last01standing: ([SGA] Sheppard)
[personal profile] last01standing

In terms of characters on television who can be read as ace, as far as I can see we’ve got Sherlock Holmes (despite all the Moffat nonsense), Sheldon Cooper (where it’s played as a joke), and John Sheppard. Of these three, Sheppard’s the only example I really like.

[That’s a whole other issue involving asexuality and dehumanization and it’s something I’m going to tackle not so much by talking about it, but by writing asexual characters into my fiction. It is worth noting, but not the point of what turned into a massive essay. Onwards!]

The matter of John Sheppard:

Over five years of Stargate Atlantis, the dashing action hero had zero serious romantic relationships. Most of the other main characters (I’m talking everyone outside of Zelenka, Ford, and Lorne) had a romantic plotline arc. You got your McKay with Katie Brown and Keller, Ronon and Awesome Kickboxing Gatetech, Teyla and Kanaan, Weir and Simon. Hell even Beckett and Cadman. Romance is never a central part of SGA, not like finding your family is, but it’s also not ignored.

Which brings us to the man himself. John Sheppard defies the usual trope and turns out to be less dashing spacehero and more dorky flyboy who failed so hard at being on Earth he got to Pegasus and came out the other side. He meets Teyla, kickass alien warrior princess, in episode one. He’s well on his way to charming her into helping the expedition when the wraith culling turns the Teyla’s settlement into refuges. By the time she joins Sheppard’s team, most viewers probably had the same guess about where this would go.

Instead, what follows over the next few episodes is Sheppard constantly professing trust in Teyla, getting his ass kicked by Teyla in stick fights, trying to explain Earth or Pegasus customs to Teyla as she makes WTF faces at him… and a complete and utter lack of romantic overtures from either side. They’re completely and utterly comfortable with each other. They trust each other, but they’re friends, they’re family, not love interests. It’s a trend that continues through the series, but it gets made pretty explicit in Conversion where a bugged up Sheppard kisses her and then proceeds to make a face and say ‘I’m not sure what just happened here.’ Seriously, you can’t tell me this face is turned on:


Later when he apologies he says references what he did as ‘out of character.’ Teyla, because she is awesome personified tells him to give it no further thought. They both end the episode looking insanely relieved.


Then they go back to being family and never mention it again.

Sheppard also reacts weirdly to Teyla’s pregnancy, but I tend to read this as less jealousy and more ‘if you leave my team you’re breaking up my family. Please don’t.’ Plus he’s awfully pleased when he gets to cuddle with Teyla’s kid.


My first run through the series, I kept side-eyeing Sheppard-Weir as a thing that could possibly happen. They wind up sticking up for each other a lot. But there’s also this whole thing where they are clearly pleased to see each other, but never seem to touch. Sheppard sprawls on everything but put a person beside him and he goes all uptight. Unless he’s holding in entrails, he’s mostly trying not to touch people. Weir’s no real exception, but the ship does get a nod in canon.

Of course, the Sheppard/Weir kiss happens when they are possessed by the alien versions of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. And it should be noted that when Weir suggests Sheppard let the husband of the creature possessing her into his body so they can say goodbye, it’s not something Sheppard looks up for:


And that’s the end of Sheppard’s romances with recurring characters. Full stop. One kiss when turning into a bug. One kiss while possessed. Mentions of an ex-wife that ‘didn’t work out.’ We get the feeling that Nancy Sheppard wanted more from John that he could actually give. There's more disappointment and exasperation in their interactions than dislike. The implication is that Sheppard would rather be flying than romancing. Or shooting things. Or playing videogames with McKay.

We’ve also got a few guest stars on screen. There’s Chaya, the ancient who had the most notable on screen attempt at romance. As far as I can tell it was glowy and spiritual. Which I’m like 90% sure is not how this usually goes:

Screen shot 2013-08-25 at 2.02.41 PM

The rest of them are all in a little bunch in mid-season two, pretty damn close to the time I was slotting Sheppard as ace in my mind. They’re all a little…off. It’s like the writers all of a sudden realized they forgot a trope and tried to shove it all back in. It didn’t exactly work out.

