As a happy-go-lucky guy with a devil-may-care attitude, the very first time I experimented with another guy was something I didn’t quite dwell on. It was me being the impulsive me I usually am. It was freeing, liberating, exciting, exhilarating. The possibility of introducing another dimension to my life was much more than I could bear, and before I knew it, I was swiping right on both girls and guys. It didn’t feel wrong. In fact, it felt quite intriguing.
With these new insights, I decided to give dating another try. The “not looking for anything serious but open to anything” kind of dating. Up until that point, my love life had been very simple: the boring, single phase, a six-month relationship with a girl and the only-looking-for-fun, single phase. While not very experienced in the domains of love, in all my years of singlehood, I was still something akin to an advice columnist to my friends having relationship glitches. All those soaps and dramas I used to watch with my mom as a kid came in handy after all.
My number one advice for those in search of love was to never actively seek it. Second, to never get yourself into a relationship if you’re not already at your 100 percent. Expecting another person to “complete” you is already a false start. And third, putting yourself out there is as much effort as you need to make, and that’s it. And so I took my own advice. I put myself out there once again.
Being Bisexual Comes With a Lot of Complications
It was at this point that I started noticing that being bi wasn’t exactly as freeing as I thought it’d be. Finding myself and coming out was a relatively easy and really exciting process for me, mostly because I was lucky enough to have a solid support system. It had taken me quite a while to understand the whole “pride” thing, but when I did, I owned it and became all the more confident. Today, I can say that I am a proud bi guy. It doesn’t define me, sure, but it’s one of the many things about me that makes me who I am. And so, in a way, it also does.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing. That same confidence and pride were tested when I started dating. Being bi, I've come to learn, comes with a lot of strings attached. Not everyone digs the “live and let live” attitude. I think it's because, growing up, we’re forced to label things. Things are either normal or not normal. And “normal”? Some people go through their entire lives without questioning what it is and where the concept came from. Because at the end of the day, what the hell is “normal” after all? I imagine it is something that has been arbitrarily agreed upon by the majority, or by someone with privilege; perhaps a rich, white man, as it were.
Being white, cisgender and straight earns you more points in society, more so if you’re male. Being anything but that? Good friggin’ luck. But I’m not about to get into that. Especially because I check two of those three criteria. What I am going to get into, however, are the concepts of biphobia or, more commonly, bisexual erasure, which are subtypes of homophobia. I’m no expert when it comes to these things, so keep in mind I’m just talking about my experience.
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Admitting My Bisexuality to Dates Came With Lots of Judgment
Over the course of a year, I had dated quite a bit. Usually, it’d be a one-time thing, so my sexuality would never really come up. Girls would assume I was straight and guys would assume I was gay, which I was fine with. These would be people I’d probably never see again, so why would that ever be an issue? But when it came to something more than that? Oof. Time and time again, I’d be dating someone with whom I’d have a lot in common. Someone with whom I wouldn’t mind taking a step forward. So, of course, always wanting to be transparent, I’d come out to them. You know, no biggie.
Among other things, I was told that “it’s just a transition phase,” or that I’m “just a homophobic homosexual,” or that I’d “definitely be unfaithful,” or that I “must be riddled with all kinds of sexually transmitted illnesses.” I kind of heard it all. My label was synonymous with promiscuity, insecurity, indecisiveness and whatever else the trend of the day suggested. I may be assertive and confident, but I’m not going to lie, some of those words did get to me.
You see, growing up I always thought that someday I’d be the Prince Charming to a damsel in distress (how sexist, right?), and we’d be this picture-perfect couple. We’d fall in love at first sight, and she’d be the one. I’d propose with a really big romantic gesture, perhaps training white doves to fly in formation and spell the words “will you marry me?” as soon as they're set loose from their cage. Maybe something even more complex.
We’d slow dance in the middle of a large hall at our wedding, everyone jealous of our love and looks. We'd buy a house and get used to being married. Then, one day, I’d be eating my morning cereal and I’d almost choke on something. It’s a positive pregnancy test! Ah, what a life! Me, my wife and our perfect baby girl. Maybe we’d have a boy or adopt some time in the future, but first, we’d settle down and make a home of our house and that white picket fence and proceed to live happily ever after. How perfectly idyllic, huh?
I Had Outgrown the Perfect Love Story I Dreamed for Myself
Well, this dream broke into pieces over time. First, it was the picket fence. Like hell I’d be stuck in a boring old house in a boring place. My perfect wife and I would never settle down anywhere. We’d be chasing one adventure after the other, always on the go. Then, it was the kids. In wanting to become an extraordinary surgeon, kids would only get in the way of that. I’m too ambitious to have kids, and if I did end up having kids, I’d most probably end up choosing them over work and that would mean I’d end up eventually resenting them. Why put kids through that? So anyway, no kids.
It would be just my wife and me, working and traveling, and that would be the best life. Then, I found out I was bi, so it could have just as well been a husband that would be my partner in crime. It wasn’t too difficult to accept this either. But now? Now it seemed like I couldn’t even hold a relationship for more than a month, let alone long enough to get married!
Ah, to get married, something I hadn’t even thought about in years. So conservative, so archaic! Yet there I stood, realizing it would probably never even be an option in the first place. It was kind of devastating. To give up on love at first sight, to give up on finding the one, to give up on a happily ever after. The worst part was that I wasn't looking for any of it, yet the minute I realized I couldn't have it, I started to crave it.
And then, it somehow clicked. The idea of this perfect love story I had had in mind ever since I was a kid was something I had outgrown ages before. If I were to have that life, all I'd feel would be oppressed and suffocated. But people change, as do priorities. And maybe one day, that boring old house surrounded by that boring white picket fence might just be what I'll be looking for. Maybe one day, I'll want to settle down, get married and have kids. All I know is that if there’s ever going to be a right person, be it boy, girl or anything in between, they won’t give a crap about who I’m attracted to.
I Still Struggle With the Labels of Bisexuality
Broken dreams apart, there was also the fact that I had never really questioned my sexuality ever since I had come out. What by now should (hopefully) be a cliche—that sexuality is fluid—made it really easy for me to get on board immediately. There’s a spectrum between heterosexuality and homosexuality, and I stand somewhere in between—simple. On some days, I might feel more attracted to a girl; on others, more attracted to a guy, but attracted to both overall—simple.
Does the “some days” part not fit the label though? Should I refer to myself as an occasional homosexual, someone who is usually straight but has random, sudden outbursts of homosexual impulses? Or do I owe it to the LGBTQ+ community to label myself as a homosexual who sometimes experiments with members of the opposite sex? I don’t mean to trivialize the subject, I really don’t. After all, that’s the whole point of pride—to spread awareness. And to that end, as our ally from Grey’s Anatomy, Callie, aptly puts it, there’s a B in LGBTQ+ for a reason. Take note if you haven’t already!
Hopefully, we’ll live to see a time when we don’t always feel the need to complicate life so damn much. No labels, no judgment, no persecution. Imagine a future where people would just fall in love. Period. With whomever. No questions asked. A future where people live and let live. It shouldn’t be a dream. It should be the goal.