“Bi Shame?”: When You’re Scared To Chase The Girl

girl-1302360_1920Most of the women I’ve ever fancied have scared the hell out of me. OK, I’ve said it. As a result, I’ve probably let a lot of you slip through my fingers over the years… and I don’t mean the good kind of slippery fingers. I’ll confess, if you rated me on my general modes of sexual behaviour between puberty and my current age of 32 rather than my feelings, you’d likely call me a low Kinsey 2 at best. The only reason I still know which way up a woman goes is probably because of my impressive memory and imagination … and on occasion my internet connection. I feel horrendously guilty of hiding in my “straight privilege” when I look at past conquests, even though “straight privilege” is a crazy term coined by crazy people.

If you’re female/female-spectrum, into women, I like you and I’m not making my feelings abundantly clear in an outrageously clumsy way after five too many beers… then I’m probably hiding from you beneath the most enormous rock ever, hemmed in for extra measure by a pile of the second, third and fourth most enormous pieces of magma that ever cooled and solidified in history. There is something distinctly unsettling about trying to do the deed with my own gender. You’re so pretty. I have forgotten words.

I sat in the garden with my lovely, open-minded 73-year-old mother this morning and talked – in the most honest way I ever have done – about this bi shame I feel. Because that’s what it is. Bi shame. Mum had no idea I felt like this. She was actually quite shocked, I think. And I don’t blame her. She came to the Stonewall awards with me as my plus-one when Biscuit was nominated. She let my first girlfriend stay over and when she left she said “Gosh, she’s pretty”. She hugged the hell out of me when my first boyfriend ****ed me over. That’s one cool mother.

So yes – in short, this landscape shouldn’t still seem so unnavigable to me. Yet I continue to have a creeping sense that I must “choose”, even after a decade of writing articles about this stuff and a host of relationships across the gender spectrum. And it seems I’m not alone…

“I know my ‘girl-crush’ fancies me back,” my pal Ellen (not her real name), 35, tells me in a confident tone. “But she’s also my best friend,” she sighs, a lot more quietly. “We’ve held each other’s hair as we vomited. We casually get changed in front of each other all the time. How can I move our relationship into something else?” Ellen has tried to find a way to confess her feelings many times but, she says, “I always end up turning it into a joke and we’re back to square one.”

Heather, 23, feels she’s missed the boat completely. “I’d just always had boyfriends until her, although I was open about being bi,” she emails me. “Women never approached me and I wouldn’t dream of approaching them. When we finally acknowledged our attraction, it was too late. She’d got really serious with a bloke and neither of us wanted to mess that up. I still think about her all the time. It’s sad, but true.”

Geraldine, 50, says “being bisexual feels like half an identify, because it’s still not accepted.” Geraldine was married for 15 years, keeping her bisexuality secret and assuming that a female partner was just something she’d never need to consider. Until, that is, her husband left and a friend stepped in to cheer her up with a few Friday evening pub trips… “I knew something was going on. But my heart just went into my mouth every time I thought about trying to find out what exactly it was.”

If I – the most screamingly open bisexual woman ever – can be concerned that I shouldn’t be chatting women up because it’s Bad and Wrong, I worry about what bi women who aren’t out yet are feeling. In many cases, I’d imagine, pretty crap.

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Charlotte Dingle

Charlotte 'Lottie' Dingle is Biscuit's founding editor. When she's not running freelancing for a diverse bunch of clients ranging from Cosmo to Occupy, she enjoys teaching life drawing, discussing life/the universe/everything with her beloved (but smelly) 22-year-old cat, writing flash fiction for her MA course, getting pretentious tattoos, listening to folk music, creating surrealist art, trying to change the world and drinking red wine. Oh, and My Little Pony. Don't forget My Little Pony. Her favourite biscuits are cream crackers (do they count as biscuits?).

2 Responses to “Bi Shame?”: When You’re Scared To Chase The Girl

  • Hanna says:

    Hey, this was a really relatable article and I enjoyed reading it. There just was one thing I felt was worded ambiguously:

    ” “straight privilege” is a crazy term coined by crazy people”

    If you mean that straight privilege does not exist at all then I have to respectfully disagree. The myriad ways in which LGB people are disadvantaged in society provide more than enough evidence to prove the reality of straight privilege.

    It’s possible that I’ve misinterpreted your comment however and you mean that straight privilege makes no sense as a concept when applied to bisexuals, which I wholeheartedly agree with. After all, how can someone possess straight privilege when they themselves are not straight?

    I know this may seem pedantic but I just wanted to check! Thanks.

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