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To the Bisexual Men in the Audience

1.21.2019

How to be a bisexual man:

 

Step one.

Embrace two stereotypes at once. Act flamboyant with your gay friends. Act like a bro with your straight friends. You will find that this tends to appease them. There are no questions asked, just assumptions about how you fit so well into that space, like the first corner piece of a puzzle, it doesn’t actually have to connect to anything to know where it goes. Every now and then you will be called upon to say if you are attracted to some person, and this will be your most honest work, because in every arena you can honestly say, “yes.” This will work exceptionally, until the fateful day when your gay friends and your straight friends meet.

 

Step two.

Hide. As they exchange greetings, you recognize that in a matter of seconds they will see that your mannerisms have shifted dramatically, like the end of a bad murder mystery where the director wants a close up of everyone’s face, mouth agape, eyes wide in shock and then the camera comes back to you - but not if you’re not there. Hide. Become the hanging fern behind you, curl up so tightly in your frond that no one can see your leaves shiver, no one can feel the shame, emanating from dew, and if you stay there long enough maybe they’ll just go away, but when you pull out of the metaphor and find your imagination does not impact your reality, they’ll all be staring at you, mouth agape, not because they’ve found you out, but rather because you’ve been standing there for several seconds staring blankly into the distance wishing you weren’t standing there staring blankly into the distance.

 

Step three.

Make awkward finger guns because reddit told you that was something bisexuals do. This should move the conversation forward.

 

Step four.

Try to be both at the same time. Order two different drinks - one fruity cocktail that you actually love, and one beer that tastes like piss, and position them on either side of you. Just far apart enough that whenever you turn to either side, it looks like you have the corresponding drink. Wear your most mediocre outfit. Maybe that buffalo plaid and some wrangler jeans, it might just do it. Oh, and don’t paint your fingernails like you wanted to, that’s a dead giveaway for your straight bros. Conversation will be challenging. Say things like, “O.M.G. I totally love that colorrrrrr…on that chick, check that ass out! No really she has a nice butt, work it, girl!” And, “Yes, I am attracted, I find attractive people to be attractive.” Nod vigorously, it will remind them of your confidence in this particular point.

Step five.

Choose. Eventually, they will ask you why you’re acting so strange. You will look back and forth, down at your drinks. You’ll have one last ditch effort where you mix the cocktail with the beer and try to swallow the insanity of your thoughts, but believe me, they’ll only think this is much stranger. Choose. You can either stay curled up, try to be invisible, try to put on a smile every day when inside you are the chaos theory trying to fit inside rigid ideals and conditional worth, something that belongs everywhere trying to fit inside something that doesn’t belong at all. And you can stay there, because it’s safe. You don’t have to test your relationships to know you can trust them. You can just assume that if you act the way they want you to, you’ll have a place to belong…but not really belong. Or, you can say it, those terrifying words, the ones that catch your heart in your throat like the moment before a bird greets the new day. I’m bisexual. I’m sorry I never told you. It wouldn’t be morning without hearing those birds.

 

Step six.

Some of them will stay. Some of them will go. You will feel disheartened, alone, empty. Because for the first time, you will understand that you’ve spent so long living in how you thought you should be, that you never got to know who you truly are. This is when you need the friends who stuck around the most. Because there’s a part of you that knows that they’ve maybe always seen you…and maybe it was the awkward finger guns that gave it away, or the traces of nail polish that the acetone didn’t reach, or that night you got really, really stupidly drunk and let it slip. But they stayed, because you are enough. In all your strange, awkward mannerisms, you are enough.

 

Step seven.

Learn to be you. 

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