Savage Love Feb 26, 2019 at 4:00 pm

Outer Limits

Joe Newton



"but damnit, Dan"... just makes me think of Brad from Rocky Horror.


@1 slomopomo: I love it! Seconded, and congrats on being first.


@DGBIL (and his sister): Dan said "they're likely to come up with alternate explanations that are far worse" and what that means is... they'll blame themselves, and suffer.That's what children do. And then when they find out the truth...

@Dan: why will add to their upset to learn their father is in a relationship with a man (as opposed to an extra-marital relationship with a woman)?


@BASHED Your girlfriend's family is getting the short end of this stick, not you so much. I say this assuming that the family's reaction is expected to be horrible, but they don't get to deal with this and then step up and come around. Too bad for them, and her. Don't make it about you.


Has anyone considered the possibility that BIL's four teenage boys might already be aware of, or at least suspect, what's going on? Most kids, these days, are pretty well informed and, not to mention, pretty accepting of "alternative" lifestyles. Regardless, they should be told, a.s.a.p.


I agree with @5. Kids are pretty perceptive. I also agree that most teenagers now would likely be pretty accepting (much more than we would have been 30 years ago, for example).


"BIL needs to gay-man-up and admit the truth to...the rest of his family...That's obvious."

It is?

"...this terrible secret..."

What terrible secret? (That he's not straight? WTF is wrong with you, LW?!)

When parents divorce kids don't need explicit sexual details. How about just telling the teenagers what all divorcing parents tell kids

"Mom and Dad will always love you. And will always love each other...but we aren't 'in love' anymore, we aren't compatible and aren't happy living with each other anymore, and for us all to be happy Mom and Dad need to divorce from each other, but that absolutely doesn't mean separating from you."

Sure once divorced BIL will presumably, as would any divorced parent, want to share new significant others when they get serious enough. And if that includes BIL's BF, then score one for bi-unerasure.

I just don't think the LW or we know enough to say the divorce has all that much to do with the bi-BIL, so I don't see that we know the two conversations with the kids should be combined. For all the LW knows the state of BIL's relationship with the LW's sister is quite separate from the state of BIL's relationship with his BF. For example, even if BIL is monogamous, perhaps a deterioration of BIL's relationship with the LW's sister preceded BIL turning outside the marriage.

Oh, and of course it goes without saying that BIL should come out as being not straight for his own and his family's sake, but I DON'T FUCKING THINK IT'S THE ASSOLHE LW'S BUSINESS!


LW, I know you're mad at your BIL for divorcing your sister, but you're out of line and I think you need a good kick in the balls. (Unless you like that sort of thing.)


Curious@8 ~ “...a good kick in the balls. (Unless you like that sort of thing.)...”

You’re a logical thinker, curious. Obviously, it’s not a deterrent if he LIKES it. Better have an alternate punishment as a backup. Maybe something involving a cactus or an infuriated hedgehog.


Dan: "I wasn't thrilled by the idea of telling my mom I put dicks in my mouth,"

Why? Because she hates their burgers?


I think that, when the BIL choose to have a secret affair with someone rather than come out, or end things with the LW's sister before starting with someone else, or figure out some arrangement that might work for everyone long term, he lost the right to complain about the LW being protective of his sister and nephews. Frankly, as the letter writer said, they 'aren't close' and I think it's reasonable for the LW to say to his BIL, something like "I intend to protect my family, starting with my sister and then my nephews, by doing what is right, which is being honest. I suggest you find a way to step up and be honest before my sister and I feel the need to blow the lid off this thing in order to maintain OUR relationships. If you are struggling with the how, I will provide what insight my own experience can, but the kids have a right to understand what is going on, and that means acknowledging your infidelity no matter the root cause for it. You can do that or we can."


As a bisexual, I wouldn't be too sure BIL is bi, not gay. Many closeted gay men "actively woo" women as beards, and many manage to get it up in order to have sex with them. (Dan did!) Sister knew about the boyfriend for four years, which looks to me like a successful poly relationship that didn't have to end the marriage. So why did it? Perhaps because BIL finally admitted that he is in fact gay, and can't carry on a concurrent relationship with his wife. Or, sure, perhaps he is bi and just no longer in love with his wife. It's not really important; he's with a man now, so he's definitely not straight, and I agree the kids should know Dad left Mom for somebody else, or Mom (finally) chucked Dad for having an affair.

