Via the lovely Sue George over at Bisexuality and Beyond: Nerve.com’s bisexuality issue. The articles are good and interesting. I read the whole thing in one go though, so they’re all a general crush of good stuff in my head right now. Go take a look.
Which? March 8, 2008
First of all, bless the cacophony that is YouTube. You find the darndest things there. For instance, this video of Juliette Gréco, probably one of the last living members of the generation that sang the French chanson into the world’s collective consciousness. Here she sings the absolutely delicious “Déshabillez-moi” (Undress me). You can find the lyrics here and a reasonable, though not exact (or half as inspirational), translation here, if you want. But that’s not the point. Listen to and look at the way she sings it. Do the lyrics even matter?
I find that incredibly sexy.
But wait, there’s more. Now here’s a cover of the same song by Mylene Farmer, who has been singing it for at least 20 years herself.
Meh. The song is still fun and the update isn’t bad – the crowd certainly seems to like it – it’s just somehow too much. Everything from standing there in lingerie, to the mini pole-dancer move, to the squat-and-spread towards the end and that ridiculous scream (which is part of the way she does the song – it’s been there since at least the 80s) made me roll my eyes.
The original, for me at least, shows that you do not need to get your kit off to be sexy, or even deliberately sexual. It shows that ‘sexy’ doesn’t reside so much in the body but in whatever it is that that camera captured 40 years ago. It’s the idea that arouses, not so much the physical fact (though that’ll work at a basic level). I guess it’s the difference between the sexual and the sensual or the erotic. Any mammal can be sexual (at least in the way we tend to be – no offense to any avian or reptilian readers I may have), but sensuality requires the involvement of the mind as well. Sexual is doing. Sensual is how you do it. For me, it’s Juliette all the way.
I wasn’t kidding about seeing gay girls everywhere. Everywhere. At every meeting I’ve been to, around the coffee shops, at the library, at the food festival I went to the other week, at departmental welcome-back drinks, out grocery shopping. And while there’s been an influx of people now that school is back on, it’s not like they’ve all suddenly materialized – I’ve just started coming out of my shell a bit more and going along to things where I might actually meet real people on my own.
And is it just me or do queer people touch more? Their friends, I mean. This is a bias I’ve had for a very long time and it might just be that I don’t observe straight people in quite the same way. I’m an affectionate person. I like hugs and cuddles and kisses and putting an arm around someone you like just because you want to and not because you have any sexual designs on them.
In the past week I’ve met more straight people than gay people, but I’ve had more gay people – two men, one woman, and one genderqueer person – make immediate contact. Just little things like a touch on the arm when they can’t hear me over the crowd, standing a lot closer, throwing an arm around me to amble down for drinks, touching in greeting, getting my attention by touching/tugging my hair a little, and, my favorite, flashing that big grin that makes you feel hugged all the way across the room. And it’s not just with me either. It’s a general ease with touching and physical space. Or at least, it seems to be.
I may be completely wrong and might have been looking the other way every time a straight – or obviously straight – person was casually affectionate with someone other than their significant other. But yeah, of course I think I’m right. Oh and, except for one of the people I mentioned – who probably assumes I’m a lesbian after we had a chat about a local queer group – I haven’t said anything about my ‘orientation’ (or lack thereof) to anyone and, as far as I know, present as straight.
This is total conjecture, of course, but hey, join in anyway. Do you agree or have you come across something totally different? Do you find queer folk more affectionate when you first meet? (And is that a discriminatory-type question?)
Distractions March 3, 2008
I have a lot of work to do, but this blog and my blogroll have become powerful distractions. I love my research and I have tons to read and write and prepare, but at the moment questions of sex and sexuality, and the expression of both, are uppermost in my mind.
I’m excited about a lot of things, the main one being that I’ve finally said some things that I’ve been needing to say for a long time. To have them received with love and kindness instead of suspicion and negativity is more amazing than I can say. It’s reached the point that I feel a little guilty and even a little stupid about having expected anything less. I’m aware that ‘some’/’other’ people might not be so generous, but they’re not the ones that matter anyway. And in the process, I’ve found and received comments and support from people who have no real reason to go out of their way and be kind but who have done it anyway. It’s entirely too early for a list of thank-yous and it’s a bit of a cliché to be all ‘oh my god I can’t believe anyone’s reading this’ given the givens, but I do appreciate the support, voiced or implied, and the fact that anyone’s reading this does make me grin like a silly thing.
The other thing is that, since I’ve been speaking and writing about this, my relationship with H has changed. I can’t quite say how because we’ve always been very affectionate and have, I don’t doubt, caused more than one person to either smile indulgently or roll their eyes on public transport. We’ve also always discussed who we find attractive or consider fling-worthy (‘flingable’ is our word for it – something about the image cracks me up.), so that’s not new. But suddenly it’s as if we’re even more tuned into each other’s wavelength, even more affectionate (it’s a wonder we can breathe), even more happy. And all because I want to have a relationship with a woman and H is ok with that and I want to talk to people about it and H is ok with that too? Now, I’m not complaining in the least, but, seriously, WTF? Isn’t this supposed to destroy our marriage, ruin our lives, and generally send everything down the toilet?
Ok so that last bit was mostly tongue-in-cheek, but I admit I was afraid I was ‘ruining everything’, though you have to wonder why, given that I was increasingly miserable staying quiet about it. Of course, talking about it and actually going out and acting on it are different things. While I’m ready to wax lyrical about the joys of Sapphic engagement, I don’t think I’m emotionally ready to take the plunge just yet, however physically ready I may be. A lot remains to be seen, worked out, talked through, etc., not just between me and H but also eventually with a hypothetical woman-type person who may or may not want to get involved.
