I never thought I would be one to criticise The Hairpin, for it is frequently my go-to for internet based good times.
In this most recent ‘Ask a Lady’ column (which is usually some excellent reading), a reader submitted this question:
I’m bisexual. And not the “bi now, gay later” kind of bisexual that some gay men feel duty bound to hilariously bring up whenever I mention it. Bisexual for real! I have been with women and men and it’s great with both and I don’t plan on choosing sides at any point in the future. But I’m not promiscuous, I don’t suddenly switch from one orientation to the other, I’ve never cheated on anyone in my life, and I don’t have any oddball tastes in the bedroom; put simply, there aren’t any surprises or stereotypes in store for my partners. So if I’m pursuing a lady, how soon should I bring this up? It doesn’t affect the way I behave in relationships, and I worry that some women may freak out unnecessarily if it comes up before they know me well enough to see that I’m not weird.
As a regular and long-term peruser of said column, I know that this question, and variations of such, are not of the infrequently-asked variety. They are usually dealt with in the sort of ‘your own personal shit is your own personal shit and you should not feel pressured to reveal your sexual history unless and until you want to’ kind of way. Which is basically what A Lady did. Except:
That’s all if everything you said is true — specifically that being bi doesn’t affect the way you behave in relationships. Which honestly I don’t think is true in your case. Because if you don’t ever, ever cheat on anyone, but also don’t plan on choosing sides at ANY point in the future, then it means that whenever you’re in a relationship with a woman, you’re not going to be satisfied by that relationship unless you’re getting a little dick (a nice, normal-sized dick) as well. Which you’re not getting, ’cause you never cheat on anyone — so you settle for whatever sex parts your current partner has until things don’t work out, which does absolutely count as affecting the way you behave in a relationship.
I read it. Then I re-read it about four times, because I have faith in The Hairpin and A Lady, and was kind of shocked that they would betray me like this. Did she just say that we had to choose sides? Did she just imply that we would inevitably cheat on our partners until we did because, you know, we couldn’t be satisfied by just one set of genitals?
The fuck, A Lady.
I immediately scrolled to the comments, which obviously I rarely do, because comments are for some reason inevitably filled with illiterate mouth-breeders who seem compelled to vomit hatred and vitriol all over their keyboards. But this time, it was full of people being all: The fuck, A Lady. We don’t appreciate the inference that we are all unfaithful, slutty deviants.
Also, did you see the part where he clarified his bisexuality for you in the preamble because he is used to receiving bullshit from people who, like you apparently, assume this means he is an unfaithful, slutty deviant?
One of the worst things about being bisexual is people completely rejecting your existence. When I came out to my mum, she told me that she ‘didn’t really believe in bisexuals’, and she gave me that special look that people give you when you use the word bisexual – doubt mixed in with disbelief.
I tend not to use that word when identifying myself to new people. Most people my age (especially those not particularly familiar with the ways of the gay) seem to associate ‘bisexual’ with drunk girls who make out with drunk girls in order to impress/attract dudes. Which doesn’t help much.
Other people (and by people I mean dudes) tend to interpret ‘I’m bisexual’ as ‘I really want to sleep with you’.
My point is that it’s hard enough without people who are supposed to be on our side (and again, almost always are!) purporting this kind of degrading stereotype.
I will admit that there are people who identify as bisexual and eventually move on to realise that they are/come to terms with being/come out as gay or lesbian. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t bisexuals who are and will remain attracted to both sexes for the duration of their lives, and it would be nice if we could be taken seriously.
Bisexual is not a layover on the way to gaytown, it’s not a ‘college experiment’ and it’s not mutual masturbation in between ‘real relationships’.
It’s a thing.
(my favourite comment from the column)
Heyyyyy, whoa. This kinda grates on me. I mean, I’ve dated people who weren’t way-deep-obsessed with music like I am, but it didn’t mean I whiled away my time until things broke enough that I could lunge at someone in a Weakerthans t-shirt.*
Being attracted to more than one gender doesn’t mean you NEED to get some of both at the same time. Some people do, some people don’t, and this sounds like one of the folks who doesn’t. The question was “When do I disclose the bi,” not “When do I disclose my MEDICAL NEED FOR WANG.”
* No, seriously, SEND ME CUTE BOYS IN WEAKERTHANS SHIRTS SO I CAN TEST THIS THEORY