Also as a bisexual, I'm not pissed off at all at Dan's analysis of how much easier it is for bisexuals to remain closeted. They do, in fact, have to hide only part of their sexuality, not their entire sexual identity. This is not to imply that they should. Sorry Dan, you'll have to try harder! ;)

Good advice -- it's not DGBIL's place to tell the kids, and I don't think DGBIL should talk to BIL because he already said they aren't close. Sister indeed should tell BIL that if he doesn't tell them, she will. If DGBIL can do anything, he can serve as a role model of honest homosexuality, as a contrast to their father.

That line from BASHED's letter jumped out at me too: "it's killing me and she doesn't even know it." WHY doesn't she know it? Communicate, woman! Your girlfriend has no incentive to come out if she thinks you're happy being her air-quotes "roommate."


Fubar @3 and others: Good point. It's possible these kids aren't homophobic at all, and will be -relieved- to find out Dad left Mom because he's not into women.

Great point, Curious @7, that not being straight is NOT a "terrible secret" and the so-called adults involved shouldn't treat it like it is. Curious, my initial reaction was like yours -- none of DGBIL's beeswax and he should butt out -- and I think your post @7 has convinced me it was the correct one. I agree that there are probably other factors involved in the breakdown of the marriage; why did these relationships coexist just fine for four years, but not now?

Donny @9: You do know what "unless" means? More coffee for you! :)


@4. fubar. It is about BASHED in that she wants a life in public, an 'out' life, as her gf's partner. Being closeted in her relationship is making her miserable. Her demand is entirely legitimate.


The reason that DGBIL's sister's marriage broke down was that the marriage broke down. One, or both, stopped loving the other. One or both stopped caring, making the countless tiny accommodations and sacrifices that allow people to be together. Or one decided they wanted something else. Did not want to go along with the public appearance of a conventional het monogamous marriage any more.

Beyond that, we don't know. There is a more proximate cause for the marital breakdown--DGBIL's sister's husband's gay affair, which has been going on for at least four years. But is the fact that his lover is gay any more a cause for the marriage's disintegration than if a lover were straight/OS? We don't know. Did his sister try to sustain a sexual relationship with her husband for a while, knowing another guy was in the picture? Again, don't know. It seems that her knowledge of her husband's bisexuality (at least) goes back little further than four years--but this is again not definite.

Rather than acting like a one-man Gay Honesty Liberation Front, I think the LW might do better to learn more about--to become closer to--his sister. How long has she known her husband was gay/bi? Has he even asked her this? (The accuracy of his gaydar is not really the issue here). How does she feel about it? Is what's bad that her husband couldn't feel (20 years ago) that he could confide in her--that he made her live a lie? Or does she feel at some level emotionally that OS marriage is for straights? Why has the marriage ended now--not four years ago? Perhaps she's gone through hell ... her husband has told her he's not gay; the gay partner is a compulsion he wants to end, and is about to end (e.g.), but then he hasn't been able to end it. But rather than caring, taking an interest in what his sister's been through, the brother sees himself as an agent of truth and light for homosexuals needing to live in the light of day.

As for what the children will think.... I'm not 100% they need to know another person is involved before both partners, ex-husband and -wife, want to tell them that. It’s hard for children not to think the 'bad guy', the one who wrecked the marriage, is the one who cheated. This is usually a simplification. @7 curious and @13 Bi are right in thinking that 'what to tell the kids' and how to unwind their marriage are not matters for the LW, or for righteous gay politics, but for the couple themselves.


@7. curious. I think we have very similar reactions.


@11. Phyzzi. How would the LW be 'protecting his family' by telling his nephews their father is gay/bi? All he would be doing here is trumping or preempting his sister. Are we to suppose that his sister, the mother of her boys, hasn't put a lot of thought in what to tell them about her divorce? Sure, if she wants to say, 'your father is gay; I couldn't go on living a lie', that's her prerogative... if she hasn't said this yet, maybe things are more complicated, and she has reason not to....


@12. Bi. The part of Dan's response you weren't pissed-off about was the part you were meant to like (I think). In particular, the idea that it's monosexuals' biphobia that makes it hard for bis to come out was a clap-line. (Clapping! Laughter! Applause!).

The contentious part was the suggestion that it's incumbent on bisexuals to leave the closet UNLESS they're in a monogamous relationship with an OS partner.


Hoo, do I disagree with Dan on this one!

Sometimes parents divorce. The only explanation children need is that it's something they've decided to do for reasons that are important to them, adult reasons, and the the children have nothing to do with it. Questions about why should be met with explanations about arrangements. The parents will always love and take care of them, this household will be maintained like so, this parent will be moving there, that bedroom is getting new curtains, soccer practice will continue be on Thursdays and then your Dad will pick you up afterwards.

