Trisexual

The human animal is not a binary being. The concept of ‘either, or’ is something that makes computers work, and is the reason why they epically fail. A programmer can devise an if, then statement for his code, and it will run exactly as programmed. If a situation shows up that the computer wasn’t prepared (programmed) for, it simply breaks.

The human mind is more elegant than this. In an unfamiliar situation, a person immediately begins drawing data from whatever sources they can, to try to invent a solution that fits. While not always successful, we can make a best guess.

How we make our best guess is still a matter of much debate. There are arguments for genetic predisposition, and there are arguments for cultural upbringing. We’ve all heard it. Nature vs. nurture. And seeing that you can’t extract either factor from any person, it may be that we never know. Not to mention the people who overcome all odds to make their lives the way they believe they want them to be.

This leads me to the community of alternative sexualities. Alternative because by society’s view, humans assume that a person’s preferences dictate a predictable course of action. In truth, alternative is a catch-all phrase that suggests that there is one ‘default’ choice that is right, and then any other choice, which is inherently wrong for not being the first choice. However, human beings don’t tend towards predictable paths.

Predicting behavior is a human predilection, and an important societal trait. We like knowing what other people are going to do. It enhances our ability to create strategies. It helps us gain favor with people we like. It allows us to identify people we don’t want to associate with.

Prediction is simply an estimate of how something could turn out. While we could be right, we could also be wrong. We understand the greater motivations of people, but we never know the background story that shapes them. The idea that a person will always behave a certain way is a small view. For example, last Saturday I ordered a glass of white Bordeaux. I am far more inclined to drink red wine, and almost drink it exclusively. For dinner, I ordered a ribeye steak that had to be air lifted in from Nebraska as my entree. I’m sure my husband, who is diligent about knowing my preferences, would have put money that I would have gotten a Cabernet for my drink. But I felt like something different, and I did something unpredictable. Like we all do.

We like the comfort of predictability. When we discover a person is gay, we make certain decisions about them, based on our understanding of what we think ‘gay’ means. Certainly if a person is said to be gay, we can draw from the information around us that they prefer to have sexual relationships with their own gender. Anything further is our brain drawing from whatever sources we have to make a best guess about that person’s behaviors.

I would like to put forth that human experience is made up of little anecdotes. It always depends on the circumstances. You can say, “I prefer something,” and mean it.. and still find yourself desiring something different from time to time. I drink tea, but every now and then, I want coffee. I love steak, but my budget relegates me to eating far more chicken and fish than beef. Binary statements work with computers, but rarely is a human set to ‘1’ or ‘0’. There are extenuating circumstances that help us make our decisions.

This label of ‘gay’ and ‘straight’ is nothing but a label, a simple way to boil down a person into one set of traits. When you label someone as ‘straight,’ ‘gay’, or the ever less popular, ‘bi,’ what is being said is, “I don’t care that you’re brilliant at your job, or that you paint beautiful flowers, or that all of your friends see you as the person to call when they need help. I just care about who you fuck.”

Kinsey had the right idea with his scale. It is more accurate to say that humans tend towards sexual preferences. Look at how often two women scenarios come up in men’s porn. If they found homosexuality truly abhorrent, it wouldn’t matter if the two same-sex participants were men or women, but often times this is overlooked. If all women were straight, then the threesome would be nothing more than a fairy tale for grown men. And if these women were truly ‘gay,’ they wouldn’t want to have the man in the room while they were having fun, either. Sexuality is messy, and does not confine to expectations, no matter how much people wish that were true.

For example, Christopher Eccleson is married, and yet on the world premiere to Thor 2, he was asked a question about Tom Hiddleston and responded with, “You wouldn’t kick him out of bed.” Now, this is just an offhanded comment, but it gives you an insight into the way human minds work. We notice, even if we don’t act.

