Recently I was at a friend’s house and one of her neighbors
stopped by. The neighbor is a drinking buddy of hers. We got to
chatting, and once the neighbor found out the gender of my partner, he
asked if I was bisexual. I said I was. I’m much more comfortable with
saying I’m bisexual than lesbian, since lesbian is at least 50%
inaccurate. I would’ve preferred queer, but overall I was hoping we
could move on to topics other than my sexuality.
The neighbor proceeded to offer me his number because he liked the
idea of “being the filling in a titty sandwich.” (Sigh.) I just said,
“If I ever need some filling I’ll keep it in mind,” and then tried to
change the subject. There is a lot that is annoying about this. The
level of assumption, and that it seemed really automatic, something he
was just compelled to say anytime he ran into a bisexual girl. It was a
really half-hearted, depressing come-on that felt more like putting me
in my place than any actual desire to pick me up.
The neighbor then went on to tell me how he was super into having sex
with old white ladies and about how his 13-year-old son is getting into
masturbation, and about how he liked masturbating to Dr. Dre when he
was that age. I was doing my best to extricate myself from the
conversation and go home when the he said something along the lines of,
“I don’t get why they have to be that way at pride. You know, so
I should’ve just gone home, but instead I took the bait and tried to
talk to him about how not everyone’s goal is to assimilate into white,
heterosexual culture (and it shouldn’t be), and how the people at Pride
were expressing themselves the way they wanted to. And how my favorite
thing about Pride was the fun, outlandish ways people expressed
The neighbor wasn’t having any of that and was pretty much of the
opinion that those people should be ashamed of themselves for hurting
the acceptance of mainstream gays. I didn’t inquire too deeply into who
he meant by “those people” because I didn’t even want to know.
I don’t know what the point is of me writing this interaction down.
It’s been a week and I’m still thinking about it. I think what was
disturbing about it was that we had this whole conversation under the
guise that we were all friends, but he clearly wasn’t my friend, didn’t
get me and seemed like he was being gross on purpose. If he hadn’t been
the neighbor of a friend there’s no way I would’ve put up with half of
what he said.
I’ve spent the last week being pretty hard on myself for not being
more direct with this guy. Part of it was not wanting to start anything
with someone I might have to see again socially.
Another factor is that one of my side effects of working at a sex toy
store for years is that I sometimes don’t notice when a conversation is
getting creepy. I have a pretty intense auto-filter that dismisses
gross language like background noise. It made it easier to do my job,
easier to help people find what they needed or flip through adult
magazines while eating lunch.
There’s nothing wrong with talking about masturbation or your
masturbation habits or who you’re attracted to or what you tell your
kids about sex, but where the creepy happens is blurting all of that out
to a person who you just objectified who you know nothing about. Also
the neighbor was really into making spurting ejaculation sound effects,
which just felt excessive. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I like to have
some sort of basis of a relationship with someone before I get into the
details of my sex life or hear about the details of theirs.
My friend seemed horrified that this was happening and somehow I was
still just sitting there, trying to have an intellectual talk with this
guy about assimilation. I felt like I should stay and change his mind,
but the thing is, he didn’t give a fuck about me or what I thought and
just wanted someone to talk at. At least that’s how it seemed.
This happened a week ago and I went from feeling mildly amused by the
interaction to bummed out and embarrassed. I felt stupid for listening
to this guy talk and for thinking that somehow what I said to him made
any difference. When I left I even said, “Nice meeting you,” which is
possibly my biggest regret. I feel like I set this guy up to think that
this is an acceptable way to behave around people he’s just met, which
it’s not, and that I enjoyed my time with him, which I didn’t. So maybe
that’s the real reason I’m writing this blog. Just in case someone like
him reads it.
So in case anyone who is reading this needs it, here’s the sum-up of my points:
1. Don’t objectify strangers, or anyone, unless you know that’s something that person specifically wants from you.
2. Bisexuals don’t automatically want to have sex with you. Just
because gender is not my basis for who I choose to have sex with,
doesn’t mean I’m not picky.
3. Get to know someone before you launch into diatribes about your sex life, your kid’s sex life or anything that personal.
4. There’s very few people who like ejaculation sound effects and if
we did want a sound effect we could create it in our own minds based on
past experience or imagination. Unnecessary.
5. Don’t ever talk about “those people”. No matter who you’re talking about it’s going to be offensive.
6. Not everyone’s goal is to fit in or assimilate into white,
heterosexual culture and it is not your job to police people who “don’t
fit” according to you.
7. When someone says, “Nice meeting you.” They might not mean it. I didn’t mean it.