MonDATE: Bisexuals and the Right to Privacy, Part Three

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Him: Okay. I’m ready to hear it. Tell me what you think of me.

Me: No. I’ve decided I don’t have an opinion.

Him: Don’t. Yes you do. You do have an opinion.

Me: Well, I’m doing a new thing where I don’t always say every single thought in my head. I’m trying to see what happens if I’m more judicious about what I say and who I say it to.

Him: Come on. Let me have it. I sat here and called you a hypocrite for half an hour, didn’t I?

Me: Yes, you did. That’s true.

Him: So, give me a piece of your mind, then.

Me: Well, okay… You’re here because you’re a fan, right?

Him: I was, yes. I was a fan.

Me: Right, and now you feel shortchanged and disillusioned?

Him: That’s strong language, but sure – I guess there’s a truth to what you’re saying.

Me: I feel shortchanged and disillusioned by you.

Him: What? What does that even mean? What did I do?

Me: Now that is a great question. What did you do? You did nothing. Nothing brave, nothing honest, nothing remarkably difficult, nothing noteworthy. You did nothing.

Him: I…

Me: In a world where people are coming out of the closet left and right, you sat back and did nothing. Think about this, Sam – is that your real name?

Him: No. It’s not. I didn’t want you saying my name if this meeting went south.

Me: Just illustrates more of my point, “Sam.” In a world where many, many people are coming out of the closet, you chose not to do that. You chose to contact me and tell me what a supreme hypocrite I am for not illuminating every single detail of my marital life to you, but you find it nearly impossible to say that you’re bisexual to your co-workers, family, and friends.

Him: Why would I say I’m bi, or identify as LGBTQ? Gay people are the lowest rung on the ladder, why would I place myself there?

Me: Don’t you think there’s a value to coming out? Aren’t there lonely, depressed, or even suicidal teenage kids out there – people who are bisexual like you – who could use a role model? Don’t you think the first step to eradicating the ‘bottom rung of the ladder’ mentality is to admit what and who you are to your colleagues, friends, and loved ones?

Him: Get real – me coming out of the closet isn’t going to change the way people view gay and bi people.

Me: Really? You can’t see the use in everyone coming out? Seriously? It takes bravery to change the world, and we will be the invisible minority for as long as we stay invisible. What’s more, you come here and call me a hypocrite for a half hour, but you’re too much of a coward to even say what you are.

Him: I don’t owe it to anyone. I don’t have to say I’m bisexual just to feel accepted for who I am. The gay community won’t accept us anyway.

Me: No, not with that attitude they certainly won’t. You’re projecting quite a bit onto me. You’re homophobic to the core, “Sam.” You’ve built yourself a  prison of your own silence, your own isolation. You’ve allowed your actions and modes of self-expression to be determined by what other people think. You would rather follow the status quo than insist on a world that is fair to everyone – even if that means you, yourself, have to submerge and cover an essential part of your identity. You have decided to be what the neighbors expect you to be instead of what you really are, and it’s not me that you think is hypocritical. It’s not me you despise. I don’t owe you anything beyond 800 words, twice a week, and “Sam,” I don’t even really owe you that. You don’t hate me. You’re wading through a thick mire of self-hatred, and even as you choke on it you’re well aware you chose it yourself. Whatever contempt you may harbor for me is eclipsed by your own self-hatred. You despise yourself. You couldn’t possibly hate me as much as you hate you.

(There is a long pause. I look at his face, which has changed quite a bit.)

Me: I’m sorry. I didn’t want to say any of those things. Please forgive me? I’m probably off base anyhow.

Him: No. It’s pretty accurate, actually.

Me: Well, I’m still sorry. I didn’t 100% mean it.

Him: But part of you did.

Me: But part of me did, yes.

(There is another long pause.)

Him: Do you think I could have a hug?

Me: I’m married now.

Him: Oh, okay. Sorry.

Me: Just kidding. Hugs are always free.

(We hug, and change the subject, and walk a little further before saying goodnight.)

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MonDATE: Bisexuals, and the Right to Privacy – Part One

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Him: Hello, are you Michael?

