I was having an email exchange the other day with a reader who identifies as bisexual about what it was like to be sexually attracted by both genders myself, specifically as a young person. It’s hard for me to relate today to someone who doesn’t find something appealing about both male and female forms. Not just the shape of their bodies and format of their genitals, but the very different emotional and psychological attributes of each bring to an encounter.
For as long as I can remember, there were things that appealed to me about both boys and girls. Things that eventually started to play out as sexual games (or as close as you can get when you’re very young). I knew that I shouldn’t tell my parents about these things and I also knew that obviously the boys ended up with the girls eventually, but it all seemed so perfectly natural to me. And until I was in junior high, I never had any kind of fun with another boy who seemed weirded out by it. There was this one guy who lived nearby who always seemed more than happy for me to go down on him but was never all that enthusiastic with the concept of reciprocity.
For a long while, after I figured out how not normal it was to play around with boys, I used to think there was something about me, specifically, that made them think I would be up for stuff the other boys wouldn’t. Perhaps that’s true, I don’t know. Maybe there are signals we project unknowingly or I exhibited certain mannerisms or had the right kind of pheromones or some shit like that, but by the time I entered high school, I figured out that I had had way more same-sex fun than any other of my friends. Even the ones that were starting to show signs of being gay. Interestingly, it seemed like the gay boys had had less experience with other boys, perhaps because they were overly self-conscious about their feelings. Who knows. Anyway, for a long time, I thought it was me, not them. That I had somehow invited this attention and that they felt I was a safe source of something they would never tell their other friends about.
At some point, I started attracting a few girls, too. Turns out I liked them just as well as the boys, but for different reasons. I think they liked me because I was “sensitive”, but no matter, I just cruised though my middle teenage years kind of bouncing back and forth (even on the same day, but only once at the same time). I am the kind of person who needs to identify and categorize things, myseld included. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I was. I was certainly not straight, though my heart and soul yearned for the company of a woman. Then again, how could someone who only looks at other men as sex objects be gay? That sounds like a horrible life. It seemed like everyone was trying to “round me up” to gay. My gay friends said bi was a stage and my straight friends all thought the same thing.
There was one boy in particular, who I’m fortunate enough to still call a good friend, that I was especially unkind to for a while. He was very much enamored of me and I liked him a lot (and his outstanding cock), but I could never connect with him beyond really liking him and his cock. On those occasions in which I felt like I should probably be gay, I’d go to him and make him feel like I was more invested in him that I could be. Ultimately, that left him feeling hurt and disappointed. That cycle happened several times. At least six over the course of many years.
That I never did that to any girl has not only to do with my innate feeling that they were “different” and not deserving of such treatment, but also because by the time I got into my twenties I had pretty much stopped seeing them entirely. Maybe it was fear of my own uncertain sexuality that kept me from pursuing them (or, really, letting any of them pursue me), but there were years in between my last serious girlfriend and Belle. By the time we were having sex, we had already been friends for a while. She knew about my history with boys, had watched gay porn with me, and seen some of the toys I used to pleasure myself. For the first time really, I had a girlfriend who knew what I was.
At some point, maybe 15 years ago or so, I realized I was just what I was. That I wasn’t entirely normal, but that I wasn’t and didn’t need to fit into any commonly recognized buckets. That’s not to say I embraced this realization with heroic fervor. I spent a lot of time hiding myself from Belle out of a misplaced sense of shame and embarrassment. That was a mistake.
So why Frank N. Furter? Well, there was a time in high school when my friends and I (including that boy from above with the really nice cock) would go and see The Rocky Horror Picture Show every week at the local dive theater. Week after week until I knew the words to the movie by heart. I love that fucking movie. Not only because of the special time that was in my life and how grown-up it felt to be out late seeing a movie that was essentially about a guy that builds his own living sex doll, but because there was this big, beautiful omnisexual being on the screen for me to identify with. Frank wasn’t gay or straight and nobody seemed to really give a shit. Not only that, but on my side of the screen were hundreds of kids like me cheering him on (some even dressing up like him – mostly straight boys, but don’t get me started). He was a real, almost positive roll model for me. Yes, he does end up killing a guy with an ax and is killed himself at the end of the movie, but along the way he looks fabulous and fucks Brad and Janet and Rocky, plus a midget or two. I liked Frank because in a weird, fucked up kind of way, I saw myself in him. And he was in charge and having fun (except for at the end) and didn’t bother apologizing to anyone along the way (OK, except for Riff, again at the end, but that’s only because Riff was pointing a gun at him…and just when it seemed like he was getting his life together).
There’s really no reason for me to tell you all this right now except that I was feeling a little writer-blocky and knew, once I saw this picture of Frank fly by in my Tumblr stream, that I could riff for a thousand words or so on the subject of being a sexually mixed up kid living in the time of late-night movie transvestites from another planet.