points have changed over time, I do kind of think there are always popular talking points. And there have definitely been periods of times where the online community has gotten a little overly militant of making sure everybody uses the talking point or discusses Asexuality in a way that lends itself to the popular talking point.

Courtney: And, you know, even though we have a long way to go, we have gained a lot of visibility as a community. We have gotten more Ace characters in media. We have gotten more prominent Ace people in the public eye. It might seem slow, and it is, and we’re still very far behind many other queer communities, but there is progress being made. I mean, think about everything we have gotten even in just the last 10 years. There’s reason for optimism.

Courtney: “In a hypothetical world where you never met each other or never got partnered with each other, could you see yourself marrying, dating, etc. an allo for the long term? Asking as an Ace with an allo space of nearly five years?” Did I say “space”? “...allo spouse of nearly five years.” Well, congratulations on your nearly five years! I’m really inclined to say no. [laughs] At least, knowing what I do now and feeling the way I do now, I don’t think so. I think there were times where I would settle for an allo partner who was not respectful of my identity and my boundaries. And there is a time in my life where I would have just coasted and let it happen. Then there was the period in my life where I said, “No, I actually am done with this, and I don’t want to be in a relationship at all.” And then I found you.

Royce: I think that I theoretically could have a successful Ace/allo relationship. I think that what I would need out of that would shrink the dating pool fairly drastically. Like, there could be potential compatibility problems there beyond the ones that already exist in same-orientation relationships. But I think that it would be possible. I think that my past short relationships that I engaged in ended because of self-awareness and communication things. Like, we weren’t in it long enough with the awareness to actually try to work through issues, so it wasn’t clear to me if trying would have actually concluded with something successful.

Courtney: Yeah. For me it would need to be just absolutely everything aligning correctly. I am far more on the sex-repulsed side of things than you are, so my compatibility options are probably even narrower than yours on that front. But it would probably need to be an allo person who has a deep understanding and respect of Asexuality, for one, which is not especially common. I don’t like the feeling of someone being sexually attracted to me. So even if it was someone with the utmost respect, with proper communication, it would take a lot. [laughs] It would take a lot. I don’t think I would have ever sought anything out long-term otherwise, knowing what I do now. But also with my brain just falling into things the way it does and getting very serious about things when they do feel right, I do think there are situations where I could, you know, fall into a QPR that ended up being long-term. But I think the relationship we have now and what I value out of it and the way it feels to me would be impossible to replicate or proximate with an allo partner.

Courtney: “Are you guys / have you always been monogamous? I’m in an AroAce relationship and we recently opened up to polyamory and it was more easy and liberating than I thought.”

Royce: Well, tying this into the theoretical question from the last one, yes, we both have. I have thought about, like, where do the edges lie to me? What sort of situations would I actually be able to be in a comfortable relationship? And I don’t think I could handle a non-monogamous relationship. There may be something there with the right amount of communication, but it still seems very iffy to me.

Courtney: Mhm. Yeah. I’m very naturally hardwired toward monogamy, I think. And I genuinely believe that there are some people who are naturally hardwired toward polyamory. And within that, I think that is its own spectrum as well. But I know that, like I said, from our first conversation, we got married — was something I said in an earlier question. It’s because as soon as my brain perceived this relationship to be what it was, it wasn’t a conscious decision. It just shut off all, you know, advances. “I will say no if anyone asks me out. I am now partnered.” This is what partnership feels like in my brain.

Courtney: The one strange little caveat to that is that I have obviously talked about QPR friend. I can now very clearly see in hindsight that that was a queerplatonic relationship that didn’t really have a, like, “We are no longer in this queerplatonic relationship now.” But that QPR friend is very polyamorous. And I think, once you and I met, the nature of our QPR just sort of naturally changed and evolved, because I am naturally pretty monogamous. And it was pretty seamless and I don’t even think needed a lot of conversation at the time, because it did kind of just feel natural.

Courtney: But, that said, when they did move down to be closer to us and tried to meet other — like, we went to a poly family meetup at one point with them, and I’m pretty sure we were introduced like, “This is my couple.” [laughs] Which didn’t feel weird or wrong but also was not… I don’t think any average person hearing that interaction would actually come away with a meaningful understanding of what the nature of any of our relationships were, if that makes sense. Because this is also, like, QPR friend — like, in hindsight, we’re going past old messages, and it’s like, she directly sent a text to you, like, “Oh, Courtney is my platonic wife.” And I was like, “Yep, that’s a thing we call each other: [laughing] platonic wife.” Like, that just felt normal and right.