Me: Yes. You’re Sam?

Him: Yes. Hi. Nice to meet you.

Me: You too, Sam, I like your shirt.

Him: It’s Hollister.

Me: I like it anyway. Wanna take a walk?

Him: A walk? That sounds so weird and creepy, in the middle of the night.

Me: Is it? I just don’t really want to go drink right now. I’m trying to shed the winter layer.

Him: But isn’t a bar… Safer, somehow?

Me: We can stick to Colorado – it’s well lit. I’ll try to resist the urge to take you to a park and chop you into small pieces.

Him: That’s what I meant when I said weird and creepy!

Me: Let’s operate off the assumption neither of us is a murderous sociopath?

Him: You don’t seem like a sociopath to me.

Me: Thanks, man! I like your attitude!

(We walk for a while, chatting. I find out things about him. He’s in medical school. He’s into extreme sports, hiking, and surfing. He seems nice enough, and he’s no dummy. He’s read most of Kurt Vonnegut, so he gets points.)

Him: So, I guess you’re wondering why I’ve contacted you?

Me: I guess I am, now that you mention.

Him: I wanted to ask you a question. Do you mind if I ask a personal question?

Me: No, I guess not, as long as you don’t mind not getting a full answer, depending on the question.

Him: Haha, fair. Fair enough.

Me: What’s the question?

Him: Well, I have a few questions. Firstly, are you bi-sexual? I read your site for a long time and I always assumed you were gay, but now you’re married to a woman, and what’s the deal? Is she a lesbian? Does she need a green card, or whatever?

Me: Oh wow. I thought personal question meant something like ‘boxers or briefs?’

Him: No. You clearly wear briefs. I’ve seen your Instagram.

Me: Fair enough.

Him: Are you bisexual?

Me: Let me ask you a question. I’ll answer yours, but let me do the rudest thing and follow up a question with another question. Does it matter?

Him: What?

Me: Does it matter? The difference between me being Gay or Bi? Or even straight?

Him: What do you mean? Of course it matters. Of course .

Me: How so?

(There is a pause. He looks confused.)

Him: Do you realize, I’ve read you for years?

Me: No, I usually go into these meetings pretty blind. When I meet with people it’s much more likely they’ve lurked or stalked me, whereas I might only have a brief email and a fuzzy photo to go on.

Him: But how can you do this? You talked about Gay dating, alienation and minority rights for years. How do you just get to marry a woman and continue on like nothing happened?

Me: Because nothing happened. I got married. It was pretty important to me, in the scope of my life, but in the grand scheme of human events, it’s not even a blip on the radar. It’s just a marriage. Most people do it at least once.

Him: But why a woman? Are you Bisexual?

Me: Again, I don’t see how that matters. It’s clear that I’m definitely a member of the LGBTQ community. Right? And, consider this: you haven’t told me your sexuality, yet you seem to think it’s fine to pry about mine and my wife’s?

Him: I’m Bi.

Me: Okay, good. I’m Queer.

Him: What does that mean? In what sense?

Me: It means I am as Gay as Kurt Cobain.

Him: What about your wife?

Me: She’s whatever she is.

Him: Stop. This is frustrating.

Me: This is nobody’s business. One of the perks of marriage is people stop prying about who does what, when, with whom, and how.

Him: But I’m curious!

Me: Well, that’s flattering. Are you openly Bi?

Him: What?

Me: Do people know you’re Bisexual?

Him: Some people do.

Me: Your family?

Him: No. My brother knows, I think, but by and large, no.

Me: Your work friends?

Him: No. I don’t want them thinking I’m weird, or off.

Me: Your friends from school?

Him: No.

Me: So, pretty much, just the people you have sex with.

Him: You make it sound sad.

Me: No, you make it sound sad. You’re the one who made those choices.

Him: It’s just what happened. I’m a victim of circumstance.

Me: You’re what? 28? 27?

Him: I’m 30 this year.

Me: Okay, well, welcome to the club. I’m going to say something, and I hope you don’t get offended.