Children are normally and rightfully squicked about their parents' sex lives. It should not be paraded in front of them. That either parent is dating someone else before the divorce is final, yes, that is likely to come out eventually just as their father's being gay is going to come out eventually, but again, adult decisions for adult private reasons.

At some point a more general discussion about homosexuality and bi-sexuality is going to have to happen, but it should be treated, if it hasn't already, the way it would be treated if both parents were straight. Yes, some men prefer sex only with other men, and some men like sex with both men and women."


Harriet @14: Well said. This isn't an issue of someone hiding her orientation from a judgmental family (that we know of). This is an issue of someone not being out AT ALL, except to "a few close friends." If Ms BASHED has legitimate concerns about coming out to certain people, she should raise these. She is flat out hiding in a closet, denying her relationship with BASHED, which amounts to denying BASHED. This IS about her.

Harriet @15: "Beyond that, we don't know." This is the first time I think I've ever seen you admit that there are aspects of an LW's situation that we don't know! Harriet, you're not going to speculate up all the details for us? Have YOU had enough coffee? ;)

Harriet @18: No, the part that was supposed to piss me off is the trope that bisexuals are "lucky" we can hide in straight closets. The reason it didn't piss me off is that Dan did not couch it as something that makes us lucky, he merely observed it as a true fact. Bisexuals CAN have satisfying relationships with opposite-sex partners, while gays and lesbians cannot, and this gives them the opportunity to passively let themselves be read as straight. I did not read Dan as suggesting bisexuals -should- stay closeted if they are OS-partnered and monogamous; in fact, he has frequently stated his opinion to the contrary, that all bisexuals have a responsibility to come out and be visible. In short, I think you misread that bit.


@19: Maybe children are normally and rightfully squicked out about the details of their parents' sex lives. But merely revealing the existence of a four-year (or more —it's unclear how long it had been going on before the sister found out) relationship doesn't qualify as "parading." Also, the sons are adults and near-adults.

And while it doesn't seem to apply in this case — sometimes the children, and the truth about their paternity, have a whole lot to do with it. Don't ask me how I know.


BIL is being a bit over dramatic about this, and he needs to tone down his emotional involvement. Be there for his sister, yes, and let her lead the way forward. The grief about the family breaking up is what needs dealing with, and along the way truths will out.
It’s not BIL’s timeline that needs following, so he needs to shut his moralising and be there for his sister and nephews and not get between the boys and their dad.


@15 Harriet_by_the_bulrushes
Nice work!

@16 Harriet_by_the_bulrushes

"I think we have very similar reactions."

I agree!

@19 Fichu


@21 Fred Casely
"...merely revealing the existence of a four-year..."

I'd be Ok with the LW suggesting to his sister that she suggest to the BIL that he admit something to the teenage kids. What exactly who knows. We and the LW don't know if they were monogamous, don't know when it was disclosed or whatever and when, we are not privy to the nature of any possible betrayal and the relationship dynamics of the couple. But here's a wildass guess:

"I violated your mother's trust. I want you to know how sorry I am, and I've told your mother how sorry I am."

The sister should also suggest the BIL come out, and tell the kids more, but she too shouldn't go further herself than suggesting it to BIL, not solely because she shouldn't be (quoting Harriet_by_the_bulrushes@15) "acting like a one-[wo]man Gay Honesty Liberation Front", but also because parents shouldn't be taking actions which invite the kids to take sides between the parent's, who WRT the kids should (at this time in particular) present the absolute wholehearted unity of together loving the kids.


Ms Fan/M?? Harriet - I think better phrasing from Mr Savage would have been that the first of those two points would delight his bi fans, and the second would set off his bi hate-readers. (I'd probably say "delight" in quotation marks, but it might be too derailing to insert a point about how enjoyable it is when somebody one has deemed a villain confirms that villainy.)

As for BIL1, on the limited facts available, I'll go with his having been bi but its having worn off. I had an Australian friend like that. He actually chose to keep presenting as bi out of respect for his first love affair, though he'd genuinely gone off women.


Ms Fichu - If they were seven, sure, but that sounds a bit infantilizing for seventeen.

Their being all so close in age is an advantage. With a wide age range, the chance of TMI/TLI goes way up. My suggestion to the divorcing couple would be to let the boys ask questions, maybe after a basic statement. They could decide in advance not to answer certain questions at this time.


The kids don't need an explanation anywhere near as much as they need support, from BOTH parents. As the wronged parent, it's unbelievably tempting to shout your innocence to the world but doing so labels the kids' OTHER PARENT as the guilty party. Don't do it! The kids will figure things out or can be given an explanation once the pain of the divorce fades a bit. For now, the two parents need to suck it up and work hard to co-parent the children that they brought into the world and the brother, who has only heard one biased version of things, needs to keep the fuck out of it.


