It almost seems we bisexual guys spend a lot of time trying to convince people that we really like both men and women. In fact we bi men may spend so much time trying to do just that, we end up getting lost in what amounts to a theoretical argument and we forget we’re actually living the experience.
Having taken a break over the past two weeks from being what you might call a professional bisexual(see my previous column), I’ve had some time to mull over my past relationships and what I have learned from them.
As if on cue, NPR’s Talk of the Nation broadcast a show last Thursday, February 3, that was just what I needed to get my creative juices flowing. The program focused on the recent phenomenon of wives now earning more than their husbands and what that means in light of changing gender roles in our society.
What I took away from the program was how women are embodying both masculine and feminine traits–blending the yin and the yang as it were–while men still remain restricted in their outlook and behaviors. In fact for boys, attitudes towards gender roles are more restrictive than when I was in middle school over thirty years ago.
This is very much in line with what I have experienced in my relationships. If I take the three major intimate relationships I have had with women and compare them to those I’ve had with men, I have to say that in general women have displayed more flexibility, compassion and decisiveness than the men I have dated.
By flexibility, I refer to what I have observed as women’s facility for taking people where they are with their good points and their myriad imperfections. There is an ability to deal with what is rather that what should be and an understanding that we all have talents and things we are terrible at. Yes, it takes compassion to deal with people’s imperfections, but with that trait I was thinking more along the lines of women’s capacity and willingness to support others in their pain and need. Finally, I have observed the women in my life take charge and forge ahead with their lives with a clear sense of what they want and what their world view is.
Now, I would be remiss if I did not make clear that I am to a certain extent referencing myself in the above. After all, relationships are two-way streets. I have to admit that I am a character–if you have not already guessed that from reading my columns. I can be charming and witty, yet also prone to moods that are somber to put it politely. It takes a mighty strong person to put up with me at times, but since I’m no shrinking violet it’s better they’re not either. When it’s been necessary to tell me to set me straight–pardon the pun–it has happened. That’s OK because I needed to hear it and life doesn’t owe me anything.
It occurs to me that my female partners got that message loud and clear themselves at some point, which is why they can approach the world with flexibility, compassion and decisiveness. In fact, these are qualities that we humans could all afford to learn because very often life is not what we think it is or ought to be. If women can embody masculine and feminine traits, so can we men. Indeed, it is the very thing that will make our intimate experiences with both men and women deeper, richer and healthier. And that can only be good for us all.