Residence: Staunton, VA
Date of Performance/Collection: April 21st, 2021
Primary Language: English
Collector: “I remember a while ago you were talking about the link between garlic bread and ace people, right? Can you explain that?”
Informant: “Well, essentially, the consensus is that garlic bread is better than sex. And thus, slowly, over time, through memes and such, it became part of ace- asexual culture to just be like ‘Sex? Phhht. Garlic bread. That’s pretty good.’ It’s like that with various other foods. Like cake. Lemon bars are one thing- no, wait, lemon bars are bisexual. I don’t know why they’re bisexual, but they are.”
Collector: “What’s like a formula of one of these memes? Like if you had to cite a stock meme to me.”
Informant: “Like here’s the basic thing of how they kind of go. Sex. Then reaction pic of somebody going no, or nuh-uh, or whatever—”
Collector: “Like the Drake meme along the side.”
Informant: “Yeah. Like that and then the good one.”
Collector: “The approving side of the picture.
My informant is a member of several online asexual communities designed as spaces of solidarity and safety. The common practices of these communities include sharing struggles unique or semi-unique to ace people, figuring out or helping others figure out whether the sexual identity applies to them, and sharing memes about asexuality.
Collector: Why do you think this developed?”
Informant: “Primarily firstly because garlic bread is just good. It’s just fantastic. And then garlic bread being better than sex was kind of a meme outside of asexual culture. Just around, I used to occasionally find one just out in the wild.”
To my informant, garlic bread being better than sex was the adopting of a pre-existing, potentially ironic meme by a community that agreed whole-heartedly with the sentiment. Oher potential benefits include bonding over a meme.
It seems telling that this is a joke told within communities specifically labelled as asexual safe spaces and not frequently elsewhere. It’s likely there’s an element of safety and community to this meme. The meme is proliferated within a safe asexual space to prove that the space is safe- saying that sex is bad is fine here and we’ll do it in a funny way. It’s also likely that catharsis is another element at play. In a culture dominated by people who value sex, it’s likely that the community has latched onto garlic bread as just one example to hold up of the many things they see as more appealing. By participating in the meme, consuming and posting, they reaffirm their feelings and get a release from the tension of being misaligned with a sex-dominated culture.