One of the things that used to irk the hell out of me was people telling me that I didn’t need to be bisexual, that I should endeavor to be like all the other men around me. A former lover said this to me one day and, ooh, it pushed a button and I said to her, “What, are you asking or telling me not to be who I am? That I should be like other dudes, like the one who used to beat on you whenever he felt like it, or the one who was robbing you blind, or all those guys you told me about – complained about – who didn’t care about your value as a woman and a person but just wanted you because you can fuck like a wild woman?”
“You want me to be one of those guys?”
She was taken aback at the ferocity of my questions and was about to say something but I cut her off by saying, “See, you think you understand, but you really don’t. You don’t like the fact that I’ve slept with men and, worse, you think that because I love to suck dick, that has something to do with you. My sexuality bothers you and it shouldn’t… yet, you want me to be what you want me to be instead of me being the person I am… and I don’t pretend to understand that, no, not one bit.”
“You don’t have to go around sucking dick,” she said after a moment.
“I know I don’t “have” to do it; I do it because I love doing it. But, again, you think you understand and you don’t because my sexuality isn’t just about the sex part of it; being bisexual liberated me from a whole lot of the shit we were taught growing up; it’s helped me to see things differently, to understand that there’s more to life than just following along behind everybody else and toeing the line as expected. I’d even go as far as to say that if I weren’t bisexual, we would have never met and that’s because I wouldn’t have had the mindset or even the ability to reach out to you as I did and despite our situations and I sure as hell wouldn’t have been able to love you as I do. You want me to be like every other motherfucker… and I’m not like every other motherfucker – why is this a problem?”
“It’s not a problem, it’s just that…,” she started to say – then went quiet.
“I remember,when we met and started talking, that you said that you weren’t the kind of woman that goes around trying to change a man… yet, here you are, trying to change me and insisting that I not be who and what I am and without understanding that my sexuality made me into the guy you fell in love with,” I said. “So… if I stop being bisexual – if I stop being myself – does that mean that you’re gonna stop loving me?”
She continued to sit there silently; I could tell that she was deep in thought, her facial expressions neutral but her eyes letting me know what was going on.
“I have to be who and even what I am,” I said slowly, getting the impression that what we had together was about to come apart at the seams. “Even if I promised not to suck another man’s dick, it won’t ever change the facts that, for one, I’ve sucked a lot of dick and for the other, the desire to suck even more cock isn’t just gonna up and leave. It’s what I’ve done… it’s just a part of me that’s just as natural as my wanting to have sex with you and since I’m mentioning this, if you think I’m kinda/sort good at it, did it ever cross your mind that my sexuality just might have something to do with that?”
“Yes, I did,” she said quietly. “But…”
“But what? Look, I get that my being bisexual bothers you and I’ll remind you that when we first started talking, I told you that I was bisexual and you said that you didn’t have a problem with it… but I guess you really did, huh?” I asked, shaking my head. “You want or maybe even need me to be something I never was, something I can’t possibly be. My sexuality can’t be turned off, forgotten, or otherwise discarded; it’s as much a part of me as breathing! Would you like for me to stop breathing?”
“Don’t be stupid,” she said, her formidable anger now beginning to surface.
“I’m not the one being stupid here,” I countered. “I’m wondering why so many women rant and rave about a man having to accept them as they are, all the good and bad things about them but those same women are, more often than not, unwilling to accept a man under those same conditions.”
“Are you saying that I’m one of those women?” she asked.
“I’m not saying that you are – the question was rhetorical,” I said. “I get that you have this idea of the kind of man you want and how you’d want him to be so that you can be loved, cherished, and all those other things women desire in life… and I get that because I’m bisexual, eh, I don’t exactly fit the thing that you have inside your head; you don’t like it this one thing about me…”
“There are a lot of things I don’t like about you,” she said, cutting me off.
“As you say,” I said with a nod. “There’s a lot of things I don’t like about you but the one thing I really don’t like is you wanting me to stop being the person I am and change into the person you want me to be… and I’m not going to do that – I can’t do that: I won’t do that.”
“So are you saying that you don’t love me enough to change?” she asked, her eyes beginning to glisten with unshed tears. “You saying that I’m not worth you giving up this bisexual shit?”
“That bisexual shit, as you so crudely put it, has been a part of my life for the longest time,” I said. “Do I love you? Oh, Lord knows I really and truly do; you are a magnificent woman, no question about that. Do I love you so much that I’d be willing to forego being the person I’ve always been? No, I can’t honestly say that I do; there are a lot of things I’m willing to do for your love but for me to stop being that which made me the person I am sitting here in front of you? You’re asking me to do something I cannot and will not do; you might not like this part of me… but I do and I’m never, ever going to apologize for that or for being who and what I am.”
“Then I guess there’s nothing else to be said, ” she said. “I’m done with all of this and since you’ve made it clear that I’m not worth changing for, that means I’m done with you, too.”
“So be it,” I said, my heart crashing to the floor and breaking into tiny pieces. I stood up and took a deep, calming breath, to help me fight off the urge to cry and stepped toward the door.
“Where are you going?” she asked.
“Home,” I replied. “If we’re through, there’s no reason for me to remain here, is there?”
I walked out, closing the door behind me and if she answered my question, well, I just never heard it. I got in my car and headed home, replaying the whole conversation in my head several times and thinking that even though I’d lost someone I loved deeply, I would have lost a lot more than that by trying to be someone – or something – I wasn’t and couldn’t be. I thought about how men are expected and required to sacrifice everything for the love of a woman so that we can be the guy she wants and needs but I also thought about that really weird situation where a woman can fall in love with a guy because of everything he is and at the moment she realizes that she loves him… but there’s always that one thing she, for some reason, wants and needs to change because she doesn’t like it or something like that so she “demands” that he change or else.
I thought that, at the end of any day, the only thing I have that is truly mine is who I am and those things that make me who I am and that, yeah, you’re damned right, when someone tries to take from me that which makes me who and what I am, I have a problem with that; it violates a principle that we all have, that being, we must always be true to ourselves first and foremost… but how can you do that when someone feels that they need to make changes within you that, ultimately, will turn your into someone or something else? I realized, as I parked my car at home, that I needed to do some really serious thinking about all of this.
And I did think about it but I couldn’t come up with a way for me to not be bisexual; it just wasn’t simply a thing to do – it was a way to be, the way I’d always been and it didn’t matter if I was having sex with men or not. I knew, even if she didn’t, that I just can’t stop being bisexual; it’s not like turning off a light or unlearning a bad habit like biting your nails or something like that. Like Popeye use to say, “I yam what I yam…” and what I am is bisexual… and I just can’t be anything other than that.
A few weeks later, she called me and the first thing she said was, “I was wrong; I don’t have the right to tell or demand that you not be who you are. I know I fell in love with who you are and that part of who you are is being bisexual. I just wanted to let you know that, okay?”
“Okay,” I said. “Thank you for telling me this.” I figured that once she said this, the call would end and life would continue to move forward as always.
“What are you doing this weekend?” she asked.
“Nothing that I know of – why?” I asked.
“I’d like to see you,” she said.
“Okay,” I said. “Might I ask why?”
“I think you know why,” she said. “I’d like for us to talk about a few things that can only be discussed in person.”
And we did talk…