My final conclusion on this whole "bisexual women being allowed to date other women while in a relationship with a man" thing:
Someone on Formspring was asking me about my new-ish boyfriend & wanted to know if, being bisexual, I would still be “allowed” to date other women while in this relationship.
It made me kind of mad because:
a) it drew my attention to just how misunderstood my sexual labels (bisexual, pansexual, queer, etc.) still are, in this day & age, &
b) it emphasized one of the most troubling stereotypes about bisexuals, which is that we need involvement with people of both sexes or we don’t feel “fulfilled” or “whole.” This is a blatantly untrue generalization; I know at least 20 bisexual people & as far as I know, only one of them feels she needs romance/sex with people of both genders to feel complete.
I was discussing this with my friend Arena, who is bi & highly interested in queer issues, & magically hit upon the metaphor which works perfectly to explain why this issue bothers me so much:
If you’re dating an introvert, but you’re also sometimes attracted to extroverts, you don’t get to say “I love my introvert partner, but I need to occasionally have sex with an extrovert, or I feel unfulfilled.” You could say that, but people wouldn’t take you seriously at all. People are people, & when you enter into a (conventional, monogamous) relationship, you are doing so at the exclusion of all others, regardless of what random criteria you might claim you “need” in order to be happy.
Happiness & fulfillment come from an internal choice. If you’re in a relationship & you feel unfulfilled, you can blame that on the genitalia of your partner, or on any number of other things about your partner or your life at large, but it will always be an internal problem. One person really can be all that you need - but you don’t even need another person; all you need is you!
If you’re feeling love-starved or sex-starved or both, regardless of whether or not you’re in a relationship right now, you need to examine yourself & work on whatever is bothering you within your own psyche. Otherwise, you will always feel unfulfilled, to varying degrees, & will always be looking for some kind of justification for it - anything from “I can’t be happy unless I’m making at least $1 million a year” to “I can’t be happy unless I get at least 500 blog comments a week” to “I can’t be happy unless I’m sleeping with both men & women.”
“oh oh oh kate, i hear it’s your birthday today: so let it be a glad and twinkling one, all festooned with hoorays. a year of sudden joys and long-awaited whoops.”—message from my cousin on my 15th birthday (April 23rd 2007) - he is suuuuch a good writer & this is the perfect blessing for a birthday!
“No one can make you do or be anything you don’t want to… & that includes emotions. Who the fuck says you have to be sad, angry, frustrated, humiliated, or anything else? You’re the only one who can choose to be that way. & I say, if you choose to be miserable, do it big, allow it to inspire you in explosive ways, document the results to review in happier times, & then go do something else. Know, always, that you are loved, & that this too shall pass.”—one of the best blog posts I ever wrote, post-Rejection Day
“Use those talents you have. You will make it. You will give joy to the world. Take this tip from nature: The woods would be a very silent place if no birds sang except those who sang best.”—Bernard Meltzer (via dreamingofisis)
-Cute text messages
-Choosing to cheer up
-Long gossip sessions over coffee
-“The universe is like the best personal assistant ever, for realz”
-Jeremy Larson’s new album They Reappear
-Lazy mornings in bed with the cat
-Dove men’s “extra-fresh” deodorant
-Deciding to be different
-The word “instigator” in romantic contexts
-The way my current reality is an antidote to, & the result of, everything that bugged me about my past reality
-The huge blue & black checked men’s flannel shirt I sleep in sometimes (saucy minx, anyone?)
-Being called “foxy” (best best best ever)
-Signs of psychological/personal growth
-Rockin’ out at the Tarragon
-Journal entries that start off “UNGHH FUUUCK I LIKE HIM SO MUCHHHH”
-Honesty, transparency, authenticity
-The word “salacious”
-Casting my play (!!!!!)
-Journal entries where text isn’t enough to express what I’m feeling so I have to draw a bunch of hearts in the margins
What would be your advice for how to be successful on OkCupid?
Ooooooh this is a good question.
For anybody who doesn’t know, just to bring you up to speed, in January my friend Cadence started dating someone who she’d met on OkCupid, & he’s totally fucking awesome, so that inspired me to start thinking about maybe actually meeting someone from that site eventually. In March I got to talking with someone lovely on there, we went on a date, liked each other, went on more dates, & now he’s my boyfriend!
