Can We Talk?

I’ve always had a soft spot for the bastard Don John. In his definitive speech, ‘I cannot hide what I am ...’ he effectively sticks a couple of fingers up at the saccharinity of Leonato’s court - and subsequent events are more the result of the hypocrisy of others than of his own frankly villainous involvement. (And for the literately-challenged, we are of course talking about that seminal tragicomedy, Whoops, There Goe my Pantoufles, Withal, or Up Your Alley. Way after the fact, I know, I know.)

(And fingernails running soft through hair. A vibrator pressed along the perineum and anus, lubricated with spit. And lying back on cool grass. And ‘Manda’s cotton gold-screen-printed butterfly dress in sunlight.)

Like that nifty Beatrice/Benedick subplot that has served as the basic template for every will-they-won’t-they scenario ever since, this is as relevant now as then: we are all of us forced into rôles we don’t want, must walk the walk and talk the talk or must necessarily take a villainous stance.

(And the Elephant Song with appropriate gestures. And sucking a freshly-washed cock and rolling the tongue around the head. And girlie voices and jangly guitars. And cat-play. And the feel of vaginal walls clenching and unclenching. And getting a massage maybe halfway right. And the way people look at you and go childlike and smile.)

Bisexuals, to hear some tell it, far from being the slavering libidinous monsters of popular report, are generally relaxed and kind, with a relaxed and open attitude to non-hierarchical, non-gender-orientated relationships in an oppression-free and mutually supportive environment and stuff. Oh what a relief. Heaven forfend that sex might be dirty and humiliating and anything that might approach actual fun.

(And the gentle, salacious stroke after the sting. And fingers softly bitten near the knuckles. And black condoms. And black men dancing. And slobbing on the sofa with Jenlain beer and Yanqui Fritos. And giggly threesomes. And spontaneous laughter. And the look of rubber, the feel and smell of leather.)

We do not do this thing through choice; we do this because we are driven. Unlike Scientology, or Stalinism, or any kind of Separatism, which are imposed and negate the self, bisexuality is an expression of self.

(And fingernails drawn soft down the spine and buried hard between the shoulder blades. And utterly disgusting Australian party games. And rimming. And red Leb and Old Holborn. And wrestle-slithering. And sleazy, sweaty, exploitative and absolutely Incorrect pornography. And holding hands and nuzzling and sod the lot of them. And body-piercing on other people.)

We are all of us equal and different and existing - and any putative Movement must be founded upon that fact, rather than an attempt to impose some arbitrary set of social values and rules. Empathy is not the specious mouthing of the right noises learnt by rote; it is the natural product of a generous heart.

In the narrow terms of the intolerant, who feel we must pick sides, we are cop-out … and to protest that we’re not is to accept those terms. Might I instead suggest the simple response of: fuck off and die.

We are the people people warned us against, and we should be revelling in it.

(And lying in your arms, enfolded in your arms and safe.)

* * *

And sometimes, just occasionally, people wear their scars lightly. People who are healed and well, who know how to deal with frightened children who find themselves turning into monsters and who don’t know why. Who take in strays, and feed them until they can run again, and then they let them go. Miracles happen. Miracles happen all the time, and most of them are other people.

It’s like gazing absently through a train window as you pull out of the city in the dead, grey rain. Sunlight bursts through a gap in the cloud-cover, briefly illuminating a landscape with a hard-edged, crystalline, coruscating clarity.

Nothing has changed, nothing at all - but suddenly, in spite of everything and against all expectation, it can just be a beautiful world.

It’s inside you all the time: a big light machine. All you have to do is switch it on.

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