Fighting the No-Win Scenario
Entry 01/16/2015 08:59:04 AM – Mentat 852
Christ on a drunken rampage… You’d think I’d know better sometimes (but I don’t). I get into a discussion with some teenage bisexual girl about her inherent disdain about the use of the label bisexual and feeling constrained by the baggage associated with the word, struggles to find a better word to use. The conversation makes its way to a part about self-editing and how everyone does it. She of course denies that she does in her offline life yet does so online… All right… She’s wrong there, she provides proof that she does edit with the general public but she goes on anyway happily defining how it’s selective and continues to whinge about the limits of the word bisexual and tries to drum her point on and on trying to create a no-win scenario.
It naturally doesn’t work with me. I don’t allow myself to be limited by choices other people try to foist on me. If I don’t like the choices given to me, I have always made my own. I provided proof to this in the form of a brief story about as a kindergärtner I have always been ridiculed for my perspective.
The no-win scenario continues as she shifts the debate turns into some sort of attack against her and her bisexuality and how its an amateurish psychoanalysis. Seeing that answer I’m reminded all too keenly of the non-stop debates and battles with my ex Rick and no matter what I could possibly posit during the debate was going to be always wrong.
I typed the typical response: told her that if that’s what she thinks, nothing I can say will change that and the thoughts I’ve had on this will go untyped. I went further to wish her well and hoped for the day that she found a word that she felt comfortable with and moved on from there.
I find myself feeling like Roger Moore’s character in Ffolkes and his absolute disdain of women.
I am also reminded of a friend in New Jersey when talking to his daughter always said, “I should throw away my set of encyclopedias because you seem to know every fucking thing!”
I had worked up a rather good response, but because I’m tired of fighting a no-win scenario with someone that already seems to know-it-all, I’ve decided I’m going to put it here.
The plain and simple fact is, the baggage associated with bisexuality isn’t new. While there are elements of it that are unique, the fact is ANY sexuality other than heterosexual has come with its own depressing sort of negative baggage. Take for example when I came out of the closet back in 1979. It’s only 10 years after the Stonewall Riot (or the gay shot heard around the world). Being gay wasn’t glamorous. The baggage it had was ugly. Being forever alone when invited to friends and family parties, weddings, etc. Being STD (and shortly after) and AIDS carriers. A life at the bars with nothing more than one-night stands. I can never have a family or children.
The thing is I wasn’t going to have any of this. I wanted a husband. I wanted the house with a picket fence. I wanted the children and the pets (cats… not dogs… I always preferred cats). I changed my label to queer (in defiance) and went forward chasing my dreams. Back when I came out I was told by peers — straight and gay — I was a dreamer (at best) or delusional (at worst). Still I followed my dreams…
Fast forward 20 years and we see my dreams weren’t so delusional or the products of some demented dream. And while I can’t remotely claim to have revolutionized the social transformation and perception of the gay & lesbian community, I can take a little pride in the fact that I wasn’t alone in this. I had — in my own demented and stubborn way — helped it along small and humble as it was.
The thing is this woman that I ended up discussing and walking away from isn’t alone in her plight either. There are plenty of other people even if she can’t see them — going through the same struggles of fighting against the stereotyping and the baggage associated to being bisexual. While she might not be in contact with them, I have seen that they exist. Some simply bow to the pressure and choose a side (straight or gay) to make their lives simpler. Some stick to it and prove — through their actions — they are more than the stereotypes (and baggage) associated to the label.
I tried to explain to her that if she wants to fight against that stereotype to do so. Damned the torpedoes full steam ahead… Take a label that fit her and put her tits to the wind (as Bette Middler once said in a comedy sketch years ago). To listen to the sound of her own drum and march to it. After all, she did so when she defiantly tried to redefine the part of the conversation about self-editing (it was still wrong — everyone, even her self-edits — she just edits herself to the general public. But the point was she did so with the pride necessary to break other limitations). She had it within her to do the same against words she didn’t like or fit her.
There’s another saying that comes to mind in all this: “sticks and stones…” A word can only hurt you if you allow it. A name can only hurt you if you take it personally. If you succumb to the title, the label and feel negative (either in anger or in sadness) those labels have taken possession of you.
Was I hurt by the labels? The stereotypes? The baggage associated to the label? Damn Skippy. I’m human and not impervious to the name calling. And while I can understand the need for wallowing in that pain in that self-pity, but yet… somewhere along the line I turned it into an act of defiance. I would not and will not succumb to those stereotypes.
The last bit of wisdom came to me in the late 70s (about the time I came out) that went: There are three kinds (of people)… The wills, the won’ts and the can’ts. The wills accomplish everything, the won’ts oppose everything and the can’ts won’t try anything. I promised myself I would be one of those that will. And haven’t stopped since.
And with that I’m through proselytizing. Off to shop for ingredients for a slow-cooker recipe I want to try out. Until the next time.
Activity Since Inception
Some of My Mad Scientist Work