Sometimes our lack of action is from simple fear of rejection. It doesn’t matter who the object of our desire is, male, female, or a less distinct notion, when we want a person, we find ourselves terrified as to whether or not the other person might reject us. Certainly there are those who are bolder, and strike out with confidence, but they don’t want to be shot down either.

My father told me a joke when I was thirteen. He liked telling me ribald jokes, because I was finally old enough to get them. He said, “I’m trisexual – I’ll try anything once.”

That is what happens in life – we try things. Everyone has tried something sexually that worked for them, and things that didn’t. Each time, it was a discovery. And our ‘preferences’ never really prepare us for the reality of the person standing before us. Certainly we all want our lovers to be flawless in every way – perfect hair, perfect teeth, rock hard abs, a pert ass, a great laugh. The details we never fill in are the lopsidedness of their smile, or the way they screw up their face when they concentrate, or the fact that, just like you, they’re carrying 10 extra pounds. Perfection exists only in the human imagination.

I have had the unfortunate interaction with a relative who, when confronted with the idea that a man might sleep with another man, held up his fist and threatened violence to this poor, hypothetical individual. I’d never been confronted with homophobia before. I was startled by his vehemence. It was obvious that for him, whatever it meant to be gay to him, was a fear-inducing state. And I do understand that we fear what we don’t understand, and that is why we try to force ‘gay’ and ‘straight’ into tight-fitting strictures that make sense to us. It’s very difficult to say, “I’m straight except that one time when my boyfriend talked me into a threesome with my best friend when we were nineteen and drunk.” No one needs to know you that intimately, unless they’re going to know you that intimately in the near future.

I hope that there will come a time when society will stop trying to put everyone on ‘teams,’ and just accept an individual as an individual, for their personal preferences and wants. In our attempt to simplify even the most basic of questions about our fellow man, we are putting them into boxes, and we make assumptions based on those boxes, or what we think those boxes represent. What follows is a world that hates people for not conforming. This despite our inborn desire to been seen as individuals. This conflict will only end when people can find the strength to say, “Just because I don’t agree with [a given behavior], doesn’t mean it is wrong for everyone else.”

In the end, trying to define love with simple terms will never work, because love and attraction never follow the rules.

Esoteric

It’s my birthday today, and it’s my blog day.

Talking about my birthday could be its own blog post, but I won’t do that. The only thing worth reporting so far is that my barista tried to get his co-workers to sing to me through the drive through window. He was summarily shot down by the other male barista on the scene, and I found his thwarted pout to be exceptionally charming.

As far as my writing goes, it’s stopped. It is a source of utter frustration to me as the holidays have run over my time frame like a Zamboni over an ice rink. I look back at the wilds of November and wonder how I could possibly have churned out fifty thousand words. Right now, a four hundred word blog post seems daunting. I’m too busy looking for deals and counting my beans.

On the other hand, I still love this time of year. I love the lights and the decorations and silly velvet hats. I love the manic glee and gilded tragedy of pouring over stuff and guessing what will make someone’s eyes light up. It’s like being told that you’re going on a date with everyone you know, but you have to bring them each something that says, “I know you and love you.” That is, unless you really just want to shag them and lose their number instead. Then it’s perfectly acceptable to give them chopsticks.

It’s a complex dance that brings joy and dread in equal measure. Two years ago my husband and I went out to Seattle and walked the town for the day. We walked into a Starbucks for directions and to treat our addictions and there were two gorgeous boys who had made themselves a matched set. The barista was thin, pale, and had white hair. Anime white, no less. I remember because I couldn’t help but wonder how he managed to out-elf Orlando Bloom. His counterpart in crime was dressed in all black, from the tips of his ebony coif to his very stylish Fluevogs. They were obviously in love, and I couldn’t help falling a little in love with them, too. They were so very true to themselves. We wouldn’t have seen them if we’d stayed inside, looting and cyber-pillaging Amazon’s trove. Inspiration is just as much a part of the process as perspiration, and these days are full of inspiration.

