Notes from a Unicorn
On how hard it is to identify as a bisexual man, even in today's America.
If I’m a unicorn where I live now, in L.A., then I was a unicorn rocky mountain oyster when I moved to the old rustbelt city of Syracuse, New York to go to grad school and live for the first time as a fully out bi man. There was one other mythical bi man in the entire city, but try as I might, I never found him. At the gay bar, I sometimes got called a “half-breeder.” Straight people treated me just as shittily as they treat gay people. Three times, gay men hit me in the back of the head when they saw my head turn for a women. For the most part, straight women wouldn’t date me because, as one said, “You’re just gonna leave me to go suck a dick.” For the first time in my life, frat boys called me fag. My professor said, “The world just isn’t ready for gay marriage.” I emailed him “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Then I went out with friends and my gay friends didn’t know what to do because I got drunk and flirted with a lesbian. A friend said she thought bi people didn’t exist. I said, “I’m sitting right here,” because that was my answer, but I was starting to believe her. I stopped telling people what I was. I let people think what they wanted, which was usually that I was like them.
About a year into being there, I thought, “Why don’t I just call myself gay?” I would see if I could do it before I told people, I thought. I mean, except for the occasional straight porn, and that one girl, and maybe that other one, I was only dating men. I made it a point. No more straight porn. No more thinking of women. No more dating women.
A few months later, I found myself in bed with a guy. I’d been doing well making up for lost time. No women, no women at all, except for a tiny bit of porn. I was almost ready to just say, “I’m gay. You guys were right. That bi thing was bullshit.” I was getting better at the whole blowjob thing. I was tied to the bed because I love being tied to the bed. I couldn’t move. I moaned and screamed and made all the right noises, but then it was time, and he started to expect an end because it was getting late—dogs needed to be fed and teeth brushed and homework finished—but I just couldn’t come. I just couldn’t. He was getting tired and starting to look around but he didn’t stop, thank god, because it would have ruined it, because I was right on the edge. Right there. So I did what no one admits to their lovers they do but that everyone does: I closed my eyes and let my mind wander to other people. I thought about men. I was sitting there forcing myself to think about men, only men, men men men men men men, and then it slipped in there, like when someone says don’t think about rhubarb pie and you think about rhubarb pie. I thought, for a second, about Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, because I’d watched an episode earlier that day. Then I fucking erupted. I came so hard I was worried about getting enough air. I hope Alyson Hannigan doesn’t take out a restraining order on me for admitting that, but it’s important. Not because I came like that, and not because it’s ridiculous, which it totally is, but because I’d tried to make a choice to be straight but it wouldn’t work and now I’d tried to be gay and it wouldn’t work.
I wanted to join a team so I wouldn’t have to answer any more questions, so I wouldn’t have to say that I preferred one or the other or whether I exist or if I’m a unicorn or how I can ever hope to be monogamous if I’m attracted to more than one gender. But I failed to choose a side, so now, for once, I’m going to answer all of these questions honestly:
I don’t know. I can’t speak for other bi people, but only for myself. I just don’t know.