So, yeah, Cadence & I are both pretty damn thrilled with OkCupid right now, to put it mildly.
Here’s what I think are the most important things:
1. Make sure your profile ACCURATELY (but still attractively, hopefully) reflects who you are. Don’t try to “tone yourself down.” If you’re a huge nerd, write a few hugely nerdy things. If you use a lot of slang from the ’70s, put some of that in there. The people you want to attract are more likely to be interested if they see some element of weirdness about you (a weirdness which matches or complements their own) - if it’s sincere & real, it’ll put off the people you wouldn’t want to talk to anyway, & it’ll totally pique the interest of the kind of person you’re looking for!
2. Be real about what you’re looking for… but don’t get hung up on specifics.
For example: I knew I wanted someone VERY smart & creative. A few months ago, if you’d asked me what I was looking for, I might have said, “Someone who’s super smart & either acts or writes.” My man now is extremely creative, but doesn’t act & pretty much only writes in the context of his main art (making games). I wouldn’t have ever said “I want to date someone who makes games,” but he fit my BROADER criteria perfectly.
You see what I’m getting at? Know what you want, & STATE what you want on your profile, but don’t allow yourself to get bogged down in the details. You THINK you know what you’re looking for, but the perfect person might be waiting JUST outside your boundaries.
3. Answer lots of the compatibility questions (like at least 200, preferably more).
For each question, you get to choose a) your own answer, b) what your ideal partner would answer, & c) how important it is to you that they choose that answer (anywhere from “irrelevant” to “mandatory”).
These questions are worth doing right. Don’t go crazy over them, but definitely do think about them & try to be as honest as possible.
Also, don’t be afraid to use the “mandatory” option! I’ve fully excluded people who smoke, people who are against same-sex marriage, people who do drugs, etc. If there are some things which are instant dealbreakers for you, you might as well take advantage of OkCupid’s ability to weed out those qualities for you!
4. Make sure your pictures are up-to-date, reflect your personality at least somewhat, & LOOK LIKE YOU!
5. The compatibility percentages are worth paying attention to, but they’re not necessarily the most important thing in the world.
For example, I have 98% compatibility with my fella, because we agreed on TONS of the questions, but my friend only has 74% (I think?) with her boyfriend & they get along fine.
6. Remember that interests (movies, music, books, TV, food, etc) are useful for starting conversations but not for much else.
Example: my boy loves metal music, & drone music, & something called “black noise.” I love folk, jazz, & awful ’90s pop. We like each other LOTS anyway.
7. Flattery goes a LONG way, but don’t be creepy.
8. QuickMatch is really cool. It shows you someone’s profile & then you get to rate them out of 5 stars. If you give them 4 or 5 stars, & they also give you 4 or 5 stars, OkCupid sends you both a message that basically says, “Hey, you both like each other! Maybe you should start a conversation!”
It is a neat, kind of passive-aggressive way to let someone know you dig ‘em :P
9. Make your messages interesting, especially if you’re messaging a straight or bi girl (they get TONS of messages & are tired of hearing the same crap over & over).
The way to make your messages interesting, in my opinion & in my experience, is to phrase your message as your authentic reaction to them.
e.g. If you notice that their profile says they like Pokemon & you also like Pokemon, you don’t need to be all coy about it. You can straight-up say, “Oh my god, someone else who’s into Pokemon! I always feel like the biggest nerd about that!”
I think honesty & authenticity go a LONG way toward making a positive first impression.
10. If you end up going on a date with someone, try to relax & act like you know them already (because, from talking with them online for a bit, you kind of do).
I would recommend breaking the touch barrier early on, like by hugging them hello or something, because it would suck to get stuck in that impersonal, intellectual, internet-rooted, touchless hell.
If you’re not into them after the first or second date, don’t worry about it! Onto the next!
“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”—Neil Gaiman
According to Myers-Briggs, ISFPs are peaceful, easygoing people who adopt a “live and let live” approach to life. They enjoy taking things at their own pace and tend to live in the moment. Although quiet, they are pleasant, considerate, and caring, devoted to the people in their lives. Though not inclined to debate or necessarily even air their views, their values are important to them.