We have people like the wraith worshipper in ‘The Hive’ who try to curl up next to Sheppard for warmth and to whom Sheppard makes this face:

Screen shot 2013-08-25 at 3.53.02 PM

Then there’s the stuck in a time dilation filed lady, Teer. And honestly, for all the jokey pseudo flirting, Sheppard looks pretty uncomfortable for the entire scene:

Screen shot 2013-08-25 at 4.25.40 PM

We also got the The Tower that had someone literally have to unclothe for Sheppard for him to get a hint:

SHEPPARD: Oh, wow! I ... I never see this coming!

For me, the exchange at the end of this episode kind of sums up Sheppard and romance:

SHEPPARD: We got the drones, we got a few Jumpers; I even got the girl.
WEIR: You got the girl?!
SHEPPARD: Well, I mean I could have got the girl. I turned her down.

The show may play it off as ‘didn’t want to ascend’ or ‘you only want me for my gene’ or ‘wraith worshippers don’t really do it for me,’ but it mostly boils down to Sheppard could have had got the girl. But he didn’t really want her.

For canon, that’s pretty much all we see from possible love interests. Sheppard’s the passive party in pretty much every instance and the one time he instigates, he’s bugged up and not exactly himself. It’s also pretty interesting to note that these all this happens before the end of season two. I swear the writers just sort of threw up their hands and declared him unromancable.

We’re left with a pilot who looks pretty at ease most of the time, but then makes faces when someone hits on him or just ignores it and carries on his merry way. Sheppard is someone who, at the end of the series walks out onto a pier full of couples, settles himself in the middle and seems pretty damn okay with how his life has turned out.

And I really love him for it.

I know McKay/Sheppard seems to be the fanon pairing with a chaser of Sheppard/Ronon. I guess if you take into account Sheppard’s hair and the fact that he’s mostly oblivious to the onscreen female come-ons, I can almost buy it. Except, not really.

Looking at Sheppard and McKay, you’ve got a bromance that’s born of (proximity and Stockholm Syndrome a little) geeking out and saving each other’s life. I love these two, I really do, but the fundamental thing I see them having in common when the series started is that they were lonely as fuck growing up. They make up for it on Atlantis by being gigantic twelve-year-olds together. Sheppard teases McKay about his girlfriend while they play videogames and McKay mocks him for being ‘Kirk’ even though they both know there’s not much to that.

As for Ronon, well it’s mostly just affectionately beating each other to a pulp. Seriously, it’s distressingly close to how me and brother treated each other when we were kids. As far as I’m concerned Sheppard’s the dorky kid brother Ronon had culled never had.

And we’re back to that old theme again: family. The whole show is like this and a lot of it is the influence of what the main character thinks is important. It’s pretty much impossible to say romance is something Sheppard ranks high on his list.

So, I add up the romantic overtures we do see, the team that feels like family, the please don’t touch me body language, the obliviousness and just about everything else that makes up Sheppard and I come up the inescapable headcanon:

Sheppard doesn’t have any romances across SGA because Sheppard didn’t want any.

I really can’t express how awesome that is. The other ace characters in media, Sheldon Cooper and Sherlock Holmes feel really alien. Like disinterest is just something else to set them apart from society. But in SGA, Sheppard’s our point of view character. He’s the one we’re supposed to relate to, supposed to root for. He’s flawed, he’s brave, he makes mistakes, he has friends, he has family. He’s the sort of person you might actually meet on the street one day.

His lack of romance is never mentioned as weird. Characters in the main cast don’t hit on him. They don’t try to set him up. They just let him be Sheppard. Because I think they get it.

And that’s huge.

[I welcome additions, rebuttals, whatever. It is on tumblr as well, but I still like LJ better for that crazy thing called ‘dialogue.’ Anon if you like. I’ve been craving SGA meta since I finished my first go around (and immediately started my second). I’m getting the idea that Sheppard’s one of those characters that everyone sees a little differently. And that’s cool.]

