mood whiplash

I keep meaning to write another big theoretical/reflective post, and then things like this happen.

[ cw for compulsory sexuality ]

At work tonight, toward the end of the shift, either me or one of my coworkers let slip a reference to Dragon Age — I forget exactly how it happened — and, upon our mutual discovery that we both play it, we launched into an excited, rapid exchange about the latest game, as you do.

Understand, first, that (offline) I don’t often encounter other people who’ve played it (there aren’t many video game nerds in my department, alas) and that, whenever I do, there always seems to be a ritualistic swapping of stories about our character’s choices and which of the companions we like and dislike and why.  It’s… fun.  It’s like a bonding activity.  I don’t know why, but it’s one of the few foundations for social interaction that actually works for me.  So it’s a special thing when this happens.  Understand that first.

My coworker, who made an elf, vented her emotions about having romanced Solas on her first playthrough (so, yes, this may contain minor spoilers for the Solas romance).  I was already familiar with some of the features of that one, so initially, I grinned knowingly and thought I understood her pain.

Then she exclaimed something about how “nothing even happened!” and I, being the kid that I am, wondered (giving her the benefit of the doubt) whether she was either referring to the ending or perhaps had broken off the romance path without meaning to.  At some point, after she had said the phrase again, I asked her for more direct clarification.

“What do you mean, nothing happened?”

We didn’t have sex!

Internally, I kind of went into shock, but I continued the conversation as if nothing had happened, in part because it was time for all of us to leave.

Here’s some context:

Only a few days ago, I wrote this post regarding the Dragon Age romances and how practically all of them feature sex.  I didn’t go into detail evaluating each one, but you can hit up beranyth if you’re curious.

So, they’ve got a track record.  But that’s all before we even get to the fandom.

To set the stage, here are some fanfic summaries regarding Sebastian, the one romance-able character with an option for an explicitly-defined-as-such “chaste romance” [serious tw for rape & rape culture].

After DA:I came out, and while I was lurking at the fringes of the fandom, I heard through the grapevine that there was some… conflict, among fans of Solas.  To put it mildly.  There were some people who would have preferred the option for a sex scene, which would be fine if the story ended there, but it doesn’t.  Among these people, allegedly, were not only some people who insisted the Solas romance was a sexual one (based on some optional lines of dialogue), but also some bloggers who were actively upset about the lack of a sex scene.

I’m mentioning these things merely convey my current impression with regards to the DA fandom and some of the things that go on there, specifically so you’ll understand why my coworker’s complaint was so jarring.

I knew these kinds of DA fans were out there, sure, but I didn’t ever expect to meet one myself, in person.  Especially not in the form of a sweet, soft-spoken girl whom I had been getting along with for several hours and who had just gotten excited with me over discovering a shared interest.

And then, boom, she’s angry about a fictional character not having sex with her fictional character, and I find out we have a lot less in common than I thought.

I wish I had never brought it up.

It’s not enough, apparently, for them to have so much of the franchise catering to their interests.  It’s not enough.  We get a paltry handful that we can enjoy without the forced sex scenes, and suddenly that’s too much.  How are they supposed to enjoy a fictional romance without confirmation of sex, right?  But us, we’re supposed to be content with “enjoying the friendships,” while they feel entitled to hoard every romance to themselves.

Honestly, why the heck are y’all so greedy?

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