Scene 2 from the play I wrote a few months ago. This is the first time we meet the character Marla (who is, yes, loosely based on me, in some ways).
MARLA enters. Chase watches her with immediate interest.
MARLA:(to the audience; a bit flustered) I never know what to write in these things. I mean, I want to be candid and open, but how much is too much? What if I write something really asinine by accident, something that’s supposed to be a joke, but you take it seriously and think I’m a complete mental case, or worse, stupid? See, I’ve already done it, this entire paragraph is excessively loquacious and probably makes me seem like a grade-A lunatic, but I figure it’s best for you to find out now that I overthink things and talk too much – or type too much – before you message me and we go on a date maybe and you find out that I’m actually a wee bit too “eccentric” for your taste.
She takes a deep, centering breath.
But this is just a dating site. I’m overthinking and overreaching, as usual. This is just one paragraph in one profile on one of the thousands of websites on the internet designed to connect lonely losers with other lonely losers. So it’s not like you’re judging me. You’re a lonely loser too.
(deep breath, suddenly cheerful) Hi! I’m Marla. I like long walks on the beach. Just kidding. Can you imagine?! Actually, I like graphic design, yellow tulips, steel-toed Doc Martens, and staying up all night. I drink too much coffee. I fall in love really thoroughly and hard when I do, but I haven’t in a while, which is getting to be a bit… dispiriting. So naturally, I turned to the internet. The magical internet which is going to solve all of our problems by taking away all of our privacy and allowing anonymous strangers to laugh at us from halfway around the planet.
I’m not really as cynical as this profile is making me seem. I just think the world is getting sort of weird. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, right? I mean, you must like weird, or you wouldn’t still be reading this.
I’m looking for someone who likes to hold hands but won’t freak out if mine are sweaty. I’m looking for someone who won’t have a spasm of commitmentphobia if I impulsively decide to tattoo his name on my bicep. I’m looking for someone who knows the appropriate times to use semicolons and ampersands. And I guess I’m also looking for someone who might, eventually, someday in the distant murky future, want to marry me and possibly impregnate me with adorably neurotic children.
Do I sound like someone you might like to contact? Then you know what to do. And if you don’t, you’re probably not smart enough to date me anyway.
A stunned silence. Marla looks nervous while Chase stares in awe.
When you meet new people in new situations or settings, with as few familiar elements around you as possible, your words and actions are shaped only by YOU, rather than by all the eyes around you, silently comparing your current self to your past selves.
There is basically no such thing as a fixed “personality,” only traits you act out because you perceive them to be “you,” whether because you chose them yourself or - more often - because you have been trained into them by the people and situations around you in the past.
Therefore, while you can always choose to just start acting in a certain way if you want to, it is much easier to change your personality if you’re in a new environment with new people, because they don’t make you feel tied down to your former personality - they don’t know anything about whoever you used to be.
This is why I tend to remain a certain way around people I’ve known a long time, like my parents - sort of serious, direct, and painfully “surly teenager”-esque sometimes - and then find myself acting more and more like my TRUE SELF with the new people I meet - much more outgoing than the shy person I have been for such a long time - as long as I meet them in situations and places which are as close to a “clean slate” as possible.
Needless to say, this revelation has got me very, very excited for university.
Two weeks ago I wrote this “rampage of relationship wishes.” I’m going to bold the ones that have come true in the past ten days, just so you get a sense of how fucking cramazing the universe is at wish fulfillment. (Yes, I did just use the word “cramazing.” It might actually be the most accurate term to describe how I felt when I re-read this piece of writing & realized how close it is to what has actually happened.)
RAMPAGE OF RELATIONSHIP WISHES (March 6th, 2011)
Boys in leather jackets on motorcycles with a little bit of scruff. Square-rimmed black glasses. Holding hands.Kissing hello in subway stations. Playing music together. Him tasting my lipgloss on his mouth. Faces buried in necks.Cute e-mails & text messages.Butterflies."I like you so much."Floppy hair hanging in your pretty, bright eyes. Smiling at me from across a crowded room. Going out for dinner in random secret restaurants.Huge lattes in small cafés.Big pink lips pressed against mine.Warm hands on my waist & hips.