This is what I must remember during this season. While I may not be breaking any word count goals, I am absorbing life so I may reflect its light later, broken down like so many children’s building blocks and rearranged for the entertainment of others.

I am moving into the next phase of this strange career now. I am beginning to obsess. I am dissatisfied with the way I live because I’m not spending 8 hours a day writing. My new year’s resolutions this year are going to have less to do with BMI’s or IRA’s, and more to do with getting my next book published. I wasn’t entirely certain about it before, but now I am.

It’s been staring me in the face this whole time, but now I’m confident.

Time to get to work.

Adam

My friend died.

His name was Adam. He was a lovely, fun individual. I described him as a character from an Edward Gorey tale, and I still find it apt. He was the only human I’ve ever met who capered. He was creepy, and dark, but in a Jack Skellington King of Halloween kind of way. That was his duality, I suppose. He pretended to be a vampire but only if he could carry around a toy stuffed bat to do so.

His humor was a counter to his pain. Adam had lupus, and his body constantly waged war against him. He took medicine to help, but that medicine brought its own boatload of conditions. He described his condition as being handed so many spoons, and those spoons represented his allotted energy.  Unfortunately, there was often more hours in the day than spoons to spend things on.

Adam committed suicide. He left a lot of hurt, confused friends behind him. I mean a lot. Adam was gregarious, charming, engaging, and had an enormous heart. As silly as he could be, if a friend was in pain he was right there, Johnny-on-the-spot, to offer empathy and wisdom. He touched a lot of people’s lives. More people than I rightly know, and we were on different ends of the same community.

His death was all the more tragic because had he picked up the phone, he’d have been spoiled for choice for humans who would have come to help him. He would have no end of people to rely on, to talk him out of his black space, who would have given him their last spoon.

I’ve seen so many faces of grief lately I feel a little dizzy. A lot of angry, sad, wounded people looking for answers from a person who can no longer be asked questions of. I have tried to reach out and be reassuring, to remind people of Adam’s beautiful soul and not of the bleakness of his passing.

The one thing I haven’t done is grieved yet. In my way, my grieving is helping other people grieve. I don’t know what compels me, just some feeling inside that says that I can wait, there are others who need help now.

The truth is that I’m just as conflicted as anyone else. I didn’t know Adam as closely as some do, but the memories I have of him are fond and wonderful. I am terrifically sad that he did it. He was close to my husband and one of my husband’s dearest friends, and seeing the pain that Luke is in while he wrestles with what happened hurts me just as much as losing Adam did.

And that’s the truth of it, right there. Seeing the pain on all of my friend’s faces, it’s killing me. Knowing that I can’t help them all is as painful as losing one of us. It’s ridiculous for me to expect this of myself, to think I could heal them all, but that doesn’t stop my instincts from saying, “Try.”

Adam’s wake is next Friday, and Luke and I will be going, as long as the weather isn’t dangerous. We will be seeing friends who we only see a few times a year, as well as people I have never met. It will be a day of tears, but it will be a day of laughter as we reminisce about Adam and tell his stories.

I remember a time as a teenager, after I’d moved to Washington, when I began to despair of any of my friends surviving their personal angst. No one managed to kill themselves, fortunately, despite their efforts. But now, we’ve lost someone to exactly that affliction, fifteen years after we pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps. Here we have a friend, ravaged by depression, knowing that he had many loved ones that would help him through. He instead chose not to make the call to save himself.

Death is the final destination that claims us. Certainly people have their beliefs, but death is that frontier that we sport glorious ignorance of. Watching everyone react is a reminder of how people deal with reality, when it comes in at a ninety-degree angle from expectation. Myself included. But while I know I will cry for Adam, I will do so knowing that it isn’t what he wanted. That if it were another friend’s funeral, that he would be capering around, or else listening solemnly to his friends, trying to console them. I don’t think I can caper, but I think I can manage the second one.

And I will bring him a spoon.