This is something that intrigues and confuses me, and it has for a long time. I posted about coming out just a few days ago, and although I didn’t really feel like telling my own story, I tried to convey that I’m all for coming out and being gay and being happy. But is it really that easy to label yourself and then just live with it?
At my university, we have an annual event called the Medics Pub Crawl – it’s pretty fun I think. I’m not really sure, since the goal is to be off your face even before you get on the bus to the first destination. At last year’s pub crawl, as is my tradition when going out, I mingled with many groups of people and not just my everyday group of friends. So on one of the buses between venues, I sat with some girls in my class. We were all pretty well socially lubricated at this point, so things got a bit flirty as they often do. They all knew that I was gay and I knew that they all knew, so it’s all good if we flirt a bit. No harm done. Except that I ended up almost making out with the one girl, but picked her friend instead. This caused some friction there apparently, oh well. Anyway, the one I chose is taller than me, has beautiful blonde curls or waves or whatever and has a banging body. It just happened, and it was fun for both of us I hope.
Later that night, at the last venue, I spot this super tall guy who is also in my class. I had never really spoken to him before that evening, but I had always assumed that he would swing both ways. So we’re on the street and I approach him and attempt to chat him up, and it works. Did I mention that he’s taller than me and had brown curls or waves or whatever? The reason I’m drawing this comparison is simply because sometimes it’s true that you have a type, but can your type resonate with you regardless of gender?
For me the answer is almost always no, but after a few drinks I enjoy making out with girls. I assume it’s just because I enjoy making out and it doesn’t really have anything to do with sex or gender, as long as there’s some level of physical attraction.
The reason for the backstory was really so I could mention the tall guy. Let’s just call him J. J is a vegetarian and looks like a hippy sometimes and like a hipster other times. He’s a model and a medical student, so he checks a lot of boxes and leaves many other boxes blank.
My sometimes socially awkward friend doesn’t make out with too many people when she’s drunk, instead she asks questions and brings up things best forgotten. I mentioned earlier that J and I didn’t really speak before we kissed a year ago, well now we’re in the same group of friends, so we speak rather often. At a party last weekend the awkward bestie asks him about his label. He responds, quite casually I might add, that he isn’t sure what he is. He likes girls but he could also easily make out with me again right there and then. I responded that it would not be that easy, just because I didn’t know what to say.
The akward bestie, I think that’s what I’ll call her from now on, seemed unsure how she felt about this, purely from a ‘what box in my head is reserved fir this’, kind of perspective. I tried to come up for J and said not to label him, he’s clearly not at either extreme of the Kinsey scale. I felt very cosmopolitan and forward thinking for saying this, but then I started really thinking about it. I think I may need labels. I think society as whole may function better when we can label things. I tried to imagine dating not J, but someone like him, someone who didn’t really know what they wanted.
I’ve been struggling with simply the idea of dating a bisexual man. I don’t know why it’s such a weird thing for me, I hook up with guys and girls but have no emotional or romantic attraction to girls so I’m not quite identifying as bi. Should it bother me that a bi man could just as easily leave me for a woman as for another man? Probably not. What does bother me and I feel like it may be more justified, is that a bi man can never be at the same comfort level with my girl friends as I am, there’s a possibility of sexual attraction there. I’m the jealous type, so maybe that’s what’s shining through here if we’re being completely honest. So did I just decide that the ‘Bi’ label is an exception? Do we want labels, but ones that say something concrete, like ‘I want a girlfriend’ or ‘I want a boyfriend’ rather than ‘I’m single’?
Back to the J situation. If you’re unsure what you want, and you date a boy for a year just to realise that you really want to marry a woman instead, is that fair to either of you? If you don’t want the world to label you, that’s probably completely okay, but maybe you should have a label tucked away in your mind just for your own personal use?
Obviously I can’t really come up with a concrete solution to the problem of labeling, and maybe there isn’t a problem at all. Maybe it’s all much of a muchness and every situation warrants a complete evaluation by itself.