Courtney: But my… The fact that I am so monogamous and so Asexual and they are so neither of those things. There is a timeline where, if I never met Royce, I could have continued to be happy with the nature of what our relationship was at that time. But having met you, I think it was natural that it evolved and changed the way it did, so. As I’ve said before, someone who is still in my life and means a lot to me, but the nature of our relationship, I do think, has changed over time, despite not always having the vocabulary to describe it.

Courtney: “What are some things that you have learned about yourselves that you would never, or perhaps not as easily, have figured out had you not married each other? I.e., has being married affected your passive self-discovery in relation to your identities, personalities, idiosyncrasies, etc.?”

Royce: Well, I think that us both being Ace and both being neurodivergent and both being not cisgender has just, even if we’re not in the exact same places in those spectrums, has just given us something to talk back and forth on, where, if I was in a relationship with a cisgender allosexual neurotypical person, I may not have that same soundboard.

Courtney: [laughing] Yeah.

Royce: Because I think all of those things were things that were on my mind to some degree, that I was kind of slowly making steps in. And there were still times where a lot was learned or understood in a short amount of time. Like, you have a breakthrough in your understanding. And so it isn’t a consistent linear period of growth. There are spikes here and there where you learn something new and it’s eye-opening. I assume it would have taken longer in a different relationship, but it’s hard to say for sure.

Courtney: Yeah. I also assume that. Even in terms of other elements of queer identity, other elements of neurodivergence, even just in the way we communicate and the way we sort of retrospect on things is a different experience from when I’m telling other people things. Like, I could theoretically, in another timeline, with another person, share the story of making my little gender pie chart as a young child and hiding it in my toy box. But without the sort of self-awareness practices that we kind of just have a habit of implementing in our day-to-day conversations, I could see myself just sharing those things as a one-off, like, “Ah! Wasn’t this a silly thing from my childhood?” And then, if that’s something that’s just sort of laughed off by the other party, then it’s, “Alright, let’s move on, let’s not think about that.” But the way we sort of communicate, I’ll say that and I’ll be like, “Oh, wait a second. [laughs] Let’s explore that further.”

Courtney: Or even things more in line with, like, Aromanticism. Telling the story of, you know, just deciding a boy to have a crush on because that’s what I’m supposed to do, and doing the things that I think I’m supposed to do when I have a crush on someone. That’s also a silly thing you could just say offhandedly to someone and not think too much about it. And I think the other person’s reaction can kind of help aid in your self-awareness also. Because if someone just sort of treats something like that as an anecdote, you might be inclined to think of it as an anecdote as well. But if someone hears it and sees it and considers it and says, “This is another puzzle piece in who you are as a person and what your history is that has brought you to this point,” then you might be more inclined to be like, “Yeah! What was the deal with that?”

Courtney: And I think just the comfortability that we have in being able to explore these other things… Because even just lightly tiptoeing into the Asexual conversation with past partners has not gone well, because a lot of allo people might be inclined to think of that as a slight on them if you suggest that you aren’t actually sexually attracted to them, and that could, you know, really bruise someone’s ego. So if you already sense that sharing a part of yourself is going to hurt someone else, then you aren’t really incentivized to go further. Like, “Well, if they reacted this way when I suggested I’m not sexually attracted to them, imagine what they’ll say if I’m questioning whether or not I’m romantically attracted to them!” Or, you know, “This person considers themselves straight. What if I so much as suggest that I’m not the gender they perceive me as?” Like, there sort of is an anxiety toward how a partner might react to those elements of self-awareness, but that is not anything that has been a concern within our relationship.

Courtney: But, yeah. I think neurodivergence is one of the bigger ones — I think especially for you. Because having already been, like, under-the-table diagnosed with OCD as a kid, once I learned more about other neurodivergences that might fit, I’m like, “Yeah, sure! Let’s add him to the pile!” [laughs]

Royce: I just had a long history of things in my life where I kind of thought in the moment, “Huh, that seems to be different than what I think is going on with other people.” Oh well. Moving on.”

[Courtney laughs]

Royce: And, I mean, there were some things that I found on my own. Just reading about user research for user experience and accessibility purposes, I stumbled onto more in-depth, modern diagnosis for dyslexia. And that was a several-years process of first observing, “Hey, I think I’m reading things a little bit differently than the people around me,” and then not really knowing how to classify it, and then getting a better understandings of the classifications that exist. With Autism, it came with you seeing a lot more of social media and being like, “Here, this is familiar.”

