It is a curious thing that my namesake, the Swedish Botanist Carolus Linnaeus, is the father of binomial nomenclature. Taxonomy.
I have little use for classification. Labels are uncomfortable, both figuratively and literally.
When pressed as to my art practice I am wont to say that I do not practice material specificity. Yes, it sounds pretentious but I am serious. Whatever material is at hand is the one I shall be employing in any given moment.
My attractions are manifold. A true (label alert) maximalist, I am delighted by oh so much.
Sexuality falls under this big umbrella as well. As a girl I wanted to be a boy, not because of any gender confusion, but rather because being a boy just seemed better. And talk about uncomfortable: those goddamn starchy dresses and patent leather mary janes we girls had to wear. Give me a pair of worn in jeans, a buster brown t-shirt and some keds any old day.
I was, in the parlance of the sixties, a tomboy. Capguns, skates, marbles, slingshots, erector sets, microscopes. And my bicycle, the ultimate expression of freedom.
In a way that felt entirely natural, when it came to crushes, I fell for boys and girls.
When I got to college a lot of my friends and roommates were lesbians. And yet I dated men. In some ways I still wanted to be a guy and I relished the opportunity to ski, climb, backpack and cycle as one of the ‘boys’. Sort of. I was entirely cognizant of the fact that my membership to this club hinged on a relationship. And when we broke up, that membership would be automatically revoked.
Married for, well, far too long, it wasn’t until I started dating again three years ago that I decided there was absolutely no reason to not see woman as well. What I was not prepared for was the pushback. And, to my surprise, it generally was not men who had an issue, but rather women. Lesbians.
As an atheist I was well acquainted with a marginal status. The other, if you will. But it had not occurred to me that there would be those who would say that bisexuality was either a fraud or not a thing at all.
That prompted me to broaden my definition. Pansexual. The closest I could get to all inclusive without eschewing label altogether.
It has been an interesting experience. Although I am taking a breather now, in the three years I spent online dating, I corresponded and or spoke to literally hundreds of people. I went on actual dates with probably forty. Of those maybe a quarter identified as female, including one woman who had surgically transitioned.
Although I remain relationship free, I developed some incredibly fine friendships, with people of all genders. And, just as atheism is gradually being more openly embraced, so is the concept of pan or bisexuality.
That label thing. I truly believe so much of human behavior is on a spectrum, and I feel fortunate to be somewhere smack dab in the middle. I love/am attracted to men but I also love/am attracted to women.
And if we want to talk brass tacks, it’s about the person more than the genitals. As I once said to someone on OKCupid, ‘I did not join this site to get laid. First of all, I’ve had lots and lots of sex. Secondly, I can (oh thank you nature) have sex with myself.’ Or, as one of my (narcissistic boyfriends referred to it), ‘making love with the person you love best.’
Self sufficient as I am (in all respects), I still have a little twinkle in my eye. Although not actively seeking, it would be pretty damn swell to fall in love again. And as I am (by the assessment of no less an expert on sexuality than my well versed daughter) gender fluid, the odds just might be in my favor.