While there were multiple things I didn't like about LW1, he can always refuse to lie to the nephews.


As for poor LW2, though I wouldn't raise it now, out/choosing not out seems to qualify as a point of emotional incompatibility, even if "emotional" might not be the best adjective. What would be better?


@27 vennominon
"LW1...can always refuse to lie to the nephews"

If he takes it upon himself to interpret that as permission to tell them things that he has no fucking business telling them I hope he will please get me his contact info since then I "can always refuse to" not refrain from kicking that asshole in the balls as I suggested I would do (unless he likes that) @8.


p.s. in other words, while there are certainly situation where 'refusing to lie' has merit, I don't think the asshole LW1 is in one of them.


@28 Venn:

Instead of "emotional" incompatibility (which seems to be a narrow definition), what about simply incompatible personalities and life goals. The way each woman plans her life, especially going into the future, is not in harmony with the other's.


LW1 is so full of himself. He throws around such drama-charged words and phrases ("terrible secret", "marriage crumbling", "pressure her") and talks about healing not being able to happen until the kids know EVERYTHING. I think he just wants to see the explosion happen for purely ideological reasons, so he can feel justified in his pompous bleating about the TRUTH.


BiDanFan @12 - I took the sister filing divorce after four years to mean she was waiting for all or most of the kids to move out of the house, not that there were new developments in BIL's sexuality. Keeping up the "happy home" facade until the kids are grown seems to be common for many couples who eventually divorce, including hetero ones.

As for BASHED, I think she should just ask her girlfriend why she hasn't come out to her family yet. She might well find that it has nothing to do with her, and everything to do with judgy family. I knew my parents would be extremely judgy about my non-Asian boyfriends, so I simply didn't tell them until one (the one I eventually married) got to the "moving in together" stage. One of my exes wasn't happy about that - he too thought that I was hiding him and that I was ashamed of him, and it wasn't that at all! I didn't have any problems walking around with him in public, holding hands or whatever. It was really because the way I knew they would treat him would be embarrassing for me and insulting to him, not to mention a lot of unnecessary drama for everyone. Honestly, it was really about me being ashamed of my parents, not my boyfriends.


BDF @ 12 - "many manage to get it up in order to have sex with them. (Dan did!) "

Dan managed at 20 years of age or so, when a young man's hormones are so damn high that they would make even a piece of furniture sexually attractive. At that age, anything that touches a man anywhere close to the pubic area makes him hard. You can't really use that as an example, since BIL must have been around 30 when he got married.

To be fair, there are two things I see that could lead one to think that he's gay and not bi: the fact that all the children are close in age (i.e. he was in a rush to prove something before his hormones faltered), and the appearance of Viagra at about the same time as these two got married.

Still, four children seem like a lot to prove your non-existant heterosexuality. I'd go with Dan's assertion.


I don’t understand why DGBIL, got it right this time, has such animosity to his BIL. His sister knew about her husband’s other relationship, BIL was not a cpos. And marriages break down, there’s no shame in that.
As the LW is a gay man himself he must understand the conflicts people have about owning being gay or bi. The kids are late teens and they wouldn’t judge their dad these days, unless they are MAGA hat wearing Catholic boys.
You’d think DGBIL would feel compassion and empathy for his BIL, yet this isn’t what he feels. I think this is the strange part of the letter, and the LW might investigate further, and not with his sister, why he’s so cut about it all.


LW1, I feel you are contaminating the story with your rage or anger or protectiveness, whatever it is. This man has been there for his kids growing up, they are on their way now and soon won’t give a stuff what their parents do, as they go further into their own lives.
Stay neutral as best you can, if you serious about supporting your family and trust their father or mother will tell their sons, when they feel it is right. It’s not your place to play some hero saviour, unless BIL is leaving their lives altogether. Is that likely to happen?


As for LW’s four kids- this is likely to be an SL edit. It is often done in order to conceal the real identity of the writer/s.

As for coming out- I also moved out when the kids, less than four, thank you very much, were still in high school. A year or so later I started going out en femme and was terrified by them learning about it if we bump into each other accidentally. Consulting with other people in my situation I was told that the sooner I come out the better, children may indeed feel left out and hurt if not told in a timely manner.
My ex asked me to wait another year or so when they’re all in college and assuming see for themselves some different life styles. It wasn’t a bad idea, and when I did come out one said they learned about “this” from a human sexuality class they took in college. Another said this is not such shocking news since they listen to SL podcast on a weekly basis... It took couple more years till they met my femme self, and it’s a non-issue ever since.


