“I expect to pass through this world but once. If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do any fellow human being let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I will not pass this way again.” – Stephen Grellet (1773 –1855, born Etienne de Grellet du Mabillier)
A girl friend of mine gave me a poster that had this quote on it and of all the famous quotes I’ve heard in my lifetime, this was the most profound of them; it touched something deep inside of me and so much that when I unwrapped it and read it for the first time, it brought me to tears. I had the poster for years, had it hanging in prominent places wherever I lived until “the ravages of time” finally caught up with it, reducing it to yellowed, aged tatters. But the message stayed with me even though, admittedly, I didn’t exactly use this quotation as a framework for my life; I wasn’t my generation’s version of The Good Samaritan by any stretch of the imagination and more so since we eventually learn along the way that no good deed goes unpunished.
I started this year’s “Today’s Bisexual Thoughts” in a more… philosophical frame of mind and I seem to be continuing along those lines with this writing as I just sit here, sipping my now tepid coffee (I seriously need to make another very hot mug of it) and thinking about all the things I’ve learned to date about being bisexual and how I’ve been paying it forward, sharing what I’ve learned with those who, perhaps, haven’t been able to make sense of this very confusing aspect of being human. This frame of mind had me thinking about a conversation (actually, a dressing-down) I had with my youngest son about the consequences of his actions and the moment when he looked at me defiantly and asked, “How do you know?”
“What, do you really think I was born being this old?” I asked him with a bit of an evil grin on my face as I watched my words sink into his brain… and the look he got on his face was, shall we say, beyond precious and priceless. I often write that I have an advantage that a lot of bisexuals don’t have – I’m an old guy and old enough to recognize that a lot of the angst we see today over bisexuality isn’t something new to me; from my point of view, I’ve always been aware of it and while the players in the game have changed, the dirty pool being used hasn’t changed a whole lot.
I dunno… at some point during this blogging experience, I decided to write about bisexuality because, for one, it’s something near and dear to my heart and, for the other, I was reading on a daily basis where a lot of people were trying to understand this and, holy shit, not only were they spouting the anti-bisexual rhetoric that I had heard when I was a very young bisexual, their attempts to put it all together was way off base and, often, to the point where I’d often wonder, “What are they talking about? They can’t be talking about bisexuality, can they?”
So I began to comment and write with a purpose, not as much as to “set the record straight” or to convert folks to the bi side but to illustrate that whatever it is they were thinking about bisexuality, well, um, here’s a very real and in-your-face view of it, without the politically correct sugary coating being applied because one’s sexuality is some very serious shit so instead of dancing all around stuff or making up shit that sounds like logic and common sense, I’d often bring that cold slap in the face and, just as often, point out that while bisexuality can be complicated, many people seemed eager to make mountains out of ant hills by overly complicating things. During those early days of climbing on my literary soapbox, I would ask myself, “Why are you even bothering with this? One person isn’t going to change everyone and everything in such a short period of time, especially when you’re now fighting against a prejudice that’s been around longer than you’ve been around!”
The answer to that really good question can be found at the beginning of this writing or, as I love saying, someone has to do it and if not me, then who? If not now, when? Now, it’s not that there weren’t others paying it forward and providing their own points of view but, okay, where was the real-deal, real-life stuff? Where was the stuff being written by those bisexuals who have experienced things and not from a theoretical point of view? And, better yet, why were these worthy people still bringing up stereotypical shit that was horribly ancient before I got around to hearing it? Better still, how is it that these new detractors being seen are laying the blame for society’s woes solely on the necks of bisexuals, assigning us problems and other portents of doom that, in fact, can affect anyone regardless to their sexuality?
