Gay/Straight Advice: Gay Bar Regular -- Straight or Bi?

Here's a question from another reader...
I am friends with several gay guys, as well as "straight" guys, who as a friend once said "Need to bite the bullet and taste the rainbow." But this is the situation...

One of the "straights" hangs out at a local gay bar my friends and I frequent. As a straight girl, I'm rarely approached other than to be complimented on my hair or outfit, etc. But the "straight" guy started a flirtation with my friend "Jon", then did an about face a week later and began hitting on me. He says he's more into girls than guys, but the rest of us are skeptical. Now Jon did not show obvious enthusiasm at his advances, and at the moment I am ambivalent to his flirtation.

The question: Is he really that confused, or is he trying to make Jon jealous by flirting with a girl who is also Jon's good friend?

In a related question, yet another reader asked for our take on bisexuality, whether "it actually exists," so let's get to it.


Let me start by admitting that "gay bar drama" is not a specialty of mine. But, even I know that these establishments serve several useful purposes, one of the lesser acknowledged ones is to provide a safe haven for straight girls who are tired of getting hit on. So strike one against the flirt-addict already.

My gut says that a self-proclaimed straight who is a regular at a gay bar, takes shots at all passersby, and misses on all counts (responses range from ambivalent to non-enthusiastic... ouch!) might have more than a few issues to work out. All we know for sure is that the guy is lonely. Gay and hopeless? Straight and creepy? Bi and desperate? Your guess is as good as mine. But he doesn't sound like a "keeper" in any of those scenarios.

As to whether he's "more into" girls or guys? Whatever. We'll have to assume that he's into whatever he's hitting on at the moment. Maybe he is trying to play you against each other. But let's not label him a player until he's actually got game.

Which leads us to the other topic...

As to the existence of bisexuality, sure, why not? Probably very rare, but why write it off? Mostly, though, it's a label that's not applied properly. GG and I have discussed the "girls gone wild" double-standard: girls are allowed (often encouraged) to explore their bi options and are allowed to return to straightdom, guys who experiment are labeled as gay forever. No, it's not fair, but that's the current scenario. (SG post / GG post)

Pro bisexuality folks probably say that it's taking life and love without limits, which sounds good as an abstract. But I can't imagine a more tiring, complicated, and drama-filled existence. For this straight guy, mastering ONE model for relationships has proven pretty exhausting and plenty rewarding, thank you very much.

I play a fair amount of video games (a few all nighters, but nothing tragic, don't worry). It takes weeks or months to acquire the skills, and build the strength, to complete the story of each game. When you finally win, the programmers often give you access to "secret bonus levels" where they throw a ridiculous amount of obstacles and opponents at you, all at once. The frenzy is supposed to be fun, but I immediately lose interest in these ultra-complicated conquests. And yes, you have just been hit with a lame straight guy metaphor where bisexuality = bonus level. Sorry.

If there is a sliding scale, and bisexuality is really out there, you'd have to be doubly attractive and have twice the energy to make it work... or else you'll just be twice as lonely when nothing clicks, right? (See example, above.) Sorry if that sounds harsh, but let's not assume that all bisexuals are skanky 20-somethings of the late-night Cinemax variety, right?

I'll let GG talk more about the folks who change teams along the way. Maybe a few of them are truly bi. I think most of them probably spent too long trying to be something they weren't.

So, yes. One uninformed vote for the existence of bisexuality. Though it's rarer, and probably not as easy, and certainly not as hot, as we're led to believe by pop culture. Readers?


Wow, lots of material here. Thanks, readers, for the questions, and thanks, Straight Guy for another well-conceived, well-articulated and revealing post.

For our straight gal pal reader getting hit on by a guy who says he more into girls than guys . . . while he's hanging in a gay bar . . . Please, please listen to your "ambivalence" about him. Right now, your ambivalence is your best friend. Repeat: Keep listening to your instincts. In fact, pump up the volume.