Ms Helenka - It was in response to LW's statement about how strongly compatible they are; she included "emotionally", which seemed the easiest of the three for the out/choosing not to be out combination to knock out automatically.


Mr Curious - I was thinking more along the lines of Won't Tell/Won't Hint/But Won't Lie, perhaps allowing a grace period. We don't really have any idea of LW's degree of closeness to the nephews; I'm going with a cosmic vibration that they're unlikely to ask him to propose this as a way (that is unlikely to have any practical effect) of placating his excessive zeal.

As a tween, I was used as an unwitting accessory to my father's affairs, and that was basically the position I later took when he eventually divorced.


Mr Ricardo - I doubt you intended it, but I feel complimented.

As for BIL1, there's always Roger Federer, whose wife presented him with two sets of twins (very economical, that). Four in such a short time, especially if they were all separate pregnancies, would easily clear the preponderance bar for his being at least bi at the time of the siring. As for what he is now, we haven't got a scooby beyond a faint hint that it's plausible S1 finally decided to end the marriage because BIL1's Kinsey score has crept up to something unacceptable for her.


@ Dan the Man re BASHED: 2. "Don't date closet cases".
BRAVO, spot on, and SO agreed upon! Boy can I relate (the following story has already been shared in a previous SL column; for those familiar with the situation, feel free to skip on to the next comment). I once had to very firmly say NO!! to a closeted gay man I knew back in college. By age 40 he was suffering from a mid-life crisis, failing health, and in sheer desperation. He believed that the reason for my divorce two years earlier was that I had wanted him all along. He tried to push me into living his lie of a "good Catholic marriage with children", most likely due to pressure from his clergyman and extended large family. Ever since my divorce and this episode I have had no plans to ever remarry. Lo these many years later, I am still reeling over my college friend's claim to be "all set for a paternity suit", that "we'd make great parents", and am amazed he didn't attempt to kidnap me and drag me off by my hair to the J.P. via a shotgun wedding.


@41: Holy fuck, the STORIES this Gulf War veteran could honestly tell.......


Finding out about my dad's infidelities (long known to my mom) when my parents split, I realized all the weird shit that hadn't added up throughout my life and all the little lies I'd been told by both parents to cover it up. I''ve had trouble trusting people ever since. This is why I'm divorcing while my kids are little and committing to not ever lying about dating.


Venn @24: I am indeed delighted by Dan's recognising homophobia as a factor in keeping bi men in particular closeted. They aren't gay, but as soon as they admit to any same-sex attraction they are branded as such. If the recent film Bohemian Rhapsody is to be taken as accurate, Freddie Mercury's wife did just that to him. Thanks to Dan for raising that excellent point. And Venn, thanks to you for raising the point that sexual orientation may be fluid; perhaps BIL did indeed go off women, or perhaps his one true love just happens to be a man.

Venn @27: BIL should not "lie" but he has no obligation to be honest about things that are none of his beeswax. If he's close enough to his nephews that they ask him directly what's going on, he shouldn't say "your dad is gay" but tell them, "It's none of my business, ask your parents."

Venn @28: Incompatible values?

Helenka @32: Ding ding ding. DGBIL is a self-righteous drama queen.

Jina @33: You're projecting. Ms BASHED isn't just not out to her family, she's not out at all. She isn't holding BASHED's hand in public. Ms BASHED is ashamed of her sexuality, not her parents.

Ricardo @34: Four kids all in their late teens could include at least one set of twins, and BIL could be younger than his wife. BIL's orientation could go either way (ba-dum tish).

Lava @35: Yes. DGBIL is taking BIL's not coming out (specifically as gay) personally and this is colouring his reaction to the situation.

CMD @37: Yes, good point that "four boys in their late teens" may include some changed details to protect privacy.

Elma @43: Thanks for sharing your experience.


@20. Bi. Oh, I never entertain speculations. Sometimes I might allow the tendril of a hypothetical to waft my way.... But this is only about rehearsing non-excluded possibilities, usually in a spirit of literary irony. I guess you're an accountant and I'm a lawyer. When I was a Sociology student (really Cultural Studies) in the most butt-clenchingly earnest school in the country (Christ, what a work-out for those boys!), they hated me not doing any research. 'It’s qualitative, sweetie', I'd say, 'never mind the quantity, feel the breadth'.