What the fuck were they seeing that I hadn’t been seeing all along? I thought long and hard about this (get your minds out of the gutter for now, okay?) and began to see a picture developing, like those old fashioned Polaroids that were once state of the art in photography; a lot of folks were writing about this and using faulty and inaccurate information – all that bullshit I heard when I was growing up and, well, okay, it just made me hit the keyboard really hard – and enough that I’m wearing the letters off of it; it makes me quite grateful that I learned how to touch-type way back in junior high school. As I wrote blog after blog and many comments, I did realize that I was becoming repetitive and that worried me… until I realized that in order to learn something, you need repetition until whatever you’re learning becomes second nature to you. But it’s hard to change a person’s mind and/or the way they think about things; once you get it into your head that bisexuality and all that it can mean is a bad thing, changing that perception is difficult; if you believe the hype that bisexuals are greedy, are unable to commit to relationships, are confused and, gasp, are the sole source of STDs, then when faced with a differing point of view, well, it’s not easily accepted; people are just hard-headed and rigid about such things and, as a species, eh, change isn’t something we are known to easily embrace.
Putting what I’ve learned over the decades seemed like a losing battle on my part; one voice among many louder voices or as bad as trying to have a conversation with someone in a bar or club and you’re sitting near a speaker blasting music at a level that’ll damage your hearing and give you a sore throat trying to be heard over the loudness. Still, it had to be done and while none of my writings on this subject are about getting results, I could take to heart that there were/are some people who’d read and have their confusion lifted, a reminder to me that if I can write all of this stuff and it can help one person see the light, then I have not deferred nor neglected the chance to do some good. Someone has to stand up and say, “Um, excuse me, but this is what I’ve learned about being bisexual, what I’ve experienced first-hand, and what I’ve observed in others; you don’t have to believe me… but you should, at the very least, read what I have to say about this because, who knows, it just might make sense.”
I’ve sat here and read people nitpick bisexuality in ways that, often, doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, using terminology that even when I read the definitions provided, don’t make a lot of sense; I see folks making gender an issue and I still don’t think that people who add this word to the bisexual mix understand the definition of the word; I mean, it’s right there in any dictionary you can get your hands on. The psychology involved is mind-numbing and I’ve seen so many pieces written in what I call psychobabble that at times, it’s made me wonder if I’m really as bisexual as I think I am… but of course I am because while there are people writing about this in such a way, chances are good that I was already doing it way before they were born… and maybe before their parents were born.
My perspective is an older one that runs from what I’ll call “the age of moral righteousness” of the 1950s through the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s and, obviously, goes from the 20th century into the 21st century… but through all these periods of time, has bisexuality as a sexual orientation actually changed? No, not really; the only thing that has changed is the way people are perceiving it and, whoa, a lot of their perception is based on the misinformation I grew up with and with the added confusion that seeks to establish that bisexuality isn’t just about being emotionally and/or physically attracted to men and women; those folks who insist that bisexuality should be about “hearts, not parts” are – and I apologize for saying this – naive and clueless because, let’s face the truth here: Being bisexual is about the parts; you gotta get through the parts to get to the hearts and that’s if you even wanna be bothered with the romantic aspects… but I get it. Hearts, not parts, is a moral attempt to push the desire to fuck someone to the back of the line and as if having the sex doesn’t and shouldn’t matter. But it does matter… and, yes, it seems that I’m the guy who calls bullshit on this politically correct manner of describing something that is in no damned way political. I’m the guy that says, “Shit, I’m all about the pussy and the dick; when it comes to love and romance (and sex, of course), give me a woman; when it comes to busting a nut, yep, guys work nicely for this, too – but I don’t rule out the emotional aspects with the fellas – been there, done that already – and I will never say never about this but, by and large, this shit is about hearts and parts, people…”
Because someone has to say it; because someone has to pay it forward and not defer nor neglect to do this because, nope, it’s not very damned likely that I will pass this way again. Someone like me has to ask, “Hey, look, uh, don’t you think you’re looking at this the wrong way and making it harder than it already is? Why aren’t people applying the KISS principle when trying to understand bisexuality and bisexuals?”
I’ll keep paying it forward; I’ll keep putting it out there because maybe, just maybe, it’ll all do someone some good because, truly, I shall never pass this way again…