Maybe someday this serial, equal opportunity flirter will become a gem. But he'll be someone else's gem because you don't have enough time to help him along. Even if he's truly bisexual or keeping his romantic options open, he needs to work on his technique. Like a better use of venue. If he's in a "gay today" mood, the gay bar makes sense, but don't hit on the woman in the gay bar. It's just too confusing to everyone, too ripe for collateral damage. Think about the Bermuda Triangle for the gay guy building up the ego to take step one with what he reasonably thinks is another gay gay, but one who's working it with the straight girl. Not cool. Plus, if Mr. More Into Girls Than Guys, But Keeping My Options Open and Crowded is into you, he needs to strap on some class and find a nicer way to deal with you plus Jon.

Trying to make Jon jealous by hitting on you? Confused? Uh . . . no. He's just a mess, and I agree with SG -- it's more than a little sad that's he's striking out with both you and Jon in rapid succession. Best case scenario, he's an attention whore. If he wanted to make an impression on Jon, he'd make a good one. That would mean being to nice to you, not flirting with you.

Bisexuality. It just seems untidy to me. I'm sure it exists and I don't write it off, but it's pretty rare in my experience. And messy. My experience of bisexual men is that the women they are involved with are just a way station on the path to living as homosexuals. As in, "Today's bisexual is tomorrow's homosexual." Or was that "Today's vegetarian is tomorrow's homosexual?" Or tomorrow's vegetarian. I don't remember anymore.

I like women. I like women a lot. I've always been comfortable with them. I think I deal with them as, well, women. Not gay men with breasts and an unfamiliar Southern Hemisphere. But, not since high school did I experience the feelings, longing, and misery with them that I feel with other men.

Maybe bisexuality gives you more options. But, it looks exhausting to me. Or maybe I can't handle the fear of rejection from more than one flank at a time. I don't deal well with lots of choices; I just shut down. This summer, a server handed me a wine list that resembled a legal brief prepared for a Supreme Court appearance. On top of that, it was in tiny, single-space type. My best option became to order a Bud Light (in Napa, not less -- horrors). The server sensed by blankness and brought the "29 wines at 29 bucks for our 29th anniversary" list. Much better.

Okay, I'm gotta jump into the shower for dinner and a show with a friend, so I'll end here. I'd like to circle back to guys who switch teams along the road. Remind me to come back to it.

P.S. "Bite the bullet and taste the rainbow" is priceless!!


another gay guy said...

I'd be very curious about a straight guy in a gay bar who wasn't petrified and uncomfortable.

Smileyfreak said...

Yer blog is really good,I'l defo drop by more often from now on!
Keep Smiling,
Smileyfreak :)!

Kathryn said...

Wow....great post, as always guys.
Lots to ponder. I'd always just assumed that "bi" existed, but never really thought about the semantics of it. It would be really complicated! Relationships with one gender are hard enough....I couldn't imagine both at the same time!

Emma C said...


Am loving this blog!

I have a friend who I shared a house with for a few years. She was bi and at the time I shared with her she was in a long-term lesbian relationship and having an affair with a guy (who also had a long-term girlfriend.)

Talk about confusing! It all ended in tears...

I didn't realise how rare it was to be truly bi until I read this post. I guess it doubles your field of potential partners, which is good!

The pale observer said...

I think you underestimate the existence of bisexuality!!! To the extent that you both write 'it might be out there somewhere' like the lockness monster...

Where do you classify a female who has had long term meaningful, lustful, deep relationships at different times in their lives with both genders. If the person continues to be attracted equally to both men and women at the age of 40?

Just hypothetically ;-)

Seriously I am wondering.

By the way, great blog. I'm your newest follower,
Messy complicated girl - Holli in Ghana

Straight Guy said...

Thanks for the comments, all.

Smileyfreak: Keep coming back.

Emma: I'm sure it has it's ups and downs, but you know I like to keep the drama to a minimum.

Pale Observer Holli: Yeah, that What you "hypothetically" describe sounds bi. Our point was that the term is SO overused, and actual bisexuals are much rarer than implied.

Girls who "go wild" for the entertainment of straight guys: NOT bi.

Guys in sham marriages who repress their true selves for years, then "switch" teams later in life: NOT bi.

Sound right? It's out there... but neither of us ever said "monster."

Welcome to GG/SG.

Anonymous said...

". . . gay man with breasts and an unfamiliar southern hemisphere . . ." PRICELESS!

Anonymous said...

I apologise, but it does not approach me. Perhaps there are still variants?

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