I was reading Recklessly Discreet’s latest blog, “Pretty Paradoxical” (http://recklesslydiscreet.wordpress.com/2014/11/28/pretty-paradoxical/), and some things he said in it took me back to a time when, given all the shit I’d been doing with men, had me wondering if I was really as male as I believed myself to be. The term “bisexual” was still new to me – it had taken me a few years to find the word that described my behavior and in a time when a guy was either very straight or very gay and, as I’ve mentioned in other blogs, it took me almost two years to find the answers to the questions posed to myself.
In talking to other bi guys, most have told me that they experienced the same sort of “crisis” and did their best to figure out whether or not they were really as male and masculine as they believed themselves to be and despite the sex they were having with men or their “girly” feelings toward men. Not all bi guys go through this moment; some have told me that such a thing has never happened to them and I figured that either they never had a reason to question their masculinity or they were already dead certain that, “Nope – ain’t no bitch in me!” – and, yeah, one guy actually told me that right before he gave me a rather nice blowjob.
We find out, at some point, that there are… things that women are “supposed” to do, namely, give blowjobs and being fucked so it kinda stands to reason that if you’re a guy and you’re doing those things, well, you must not really be a guy if you actually like doing “a woman’s job” – and, ladies, please don’t give me any shit about this – I’m just telling you what insanity I learned growing up, okay? To continue, I’ve had some men tell me that they did, indeed, question whether or not they were really male because, um, ain’t it true that men shouldn’t be attracted to other men and in the same way women are supposed to be?
We know that this isn’t the truth… but before those of us who have had reason to question these things about ourselves find the answers, we’re not aware of this truth – all we know is what we’ve been taught about attraction and sex and right along with the sure “fact” that the only men this applies to are gay men and especially those gay men who are, ah, flamboyantly effeminate. We have, in the intervening years, seen where guys having sex with guys (a) isn’t just a gay thing to do and (b) is seen as having zero impact on one’s masculinity or “Only real men have sex with other men!” and I’ve thought that the reason why this is being said is twofold: Some guys are “in denial” about their roles in this or it really is a very macho thing to be into.
While I do know about some other guys, I know what went on in my head about this when I realized that, yeah, I was seriously into doing things that I was told only women are supposed to do… so did that mean I was more girly than manly? I liked hanging out with girls, had learned to crochet and knit, liked to cook, could jump rope – and Double Dutch – with the best of them and, oh, yeah, I liked sucking dick and getting fucked; I also realized that I was developing some of the same “animosities” girls had toward boys. Again – and before you tell me that I was overthinking the whole thing – part of this questioning had everything to do with the conflicts between what I was told that men are supposed to do and what I was finding out about what men can do and, specifically, what I was doing.
Now toss in that I grew up in that time when women were telling men that we needed to get in touch with our feminine sides and you can probably see why I’d spend some times thinking about whether or not I was really a guy and more so when I first believed that I didn’t have a feminine side… then found out that I actually do and that the male gender role is all about suppressing that side of our behavior, like, men aren’t supposed to cry and other stereotypical, macho, stuff because it was believed (and probably still is) that a man can’t be about the business of being a man if he’s thinking and behaving like a woman – ladies, put the knives away – I’m still talking about the mindset of the times back then!
If you’re thinking that I was having one hell of a time with this, I had it easy compared to some other guys I knew. I could tell it was on their minds because they would go out of their way to “prove” that they were guys, you know, overdoing that whole machismo thing and quite a few guys admitted that this really fucked with their heads; they would take a lot of “macho” risks to prove their manliness or were severely depressed as they tried to resolve the conflict within them. Image was part of it – you just didn’t want anyone to think that you weren’t “one of the guys” because it just wasn’t always physically or emotionally healthy to be seen as one of the girls… but I know that, again, that conflict between what men are supposed to do and what men can do really fucked with the minds of a lot of bi guys I knew back then. Most of them eventually decided that, yeah, they’re really a guy but one or two of them came to the conclusion that they were “really” more female than male in their thoughts and actions, especially when they had that affinity for men in the same way women have it.
Eventually, I figured out that (a) I wasn’t gay and (b) I was a guy. I had learned or otherwise figured out that some aspects of gender roles are interchangeable and by gender I mean the dictionary definition – the act of being male or female – and not what others are saying this means. I could do “manly” things, those things that guys were expected and required to do in order to be seen as and called a man… but I could do “girly” things, too, like suck a mean dick and have a good time being fucked by another guy; I could be “emotionally” shut down, you know, to give that air of manly strength (or a lack of weakness) or I could be emotionally labile, something that many consider to be a girl-thing to deal with.
Do all bi guys question their masculinity? If we all do, there are some of us who wouldn’t admit that we did – it’s just not manly to admit something like that. I just know that I did at one point and so did a lot of the bi guys I knew and, given what Recklessly wrote about today, I guess that this really hasn’t changed. What we find out is that there is a fine line between our sexuality and our “roles” of being male and while it is preferred that we be male in everything we do, yeah, some of us are decidedly not male in everything and more so when it comes to how we feel about other men and/or our desire to have sexual congress with our fellow man.