Courtney: Well, yeah. And that’s something that, also, I think only I would see. Things like you walking on your toes in the house. Like, when you’re out with other people, you are wearing shoes and you are not walking on your toes. So just seeing you every day in our home, it’s like, yeah, you walk on your toes a lot. My mother happened to notice that about you, being over at our house. But past that, it’s like, “I have noticed a thing about you, and now I’m learning that that…” [laughs]

Royce: That is —

Courtney: “...that’s diagnosable.”

Royce: “That is basic diagnostic criteria.”

Courtney: [laughs] But yeah. Even things like disability, also, I’ve learned that it is possible to have a partner who can respect and care for you and understand your disabilities and accommodate them, which is cool! Didn’t know that before I met you. But how are you on the disability thing? Recently, you filled out a survey that had a question saying, “Are you disabled?” and “Yes or no,” but there was an option to put “Not sure.” ’Cause there has been a good period of time where you were adamant of saying, like, “Yeah, I am definitely Autistic, I am probably dyslexic, but I don’t consider myself disabled.”

Royce: I think I checked “Not sure” on that. So, here’s the thing. I can make a list. And, I guess, going in terms of how common it is — I mean, I’m myopic; I need corrective lenses [laughing] to do most things. I’m nearsighted enough that it’s a hindrance. Like, I couldn’t legally drive a car, which is where… A lot of disability language is common in our country is around operating a motor vehicle.

Courtney: Mhm.

Royce: And I would not be able to drive one without a visual aid, without corrective lenses. I am also colorblind, which is not something that I feel like is talked about as a disability, but it is a difference in visual perception that can affect some tasks. I’m neurodivergent. A part of that neurodivergence is social anxiety that can be pretty significant at times. It can be disruptive at times. And when you factor all that in, on paper, I would say, yes, those are a variety of different things that could be considered a disability, and I think, logically, would be considered a disability. But I do not feel comfortable, like, standing up in front of a group of people and being like, “Hello, everyone, I am the face of a talk talking about disability” or something like that. Because, while all of those things can and do affect my life to some degree, there is a level of severity that I feel like, in many cases, it’s still not my place to occupy space there.

Courtney: Mhm. Yeah. And there’s something to be said about, like, the social model of disability, which theorizes that disability is not because of bodily differences but because society does not accommodate them. So, a lot of people will actually use eyeglasses as an example toward that. A lot of people need corrective lenses, so much so that… They’re still too expensive, especially if you don’t have insurance, but so many people wear glasses. It is so normal to see people wear glasses. It’s not treated like other… Mobility aids, for example. It’s not treated the same way as someone walking with a cane, someone who is a wheelchair user, for example. So some people conceptualize that as, “This is, you know, technically a disability that, via societal accommodations, has kind of become not a disability anymore” — at least to the people who have access to glasses or contacts.

Courtney: But yeah, I also think you just have a big awareness of the fact that, within certain groups, you do have a lot of privileges, and your experiences aren’t always going to be the same as others for those reasons. ’Cause I know some Agender people who consider themselves to be trans, and that is good for them, but you have never identified with that word.

Royce: Yeah. And that’s going back to “Every gender label feels like a box someone else made that isn’t quite right.” But if I were to say that I am trans, I feel like the vast majority of people would not understand what’s going on here.

Courtney: Mhm.

Royce: ’Cause I think the implication would be something different.

Courtney: “I’m curious to know what sort of traditions y’all like to do as a couple.”

Royce: What’s a tradition?

Courtney: What’s a tradition? We… [sighs] Is this the same problem with “We don’t really have dates”? We don’t really have traditions?

Royce: I think so. I also just… I’ve never really liked or felt an affinity with traditions. Like, I did holidays stuff annually with my family when I was a kid, and then I didn’t continue those as an adult, ’cause they didn’t have any real meaning for me outside of that. So we also just don’t have very many things that we just do on a calendar cycle because that’s become a thing that we do.