(no subject)

25/8/13 22:34 (UTC)
gladdecease: ("air quotes")
Posted by [personal profile] gladdecease
I wish I had something more coherent to say than YES, THIS, but... that's basically what my thoughts boil down to. John Sheppard's the rare ace character who sincerely (if awkwardly) values his other relationships; the far more common ace trope is that of the aloof genius who resides so thoroughly in his own brain that needs of the body and heart are irrelevant, and even though that trope's subverted as often as it's played straight, it's so nice to see an alternative presented in John.

(no subject)

25/8/13 23:12 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I love Sheppard in all of his awkward glory. And it was genuinely not until the episodes where they started trying to hook him up with people that I realized how much I saw him as ace. He's genuinely the first asexual character I've seen in television or film who feels like a person to me. I just got to Epiphany in my rewatch and there's this awesome moment at the end where McKay goes, What is it with you and ancient women and Sheppard makes a face and shrugs like I DUNNO WHAT'S GOING ON I GENUINELY JUST SHOWED UP LOOKING FOR A SANDWICH AND THEN THERE WERE SMOOCHES. WHAT?

(I am really really happy this is not just me projecting. Because I identify with Sheppard to a truly alarming degree.)

(no subject)

26/8/13 00:05 (UTC)
gladdecease: (we're boldly going!  how cool is that?)
Posted by [personal profile] gladdecease
(You are definitely not projecting - SGA's in the top ten fandoms on AO3 for fics tagged "Asexuality" or "Asexual Character", and most of those fics are about John. Granted, it's usually John in asexual romantic relationships, but still!)

(no subject)

26/8/13 00:33 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I've read most of those! A few are really really lovely. A few are really...not problematic so much as really fucking weird for me. The BDSM stuff that shows up in ace fic blows my mind, but whatever I know how I work, but I have no idea how other folks work. There's also a class of fic (that I saw waaaay more when I used to bounce around the Sherlock fandom) that would tag asexuality and then have the point of the story be 'OMG HE'S CURED' or deal with it in a way the makes it seem almost like a fettish and those really rub me the wrong way.

The good ones make it worth it in almost any fandom.

(The math geek in me also feels inclined to point out that a bit of a factor in SGA showing up in the top ten is the fact that it's a really big fandom. You'd really have to do it as a proportion to make it mean something. This is also why you've got such high counts for the monster fandoms: SPN, Avengers/MCU, SGA, Homestruck (which I've never heard of but has 20K fics holy crap). The smaller fandoms with the big numbers are more of interest. Les Mis and White Collar are the frequency winners if you recalculate.)

(no subject)

26/8/13 02:15 (UTC)
gladdecease: (did we just do what I think we did?)
Posted by [personal profile] gladdecease
Sigh, I'd almost forgotten about Sherlock fandom's habit of making Sherlock decide to have sex for [significant other]'s sake, and then writing your standard two dudes sex scene with no thought to how Sherlock might behave differently than a sexual character in such a scene.

But you're right, the good ones can be amazing.

(The math geek in you has a point! It takes some actual thought on my part to see things that way - I see a larger number for a fandom and I go "ooh, this one has more fic!" even though it can't be more than a tenth of a percent of all fics in that fandom, if that. (...actually, I just checked, and SGA fic on AO3 is 0.13% ace-related, where Les Mis and White Collar are between 0.8 and 0.9% acefic. Sherlock is 1.25% acefic.) I still maintain that you aren't projecting onto John (not unless the authors of those twenty fics are all projecting too!), but I admit that the proof I presented is misleading.)

(no subject)

26/8/13 02:45 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
It appears to be a minority belief, but it does please me to think I'm not alone. Honestly I can see the other arguments about Sheppard's sexuality, BUT THAT DOES NOT CHANGE THE FACT THAT I THINK THEY ARE WRONG.

On the other hand, it appears I should check out White Collar? Perhaps? There is a fair amount of ace fic about Castiel floating around it SPN too. But if I get sucked back into that fandom, I may never get back out. (There's also the fact that I genuinely don't really see Castiel as asexual, I could buy it pre-vessel but not so much after. Which is really strange now that I think about it.)

