“Oh hell, I couldn’t even tell you.”
“More than you can count?!”
“I wasn’t aware we were supposed to keep a list.”
“But it was before you came out, right?”
“Yes. Mostly. Most before and some after.”
“So you’re Bi.”
It wasn’t a question, it was a statement (as evidenced by the period rather than a question mark at the end of the sentence). And I resented it; but not for the reasons you might think.
I understand that bisexuality is not viewed as “legitimate” (thank you Todd Akin!) by some because they believe that bisexuals are in denial of their true sexuality … either gays with one foot on the heterosexual side of the fence in order to keep up appearances in their “other” life, or straight folks just dabbling in homosexuality either because it’s the hip thing to do or they’re just a little curious.
I get all of that, but all of that has nothing to do with my resentment. I’m not bi-phobic. Considering the various and complex factors that play a role in our attraction to others, odds are that a percentage of people will end up with feelings for both genders. Bisexuality is as normal and natural as homosexuality, heterosexuality or any of the other sexualities that people identify as. So it wasn’t being called Bi that bothered me. Bi is just a word and, unlike sticks and stones which can break my bones, it can never hurt me. What got under my skin was being labeled according to a definition that varied greatly from mine.
I dislike other people slapping labels on me. Unless, of course those labels happen to be things like awesome, genius, talented and hilarious, which are true and totes rad (I’ve been spending a bit of time with some 20-somethings lately and it seems that words now have too many sylls and shorts them makes your sents more simp. I believe this is a verbal variant of text-speak but furth rees is req).
On the subject of mis-labeling someone’s sexuality (but not entirely on the subject of this post … I suffer from Adult Tangential Tendency, please bear with me), I find it interesting, but not at all surprising, that when a straight person is mistaken for gay, the mistaker is often embarrassed at their glaring social faux pas while the mistakee, shocked, protests, “I’m not gay!” and may go on to ask trusted sources what it is about them … what’s wrong with them … that would make anyone think they’re gay. On the other hand, when a gay person, myself for example, is thought to be straight, upon learning that they’re not, people offer up things like, “Wow! You don’t seem gay!” or “I would have never guessed!” in a complimentary and congratulatory manner … Well done! You sure had me buffaloed! Great costume by the way, you look just like a regular woman … Again, interesting but not surprising, because naturally the assumption that you’re gay when you aren’t is bad, and the assumption that you’re straight when you aren’t is good, right? Right. *sigh*
Moving on …
My definition of a lesbian is a woman who has a sexual and emotional attraction and attachment to other women that she does not and cannot have for men. My friend’s somewhat more complex definition is a woman who is attracted to other women and has never had sex with a man; or only did so before she a) realized she was gay, b) realized it but was trying to repress it or c) was closeted. Once the declaration of “I am lesbian, hear me roar!” or “I’m here, I’m queer, get used to it!” or whatever it was we chanted (I can’t remember exactly … I was pretty drunk and somewhat distracted by the little hottie from Chattanooga beside me) in the ritual initiation ceremony at our super-secret lesbian headquarters (yes, it really does exist!), any and all sexual contact with men is verboten and by violating this rule she relinquishes her lesbian status and becomes bisexual.
So it should come as no surprise that she whipped out her well-worn copy of the Lesbian Rules and Regulations Manual (the solemn distribution of which is also part of the initiation ceremony and my copy of which I haven’t seen since said ceremony, although I’m pretty sure I left it in Chattanooga’s hotel room) and began flipping furiously through the pages to see if I was in danger of having my lesbian membership revoked entirely, when I revealed that not only had I had sex with men and not only had some of it been post-coming out, but quite a bit of it had actually been good.
I know. Shocking, but true.
It didn’t seem to matter to her that the last of the one-on-one sex I had with guys was still in the early part of my coming out period, or that later in life it’s only been while generously and selflessly helping friends explore their FMF curiosities (apparently being young and terribly horny is no excuse; nor is being older and terribly horny, even if you add another woman into the mix). According to her, it simply isn’t possible for me to be a “total” lesbian because the fact that I’ve had and enjoyed sex with men proves I’m sexually attracted to them. Period.
Oh really? I’m pretty sure it actually proves I have nerve endings in my vagina and clitoris that respond to stimulation because I also have really good sex with vibrators, dildos and my hand but I’m not sexually attracted to them, either. Okay, maybe my Hitachi Magic Wand (which I’ve also developed very fond feelings for). I mean, how can any woman not fall for a jack-hammer cleverly compressed into a sleek, handheld device? And who can deny getting tingly in her nether regions at the thought of an orgasm so powerful it can literally render her unconscious? Admit it, you love that sexy bitch, too.
So what do you think? Is it about the actions or the emotions? The attraction or the reaction? What kind of lesbian are you? And more importantly, what kind of lesbian am I?