@20 Bi & @24 venn. Let's try to make sense Dan's supposedly contentious remark. He says there's a paragraph that will go down well with bi-s (about which I think there's no disagreement) and one that ruffle feathers. The close-to-the-bone pronouncement is : 'A family-minded bi guy can have almost everything he wants ... without ever having to come out so long as [he] winds up with an opposite-sex partner'. This is specifically about 1) bi men; and 2) het-norm approximating bi men. My reading was that the 'home truth' was that there was an asymmetry between whether a swings-gay bi man in a relationship with a woman had to come out ('no' was the verdict) and whether a swings-straight bi man in a relationship with a man--leading to kids, with kids--had to. Dan is saying it's morally incumbent on the bi man to tell his SS breeding partner he could also, in theory, do it with a woman. Breed, that is.

I don't really understand these things, because I have a horror of approximating to any het norm. I find it masculinising; and that's the last thing I want to be, especially around women.


@37. CMD. Before I had to learn to comport myself as a woman (en femme, as you say; presenting in female clothes, with a woman's figure) in front of a child, my female presentation was either cheerfully or ineluctably (agonisingly, self-hatingly sometimes) grotesque. It was fuck-you, parodic, transgressive, assertively -bending and -fucking. And I took refuge in that when I despaired of looking more convincing. It was politically easier. And it allowed me to think of gender masquerade or performance as something I could put on and take off, more than is in fact the case. Having to be more muted, to wear more age-appropriate and gender-understated women's clothes was a big step forward for me.


DGBIL seems more interested in getting to say "Gotcha! I was right!" than what's in the best interests of anyone else involved.

Harriet @20: "Oh, I never entertain speculations"
You can't honestly believe that!?? Would you like a plethora of linked comments to the contrary?

I don't need to "try to make sense" of Dan's supposedly bi-angering comment, it makes perfect sense to me. He's saying that if one is bisexual but heteroromantic -- or even biromantic, but does not seek out relationships with the same sex, which are far harder to find even when you're looking for them -- there is nothing to trigger a need to come out as bi. If one wanted to take the easy way out, and humans are definitely inclined to take the easy way out, one could let people assume from your opposite-sex monogamously-partnered status that you were straight. I agree that one could do that. I disagree, and Dan isn't arguing here, that one SHOULD do that, that it's any less incumbent on a bisexual to come out regardless of their exact point on the Kinsey scale or their relationship status. Dan was talking about the option of living a heteronormative life; he wasn't comparing low-Kinsey bisexuals to high-Kinsey ones. Sorry Harriet, Dan wasn't talking about you this time. ;)


@39 vennominon
"I was used as an unwitting accessory to my father's affairs"

I'm so sorry he did that to you, Venn. It pains me just to think about how hurtful that would be.

"I was thinking more along the lines of Won't Tell/Won't Hint/But Won't Lie"

That /sounds/ honorable...except if someone were to ask him, it might well be that he hadn't prevented something in his manner from enticing people them to ask.

I think there's a big difference between using one's child like you were used, and asking an adult outside the nuclear family to not get involved in stuff about which there's far too much they don't know.

@44 BiDanFan
"If...they ask him...he should...say..."It's none of my business, ask your parents."



M?? Harriet - My point was entirely different. Mr Savage was treating his bi readers as monolithic in outlook. It was almost immaterial what points he was making. From his point of view, he was almost right. Statement A was the sort that tends to draw praise from bisexuals; Statement B was the sort that tends to draw censure from bisexuals. Where he was off was that they aren't generally the same bisexuals. Ms Fan is an admirer. While I don't know that we have any active bi hate-readers here, I've seen posts of some from time to time in various venues.

Then I wandered off a little into how much nicer it is when people fit into the roles one has assigned them. Ms Fan bucked Mr Savage's expectation by not responding as he expected to the second point. Most bi hate-readers I've seen would gloss over a grudging agreement with his first point, but turn the discussion as quickly as possible and certainly not profess themselves "delighted". They would, as predicted, go off on the second point.

Now that I think about it, I remember that notorious FeMRA Karen Straughan, another bisexual, once expressed the opinion that she often agreed with Mr Savage's advice, although at the time she was disagreeing with his defence of the 18/19-year-old woman in Florida with the 15-year-old girlfriend whose parents made trouble. I've assumed (fitting with Mr Savage's lived experience) that the criticism he expected would come from bi readers on the "SJW left", but he could equally well be drawing bi hate-readers from the "anti-feminist non-left" (there's such a shell game being played by both sides over who's "right-wing" and who's "centrist"). That adds an interesting new factor to consider.


Mr Curious - I would count that under Won't Hint, though I agree that this LW doesn't come across as trustworthy.

Having had bad parents, I'm less willing than most among the assembled company to commit to a policy of Never Telling, No Matter What. S1 and BIL1 could both be even worse than LW1. There's nothing necessarily wrong with Ms Fan's suggested answer, but I can visualize a few ways of how the question might come up in which that answer would only add to the harm.