(no subject)

26/8/13 03:48 (UTC)
gladdecease: (idgi)
Posted by [personal profile] gladdecease
I honestly had no idea there was White Collar acefic - the only interesting thing I knew about that fandom was the poly with the FBI agent's wife. But I guess I can see where ace!con artist is coming from. He flirts as part of the con, by extension it's possible that all flirting is a con... something like that.

But god, no, I can't see ace!Cas, not since season four. And back then, that could just been the lack of personality speaking. (I also can't really read Cas fic at all anymore, because I've been burned by too many bad characterizations in either direction - he's either totally socially inept/Sheldon Cooper-like, or he's done ~everything~ for Dean, so why won't Dean do the same for him?? I shudder to think how those writers would tackle ace!Cas.) I guess compared to some of the more hedonistic angels he seems non-sexual, but I definitely read that more as celibacy/chastity/general restraint, rather than disinterest.

(no subject)

27/8/13 00:51 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Weirdly the best ace fic I read in SPN was about Dean being ace instead of Cas. It was a really interesting take on the thing, but not one I necessarily see validated in canon. (I should try to dig that one up again)

Castiel I feel like is a hard character to get right. When he's written well, it's stunning. I've always seen him as a little clueless, but incredibly headstrong. I've back out of a few fics because of the characterizations too but I don't read much SPN anymore as I'm currently consuming the entirety of SGA.

It should be really interesting to see what to happens to Cas in cannon when he's stripped of mojo for real.

(no subject)

27/8/13 14:19 (UTC)
gladdecease: (fanfic is a strange thing)
Posted by [personal profile] gladdecease that sounds interesting. If you do dig it up, could you link me?

(no subject)

29/8/13 02:30 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
(Not as good as I remember it. But still not bad. This line especially rings so very very true: "Or, or, that time in high school when some other girl wanted us to go to the movies, then was pissed as hell at me when I spent two hours watching the fucking movie!")

The water is bluer in dreamscapes

(no subject)

26/8/13 05:41 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
(It saddens me that my only SGA icon is this little typing Rodney doodle. I should fix this.)

This is in fact the BEST META. And I kind of want to spam it everywhere because WE NEED MORE GOOD ACE CHARACTERS. I am really, really done with our only options being aloof alien geniuses or comic relief. Sheppard is such a breath of fresh air. Yes, he's an emotionally constipated dork with stupid hair and a dubious moral compass, but dude, he's human. And the POV character. And this is so, so important.

As is the Team thing. I talked about that a little on Tumblr, but you know how crazy I am about the idea of friends as family. Stargate genuinely shaped my ideas about important relationships, and gave me hope that hey, maybe I wasn't cut out for romance, but perhaps there were other options? Maybe my life wouldn't be a hopeless void where everybody split off into discrete couples and left me Forever Alone(tm)? And maybe I could have a Team of my own. So I went out and did my best to make it happen. And it's worked out pretty well so far, actually. But watching Sheppard with his team gave me a lot of hope in ways I couldn't begin to articulate back when I first started watching, and now I know why it meant so much to me all along.

Anyway. FEELINGS. (Something Sheppard might have a hard time coping with, but I am not like him in every way, haha.) You did good with this one.

(Also can I link to this on my LJ? I've got a couple of ace buddies who might be intrigued.)
Edited 26/8/13 05:42 (UTC)

(no subject)

26/8/13 13:50 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Link away. That's what it's here for. Honestly the more discussion that comes out of this the better. I may try and see if there's a SGA newsletter or something to get it linked to because I'd love to see this reading of Sheppard get a little more prominance. (The best meta? It's basically just a series of Sheppard making awkward faces while getting hit on. =p)

I tried not to let this meta get too personal, but it really really had that danger. Because I think I've had this discussion with you, but in terms of personality/worldview/whatever I am Sheppard to a truly alarming degree. Even without the ace part, I would be Sheppard to a truly alarming degree (seriously, in episode two he opened by basically telling the Athosian children the plots of slasher movies. He made friends with McKay by pushing him off balconies. He is a science fiction geek and a math dork and does it all while still being kind of a sports guy too.) I can't tell you how awesome it was to have a character I identify with that strongly to subvert all the romance tropes that are so typical of this genre and not be portrayed as defective or aloof or anything other than human.

