As I was out playing in the traffic and taking care of some business, I got to thinking about this and I thought that, damn, for some folks, it’s bad enough discovering that you’re bisexual and now you’re trying to figure out the deal going on with this – it’s one of the banes of being bisexual. Another is trying to figure out if any action on these “new” feelings is warranted or even possible, something that’s almost guaranteed to give one a few sleepless, restless nights. Then there’s this one: Telling someone that you’re bisexual (or that you think you are); the more I thought about this, the more I was reminded that there just isn’t one tried and true, dyed-in-the-wool way to let someone know about this.
Telling the truth is the right thing to do but, hmm, there’s just no telling how someone is going to receive this bit of news and it doesn’t take much to have the initial thought that, nah, they’re not going to be overjoyed to hear that you’re not as straight as you appear to be… or even as you thought you once were. Likewise, it doesn’t take much to figure out that you could remain silent but, at some point, others are going to magically become aware that you’re now a little different from the way you were the other day; your mood has changed, you seem distracted a lot or your body language is screaming that something’s bothering you… and then someone’s going to ask you what’s going on with you… and now it’s decision time: Do you tell them (and hope for the best result) or do you [basically] lie like a rug and say that nothing’s wrong even though you know that, duh, they wouldn’t have asked the question if they weren’t sure there was something not quite right with you.
It’s not easy to explain by any means and more so when a lot of one’s internal thoughts about bisexuality don’t have much in the way of substance – they’re more feeling and impression than anything else and even I know how difficult it is to latch onto these things and try to translate them into English and without sounding like I’ve lost my mind or something. If you have the need to tell someone, I’d highly recommend that you figure out the best way to take all that stuff in your head and turn them into an explanation and, while you’re at it, start thinking about the answers to the questions that you can bet your ass are gonna come your way. I’d even recommend that before you say anything about it to someone, take some time to “feel” them out so you can get a better idea of whether or not they’re going to be receptive or if they’re gonna spaz out on you – and keeping in mind that no matter what you think you know about them, people can change their minds faster than they can think about changing their mind.
There are some fans of coming out who feel that this is something that has to be done and I do agree with this… in part and more so if you’re able to “graduate” to having the sex – it’s obvious you’re gonna have to let someone know, right? But when it comes to family and friends (and other people close to you)? It can be a minefield and I can’t think of a nicer way to put it. I thought that, okay, they’re gonna have maybe three initial reactions: They might flip out, might not say or do anything, or they might accept it… but there’s no telling what you’re gonna face when you pull up on one of these folks and say, “Um, I have something I need to talk to you about…”
It’s some very scary shit – no nicer way to put this, either, so another thing I’d offer as a suggestion is to hope for the best… but plan for the worse. Don’t assume that because they love you or they’re otherwise tight with you that they’re just gonna accept this; I think that a lot of people who come out might do this so they wind up getting kicked in some tender places when the person they tell react in a way they didn’t expect. They were maybe expecting cool acceptance… but got bitch-slapped instead. The big question one should ask themselves is, “What am I gonna do if this goes wrong?” and, no, I wouldn’t recommend that you “worry about it when the time comes” and decide not to have a plan in your head to deal with the worst-case scenarios that are sure to heavily fall onto you and now you’re living your worst nightmare.
I’ve seen this go wrong so many times and, yep, I’ve told people and they’ve wigged out and cut their ties to me and, nope, it doesn’t feel good at all and for some, the aftereffects can be emotionally devastating and, in some situations, fatally so. So instead of saying that if you’re bisexual you have to come out to one and all – and because I know first-hand how fucked up this can go – I will tell someone that they should do it on a need to know basis – and then you’d better be damned sure that they really need to know. I know that some folks aren’t fond of this coming out approach, that honestly is always the best policy and that the truth never hurt anyone… when this ain’t the God-given truth by any stretch of the imagination.
One of the things I think someone should think about in this is in the form of yet another questions: “What if I get outed, accidentally or otherwise?” and, fuck no, this isn’t one of those things that (again) you’re gonna deal with if it happens. Ah, man, I just feel that you have to ask yourself these “what if” questions so that if it does happen, you’ll be able to keep your cool and explain yourself – and don’t assume that you’re not gonna have to explain anything; sometimes, telling someone, “I don’t have to explain myself to you!” or “I don’t answer to your ass!” or even “You ain’t the boss of me!” is not going to go well for you. And, of course, don’t ever assume that getting accidentally outed can’t happen to you because anything’s possible.
I wouldn’t ever recommend shouting your bisexuality to the mountaintops as a matter of course… but I do recommend that you think about this with all the care you can bring to bear before you ask someone, “How can I explain this to you so that you’ll understand?” It’s something that I always think about and, yes, there are some people who I will decide don’t need to know and, yes, if they asked, I’m not gonna tell because, honestly, I don’t need the aggravation at this point in my life and, yep, I know for a fact that some people just can’t handle the truth. Does this make me dishonest? Some would say yes to that when, at least in my mind, I’m being prudent, protecting my own ass (Rule Number One is always in effect), or I’m being considerate of their sensibilities.
Some people do need to know… but everyone doesn’t need to know but for the people in your life that do need to know, you really and seriously have to think about how you’re going to tell them and then deal with whatever happens after you do.