Here’s the start of a series of posts of some characters and their flags for Pride Month! Starting with main characters. Ricky’s not a poster boy for aroaces/aces/acespecs and we deserve some better rep than him, but then again, if a feral cannibal lad who’s also an eldritch horror fantasising about bodily transformation into an agender Thing made up of tentacles and eyes is the rep you want, feel free to adopt him.
EDIT: I’m not sure he IS aroace and he doesn’t read that way to some aroace people so I’m making some amendments. If anything, you can read him as ace definitely, but he just isn’t interested in making those discoveries about himself for himself, so it’s not really possible to assign a definitive label. That’s also kind of the point: he reads differently to different readers, I’ve noticed.
He could well be aroaceflux (the featured flag!) in that he occupies some part of both spectrums, but this changes depending on the levels of sentimentality he feels for a person, or something aesthetic that he likes. The aesthetic interest only comes after he realises he likes them as a person, which is a shade of demiromantic, perhaps. This has happened exactly twice in his life. So perhaps more grey. When you start breaking down the conditions for attraction and the number of times it has happened and what sort of attraction it is, a handy general label is easier than a ton of microlabels, or perhaps one microlabel that I haven’t found yet (none of them fit me, either).
I don’t use the term queer to describe myself a lot. I have the feeling Ricky wouldn’t either – ironically, it’s both too nebulous and open to misunderstanding, but also just doesn’t suit him. It aligns him with a community he isn’t part of and doesn’t want to connect with. He doesn’t want to be part of anything. He wants a very few people around him to be surrogate or actual family (with all the intensity of feeling that has) and then to be left entirely alone. His primary identities are his role (Soothsayer) and his family affiliation (Porter) in that order. And he has very negative and conflicting stuff going on with the latter identity.
Ricky struggles to see himself as a person a lot of the time, and attraction is complicated for him and 95% of the time is totally non-existent in terms of sexual or romantic attraction. He also has no aesthetic preferences except for things he finds comforting (he prefers Carrie to be soft and warm because growing up he was never allowed to have something comforting, and so he still prefers when she performs that function).
This association is now attached to her, since he burned his taxidermy toy that provided that comfort for him, and is starting to entwine with her as a person performing that role, which is very confusing for him. His feelings for her after a year of sleeping in her bed and living with her are now much closer to romantic ones, and read that way, so perhaps he’s actually greyromantic (but the attraction shows up under the same conditions as demiromantic people, just far less often) and asexual or greysexual.
This is before we get into the fact he’s canonically had aesthetic attraction to a cis woman’s eyes, but it isn’t romantic attraction [Cousin Layla]; he’s had some kind of deep bonding experience with a cis woman that he wanted to bond with in some way that wasn’t clear to himself at the time [Carrie]; he’s had experimental sex with a cis guy [Wes] when they were both teenagers, but it’s unclear whether there were any romantic feelings there or if he had deep platonic feelings that were hurt because he thought Wes was only in it for the drugs; and his feelings for the house/its agender avatar who can present any way it wants to and doesn’t even need to look human.
That last one might even put him in the Objectum Sexual camp: he’s loved that building since he was five years old. However, he does also have attraction occasionally to people, and he isn’t attracted to buildings in general, only to one particular house.
OS people talk about the inherent animism of the objects of their attraction, and in Ricky’s case, his object of affection does have sentience, and they communicate privately and telepathically in a similar way to how some OS people describe feeling the vibes of buildings, cars, bridges, etc. I did actually read a few interviews with OS people [the Expressions page of the linked website] for THE CROWS to try and get that feeling across, but more for the POV of the house itself.
I actually wonder whether pomosexual isn’t just better because he consciously doesn’t want to think about it, or talk about it, and rejects the usual definitions and labels for himself while acknowledging they are there, but Ricky also isn’t interested in postmodernism and so who even knows.
ORIGINAL POST BELOW:
RICKY PORTER doesn’t use labels or talk about his orientation, so I was wondering if mainly because he doesn’t have access to the vocabulary/terminology and doesn’t have a reason to discuss it. In the books, he explicitly isn’t interested in sex or a romantic relationship with his neighbour, and tells her so, even though their bond becomes increasingly intimate in other ways. Ricky also reminds her he’s not interested in romantic/sexual intimacy when she says he can sleep in her bed, which is something that ends up as a feature of their relationship as it progresses. At one point he wakes up with an erection and tells her, “Don’t think that’s for you, it just does that sometimes.” And that’s that on that.
When we meet Ricky in THE CROWS, he kills a lot of people for ritual reasons and this is his first proper platonic relationship, but it’s very clearly deeper than “just friends” on an emotional level, but it’s also not romantic. It is too intimate to be pseudo-siblings, and there’s an indication that he might be greyromantic or greysexual, or grey-demi, and that the relationship might shift in the future given time and a deeper bond forming between them. There’s also no guarantee that this will be the case, and no previous relationships to base this on except one (M/M, experimental, drug-fuelled and sexual, short-term and didn’t end well) when he was 17. This is learned about in THIRTEENTH.
Later, Ricky makes it clear he thinks that teenage experiment was transactional and insincere, which isn’t how Wes remembers it. Ricky was extremely passive in this experiment regardless of who initiated things, because he realised fairly quickly that he wasn’t that bothered about having sex, although he’s had moments of libido and attraction as a younger teen. He’s at best sex-neutral (under certain circumstances, with certain people) and mainly sex-averse. Even he has no idea about the specific parameters of his attraction, what it is about people he likes, and whether he’ll experience any attraction in future that he might want to act on.
This is why Ricky doesn’t identify as anything, or even bother to find out what labels might work for him. He doesn’t discuss his sex-life (or lack of), he doesn’t justify it, and he doesn’t really care what people think about it. Aroaceflux might be more accurate, but the ‘flux’ is very rare, and it’s never very clear.
The books are character-driven with a loose cosmic horror plot, and his arc follows his central relationship which is best described as queerplatonic, [in the sense that it queers the platonic, that is, is a relationship that cannot be accurately defined with hetero/allonormative terms], and the relationships he gains with his family and other people.