If your group starts to couple off (and mine has to a certain degree), you're welcome to come fine me. I am allergic to feelings but I can definitely try.

(your typing Rodney icon is adorable though.)

(no subject)

26/8/13 15:24 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Will do. And here's something for you: Go out and get the discussion going! This could get fun, I think.

Ha. Well, Sheppard was always my favorite, anyway. :P And that offer extends to you too. I've got enough feelings for the both of us. *laughs*

(no subject)

26/8/13 20:56 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I'd buy it except for the way he really went after Mara after the robe came off, and he was really slow to react even when she came clean about why she was there. I'd buy it except for Teer, and the relationship he had for six months in Epiphany. I think that's the real clue. I think the real reason he didn't have another relationship for five years was his priorities: the safety of everyone on Atlantis, the fact half the people on Atlantis were under his command (no fraternization) anyway, and as soon as he thought he was trapped with no way back, no life except farming with this small group of people, he settled right in with someone. Interesting...

Btw: The "never see this coming" remark was put in there by the writers, because women (and men) find it appealing when men are disingenuous about their attractiveness. If a guy is attractive and knows it, it's off-putting.

For the record: John and Mara ( (password: princess) Notice how John is deaf to what she's saying: he's pretty much ("Oh, wow.") staring at her breasts and kissing her neck and not hearing the part about becoming the next ruler. He acts like a horny frat boy. I see no disinterest or aversion to where things are heading. Wouldn't he be backing away if he were ACE? Show some tiny sign of not liking this?

I just don't buy this guy as anything but horny and wanting it. I originally posted the video to vimeo a year ago to mock him as "John in brainless dick mode."
Edited 26/8/13 20:57 (UTC)

(no subject)

26/8/13 21:48 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I literally just got passed Epiphany and Teer in my rewatch yesterday and I still don't buy them. There's not a lot of settling in from John, more a constant tone of 'how the hell do I get out.' And honestly, looking at the scene with John and Teer directly after, there conversation definitely doesn't sound like people who had wild crazy sex last night.

SHEPPARD: Well, it is scary, but it's also very cool. (Hedda smiles and nods.) It's OK to be scared, it's part of life. You know, when I was a kid, we used to have storms that shook the house. Scared me half to death.

TEER: When we are ascended, we will experience such things.

SHEPPARD: Hell, if you're ascended, you can make thunderstorms! I'm talking about actually experiencing life.

AVRID: We contemplate on the experience that is life each day.

SHEPPARD: I'm talking about living it. (He looks round at everyone.) Haven't any of you got things you wanna do as flesh and blood human beings first? I mean, you-you talk about moving on to a plane of existence beyond your own mortality, but you haven't even really lived.
(*thank you GateWorld)

So, to me at least, either Sheppard doesn't really count sex as part of the human experience or they didn't get up to much that night. (And honestly, trapped, cut off, no real hope of return, that sounds a hell of a lot like where they were all of season one.)

I'll refrain from commenting on Mara in depth because I'm not there in my rewatch yet. I will say that I have been in a similar situation though. Interested or not, when there are suddenly boobs in front of you, you stare at the boobs a little. I'm honestly not sure where else you're supposed to look.

[ha! I love discussions like this. Different people see different characters looking at the same text. It never stops being cool.]

(no subject)

26/8/13 22:15 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
He's talking to the group, not specifically to Teer. It's pretty clear in Epiphany that that he and Teer did have a physical relationship -- that's what the fade-to-fireplace business is about. Just because they don't show the actually sex-after-kissing on PG television doesn't mean we assume they don't have it. Otherwise no character on Stargate ever had sex ever. Or went to the bathroom, for that matter. Do we ever see Teyla eat the food on her tray? I don't think so. That doesn't mean she's secretly a Wraith.

