September 12th, 2002

Sexuality and Consciousness

"Do you like girls or boys
It's confusing these days"

- David Bowie, "Hallo Spaceboy," Outside (1995)
Lyrics by David Bowie; music by David Bowie, Brian Eno.

Well. I've got three chapters in two separate books that I need to summarize, and rather too many other things to handle tonight before I got to (belated) sleep tonight, but there's an issue I'd like to discuss. At least two people have wondered how I could be bi but have no conscious knowledge of it until this February past. So, let me see if I can explain it.

Until recently, I loathed the concept of false consciousness. I found that the whole concept stunk of a fundamental contempt for the abilities of the human mind--most specifically, of a human mind--to understand itself, to decipher its intentions. I was a person who was a firm Cartesian. To an extent, I still am. If only I looked objectively at the clues, the facts: The people I imagined, and so on.

I didn't make any conscious decision not to examine these clues. That would have been a conscious act. I just simply acted--or not acted, or whichever verb is appropriate--I suppose, on the default assumption that I was heterosexual. Certainly I'd never been accused of being a fag; I'd no reason, really, to think other people thought I was anything but a bookworm or a nerd or an overpolite overdistant chap. I wasn't denying anything; I had no consciousness of denying anything. I simply didn't think of myself as falling in that broad and rather scary category of "non-heterosexual," and didn't bother to consider the possibility that I myself--as opposed to, say, a hypothetical future self, or an alternate-historical self--might indeed fall in that category.

This continued until this February.

I realized that I was bi almost by happenstance, and not through any conscious examination of my sexuality. I was browsing the USENET archives at a quarter to midnight on February the 6th when I came across some postings made by fanboi82. Tom has a long-standing history of posting to the USENET group soc.history.what-if--an alternate history forum--and he's also come out fairly recently (though as gay, definitely notbi), and although I'd never had any kind of personal relationship with Tom I felt a sense of empathy with him: I liked the way that he thought, and I liked his historical what-if scenarios. And, in one post, he mentioned having a boyfriend.

And I thought, in an unguarded moment, "Gosh, a boyfriend would be nice to have."

And then: "Oh, I must be bi."

My consciousness lagged behind these rather unexpected realizations; when it did, my thought processes can be described roughly as follows:

"Oh. I'm bi."

"Oh. I'm bi."

"Oh no, I'm </i>bi</i>."

And there you have it. It is confusing; but then, David Bowie knows whereof he sings.
  • Current Music
    David Bowie, "Hallo Spaceboy"