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?
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?
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?
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…