And if you didn't watch The Tower clip I posted (he doesn't just stare at the boobs, he actively pursues sex with Mara), then you aren't forming your opinions based on canon. In fact, if you haven't watched all of canon, then you really aren't informed on John Sheppard. He flirts in the mess with Esposito. He kisses Larrin in the Travelers. He was *married* to Nancy (Outcast) and him being asexual wasn't what broke them up, but rather his covert missions. She couldn't take the secrets anymore, but now that she works for Homeland Security and has to keep them from her husband, she tells John she understands what it was like for him.

There's a wealth of evidence in canon that disproves your theory, but that doesn't mean people can't write him as asexual or enjoy stories with him ACE.

Sadly, there were show/political reasons why Joe Flanigan wasn't written more Sheppard-centric scripts or a love interest of his own.

Edited 26/8/13 22:20 (UTC)

(no subject)

26/8/13 23:45 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
But Teyla was secretly a wraith that one time. =)

I've seen the entire series. (I did forget about Larrin while I was working on this, this was my mistake.) There's a reason why the essay's titled, 'why I read John Sheppard as ace', rather than 'Why Sheppard is ace.' And asexual people can and do get married. The same with flirting. Special Ops are in fact something you can choose not to persue. But a newlywed Sheppard does it anyway. Because at some point, there is only so long you can fake it.

Watched your Mara clip too. I see someone who takes two kisses to even wake up to the fact that this is happening. A 'fuck it, why not moment,' and then a complete stop and despite being thrown on the bed, strong implications in conversation to Weir at the end of the episode that to me at least pretty heavily implied he did not close the deal.

We're going to have to agree to disagree on Teer because to me, an awful lot of the conversation is veiled shots at Teer despite addressing a group. The fact that there was no arcing Sheppard-centric romance was seriously my favorite part of the show.

(no subject)

27/8/13 03:09 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Teyla doesn't feed from her hand, though. I can believe that without having to see her put food in her mouth, joking aside.

And what is your explanation for Larrin? He seemed pretty into that, and he initiated that as well.

You watched the Mara clip and you see a guy who is "waking up to the fact it's happening" instead of a guy who is really wowed by seeing her breasts and actively kissing her neck? How are you hand-waving him being active instead of passive by initiating the those third and fourth kisses if I grant you the 2nd? (I don't. The second was right after and he was into it.) Or that he only eventually hears her telling him something that means he might be fucked in more ways than one (the ruler thing) if he follows through? He really didn't want to stop.

The thing is: the whole scene is a blatant gag set-up at John's expense by the writers. If you don't recognize this as "frat boy fantasy gone bad" then you obviously haven't been watching the same poorly written show that I have, full of nerdy writer wish-fulfillment where King Geek McKay gets the Prom Queen Kaylee Jennifer Keller.

Don't forget the date he set up with Chaya and that kiss and possible sex. You really skipped over it for some reason, but he had a date with her, with strawberries and kissing and walking her back to her quarters and who knows. He didn't know she was an Ancient at the time. Not sure why you skipped over it without mention.

And yes, I know ACEs get married, but put against all the other people we see him get into sexual situations with, plus the fact if he and Nancy are ACE and then she goes and marries another ACE right all really strains the bounds of credulity.

(no subject)

27/8/13 03:56 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I honestly don't remember much about the Larrin episode and I'm not really in the place where I'm going to have time to watch in the next few days so, you'll have to forgive me to that one. The Chaya romance seemed supremely awkward to me, with the glowy whatever at the end and I honestly don't know how I would even quantitated that.

plus the fact if he and Nancy are ACE and then she goes and marries another ACE right all really strains the bounds of credulity.

You're going to have to clarify this one for me, because my headcanon works with Nancy not being ace and her new guy also not being ace. Then you've got John taking more covert missions because there are problems at home because even though he's really trying, the attraction's just not there.

