4 Things I Don’t Want to Hear on a First Date… Again

 

1/25/17

Online dating is a wonderful tool. I like that you never really know what kind of person you’re going to meet. I’m pretty open minded, and I genuinely enjoy the diversity I encounter. But there is one thing that turns me off right away: biphobia.  Since I’m always upfront about my bisexuality, both in my dating profiles and in person on first dates, I cannot for the life of me understand why someone would think it acceptable to ask me out, then say offensive things to me about bi people.

Here are four things I am DONE hearing on a first date. If I hear even one of these biphobic statements, or any variation thereof, I will automatically rule out a second date with that person.

“I don’t believe in bisexuality.”

I had an older guy tell me on our first date that he “doesn’t believe in bisexuality,” because he did “the same thing” I am doing in his early twenties. Since in his experience, bi identity was a stepping stone to gay, he concluded that must be EVERY guy’s experience.

I politely reminded my date that his experience isn’t universal, and that not everyone is exactly like him. I told him that it is not a matter of “believing” that bisexuality exists (it’s real whether he believes it or not). Rather, it is a matter of accepting that some people are different from him. It’s human nature to have difficulty putting ourselves in the shoes of others. A failure to do so is the root of most bigotry. Biphobia is not an exception.

Sometimes people misidentify their sexuality out of fear, confusion, or a desire to please intolerant friends and family. Some gay men are in a straight or bi closet, yes. But many bi men are in straight or gay closets! One reason a lot of bi men feel compelled to identify as gay is to avoid just the kind of biphobia that I was experiencing at this man’s hands. I made sure to tell him so, then respectfully declined his offer of a second date.

“I cannot have a relationship with you, because I will never satisfy you completely. You’ll just end up cheating/leaving in the end.”

Recently I met a man for drinks and everything was great until I mentioned that I was bisexual. It hurt seeing his face suddenly look so disappointed. Then he confessed that he felt he would never to be able to satisfy me fully, that I would still have desires for women and that would bother him.

His confession was biphobic, insecure, and jealous. I suggested to him that his problem was not so much my bisexuality as his inability to trust a partner. He acknowledged that he is “the jealous type.” But he said if I were gay, it wouldn’t bother him as much because he’s confident about his prowess in bed. My bisexuality worried him, since he obviously could never compete with a woman – since he isn’t one.

All I could think to say in rebuttal (it was a debate, not a date at this point) was that even if I were gay, there would always be ways that a partner might not satisfy me. No couple ever is 100% satisfied by their partner(s). But if they love each other, they make it work. This didn’t seem to set his mind at ease. He retorted, “Because you’re bisexual, you have more options and you will inevitably be attracted to other people.”

Of course I would, I replied. As would you. It’s not like you stop finding people attractive just because you’re in a relationship, right? That’s true regardless of sexual orientation. I still didn’t see how my bisexuality made it any different. But he insisted it somehow was different.

Fine, I said. The bottom line is you’re the jealous type. Your insecurity is your problem, not mine and certainly not due to my bisexuality – whether you understand that or not. In any case, I don’t date jealous types.

“I have never tried anything sexual with a man, because I don’t want to ‘turn’ gay.”

This was an interesting experience I had with a “straight” man. You know, the kind that are all over “gay” dating apps but who insist they are straight. We met up at a party. After flirting with me a bit, he dropped the bomb. “I’m very attracted to you, and I’d like to have sex, but I’m worried I will turn gay if I do.”

I confess, I laughed. If you’re gay, you’re gay. It’s possible sex with a man will make you confront that fact about yourself, thus giving you the impetus to come out. But it won’t change your sexuality. For example, I’m bi. I’ve dated women and men. I didn’t suddenly turn gay just because I slept with a dude one time. I’ve been bi all along, even before I knew it.

He looked dumbfounded. I thought my explanation was pretty self explanatory. Then he made another confession. He said he would not want a man to talk to him “as a man talks a woman.”

This guy wasn’t worried about being “turned” gay. He was worried about being perceived as feminine. Sadly, many men are brainwashed into believing very toxic ideas regarding masculinity and femininity. They think there’s nothing more insulting to a man’s dignity than being perceived as “girly.” I felt sorry for him.

You’re a nice guy, I said. If you’re attracted to me, that doesn’t make you any less of a man. Anyone who would say so is a jerk – and probably insecure about their own manhood. If you ask me, it takes bravery and strength to be honest about being bi or gay. It’s something of which to be proud, not ashamed.

“Prove to me that you are bisexual.”

I went for dinner with a guy who knew in advance that I identify as bi. At some point, he started drilling me about it. He asked how often I have sex with women. I told him that it is not as frequently as I have sex with men. “Aha!,” he said. “I knew it. You’re gay. If you were bi, you’d sleep with more women.”

It is true that over the last few years I’ve been intimate with more men than women. But it is not because I’m not interested in women. In part it’s easier for me to find male partners, especially when it involves casual sex. Men are more likely to let you know that they want to have sex with you and they are easier to seduce (on average). Additionally, I’m a homo-romantic bi guy, which is to say that while I enjoy sex with women I am coming to understand that I have a preference for long term relationships with men. These two facts mean that opportunities for me to sleep with women are rare. But make no mistake, I am still attracted to women.

In any case, none of that should matter! Bisexuality is a spectrum. Anywhere between 100% gay and 100% straight falls somewhere on that spectrum. I find it impossible in practice to place myself at a specific point on the line, and my location on it varies from time to time and place to place. The point is that I’m very much on that bi spectrum and have been for as long as I’ve been aware of my sexual attractions. Even if I had NEVER slept with another woman (or a man or anyone for that matter), I would still be bi. Sexual orientation and sexual experience are just two different things.

Rant concluded, I finally just asked the guy to prove to me that he’s not bi. Naturally, he replied that it is impossible. He said he is sure he’s gay, and how could I question that. After all, I’m not him. Exactly.

In the end, these experiences have taught me that explicitly identifying as bisexual on my dating profiles is a good idea. Some bi guys I know leave it off, particularly if they are focusing on dating men. But I leave it on. Partly, because I do occasionally hear from a lady. But also because I think of my bisexuality as a kind of litmus test for open-mindedness and sensitivity. If someone is too closed minded to understand something as simple as bisexuality, they aren’t for me. If they are so insensitive that they would say biphobic things to someone they KNOW is bi, they aren’t for me. Fortunately, there are enough bi friendly folks out there that I don’t have to settle for any of these guys.

Damian Emba

Damian Emba is a Mexican/American artist, activist, translator, and writer. A contributor for Bi.org, Damian also coordinates Spanish Language & Youth Outreach for amBi, the world’s largest bi social community. You can follow him on Instagram @dmntial.