Him: Are you going to call me a Jerk?

Me: I don’t do that anymore, Jerk. Just kidding. No, just this: There’s no such thing as a victim of circumstance. Not really. I believe life is a series of choices. It’s in the art of choosing we discover what kind of man or woman we become. If you don’t like your circumstances you have a right to make a different choice. It might be more difficult to make a courageous choice. It might, in fact, be stupid to make a courageous choice. It might make your life more of a struggle to make an honest choice, or to have enough integrity to look your family in the eye and say, here’s what I am – here’s how I was born and here’s the way things are for me. I’m sorry you feel differently about how I should live my life, but then again, my life is the only thing that is arguably entirely mine – and I’m the one who has to live it.

Him: What’s that have to do with the way the world is?

Me: To say you’re a victim of circumstance is a bit misleading when you’re the one creating your own reality.

Him: That’s arrogant. That’s incredibly arrogant, and I knew you’d say something like that. I knew you’d come up with a way to make me being down low about my sexuality my fault. My sexuality doesn’t define who I am anymore than my liking baseball defines who I am. Why do I have to make a huge issue of who I’m sleeping with? Doesn’t my mother deserve a good birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving without me ruining everything by talking about sex with dudes? Why are people so obsessed with where I’m putting my penis? It’s nobody’s business.

Me: And yet, you’re so very obsessed with where I’m putting mine.

(There is a long pause. He starts to speak, then stops, then looks confused.)

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

 

Tuesdays With Woody, Episode 2

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Hey folks. Here’s another episode of Tuesdays With Woody. In this episode, Shaun ‘raw dogs’ a stripper from Detroit. Woody and Michael tease mercilessly. Have a look!

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Letters

photos by eryc perez de tagle

Hey Michael: I think I spelled your name right. I just wanted to take the time and tell you I enjoyed reading your blog and I also wanted some advice.

My current boyfriend lives 2 hrs away from me and is highly attractive. He’s not out of the closet either so he won’t hold my hand in public unless we’re at the gay bar or something. He also does not want to introduce me to his friends who KNOW he’s gay. Which i find odd. He says it’s too soon. But he’s met my family. And he also texts facing his phone away from me. That really bugs me. He doesn’t text often but when he does it’s in a very suspicious manner. I’ve found myself creeping on his facebook, which is empty really, every now and then. And don’t tell me to talk to him about it because when i do, he gets very angry. Apparently, i’m asking too much too soon. we’re six months in now. So do you think i’m being paranoid or am i on to something here?

Thanks for reading.

Sincerely,

LewieCharles

Hey Lewie,

Thanks for writing in. First let me say – your new boyfriend is not the only ‘highly attractive’ one in the family. You’re looking pretty good over there yourself.

I’d say that you’re right to be suspicious. Him hiding his txting from you is a clear indication he’s speaking to someone he doesn’t want you to know about. Add that to the other pieces of the puzzle (he lives two hours away, he won’t introduce you to his friends, even though they know he’s gay) and it certainly creates a shady looking picture. It sounds like he could be dating or sleeping with more than just you.

But, ultimately, that doesn’t matter. Seriously. It doesn’t.

Here’s what matters: He’s been with you for six months and won’t even introduce you to his friends. He’s in the closet. He gets angry when you try to initiate communication. Dump him.

This isn’t the relationship you want, and he’s never going to suddenly turn into the type of guy you want him to be. It doesn’t work like that. You deserve a proud young man that can introduce you to his parents, or at least his friends. Someone who will show you affection in public. Someone who won’t blow up at you if you want to talk about something bothering you.

The issue isn’t whether you have a right to be suspicious. The issue is whether you’re going to insist on the type of partner you deserve. And believe me, Lewie – with a face like that (and other lovely, erm…  assets) you can afford to be picky.

Everyone should afford to be picky. Better to be alone than settle for something disappointing.

You’re a beautiful young man, Lewie. Thanks for writing in.