It all goes down to the feel you get from a character I suppose. I read surprised, slightly uncomfortable stares when you read lust (and admittedly I am bad at picking up this). I will tell you though, that body language, passivity, attitude, lack of significant romantic thread through the story, group being a driving force, Sheppard mostly codes ace to me. And that's not something I say about a lot of characters. And it feels true to me in part because he does have the canon passes and the attempt at marriage. Because a lot of time society tends to tell you that you're broken if you don't want romance, so you try to fake it instead.

But seriously, there's no way the SGA writers sat down and said 'I know, let's make Sheppard asexual.' It just wound up being how I read it. And for the record, this is not something I say about a lot of characters Sheppard's the only one pretty much any sci-fi universe I've kept up with that gives be these vibes. And that's cool in itself.

(no subject)

27/8/13 04:18 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I honestly don't remember much about the Larrin episode

and you don't seem to remember much about the Chaya date either...I did think it was pretty romantic at the time. And it really pissed off Rodney. :D

I think it's probably easy to think of John as ace if you aren't watching the bits where he's acting sexual toward women. It doesn't happen that often, it's true. And I'm glad for you about that.

However, I don't know how John would approach a sexually active woman for an asexual marriage.

In any event, I think yes, best left to go write and read John as you would have him. He sure is fun. :)

(no subject)

28/8/13 01:13 (UTC)
busaikko: Something Wicked This Way Comes (SGA panda hug)
Posted by [personal profile] busaikko
However, I don't know how John would approach a sexually active woman for an asexual marriage.

John being roughly the same age as I am, and assuming Nancy is as well, asexuality wasn't anywhere near as well-known back in the 1990s, when they would have gotten married. Whether either of them was already sexually active is unknown, as is whether they disclosed their experience. It's entirely possible that they both were "waiting for marriage", and that John assumed he'd be less nervous and more into the whole sex thing once he was married. These things happen, and most often not out of a willful intent to deceive.

(no subject)

28/8/13 01:02 (UTC)
busaikko: Something Wicked This Way Comes (SGA Match dancing shoes)
Posted by [personal profile] busaikko
(awkwardly jumps into the middle of your conversation)

But seriously, there's no way the SGA writers sat down and said 'I know, let's make Sheppard asexual.' It just wound up being how I read it. And for the record, this is not something I say about a lot of characters Sheppard's the only one pretty much any sci-fi universe I've kept up with that gives be these vibes.

I've been talking recently on my LJ about Joe Flanigan in his other roles, where he plays fantastic husbands with great chemistry and a very comfortable display of marital love. I wouldn't say that Flanigan made the choice to play John as ace or as gay (two common fan interpretations), but he does make the acting choices to show John, as you say, family/team oriented and not pursuing sex or romance. John seems to have mental scripts that he relies on to get through certain situations ("oh, this calls for 'generic flirtation #2'... lemme see if I can find a picnic basket") but there's a kind of disconnect that I think Flanigan put there (and that the writers couldn't do anything about). And the great thing about John's team is that he doesn't need to use his scripts with them: they don't matchmake or ask him about his sexual past or for advice, and they respect and love him for who he is.

John's marriage to Nancy and his Air Force career seem almost like two sides of the same coin. I don't think John ever sat down when he was younger and thought about how who he was fit together with what he wanted. I can well imagine him getting married and assuming he'd just develop an interest, wasn't that what happened in marriage? And that might even have worked for a few years: I think he did love Nancy and probably wanted kids (in the same vague way as he wanted to be married, because it was the thing people do, and because family). Whereas with the Air Force, yes he has his insubordination thing, but it's structured specifically to build strong interpersonal bonds -- found families -- out of people who are constrained by rules explicitly against forming romances and sexual liaisons. If he'd joined the Air Force with Nancy instead, I think they'd still be best buddies.

(no subject)

28/8/13 01:38 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
John seems to have mental scripts that he relies on to get through certain situations ("oh, this calls for 'generic flirtation #2'... lemme see if I can find a picnic basket") but there's a kind of disconnect that I think Flanigan put there (and that the writers couldn't do anything about). And the great thing about John's team is that he doesn't need to use his scripts with them: they don't matchmake or ask him about his sexual past or for advice, and they respect and love him for who he is.

