I deserve an Oscar for every romantic encounter I've ever had with a boy. I was so good, I even convinced myself I was attracted to them.
Part of me doesn't want to write this post, because I'm hesitant to feed into the stereotype that bisexual people are just confused about their sexuality. But I always promised myself that I'd be true and honest on this blog, and this is my reality. So to the bisexual community: I'm sorry. Not all bisexual people are questioning, I just happen to be.
I don't know what it is that makes me want to be attracted to these boys. Maybe it's a little bit of loneliness. Maybe it's just a subconscious desire to be normal in our heterosexual, romance-obsessed society. I don't know, but my point is that I've gotten good at reading it in a boy's eye when he's attracted to me. I don't think I've been wrong yet. And as soon as I notice that, that little gleam of interest in eyes that I found only plain and ordinary a moment ago, all of a sudden I'm no longer myself. Instead, I've transformed into this foreign stereotype of the stupid little girl who giggles and blushes and flirts - even though, deep down, I mean none of it. It's a performance - one I don't mean to put on, but one that always seems to find its way to the surface nonetheless.
Inside, I don't feel anything for them, and when I first started putting on the performance in high school, I thought that that was normal. I figured that the books and movies had exaggerated what it was to be attracted to someone. There were no butterflies in my stomach, no caught breaths when his hand brushed mine, no feelings of excitement when he promised to see me again, and I just accepted that that was what real life was like. That is, until I was sixteen, when all of that surfaced for a girl in my drama class with eyes as grey as the moon and an excitement for life like none I had ever seen before.
But she was different, I told myself - I knew her well. I must have been in love with her, while I hadn't had the time to get to know these boys intimately enough. So when she was gone and the boys returned, I took up the performance again, never really noticing that I didn't quite felt the same way about the boys I flirted with as I did about the girls I flirted with.
I cried after my first kiss with a boy. He didn't really do anything out of the ordinary, but still, after we parted ways, I felt disgust filling me so deeply that I wanted to scream. I went home immediately, scrubbing hard at my lips with soap so that I could wipe away the memory of his mouth. I hated myself for it, because that was the first time that I recognized the performance for what it was. I had never been attracted to him. I had never wanted him to kiss me. I had told myself that I was attracted to him because... because why? Because he was attracted to me? Because I wanted to be attracted to him? Why would I want that, when in retrospect, he wasn't even cute?
My performance has often forced me to play the role of the bitch, of the friendzoning harpie who leads boys on and then abandons them when they try to make a move. I've never let things get farther than a single kiss, because to be honest, every touch of a man's lips that I've experienced so far has disgusted me, and it isn't their fault. To be honest, I don't know whose fault it is. God's, for making me this way? Society's, for making me so desperate to find a man that I'm willing to lie to myself to do it? My own, for failing to recognize all of this in time?
And I am attracted to men, I think. I wouldn't know from personal experience, but I stand by the belief that David Bowie was one of the most attractive human beings to ever walk this planet - and Tim Curry, too, I'd say. But is a school-girl crush on a couple of male celebrities who I'll never meet enough? And what does it mean about me? Does it mean that I'm bisexual with a (strong) preference for girls, and I just have't met the right man yet? I know that that statement has a bad connotation within the feminine queer community, but it honestly wouldn't shock me if it was true in my personal case - I'm a quiet girl who hasn't exactly been actively searching for a relationship. I'm still young and I've had other things on my mind - most of my romantic encounters have been with people who had just stumbled upon my path, for one reason or another. So it could be true, for all I know.
Or am I a lesbian, one who only thinks she's attracted to men because heteronormativity is a bitch and because I only really have my own experience of attraction to draw from here. I can't exactly ask other people how they feel about the gender they aren't attracted to, and even if I did, would they know how to explain it? It doesn't seem like something that other people really think about very often, and I envy them for that. "Yeah, I tried being bisexual in high school," says the boy I met at some dumb party when he learns that I identify as bisexual. "I made out with my best friend, and he came out as gay later, but I didn't."
But how did you know from just one experience, I want to ask him, but hesitate to because, really, what do I know about sexuality? I've had multiple experiences with men that have left me feeling shamed and disgusted, and yet I still don't know for sure. What will it take for me to understand? How many frogs do I need to kiss before I learn whether or not I'm the frog princess?
Published by Ciara Hall