Three dimensions

December 13, 2009

I don’t pretend this is new and original, but I’ve found it helpful to be as precise and definite as possible in terms of thinking about how people interact (guy-guy and guy-girl). (Occupational hazard.)

There’s three ways to relate to another human being. (Ok, at least three, but three for now.)

There’s the social level. This is friendship – who do we like to spend time with? If it’s mostly/exclusively other guys, then we might consider that we prefer to socialize with the same sex. That is, homosociality. Preferring to socialize with women might be described as heterosocial. “Socialize” here I think is a little more than just “who do you like to hang out with”, but it’d include that too. I’d argue that most guys are homosocial by nature; it’s easier for us to understand each other than it is to understand women. Not a big deal either way.

(The stereotypical “feminine” gay man is the exception to this. Socializing is based partly on shared interests and mindset/attitude. Friends don’t all have to like exactly the same list of “approved manly” things, but when there’s nothing in common to talk about… it’s a little awkward. Possibly this explains what has been described as “Gay Fatigue”? Tomboys or (I guess) “butch” lesbians would also be exceptions.)

There’s the romantic level. Again, one can have romantic feelings mostly for people of the opposite sex, mostly for people of the same sex, or some of both.

There’s the sexual level. No big surprise that there’s that same spectrum here – sexual desire exclusively for the opposite sex, mostly for the opposite sex, half-and-half, mostly for the same sex, exclusively for the same sex.

So, three dimensions. They’re not automatically related – being strongly homosocial is perfectly compatible with being strongly heteroromantic and heterosexual, or also with being homoromantic and homosexual. “Romance” and “sex” aren’t always linked (“correlated”) either. “Homosexual but heteroromantic” (or hetero for sex but homo for romance) would be awkward, though!

I think the tension about being bi comes, in part, from combining “homosocial” and (partly) homo-sexual with hetero-romantic. I’ve slowly realized that I’m not entirely hetero-romantic, either, or at least there’s one shining exception. Although it really doesn’t feel like the same kind of “romance”, either. Or maybe it’s just that I know that he’s not ever going to want flowers and sparkly shiny jewelry?

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Painful realization

September 14, 2009

So, after a while of being oblivious, I finally realized something this afternoon while doing laundry.

I love my best bud (who I’ve talked about on this site a time or twelve before). I’m also in love with him. I haven’t told him about that. I’m not eager to do it, but I’d “be gay” for him if it meant for sure winding up together.

I also want to love the girl I’m dating. I’m not sure that I do, yet. She’s very interested in me, but there’s a couple little things in the way – the condo she can’t sell to move down here, for instance. We disagree about kids (me = yes, her = no way), maybe a few other things. No objections to “being straight” to wind up with her, if that’s what I really want to do.

I’m 32 and afraid of winding up all alone, and very very tired of feeling unsure about which team I’m playing on. I want to pick one or the other and deal with it. The easier option is picking her. I’d be willing to try with him — IF I was sure he wanted to also. But I have no idea if he’d have any romantic interest in me at this point. Or ever. He’s been mentioning some other guy lately, I assumed he was just a friend but apparently there’s maybe a romantic vibe there.

So…. in some ways I’d be happier coming clean to him and seeing if he’s interested. (Wouldn’t be all a walk in the park, I know.) But, I’d only want to actually decide “I’m gay” if (and only if) it meant winding up with him; never been able to imagine being with any other guy but him. If it doesn’t – he’s not interested in me that way, he’s not interested in moving down here, whatever – then I guess the “experimentation” phase of my life is kinda over without me getting any say in it.