The whole bi-sexuality thing.
I wish I could explain it better. It's hard for me to get my mind around it, but explaining it to others? Tough.
First of all, just the word bi-sexual sends up red flags. When I say that I am bi-sexual, people automatically assume that this means that I am some sort of sex addict. (That's Bing you hear laughing...)
Like, I'm sitting in a room full of people, just jonesin' to jump 'em all.
And try being at a funeral and having your Aunt Genina say, "Honey, are you still one of those gays?"
Ok, if I say yes, I am leaving out half of my sexuality. If I say "Actually, I'm bi-sexual" the whole table goes suddenly quiet.
Personally, I think everyone is bi-sexual, but tend towards one end (heterosexuality) or the other (homosexuality)....I think that if the circumstances were right, a woman who swears that she is straight, well, she could fall in love with a woman. And vice versa.
Bing disagrees. Says that she could NEVER be attracted to a man. My sisters agree. They would never be attracted to women.
My bff, Harriet, is more open minded.
"I think that I could possibly fall for a woman. I think that I am strongly pulled towards men, but if the circumstances were right, I could fall in love with a woman."
I think the key word here is circumstance.
I've known that I was bi-sexual ever since I started having feelings. You know the kind I mean. Stirrings.
I was a very late bloomer, so this was when I was about 15. Yes, that old. When I was 13, I was still more interested in getting boys/girls to have bike races with me, not give me flowers.
My first stirrings were toward a boy. But, a few months later, I had them for a girl. And so on and so on.
I was living in a small Iowa town, going to a Catholic high school. I am old. There was no internet to look this shit up on. I settled on going to a college library and looking up bisexuality. Not much there.
More on homosexuality. This was the mid 70's. California and New York were pretty used to gay people. Not Iowa. No sirree bob.
Homosexuality was a psychiatric disorder, according to the books that I read.
But, you know...even at the young age of 16, it never once occurred to me that the books were right. I strongly felt that I was just fine as is. That the books and most of the 50 states just had to catch up to me.
However, I knew better then to say any of this to my mother...
So, I just kept my thoughts to myself. Dated a boy.
When I set foot on college ground? It was like a wild woman was unleashed. I met my dorm mate, Bing...liked her fine, even though privately I thought she was what I referred to in my mind as a "cookie cutter lesbo."
I smoked cigarettes. In public. No more sitting up in my bedroom smoking huddled next to the cracked window. (And now that I am a parent myself, this cracks me up...did I REALLY think my mother didn't know?)
Bing found a buyer within a week and several bars that would let under aged college kids in, rarely checked ids. One was a gay bar. Two weren't. We utilized all of them. I made friends both gay and straight. Tried every drug at least once. Found out that I really, really loved smoking weed.
I refused to cut my hair in those loopy waves that everyone else had. Kept it long and straight down my back. I went to thrift shops and found clothes that suited the new me.
Bing refers to my look as Stevie Nicks sings "Gypsy." I was known as the girl who wore swirly skirts with combat boots, overalls with a silk man's jacket. My standard bar wear was a pair of faded, tight blue jeans with a white man's shirt and loose tie and hiking boots or high tops. I'd wear my hair in tight braids all day long and then let it loose right before we left for the bar. Kohl liner and cherries-in-the-snow lipstick.
I was a fashion icon. Uh huh.
And I sometimes went home with a woman, sometimes with a man. Didn't matter one bit to me. Just as long as they made me laugh, were smart and had good hygiene. A motorcycle was a plus.
I slept around, but then...honestly? We all did. It was that sort of time.
My lesbian friends were aghast that I dated men too. It especially rankled Bing. She would come back to the dorm from class, walk in and plug her nose, saying that she smelled "gross man drippings." I'd laugh and tell her that she was hypersensitive. She swore that she always knew if I'd been with a man instead of a woman, that men just stink.
Now that she's older, she admits that she was mainly just jealous. But that she was MORE jealous when I was with a woman.
And I actually lost lesbian friends who accused me of being a sell out, a fake lesbian. When I said that I was bi-sexual, they rolled their eyes. Women were yummy, men were icky. No middle ground. One woman whom I dated during my sophomore year told me that she didn't want to keep dating me if I was dating men too, that it "sickened" her.
Funny, it never seemed to bother the men if I was bi-sexual. In fact, you probably know what I'm going to say: some suggested that it might be "fun" if I told them what I did with other women on dates.
I didn't kiss and tell. Ever.
But, I was always honest with my dates and never once promised to be faithful. I was always clear about the fact that we were both free to date others if we chose to do that.
The men never seemed to mind if I dated other women, didn't really consider them to be competition. But, other guys? No, they weren't too jiggy with that idea.
I've tried to explain it to Bing many times. I truly am equally attracted to men and women. Not 60/40. 50/50.
She says that she finds the idea of a penis to be incredibly unappealing.
"Vaginas are so gorgeous, so lush...so incredible," she says, dreamily.
This is usually when I remind her that she doesn't need to think in the plural. MY vagina is what she should be thinking of. Not vaginas.
She always saves the day by whispering that mine is the only one that matters to her, that she craves. "Nice save!" I tell her....
Bing is the first person that I ever promised to be faithful to. And I have kept that promise.
Not easily. But, I've kept it. And I don't think it is always easy for her either. But, I learned a lesson in my mid forties and yes, it really did take THAT long:
It is good to be faithful, to be a couple and not let anyone else in to that delicious intimacy. The looks, the words that are just for you and another. It is incredibly wonderful to wake up with a foot next to yours. A foot that belongs to the one person on earth who would walk through fire for you.
I get the whole monogamy thing now. And I adhere to it.
But, I'm human. I do look. I look at Johnny Depp and tip my head to the left, pondering what his kisses taste like. I do the same with Claire Danes.
It's just how I'm built.
So, here are my questions for you:
Do you think less of me for being bi-sexual?
If you are straight, do you ever look at someone of the same sex and have those...stirrings? And if you are gay, have you ever wanted to kiss someone of the opposite sex?
Are you in, out, sideways, open, closed, whatever?
And what sort of circumstance would it take for you to veer from your chosen path of sexuality?
Curious. Very curious.