I spoke to a very good friend of mine for the first time in quite a while – we’ve both moved away from where we met so now are only in touch electronically or when we can figure out time zones and call. Lots of catching up, obviously. And I’d mentioned at some point that there was something I needed to talk to her about. Now, when I’d written that, I’d been feeling a bit low and since I know she’s not homophobic I had some vague notion that I’d tell I was bisexual.
But I didn’t. I just couldn’t do it. Part of it was the crap connection – I couldn’t always hear her very clearly and didn’t really fancy the idea of having to repeat myself a hundred times at full volume before she got it. But part of it was also the ‘why bother?’ thing. What material difference does her knowing make? Why do we insist on telling everyone something that people generally prefer not to talk about, particularly when it doesn’t affect them? I have to admit though, that I’m also a little afraid of telling any of my female friends because I don’t want to see them get that oh-my-god-have-you-been-checking-me-out?! look on their faces. The answer to that is usually a very emphatic no, but I know they’re wondering whether I’m just saying that to make them feel comfortable and they’re making a mental note to go change in the bathroom next time I’m over.
But then I think, if I can’t be myself around this person, why the hell am I friends with them? Surely we’ve built a relationship that’s good enough to take this in its stride? I’d like to think that we have. I’m generally a private person so I don’t really envision wearing a placard around my neck announcing my bisexuality at any stage (except maybe at the next pride march – we’ll see how that goes), but I would really like it if the people I’ve come to consider my closest friends knew. Family, I’m not keen on telling, mainly because it has no ramifications for them and because their involvement in my life is minimal. And they’d never accept it. Well, maybe my dad would. I would love to tell H’s family at some stage since I’m relatively close to his sisters, but I’m hesitant there because I’m afraid they’ll come over all protective of him – how dare I ‘cheat’ on their brother? I can’t really blame them though. My instinct to protect my own little brother is almost identical to theirs and I would probably react badly to any hint that he wasn’t being done right by too. Of course, I’d like to think that, given the proper reassurances that nobody was hurting him, I wouldn’t feel the need to go prep my steel-toed boots and knuckle dusters.
I love Armistead Maupin‘s idea of the ‘logical family’ in his Tales of the City books: your biological family is what you’re stuck with. But your logical family consists of the people you gather around yourself who are there because they choose to be.
And those then become some of the people that it’s hardest to lose. I don’t want to tell my family because their approval is irrelevant – it would be nice if they were ok with my being bisexual and polyamorous, but I don’t much care if they’re not and I don’t want to deal with their nonsense about it because it would be annoying. This friend, on the other hand, is someone whose acceptance, if not approval, I do want. It wouldn’t change things either, but it would affect me emotionally at a level my family’s disapproval wouldn’t.
So, yeah, I chickened out. I’ve been kicking myself since and I think I’ll just write to her instead. Or something.