If I had to propose something in real life, I'd probably suggest a grace period. Assuming individual births and that they're 19/18/17/16, I'd suggest that LW agree to say nothing until the boys are all adults, and then he'd use his own judgement. It seems almost certain that the secret will be out by then. If not, LW will at least have been able to see how the parental policy has affected the boys. I could wish his judgement were better, as Ms Fan seems to have captured the situation neatly in the opening of #48, but again, it ought to have resolved without his interference by then.


BDF @ 44 - "If the recent film Bohemian Rhapsody is to be taken as accurate, Freddie Mercury's wife did just that to him"

From what I knew already (huge music trivia nerd here) and what I've read more specifically about the movie, this is pretty much the only part of it that you can take as accurate. (The movie's entertaining, but I kept hearing a game-show buzzing sound and the word "FALSE" in the back of my mind about every 30 seconds.)

Also: you're right about BIL.


PS to @52 - She was his fiancée, though, not his wife.


Venn @50: Dan could easily have phrased his second point in such a way that it would have indeed pissed me off, either by implying (as I stated above) that bisexuals are lucky we can hide in straight closets or that we have straight privilege because we can do so, or by implying (as Harriet seems to have interpreted him) that we shouldn't openly identify as bi if we are OS monogamous. Both of which I have heard before, and both of which I do consider ignorant/offensive. But Dan merely stated the fact that appearing straight is possible should one choose to do so, and I cannot disagree.

Ricardo @53: I stand corrected.


@48. Bi. Why on earth would Dan talk about me? I'm an anomaly--people almost never talk about me i.e the 'class of people like me'. And why would I want them to? Think they should? Occasionally, generalisations about women or man as implicitly trans- or NB-excluding will stick in my craw, as leaving no possible place for people like me. It's personally and politically dispiriting to be told you can't exist.

Dan did not say that OS monogamous bi men should not publicly identify as bisexual. He said that (if they were monogamous; wanted a family, a wife, a job, a white picket fence) they could get away without doing so. Here is his would-be infuriating remark:

"I shall now say something that will piss off my bisexual readers: A family-minded bi guy can have almost everything he wants—spouse, house, kids—without ever having to come out so long as that bi guy winds up with an opposite-sex partner".

The reason it's purportedly infuriating is as you understand: that there's not something so compelling, so socially and politically mobilising about being bi that bi people have to smash the closet, have to break out, be seen, be heard--but there is, to a greater degree, something this urgent and mobilising about monosexual homosexuality. We both understand the remark; and, for some reason, both think the other is disappointed it doesn't pertain closely to them.

If I were a nesting ciswoman, I think I'd want to know my family-minded het partner was bi. It's probably easier for me to enter into the mentality of the woman in these cases than the bi man

@50. venn. I think any confusion would come about from the set of bi people he was talking about (the het-norm approximating family-nesting bis) not being the same set from whom he anticipated fire (the queer-political identity-mongering bis). (Your claim to the effect of the last part of this is surely correct). He needed a wider palette than 'bisexual'. Hell, don't we all?


BiDanFan @44 - having sympathy for someone because of a similar experience and relating that experience isn't projection. I was simply offering a possible alternate explanation for her behavior, since at the moment BASHED is thinking the worst of her girlfriend - that she is ashamed of her, she doesn't love her enough, etc. - and feeling hurt. Certainly I could be completely off-base, but I'd like BASHED to understand that there may be reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with her that the girlfriend isn't fully out, and I'll also add that it honestly kind of sucks when your significant other assumes the worst of you instead of simply asking. When my ex suddenly burst out that I must be ashamed of him because I hadn't told my family about him, it seriously came out of left field and I was shocked and sad that he'd even been thinking that. I'd already told him my parents were weird and kind of racist and prone to going crazy over the littlest things, and I thought it was obvious that I hadn't told them about him because of THEM, not him. It simply never occurred to me that he, having come from a loving, close-knit family, didn't understand what it's like to have non-supportive, closed-minded parents that I couldn't just talk to about anything and everything.

Again, I could be totally wrong and this isn't what's going on at all. But my point is that there are other possibilities and BASHED shouldn't be so quick to decide that her girlfriend is ashamed of her or trying to hurt her or anything.


I don't believe it took me this long. "Extra Lobster" is this


How did it take me this long?
Extra lobster:




Who's gonna get this week's Lucky @69 Award? Tick...tick...tick...


@42: I'll bet I could start up something really wild if I ever met up with Stephen King....