Courtney: Yeah. I kind of feel like we’re a little too spontaneous for traditions. Like, I think it’s a lot more fun to just decide to do something new and exciting and do it than to do the same thing you’ve been doing. And, like, there might be temporary traditions that come up, but I don’t think we hold them so precious that we’ll continue doing them even after it’s lost its sort of importance. Like, the last few years, for Ace Week, we’ve ordered a vegan cake from our favorite bakery and had them decorated in Ace pride colors, and we’ll probably continue to do that as long as the cake is good and we want cake, [laughs] which is to say we’re probably not going to do that every single year for the rest of our lives.

Courtney: Most of the traditions we’ve had that have popped up for at least a few years at a time have been more centered around other people. When I first moved down here, for example, we had kind of a Pi Day tradition, where QPR friend and another very good friend of mine from Sioux Falls would come down and visit us and we would bake pies and we would play board games, and that was a thing that we, you know, reliably did for a few years, and that was awesome. And my grandma even sent, like, a Pi Day big pop-up card to wish us a happy Pi Day, ’cause she knew that we did that, so. That, unfortunately, due to circumstances, has also ceased to be. Since Grandma died, we celebrate Viki Day on the anniversary of her death where we do things that she’d want us to do, like wear purple and drink a Windsor and Coke. [laughs] And so I think most of our traditions have been more to honor other important relationships in our lives that are not each other. I think we make so much out of our time together in our day-to-day life that neither one of us really feels a need to have an ongoing ritual to come back to to refresh that in any sort of way.

Courtney: Then we had a commenter who said, “A lot of my current aversion to sex stems from not great experiences I’ve had in my life. I know this doesn’t invalidate whatever place on the Ace spectrum I lie on. I also view myself as fluidly moving between Ace and allo in some way that I haven’t nailed down yet. Is this a typical experience you see?”

Royce: I don’t know that I would say typical, but I don’t think it is unprecedented or really unexpected. I think getting into your own understanding of the Asexual spectrum can be complicated, and it can take a lot of time to really figure out. There was a period of time before I was comfortable just saying Asexual that I was thinking I was more in the gray area in between, and I think, for me, it took a long time to sort of break down feelings or actions or activities that I think were more habitual than natural.

Courtney: Yeah. And I would say that, if “typical” means “I have had conversations with several people in similar situations,” then I could say yes.

Royce: For the record, I was taking “typical” to mean “common.”

Courtney: None of us are typical. [laughs]

Royce: Yeah. But, I mean, statistically speaking, within the percentage of the Ace community that I have spoken to, is this a majority experience? I don’t think it is that common, but it is also not unheard of.

Courtney: Yeah. With aversion stemming from not great experiences also, that is really common. And I have also had not great experiences. I don’t think that those negative experiences, for me, were a direct cause of my Asexuality, but I know some people who do think, like, “Yeah, this happened, and now this. Input, output.” And you’re right, that doesn’t invalidate… Or even people who aren’t sure. There could be people who say, like, “I don’t know if there was a cause to my Asexuality or not, but I know I am Asexual and I know I had these experiences.” As far as fluidly moving between Ace and allo, there absolutely are people who identify with certain microlabels under the spectrum that describe variations of this. It’s not something I personally can relate to, but I know for a fact there are lots of others out there.

Courtney: “If both of you could go into the past and tell each other something you wish you knew back then about dating as an Ace person, what would it be and why?”

Royce: I don’t tend to like “Go into the past and tell yourself things” sorts of questions as a general rule. If I did, I don’t think I would want to tell you something. I would want to basically just accelerate my own self-understanding journey process.

Courtney: Yeah. It’s interesting, because anytime you get into timelines, it’s like, “I don’t want to ruin the timeline, ’cause I’m actually happy right now.” [laughs]

Royce: Yeah.

Courtney: But I would say, if ruining the timeline is not a concern at all and that’s definitely not going to happen, I would probably tell myself, “You don’t have to compromise for people who don’t respect you. It is not on you to change or accommodate or bite your tongue just because society tells you you’re the weird one. Also, stop dating men. What are you doing?” [laughs]

Royce: And I guess, to round this out, we have a few remaining questions that I think we can run through pretty quickly. The first one, of course: “Garlic bread or cake?” I don’t think that I care.

Courtney: I’ve got to go with the cake, because it’s… To me, the cake is not about literal cake. The cake is a symbol. Cake is not even my favorite dessert, nor has it ever been my favorite dessert. But I love the history it has within the community, and I will stand by it. And as long as the frosting is not the kind of frosting I don’t like and it’s not too terribly sweet, I would probably enjoy a good cake more than a good garlic bread. But I also don’t dislike either. Garlic bread’s just new, and [laughing] I am but an elder Ace, set in my ways, set in the cake ways. Also, I’ll link my article that I wrote for Bon Appetit on Ace cake. And someday, we’ll actually sit down to record an entire episode on the history of Ace cake. I’ve been saying we’re going to do this for, like, two years.