 Dear Michael, I am a 21 bisexual studying in a former Soviet country at the moment.
I have been reading your blog after discovering it on Vice recently.
It fucking rocks. It has helped me so much in regards to respecting
myself and loving myself more, and not being ashamed or confused about
my sexuality. I like how you said that you consider bisexuals fully
gay and straight, and that is in a way very comforting.

I also got inspired to make a crust-less quiche in our shitty
dormitory in our toaster oven. I used sour cream instead of all milk
and a little beer for the egg base. I also filled it with lost of
onions bacon and some cheese. Hope you enjoy the picture as much as I
enjoyed eating the product photographed.

Keep on keepin’ on Comrade Martinov!

-T

Hey T –

Wow.  I hope you mean that you added sour cream to an already milk base, and you added (instead of substituting)  beer to an egg base. It looks like you did. For dorm food, it looks exceptionally yummy.

Thanks for all the praise. I’m glad you’re learning to live without some of the god-awful shame the world still persists in trying to invoke upon us. There’s always room for more self-respect and love, so I’m glad I could inspire it. Flattered even. Thanks for reaching out.

Hang in there. I feel like bi-sexual men are frequently met with a suspicious or patronizing attitude from the LGBT community. Glad you’re still willing to love yourself.

That photograph is both sexy and hilarious at the same time. Today, you win the internet.

Thanks for taking the time to write and send in your photos.

Jerks.

Letters

Dear Michael,
I am a 62-year-old gay man who really enjoys your blog.   It must be extremely hard work keeping up with your busy life as a musician/comedian/baker/advice columnist/etc.  Being the age I am, I enjoy your comments and responses to letters as it reminds me of some of my own feelings and experiences in my youth.
However, also, being the age I am, I also find myself sometimes more interested in what you are baking, than who you are baking with.  Have you ever considered publishing the recipes in the blog for the things you are shown baking?
Recently, I think I saw a banana cream pie go flying by in one of your pictures.   My aunt used to bake them and I haven’t had a taste of a good homemade one since she passed away.  How about it?   Come on, share your recipes.
Sincerely,
Rick W.
Rick,
I share my recipes from time to time, here on the blog.  I made a video showing how to make a Crisco/butter crust.  It’s on YouTube.  You can look for it.
As for banana cream, just use a vanilla custard recipe and then chop come bananas into it.   Chill it for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.  Plop it inside a baked pie shell.  Cover with whipped cream.  You’re done.
It’s super easy.
Thanks for writing in.
Hey,
Very unique site! It makes you even more interesting. The plea to Obama video really cracked me up. Interesting conversation with the gay Asian who tries to isolate himself from the straight world; I like the way you gently try to get him to see past his defenses.

But you know, screeds of politics in binary straight/gay language make me wary. In my experience, the excoriations of the straight world don’t go on for long before the venom is turned on me, and I’m hearing one of the old familiar variations of “you’ll have to make up your mind some day”/”you know your gay side will win out”/”you don’t know what oppression is, because you have hetero privilege”/”you’re lucky, you can have twice as many dates”/”well if you’re not gay, get out of this club/bar/community center/dating site.”

I know well your Asian friend’s experience of being doubly hated (hell, even in the bi community there’s anti-polygamy prejudice; how would you like to belong to a despised minority within a despised minority within a despised minority?) In my personal experience, if someone is personally giving me shit for my sexuality, odds are overwhelming that he’s a gay man. Heteros tend to keep their prejudice to themselves.

Anyway, I just hope you’re not like that.

Atiq
If you are Bi, then I see you as fully Gay.  You just also happen to be fully Straight.  You are my brother and I will not turn my back on you.  You are always welcome in my community.

I know what you mean about internalized homophobia, but consider that some of the more obvious homosexuals in our flock get terms like ‘faggot’ flung at them from passing cars.  That’s not Gays doing that.  Perhaps you blend in better.

I am sorry that you feel despised.  I can assure you, we don’t all feel that way.

You’re a beautiful man.

I know you must suffer your own brand of oppression and isolation and I won’t pretend to know what that is, but I think we can both agree that you’re Queer.  LGBT means Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered.  You belong to my community.  I love you.