Ms Fan - I never expected you to disagree with his point as it was stated. The bi hate-readers would have taken the response as framed so that even you would disagree with it, or at least claim that they "knew" such to be Mr Savage's real intention. Mr Savage's implied whine, though at least it was subtle, about how misunderstood he is by (SJW) bi (hate-)readers is starting to remind me of the similar, just rather more clumsy, laments of Mr Rubin about university campuses and the evils of Identity Politics.


M?? Harriet - "Don't we all?" I readily accept that many do. Personally, I can usually devise the vocabulary I need if given enough time, which, for completely different reasons, I imagine you can also.


I do t know what this panic is about masculinity. It’s what you make it. Don’t use it if you don’t like it, others may like it for understanding themselves.
Same with its reverse. It’s a word I’ve never used because woman covers it all, far as I’m concerned. I’m a human with a womb.


No denial of trans women is intended, always an ally.


drstanley helped me get a lucky 69 for the first time and now my cat obeys my commands and strangers come and shovel my walk unasked.


@69; Congrats, slomopomo, for scoring this week's Lucky @69 honors!! May the month of March have a lovely start with abundant extravagance beyond your wildest dreams. And you can thank Dr. Stanley as well as your cat.


@1 & @69 slomopom: WOW---First AND 69th this week. Here's to your lucky streak.


Thank you Auntie, but to paraphrase Mae West, "Luck had nothing to do with it, honey."


Harriet @55: You read Dan's paragraph as contrasting bi men in OS relationships with bi men in SS ones, when he was only talking about the first group of men. And though his paragraph could also pertain to OS-leaning bi women, he was, again, only talking about men, so there is indeed no call for either of us to extrapolate his words as applying to ourselves. I'm not disappointed, I'm just not sure why you claim to understand it now but had to "try to make sense" of it a few comments back. Anyway, let's move on?

Jina @56: The point still applies: Ms BASHED has no idea how hurt BASHED is by her actions, so BASHED needs to tell her. Only then will she find out what Ms BASHED is so afraid of.


@64. venn. I have no trouble granting that you can devise the vocabulary (!).

There would be two groups here out of which I don't know any representatives at a level of friendship or intimacy: 1) the het-norm approximating bisexuals; and 2) the golder-than-gold standard gays, who won't knowingly fuck or fraternise with bi men. I would be out of sympathy with both groups. In an 80s way, I'd feel towards the first, 'you're not straight (actually I'd think, 'you're queer'); why live straight?'. And towards the second, I'd think, 'is homosexuality such a precious flower that it can't bloom alongside others in a variegated ditch?'. It seems manifest to me that Dan understands the mentality of these two types much more fully than I do. As to which the question concerning which, of the two groups--perhaps pro rata to their incidence--I've had sex with more ... well, heaven knows (but, actually, probably the het-approximators).


Harriet @74: "You're queer; why live straight?" Because sometimes we have the misfortune of falling in love with someone who is opposite-sex and monogamous. Why does this happen so frequently? Because that demographic makes up by and far the largest proportion of our dating pool. If for instance you're a cis man, there are far more straight women who potentially want to date you than any other group. You have to actively make efforts to avoid them, if a monogamous OS life is not what you want. And a monogamous OS life is, in fact, an option for many bisexuals. It is not our fault that once we are in that type of relationship, whether by preference or default, people read us as straight. That's what bi invisibility means. It's not that we're hiding, it's that people are assuming, and there are far fewer opportunities in day-to-day conversation to say "Actually I'm bi" than you'd think. That's bi invisibility; bi erasure is when someone who has been out as bi gets into a monogamous relationship and people say "oh you're straight now" / "oh you're gay now." In other words, Group 1 aren't necessarily "living straight," they're just living.


@75 cont, and even if you end up dating an opposite-sex bisexual, people will assume BOTH of you are straight.


Final point to Harriet: I think there are two different types of coming out for a bisexual: coming out to one's partner and coming out publicly. I don't think even those bisexuals who take the option of letting the world at large assume they are straight should keep their true identity hidden from their partners. One could take the view that coming out is on a need-to-know basis, and partners do need to know.


BIL: Not your business. Don't live vicariously through your brother-in-law, that's not close to healthy.

BASHED: Toughen up. Your GF's decision to come out has nothing to do with you whatsoever. If you don't want to date someone who's in the closet, that's a choice for you to make, but GF's choice to come out (or not) has nothing to do with you and everything to do with her.


I agree with Dan that the kids should learn about Dad's relationship with another man from their parents - unless they ask the LW explicitly "what's going on".

At that point, it's turns into a matter of their relationship with him, and he needs to be the uncle they can trust to be honest with them. He should first ask them if they're ready for any answer he may give them. If they say yes, he should tell them.

Please wait...

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