When I open up my computer and start drafting up a column for Behind Closed Doors, I like to think of myself as the College of William and Mary’s black, hip and young version of Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw. But today, I happened upon an episode that made me rethink seeing the fictional sex columnist as my mentor. And no, I’m not talking about the one with the politician who wants Carrie to pee on him. I’m talking about the episode that explores Carrie’s relationship with a bisexual man. Let me tell you, our friends in Manhattan are in serious need of a sexual orientation education, and I’m willing to give it to them.
I’m hoping that, as a society, we’ve come a long way since this painful episode of Sex and the City in which Carrie says she “doesn’t know if she even believes in bisexuals.” Regardless, bisexuality deserves a moment in the limelight to dispel a myth or two.
Bisexuality is very real, despite what Carrie and other naysayers may believe. For some reason, people love to make the claim that once a guy touches another penis, he is swept away to — as Ms. Bradshaw says — “gaytown,” even if he’s attracted to both men and women. And for women, an interest in other women is seen as a college phase that’s only put on for the male gaze. Am I alone in thinking that these assumptions are not only incorrect, but archaic? The early 2000s, and the cancelled Sex and the City, are a part of the past.
Apparently, there’s an assumption that when you’re a guy dating a guy, you’re gay. Then, when you’re a guy dating a girl, you’re straight. By these widely incorrect standards, to be considered bisexual, you need to be dating a guy and a girl — at the same time.
Carrie also totally missed the point that one’s sexuality certainly isn’t set in stone. It’s important to remember that sexuality is a spectrum.
If that’s not exactly clicking for you, think of it this way: on one end there’s pink and the other there’s blue. In the middle, you have purple. Some people might be a little more blueish purple, while others might fall further over to a more purplish pink. Not only that, but sexuality is also fluid; sometimes your shades might change in hue, and that’s totally cool too.
Think that’s the only thing there is to say about bisexuality? Think again. Apparently, there’s an assumption that when you’re a guy dating a guy, you’re gay. Then, when you’re a guy dating a girl, you’re straight. By these widely incorrect standards, to be considered bisexual, you need to be dating a guy and a girl — at the same time. Not only does this assumption not add up, it erases the bisexual identity. Your sexuality isn’t defined by who’s in your bed at the current moment.
For a society where LGBTQIA identities are making their way to the forefront of discussions, I think a lot of us make the same mistake as our dear friend Carrie. We often forget that sexuality is nuanced and complex. It’s easier to assume things are black or white — or in this case, straight or gay — instead of diving into a deeper discussion on sexuality.
If there’s anything we can learn from Carrie Bradshaw’s faux pas, it’s that choosing to remain ignorant only limits one’s experiences. Think of what may have happened if she hadn’t fled from the embrace of her bisexual boo thang. At the very least, it would have given her an insight or two on how to liven up her very heterosexually-focused column.
While Williamsburg is much quainter than Carrie Bradshaw’s home in NYC, a little knowledge of sexualities can go a long way no matter where you are. It’s that kind of knowledge that can keep you from making heteronormative assumptions and potentially alienating a peer. And while I am in no way the best resource for the ins and outs of sexuality, there are so many people on this campus — and beyond — who are. Take a gender, sexuality and women’s studies class. Wander into a Lambda Alliance meeting. Check out the wealth of info out there on the internet. And whatever you do, remember that, while Carrie is usually right — when it comes to bisexuality she’s got it all wrong.
Mallory W. is a Behind Closed Doors columnist who disagrees with Carrie Bradshaw only when it comes to her outdated assumptions about bisexuality.