It’s frustrating though. I’m all rarin’ to go, but I can’t do that. I mean, I could in theory, but I like being clear and setting ground rules and finding out what people’s expectations are before I get involved because it generally minimizes complications later. Some people can just wing it, I’m sure, but I prefer not to. Choose your battles, choose your (emotional) investments…something like that.
Oh and the incredibly hot women, especially the incredibly hot gay women I seem to spot just about everywhere I go? Not helping.
I also really like reading other people’s blogs on the subjects of bisexuality, polyamory, coming out and so on and have found several (look blogroll-wards) that have helped me articulate what I do and do not want or think or agree with. In that context, the websites of several bisexual organizations (hm…that would be interesting) have also been very useful. An Australian group, Bi-Victoria, used to put out a newsletter that contains some interesting perspectives on bisexuality and polyamory, as well as other issues. Anne’s Poly Page in the August/September 2007 issue (PDF, 1.2MB, will open in a new window) particularly spoke to me. The June/July 2007 issue (PDF, etc.) has a good article on coming out as bisexual and the issues that can come up with not just the straight but also the gay community, which is something I find interesting and a bit ironic. Everybody is somebody’s weirdo, I guess.
Right, enough with the blogging already. Need to work. And do laundry. Ah, real life.
She wrote! March 2, 2008
I woke up extra early because I was sure she would have emailed back by now. Sure enough, there it was in my inbox. I was a bit nervous (ok, a LOT) opening it, but I needn’t have worried. It was a long-ish email for her – she’s usually a bit cryptic – but basically she said:
OF COURSE i would write back and be “okay” and all that. its ME! geeeez, theres no shock, judgment here baby…..so beyond that!
i love you for this email. and if I’m not sounding toooo serious about it, it’s because I’m just happy you wrote to me. And I’m also happy you’re happy. Because you sound happy. like you’re finally reaching some place. you know?
Like I said before, I didn’t really expect her to arrive at my door with a pitchfork-wielding village mob, but it’s still such a huge relief to have an actual, positive reaction. After this, I don’t think I really care who I tell and when, though I suppose some sort of order will be needed. Most of my local friends already know or have a vague idea that I’m not the straightest married woman they know, but they’re pretty patchy themselves so that doesn’t worry me. This is big. This means that when I go ‘back’, I have someone there who not only knows but understands. That means a lot.
Impure thoughts March 1, 2008
(No I’m not Catholic, but I think my parents’ generation being educated by Catholic nuns figures heavily in my family’s psyche anyway.)
It’s just one of those days. Gorgeous sunshine but a chill in the air that makes staying in bed particularly delicious. My feet were so cold I could feel each toe singing with it, but the rest of me was nice and warm under my soft, cuddly blanket. I love blankets. And quilts. That’s probably why I like the cold so much – you get to bundle up and feel held and warm.
Sleeping in is nice, specially when you’re just awake enough to think about certain people and what you’d like to do to/with them. Certain people being, specifically, a crush and his girlfriend. In real life, I try to avoid them because there’s no sense getting all worked up for no reason, but when I’m lazing around with nothing too pressing to attend to, I think of the little things about them that turn me on. He has a tendency to go about in shirts with the cuffs rolled up and the first few buttons tastefully undone. No expanse of chest or anything too in-your-face; just the tiniest bit of skin showing at the neck that makes me want to rip the whole thing off in one go. She has wavy hair that just touches her shoulders. I can’t explain how hair can look like it wants anything, but hers looks like it is desperate to touch her gorgeous skin properly. Hmm. Perhaps I’m projecting?
Suffice it to say that they are two particularly wonderful examples of human beauty. He’s at that mid-thirties to mid-forties stage where men look pretty much as gorgeous as they ever will. Still young, still strong, but tempered, a little weathered, even a little grey. It’s the way their skin sits on their faces, the way they’ve finally grown into their bodies, that is utterly delicious. She’s a bit younger – closer to my age, which makes her body more familiar than an older woman’s. I know how taut the skin will be, how her just-right breasts will look when she lies on her back, when she arches is, when she sits up, when she bends forward. (I nearly fell off my chair the other day when she leaned forward in her seat to rummage for ages in her bag for a pen. I had an extra but no power on earth could have made me offer it to her and ruin the view.)
I could so get in the middle of that.
So I did it. Emailed my friend, B. My best friend, really. Or at least till now. Ok that was over-dramatic. No I don’t think she’ll freak out and dump me, but I’m apprehensive nonetheless. I’m not used to this. I don’t ask for approval. I’m much more take-it-or-leave-it in my approach. But that’s the luxury of short relationships, brief stints in one place and then a move halfway around the world that puts more of a strain on most relationships than they can bear. Ties break and I move on, comfortable in the knowledge that there will be more people, more experiences, more relationships. This holding on is new. B and I have now known each other for almost 11 years. The only other person who knows is F, who I’ve known for 12 years. It was easier to tell her because she’s bi herself. Back when I wrote to her, it was more about getting some kind of support or acknowledgment that I wasn’t a horrible person, and maybe a little advice. And she gave me exactly what I’d needed at the time.
There are a few others who fall into that range, and really it’s them that I want to sit down and talk to, even though we’re scattered around the globe now. It’s them I miss most these days. And B. Damn. I’m going to be on edge till she writes back.