Royce: Yeah, you had to wait a little bit because you could not talk about Ace cake for a little while.

Courtney: We don’t talk about Ace cake. [laughs]

Royce: Anyway. Remaining questions: “If you were any mythological creature, what would you be and why?” No.

Courtney: “No”? [laughs] Uh… Um… I’m also really inclined to say no, but also part of me wants to say, like, I don’t know, swamp hag? Reclusive witch?

Royce: A chaotic evil fae?

Courtney: Okay! [laughs] Yes.

Royce: “On a scale of 1 to 10, what’s your favorite color of the alphabet?” We see you, you’re trolling, we know it.

Courtney: Um… petunia.

Royce: “Do you sleep on the same side of the bed as you would at home when staying in hotels or traveling?” This is one of those questions that made me pause and go, “I don’t know! I’ve never paid attention to that.”

Courtney: [laughs] The thing is, our side of the bed has changed a couple of times over the years.

Royce: Is it “side of the bed” or is it “closest to the door”? What’s the rule? Is there a rule?

Courtney: There isn’t a rule. But there are phases.

Royce: There are, sometimes, when it’s like, if we have a screen and the screen is somehow low, you will be closer to the screen.

Courtney: Yeah, which we don’t always have, though. So, right now, I’m on the right side of the bed, and that was my first side of the bed when we first…

Royce: You were on the right side of the bed oriented by laying in the bed looking up at the ceiling.

Courtney: Yes.

Royce: If we walk into the room, you are on the left side of the bed.

Courtney: Alright, thank you for clarifying that. I’m sure listeners out there needed that distinction. But that was the side of the bed I started on and the one I’m on now, but there have been some periods of time where we have completely switched, and I have been on the opposite side of the bed for a prolonged period of time of maybe a couple of years. So, I don’t know why that changes. I think sometimes we just… Ooh, we hear all this relationship advice to, uh, “Spice up the bedroom to [laughs] keep your marriage healthy,” so I guess that’s our version of that. Like, “Oh, [laughing] time to switch sides of the bed for the next couple of years.” But I do think, when we have our period of time, when we do stay in other places, we do keep the one that we’re currently at at home, most of the time. But, you know, sometimes, just for the hell of it, we’ll sleep upside down, because why not? We’re having trouble sleeping; gotta try something. [laughs] It doesn’t happen often, but now and then.

Courtney: And I think that is all we have time for questions for today, so that means it’s time for this week’s featured MarketplACE vendor for Aro and Ace small business owners. And today we would like to shout out Yokanii, where you can purchase keychains and stickers by a gray AroAce Asian American illustrator. But let me tell you, you can even get more than that. You can get a physical copy of an original supernatural horror manga called Those Who Sleep. I will also put a link to the webcomic if you would like to read it online. But do check out this merch store. There are some really cute things. Some are just, like, cute little cryptid-y creatures or cute little horror characters, like…

Royce: Do you make an appearance in Those Who Sleep? Is it actually about chronic fatigue?

Courtney: Wow.

Royce: You said if you could be a mythological creature, you’d be some kind of hag, some evil fae.

Courtney: Actually, no. If I could be any mythical creature, I’d want to be one of the little guys on this thing that we ordered from this shop, ’cause we got this adorable little, like, acrylic standing piece of artwork that have these cute little — there’s a little mushroom creature, there’s a little turnip creature that are characters from this webcomic, and they’re so cute. I want to be a little mushroom person! I want to be one of the mushroom people in that one forest in Dark Souls. You know what I’m saying? Live my best mushroom life. But yeah, I love these cute little creatures. But you can also get charms. Some are characters from the webcomic. We’ve got characters from The Conjuring, from Scream, Sonic and Friends, Resident Evil, Five Nights at Freddy’s, Yu-Gi-Oh — there are all kinds of really cute pieces of artwork based on various fandoms. And do check out Yokanii’s original works, too. As always, links will be in the show notes.

Courtney: So, on that note, listeners, as always, thank you for being here with us. Royce, happy 10-year anniversary. Happy 10 years of Asexual marriage. And here’s to 10 more!