It was a mere decade ago that, as I considered the differences between gay men’s music (women belting out freedom anthems + UNCE UNCE UNCE) and lesbian music (what you listen to while wistfully looking out the window at the rain), I struggled to come up with an example of “bi+ music.”
I was soon pondering the very existence of bi+ culture: what makes us, us? Are we, in fact, even a thing? Just then, a refreshing deluge of bisexual cultural signposts flooded my brain: if you prick our fingers, do we not make finger guns? If you put us in jeans, do we not cuff them? I ask you, if you offer us a chair, do we not sit in strange positions?!
Still, it bothered me that even for a moment, I believed there wasn’t a situation you could respond to with, “Oh, Lordt, that’s so bi.” And then point and snicker with your bi+ friends. Then and there, I established an online hub of bisexual zeitgeist so that no one would suffer a similar four-second brain fart ever again. In a total rip-off of Jeff Foxworthy’s old stand-up act, I created the “You Might Be a Bisexual” (YMBAB) Tumblr blog.
For all of you who are too old, too young, or too cool for Tumblr, I’ve mined YMBAB for the six most quintessential bi+ experiences you could possibly have. (…aside from, you know, having romantic and/or sexual feelings for folks of assorted genders.) This bi+ gauntlet is more challenging to complete than a stint on Naked and Afraid, but never fear. Being naked and afraid is what bi+ folks do best.
I. You’ve come out on a date.
This is the prime bi+ experience. Two of the most nerve-wracking activities you can think of – dating and coming out – are combined into one hellscape just for us. And the fear is real. Unless you’re dating another bi+ person (which I highly recommend) a subpar response is largely possible regardless of your date’s gender. No pressure.
Coming out/date stories give us all a good laugh…eventually. I don’t care if someone dismantled a bomb in an endangered species animal shelter, the stakes are never as high as when you reveal your surprising sexuality to someone still deciding whether to give it a whirl.
II. You’ve “celebrated” Bisexual Groundhog Day.
Inserting a dictionary definition into an essay is juvenile but I’m making an exception here because I wrote the entry for Urban Dictionary in the first place.
Ahem: “The phenomenon of having to come out as bisexual to the same person/people repeatedly because they assumed or hoped that your sexuality was a ‘phase.’ Refers less to the holiday and more to the 1993 Bill Murray comedy film in which the main character experiences the same day over and over.”
Perhaps you came out to your family when you were single; now you have to come out because you’re in a relationship. Or vice versa. Did you make the rookie mistake of ending your coming out session by saying that everyone is a little bisexual? Welp, set the alarm for 6:00 a.m. and tee up “I Got You Babe” by Sonny & Cher because you’re gonna have to do it all over again. And again, and again.
III. You’ve been “outed” and “inned.”
Plenty of queer folks have had the yucky experience of some clod announcing their sexuality without clearance. We bisexuals, however, often have the added fun of being “inned.” This is when some other doofus wrongly proclaims throughout the land that we are straight. I don’t know who elects these Town Criers but we clearly need to add Town Fact Checkers to the ballot.
While not dangerous like being outed, being inned leaves us feeling pretty darned alienated from our own people. Like Robyn Ochs says, it’s an I-dentity, not a YOU-dentity. So keep my sexuality out of your mouth. (Ew.)
IV. Your sexual identity always prompts goofy jokes.
There is something about the middle sexualities that simply begs for jokes.
“I could go either way on that.” “Yeah, so we’ve heard.”
“I’m metagender…as in, I never met a gender I didn’t like.”
“I’m single but I’m not alone…just on standbi. All bi myself.”
If you can figure out why we love puns so much, I’ll be your biggest PAN! Ha-cha-cha, I’m here all week, try the veal!
V. You learned the Bi+ Theorem the hard way: More Genders = Less Game
The basis of this theorem is that the number of genders you’re attracted to is inversely proportional to the number of genders you know how to flirt with. Countless bisexuals have abashedly proven this in the laboratories of real life including bars, clubs, dating websites, and pretty much every social setting you can imagine. This counterintuitive lesson in unfairness is the bisexual offshoot of Murphy’s Law. Class dismissed.
VI. You’re the biggest elephant in the room.
Somebody tell me how our specific population is both the largest part of the queer community and the most ignored. Tell me how we managed to find ourselves in a situation that our most ironic enemy couldn’t have planned better. It’s like we’re the middle child but also really, really tall.
Maybe there’s an upside to mass invisibility that I’m not considering…does anyone know whether Wonder Woman rents out her jet?
Here’s the thing: I lied. Of course, there are more than six experiences that only happen to bisexuals. I would have told you at the beginning of this post but I didn’t know you then. I can see now that you’re hungry for more. Share some stories in the comments of when you went through one of these, and I’ll post more of our bizarre yet familiar customs.
Jen Bonardi manages the BRC’s volunteer corps, The Honeycomb. Her alter ego is Tiggy Upland, whose bi+ world exists at www.tiggyupland.com.