The Insulting Accusation of ‘Ignorance’
Robert Stacy McCain

If being bisexual is at all related to the terms and conditions by which one chooses whom to have actual sex with, it occurs to me that someone claiming this for themselves has actually more in common with either polygamists or philanderers, than with most actual gay people I have known.

Sure, I have met my share of “queers” who enjoy one-nighters or going after young boys to coerce, seduce or solicit, but by and large the gay folks I have known were so steadfastly monogamous as to be almost boring about it; one might even venture to call them “conservative” in their way: with so strong a priority on being left to go about their business of setting up house and living together as spouses, and sometimes even co-parenting under the arrangement.

But the very plurality self-defined by the prefix “bi” seems by necessity to allow for more than one partner. If one at a time, the one is essentially told in advance, that not only might there be others but possibly others of the other sex. Among hetero folks this is known in somewhat disparaging terms as “unfaithful”, as being a “player”, or if practiced among a group who all consent to these terms, a “swinger.” If on the other hand, the terms coming into a given coupling are that there will be others simultaneously, whether back and forth or shared per occasion, this bears more structural similarity to the sexuality of polygamy.

I tried once on Twitter to point this all out to someone indulging in the same sort of projectile sanctimony as in the photo, about how proudly “bi” they were, by my simply saying that “bi” means something other than singular, and therefore must mean something other than faithful to the one.

Naturally I was denounced about how ignorant I am of the thing, but the individual did not further assist me in unburdening myself of whatever erroneous conclusion he/she/it thought I was drawing.

From my vantage point, calling oneself “bisexual” basically is a kind of disclaimer-before-the-fact, that whether a sexual prospect is of the same or the opposite sex, it is assured them coming in, that anything more than briefly observed monogamy will not be part of the understandings which comprise the whole of “consent.”

As if matters of consent weren’t spring-loaded enough, the bisexual reserves the right to say that no matter what goes into consent, for now, there will be others, later. Seems a rather open-ended form of commitment to not being committed, to anyone ever, at best.

At worst, it just reads like a kind of all-rights-reserved ambiguity and indecisiveness that looks a lot more confused about itself, than I am about it.

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