Culture Not Found

Not having any signifiers while you confront the horror of being known is bisexual culture.

It’s not, I don’t think that’s particularly relatable. It’s not like fingerguns or two tone neon lighting or liking everything Taika Waititi does or sitting on chairs weirdly or singing My Chemical Romance songs aloud while driving or not wearing a seatbelt or Miley Cyrus or watching Girls good god ugh or falling in love with your own portraits or dual wielding or The Mummy or Pirates of the Caribbean or unmedicated ADHD, those things that apparently, people are happy to point to as Bisexual Culture.

And I get it, those are jokes, even if, oh boy, does the Pirates of the Caribbean one have a foul taste in the mouth when it’s associated with Johnny Depp, who I want to remind you is fucking scum, but jokes are about ingroups. They’re about signifiers and expectations. The joke, typically, tends to be ‘hey, here’s something I think, personally, and I’m going to treat it like it’s culture-wide, and part of the comedy derives from the way that other people find that to be true for themselves, creating the impression of that culture.’

I get the jokes, like I understand what people are doing. But I can get other people describing their own culture in terms of memes, but when I try to think about me, and my space in a culture, what culture I can share, my brain generates the noise of a modern truck backing up.


And like, look, there’s no ‘bisexual culture,’ I get it, I’ve had that made very clear to me. Just like there’s no such thing as ‘biphobia,’ because you see, we have ‘straight passing privilege.’ Lords knows I do, what with my being married to another bisexual, who happens to also be asexual, and a woman, and I mean, if you cook all those things together there’s just an elaborate flowchart for how people half my age think that they know my queer experience better than I do, and also want to offer me exhortations to just, you know, put myself out there, to assert myself into the culture.

But jokes aside, bisexual culture isn’t really a thing except for this: The long, concentrated grunt of people who get to be defined within a subculture as not feeling legitimate amongst their peers, but don’t worry, still absolutely at risk of being threatened by the dominant heteropatriarchal power structure if we get noticed, and then if we get noticed, there’s like, this idea of betrayal? It’s not uncommon for bisexual men to be treated as using ‘straight’ relationships to ‘hide’ gay relationships.

And it isn’t like I’m at the serious risk of other, more marginalised, or more vulnerable people are. I mean, after all, I could run into a closet very easily what with my partner who’s a different gender to me.

Sigh.


I was trying, when I started writing this, to write about how the challenge of ‘bisexual culture’ memes was about ever coming up with something that I think, about my own bisexuality, or my own ability to just enjoy that bisexuality. I mean what is there to talk about? I’m attracted to some things. The category of ‘things I find attractive’ is not simplified as easily as it is for other people even if that simplification is incoherent when they try to do it. Plus, to talk about it, I have to share what I find attractive.

Which you might notice I do not do very often.

Or even at all?


I describe characters or actors as ‘hot’ as it’s an aesthetic. It’s the socially agreed upon thing that I think is reasonably safe. Partly, I think it’s because involving myself in the lens of what I find attractive is… ridiculous? Meaningless? Why should you care what I find hot? That’s not a culture thing, that’s a me thing. It’s not like I have some deep or perverse longings for something weird — those who’ve gotten close to me probably would consider my tastes boring or normie.

Which means that a large portion of the time me commenting on what I find hot – as bisexual culture – would look like an ordinary white guy, about half the time, pointing out that hot women are hot. Which I’ve been told, and has been made very clear to me throughout both my church upbringing and then into the rest of my life, is kinda gross and nobody wants to hear that.

Which is pretty fair! It’s not like I’m boiling with a want to share it.

But… that’s it, isn’t it? That’s all Bisexual Culture is, in the meme. It’s ‘here’s a thing I personally like, now I will put it under the umbrella of my identity to jokingly protect it.’ And I guess the reason I don’t feel I can make those jokes is because I don’t think I have the umbrella. I don’t think I have the relatability, because I’m already alienated and weird. I can work out the kinds of things other people have crushes on, the things that other people like, that’s easy. All I have to do there is listen to them as they talk, in public, about the things they like and that they care about.

I suppose I don’t feel like I’m listened to very much.

Which is pretty weird a thing to say on a daily blog post that’s now a thousand words long.


One nice thing about having a big blank schedule ahead of me, a whole year of blank slots, is that I can belt out a bunch of quiet bits of anxious emotional feeling after watching some video or another on youtube and then turning my late-night extremely awkward rumination. That becomes a blog post and I cut away the saddest bits.


You know what can suck ass?

“This is bi culture,” said to a room full of people

Who don’t laugh along

Who just look at you

And stare

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