My Timing Sucks
What else is there to say about a guy who doesn’t discover that he’s bisexual until well into middle age, after he’s lost a lot of his hair and virtually all of his looks?
Consider this my coming out. I’m bisexual. There, it’s out. I said it. That closet was getting awfully claustrophobic. The only good thing about the closet is that you can only walk out of them, not in them.
For years, I’ve been wanting to tell you guys this but have been afraid to on account of certain former acquaintances here in town that would turn it into fun fodder (and for those of you ready to post homophobic comments, save your energy: They’re moderated and I will not tolerate anything that slurs the LGBT community.).
But then I realized that I shouldn’t let small-minded people dictate the depth, width and breadth of my self-expression, the yaw, pitch and roll of my thought. Like everyone else, I have no wish to be defined strictly by my sexual identity. But for years, I’ve been struggling with my emerging bisexuality and my desire to tell you guys this. I want to put it out there and then walk away from it and move on. It’s no different from declaring my liberalism or love for animals.
Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that when I first got an inkling of my real sexual identity, I was in even more of an uncomfortable spot than I’m now in. One person in particular would’ve been absolutely crushed and it would’ve been a devastating déjà vu. Up until a few years ago, when I first found out I was attracted to other guys, no one would’ve been prepared for such a bombshell. For the first 45, 46 years of my life, I was a flaming hetero who spent hours a day thinking about having sex with women. An ex girlfriend even uncharitably called me “a womanizer.”
And when I was actually worth looking at, I’d been approached several times by gay and bisexual men and I recoiled in horror. Whatever homophobia I had then is long since gone, trust me, but the thing I must remind myself is that only my emerging, increasingly powerful bisexual urges are responsible for that homophobia’s permanent retreat.
And when I say “bisexual urges”, I’m not talking about mere bicuriosity or just wondering “how the other half lives.” I’ve harbored romantic feelings for at least one guy in the recent past and that was the experience, brief and chaste as it was, that proved to me beyond a doubt that my soul craves more than just casual, anonymous gay sex. If I was single and I met my Mr. Right, you’re damned straight I’d take advantage of Massachusetts’ legal recognizance of gay marriage.
But Mrs. JP should not worry. Unlike some people I can name, I’m not the cheating sort. It’s really no different than being a pure heterosexual who’s still potentially capable of being attracted to the opposite sex but still knows enough not to touch.
But no one was more surprised by this than yours truly, who for the first four and a half decades of his life never felt the slightest attraction toward any male. There were no clues, no hints, no nothing to warn me about this looming crisis. After all, I still hold that in almost all cases, we’re born with our sexual identities. No one wakes up and decides to switch hit or simply turns gay or bi. It has nothing to do with morality aside from whatever conduct we adopt in our respective relationships and it’s not a lifestyle “choice” as the wingnuts are fond of insisting while we let them thusly frame the debate.
Yet my attraction to certain types of males was undeniable. Personally, I go for sweet, smart, younger, clean-shaven, long-haired guys with slender builds. But never in my callow, shamelessly heterosexual past was I ever in the slightest attracted to even those guys. I can’t understand it. It was like Kafka’s Metamorphosis as filmed by John Waters. And suddenly, I started seeing more and more gorgeous guys that made me turn my head. Some of them I saw only once and to this day, I still think about them.
Maybe it was my emerging liberal sensibilities, the ones that drove me to become a blogger, that helped put me in touch with my real sexuality. Taking up the good fights, especially gay rights, helped me to sharpen my self-awareness as well as my political and social acumen and IQ. It was a synergistic thing. The more outrages I saw being committed against the LGBT community such as Prop 8 and the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard, the more it personally outraged me because I knew that I was now personally involved. Their struggle became mine. Gay and bisexual characters began tip toeing into my fiction, starting with American Zen.
Sadly, since I am in a committed, heterosexual and still very happy relationship, my urges will have to continue to be sublimated for the rest of my life (the age difference between me and the guys I go for will help keep me honest, too). But Mrs. JP has caught me looking at one stunningly gorgeous guy in particular and I’m not as subtle as I thought I was. As she said to me a couple of nights ago, “Women always know when their men are looking at others.” I’ll never know what it’s like to kiss a handsome guy on the mouth or to be loved by one. But then again, I’ll also never get to bungee jump off Mount Rushmore or get to spit in George W. Bush’s face. It’s just one more regret I’ll have to learn to live with.
So there. It’s out. I said it. I’m bisexual and while I’m not necessarily proud of my true sexual orientation (as George Carlin said, it’s like being proud of being 5’ 10”), it’s nonetheless part of who and what I am. I’m a huge believer in full disclosure. And as long as I was keeping this under wraps, I felt I was being dishonest with you readers, hypocritical toward the LGBT community that I passionately champion and, worst of all, to myself.
But to any young gay or bisexual person reading this, please heed my words and listen to me when I say how very, very important it is to be yourself. Don’t prove George Bernard Shaw’s axiom of youth being wasted on the young. If you know what you are, be what you are while you still have youth, health and beauty momentarily on your side. And in the grand scheme of things, they are momentary, as briefly-lived as a snowflake on a 33 degree day or a petal on a dogwood tree.
Be yourself and love as hard, as passionately, as unconditionally, as bravely and as honestly as you can while the whole world is still yours to take.