Men who sleep with men who sleep with writers

One of the many things I like to carry on about is the topic of bisexuality. One of the great debates about the implications of Shakespeare’s sonnets (because half are written about a tortuous relationship with a woman and the other to a beloved younger man) is the shocking question: Is Shakespeare gay?

Nope. He (or rather his poetic persona) is bisexual. Bisexual merely means that a person is attracted to members of the same and the opposite sex. Let’s make this more personal. You have mostly dated women, but once you had an intense relationship with a man in college. Maybe you didn’t even sleep with him but had a long friendship rife with homoerotic overtones. Maybe you would have slept with him if he had asked, but he never did. Congratulations, you’re bisexual! Now you don’t have to tell anyone about the man from college. You don’t have to march in gay pride parades (but why wouldn’t you? they are kind of fun). But you can’t deny the fact that, in your little heart of erotic hearts, you are bisexual.

Now let’s talk about writers. Here’s a test. Do you write? Congratulations, you’re a writer! Why is it so hard for people to call themselves writers? If you engage in putting words down on the page then you are a writer. Musicians deal with this better, I think. I played a lovely alto stringed instrument growing up. I wasn’t that good, but I wasn’t that bad either. I played in college as well. I call myself an amateur musician.

So claim your damn self and stop worrying so much about what it all means. You can write without being published; you can be a writer if you hate everything you produce. You can be a writer if you read your shit aloud to your cat. And you’re especially a writer if you can get the fuck off the internet and write.

What do you claim and what do you deny?


9 responses to “Men who sleep with men who sleep with writers

  1. Why is it that bisexuality makes people so crazy? There is the connotation that it is somehow synonomous with promiscuity, or menage a trois.
    There is also the misunderstanding that the term means one os just trying something out, a perversion, a back room in a members-only bar. From my experience, the people heading out for the weekend excursion tend not to be bi but rather scared and gay.
    I claim being a writer. As for the cats, they stopped listening years ago.

    • My cat only listens when I have a dish of food in my hand.

      Leslie Feinberg, who writes about being transgender, says that people are threatened by gender nonconformity because they divide the world into people they could/would have sex with and those they won’t. (S/he said it a lot better than that, of course.) But I think it’s true that we’re always categorizing people and bisexuality complicates that and so people find it threatening.

      I also think that bisexuality gets a bad rap because no one talks about it in terms of Shakespeare (Happy Birthday, Shakespeare, by the way), they just call him gay or straight, or the rest of us just identify as gay or straight when technically (so many) of us are bi.

      I’ve been calling myself bi for years and years and years, but even so I have to slip in something about monogamy. It’s a hard conversation to have.

      • Not only a hard conversation, but a moment when you realize that you are telling people way too much about yourself. The goal being to break down barriers turns into a very uncomfortable moment when it is no longer about gay/bi/trans but about your personal situation.

        I would imagine.

      • I do manage to slip in an occasional “Yep, I’m married to a man, but before him I mostly dated women.” Then I blush and try my best to move on. It comes up mostly when people are sitting around and talking about their exes.

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