I feel a god's petulant annoyance in being called down from my lofty bisexual perch to discuss something so ostensibly obvious, so mundane: my very bisexuality. And there's a hot redhead downstairs mixing me a drink. So let's make this quick. To those of you who believe bisexuals are (A) greedy, (B) confused, (C) wimpy, or (D) nonexistent, it is my sad duty to conscript you back to bisexual boot camp. Those of you who have ever intentionally pretended to an identity not yours in order to not get kicked out of the clubhouse—you also need to listen up. Remember: The hottest flames in hell are reserved for those who yada yada yada—go talk to a dead Swiss person if you don't believe me. Okay. Everyone strapped in? Or on? Here we go.
Drop and give me 50 if you've ever thought: "But really, you like, really do have a preference. Right? You do." I know you've thought this, because I've talked to some of you. Or been hit on by you in bars. Often, bisexuals are thought of by their straight and gay counterparts as being in a "stage" or "phase" on their way to their true sexual identities. And what's worse is that there's always a slight frisson of lobbying here, of ownership—like the person from the one sexuality is a college admissions counselor trying to convince you that Backwater State U is the way to go. There's also, I think, a little bit of jealousy, because even if the doubter ekes out a confession or avowal to one particular sexuality, they know just as well as you that no label can—or should—hold you. But, my bisexual brethren, this does not mean that you should wimp out and stammer some preference. That's 50 for you, plus another 50 for reinforcing the stereotype of bisexuals as losers who can't make a choice. On second thought, make it a hundred. I better see some sweat beads glistening.
Don't let the idea of bisexuality bother you. There's this notion that it's greedy, somehow, loving both genders; having one's cake and the person who jumped out of it, too. What? Who ever said that there was a fixed amount of sexuality in the world? Is it about control? People don't, in general, like anyone who threatens the locus of control (they may tell you that they do, in interviews or on blind dates, but the truth is that most people like patterns and order—it's an evolutionary thing). Because bisexuals explode the notion of sexuality as an either/or dichotomy, people feel uncomfortable. So now who's the coward? To be fair, there are cowardly bi people. You know who you are.
Forget the myth that bi people disappeared in 1997, when they stopped being in vogue. Because, like, we're everywhere.
Lose the notion that one kiss/crush/ lover doesn't mean anything. Strap on your pith helmets, because what I have to say here is moderately surprising. Clinton might not have considered it "sexual relations," but you can bet your sweet bippy Monica did and does. One time—any time—even if "nothing" happened—still means a tremendous amount. What it does mean is that sexuality has to be accepted as a continuum, and people who fall to the extreme ends are just as rare as all Fs or all As. People don't complain about Bs in school, so why is this other B-word so problematic? I wonder, a little, about the efficacy of writing an article that encourages bisexual people to stand up and be labeled, when labeling is basically antithetical to the whole notion of being something Other—something that resists borders. That's a strength of the bisexual identity, but it's also something that must be cast aside in pressing political times.
Stand up and be counted. Bisexuals: Don't exist in this theoretical vacuum of neither-here-nor-thereness, as enjoyable as it might be (who, after all, wants to live in the real world?). Non-bisexuals: Allow for some room there under your flag. Bisexuality is not the absence of choice, it is the full realization of the notion of choice—living across lines, across borders, and exercising all available options. It's the best prescription for sanity I can think of in a world that feels like it is slipping, a little each day, through our fingers.
And now my drink is ready. I will drink it deeply, looking at the evening sun's light sweeping through the sky, dividing it into two parts. ■