People Make Me Sad Sometimes part 394
So it’s Saturday night and I’m out with a friend and generally finding the bar we’re in a bit depressing because it’s full of the usual gay boys and straight couples, and looking at pretty things I can’t have is fun in small doses but gets old after a while. My friend decides we’re going to the only lesbian bar in the village, which I also hate because it’s loud and there’s nowhere to sit and I’ve been emotionally 93 in that respect since early childhood. Also last time I was there he pulled and I didn’t (well, not entirely but it’s funnier if I tell it like that). My gender expression is generally defaulting to ‘least appropriate thing for whatever context I find myself in’ so I walk into a lesbian bar wearing a dress and with a boy and that’s probably not a good start. After a while a girl who’s dancing in a group of 4 near me comes over to me and starts shouting to me over the music. Firstly I get ‘so you’re straight, right?’ No. ‘You’re a lesbian?’ (disbelievingly) No. ‘Oh, you’re bisexual?’ Not my preferred term but these conversations generally make me cringe a lot so I accept that one. ‘Is that your boyfriend over there?’ No, just a friend. She tells me she thinks he’s cute, which is a bit weird given where this is going. (He is cute, no we’re not)
So then she starts. First she’s talking about how she ‘doesn’t get being bisexual’ (not sure why you need to dear, I’m not asking you to do it) but a friend explained about liking the person not the gender. She doesn’t seem entirely clear on what she thinks about that but possibly it’s an acceptable excuse (for something that doesn’t need one). I tell her that’s part of it for me (there’s a weird feeling for me that this implies I’m not enthused by the physical realities of humans and their bodies and that’s very much not the case but a bit beside the point here). Then there’s the whole trying to convince me I should be a lesbian because only a woman knows what another woman wants. What part of that am I supposed to be missing to the point where I can’t figure out my own opinion? I have, thanks. She goes on for a while about a cute male friend of many years she absolutely didn’t have any urge to sleep with. I mean, I get it. She doesn’t fancy blokes. I’m not sure what bearing that has on whether or not I do.
Then it gets really weird. She starts asking me whether I’d sleep with a bisexual bloke knowing his cock’s been inside some other bloke (she labours the anatomical specifics of that point fairly crudely and at length), and I’m wondering where the hell this is going now because really? As far as I’m aware some heterosexual boys like to use that particular orifice with girls, and barring the one anatomical difference I’m aware of that has very little to do with the particular point of ‘ew, gross’ that she seems to be trying to make I’m not sure how that’s an argument? I’m assuming he’s washed it since then? Also condoms? I’m genuinely baffled about what her issue is but she seems quite annoyed about it either way.
I’m a sufficient distance from sobriety for this just to feel a bit weird and surreal, and I vaguely want to laugh. The conversation dies out and thankfully my friend decides he really hates the music in this place. Back in the first bar I didn’t like (because we’re creatures of habit) my brain starts trying to process what just happened. I’m guessing she was trying to imply my ladygarden is in some way polluted because it’s had boy in it? And that seems to be more bothersome due to the possible contact of said boy(s) with other boy(s)? Beyond the slightly childish angle on that, I’m beginning to feel there might be some insidiously nasty implication in there that makes me feel slightly sick. I make a terrible job of trying to explain the conversation to my friend. I think part of me doesn’t want to explain at all, because he’s a boy who exclusively likes boys and I’m starting to feel more insulted on his behalf than mine here. He’s a clever boy and I know he plays more safely than some, but I generally hope that message has been loud and clear enough for most. It always looked pretty terrifying from my perspective.
Whenever anyone asks me about my sexual orientation, I get evasive. Partly I dislike acrimonious debates about preferred terminology. Partly I get a lot of being told I don’t really exist, I’m deluded, I need to make up my mind (I have thanks, I like some people and not other people and that’s far more dependent on whether they’re kind and open-hearted and like Doctor Who than what gender they are). My friend jokes that I’m greedy but only because he knows that I know he doesn’t mean that. I’ve met the ‘incapable of a serious monogamous relationship’ stereotype once or twice. I was vaguely aware of the narrative that bisexuals are promiscuous plague-carriers (some are, some aren’t, in common with all the other sexual orientations out there, don’t kid yourself yours is any safer or better behaved than mine), but never actually met it until that happened. It’s weird and unsettling, and I like humanity a bit less than I did for encountering it. We have this lovely, shiny safe space for LGBT+ identities and yet we still end up bringing a lot of the negative in here with us and judging each other at least as much as everyone else is judging us. There’s classism and racism and transphobia and ableism and I feel a bit like every attempt to start again has us humans making the same mistakes over and over. The people I love most in all the world are here. I don’t think it changes if you stand outside it and criticise, but all I can think of is just to be here, try not to be like that, and try not to feel to broken up when it happens to me.