You've managed to hit the vibes I get from John in a way that was 100000x more coherent than what I was managing to say. And this rings very true for a lot of the ace folk out there (myself included) because this is what society teaches. If it's not working, just keep going until it clicks. What I see in Sheppard through the series are Not-Quite romances with dubious chemistry that are broken up with by long periods where romance isn't even vaguely hinted at, where Sheppard manages to hold himself so stiffly people don't even try to touch him.

(no subject)

26/8/13 23:48 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Hey, you can totally flirt with someone, kiss, or look at boobs and still not be interested in actually having sex with somebody! (I'm speaking from personal experience here -- trust me, it happens sometimes.) I even know a couple of ace folks IRL who are happily married. Being asexual doesn't mean you can't engage in these behaviors, all it means is that you just tend to navigate them a little differently. And in that regard I think OP's theory is very much valid. :)

(no subject)

27/8/13 03:31 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Right, it's the whole actively kissing her and pursuing sex thing that seems un-ACE-like. Which he does multiple times. That in conjunction with his marriage makes it seem unlikely.

(no subject)

27/8/13 03:40 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Ah, all up to interpretation, I suppose. To each their own. For the record, you don't need to capitalize ace -- it's not an acronym, just short for asexual.

(no subject)

28/8/13 18:15 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Heh, I really like this meta and it makes a lot of sense. The point you make about how most asexual characters are perceived is spot on. I think media has this idea of unemotional robots being what asexual people would be like, or that they would be misanthropes and hopeless with all human relationships, which is a pretty terrible thing to think. Even gay and lesbian characters get better representation these days. I guess asexuality is still the great unknown when it comes to general knowledge. Also fuck Moffat, that guy is the worst. I have to admit that I'm still somewhat confused when it comes to asexuality vs demisexuality or people who are aromantic or the opposite of that? Uh I forgot what it's called; where you can have romantic feelings but don't want to have sex? (I think I would slot in here somewhere, but I'm also not really into labeling myself :D It's worked for me so far...)

Also it's definitely true that the people who read John as gay would pretty much pick each of these scenes as their examples. (I don't really agree with your interpretation of John's and Rodney's friendship but that wasn't really the point of this post anyway and it's been a while since I watched the show so I'm sure my view is skewed by reading a lot of fic about them.)

(no subject)

29/8/13 02:02 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Aces in the media just sort of make me want to scream. Aloof genuis! Incapable of feelings! What the actual fuck!

I'm not too clear on the terminology myself. I've got a buddy who I think falls under demi and it sounds like the type who doesn't really feel physical attraction unless the emotional attraction is already there. But honestly, call yourself whatever the hell you like. Maybe you wanna be called a splorkle I don't actually care so long as you're comfortable. I tend to use ace because it fits and asexual legitimately sounds like protozoa.

...I don't actually read McKay as queer? Like at all. I could see it for Sheppard, but not McKay. But I actually have history's worst gaydar. Really it's abysmally bad. Plus it kind of makes me smile to see McKay bitching about Sheppard pulling all the ladies when he's not really interested or trying. And Sheppard doing it to fuck with McKay also makes me smile. Because Sheppard's more than a little bit of an ass.

(no subject)

30/8/13 01:20 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Hello there! Here's a neat infographic on the asexual spectrum, if you're interested. This stuff can get complicated, but I really like this chart: even if folks don't fit perfectly into these categories, it's a good jumping-off point for discussion. :D

(no subject)

30/8/13 20:58 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Awesome meta, thank you.

(no subject)

9/1/14 11:58 (UTC)
endeni: (BIS)
Posted by [personal profile] endeni
OMG, what a great meta! BTW, I really liked your "Missing Cues" ficlet too. ;)

(no subject)

20/1/14 03:50 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Thanks! The concept's lodged itself pretty permanently into my headcanon.


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