Everyone needs a love tap now and then

…and it may just be good for what ails you.

Straight as an arrow?

Posted by Týr on September 14, 2007

My friend Topdrop was stuck in a Santa Cruz hospital until yesterday, so I decided to call him yesterday to give him a change from the boredom and ennui that is endemic to hospitals.

After he was telling me that he went to a gay bar and was happy to see “lots of cute guys”, I asked him how things like the gay bar trip and having a (FTM – that’s important too him) boyfriend work with his identifying as straight. The way I understood it, (and Topdrop, please tell me if this interpretation is incorrect) he is only attracted to feminine people, be they male, female, or other, and therefore identifies as straight.

This was a completely new definition of heterosexuality for me. It seems that he, in judging his attraction to other people, completely ignores their own identity and self-image. This definition seems to completely ignore the “hetero” part in heterosexual. Does Topdrop have a different definition of “straight” than everyone else I’ve met? Because that’s what it looks like to me. I also asked him why he doesn’t identify as bisexual or pansexual, since a partner’s actual gender identity does not appear very important to him. His answer was essentially an expansion of his reasoning that he’s straight: he is not attracted to masculine people, even if they’re women.

If you ask me, this meets the (Wikipedia) definition of pansexuality, since he doesn’t seem to care about his partner’s gender. It seems like a completely unique way of defining one’s sexuality. It never dawned on me, and it still doesn’t, to equate heterosexuality with a feminine appearance and nothing else.

Straight, to me, means heterosexual, which means that you’re attracted to the opposite sex essentially exclusively. I myself, am a straight male. I just realized that I feel silly to say “I identify as straight” instead of “I am straight”, since it was never really was a question in my mind. (I feel like I should start using the term cis-male but I’d be using the term ironically.) The only men I can say that I’ve ever been attracted to are Blaise, a transman, and sometimes a friend I shall call Dancer, whose appearance can best be described as ‘pretty boy’. The former is unlikely to ever amount to anything since he is a smoker and I find that abhorrent, the latter is not actual attraction since his girlfriend (who I shall term The Scot) is really the driving force behind this because she wants to see us make out.

Topdrop’s meaning of the word “straight is one I have no come across yet. I don’t mean to impinge upon his identity of himself, but his just seems wrong. It looks like it’s based on a wrong definition of the word “straight”. Does this mean that I could legitimately refer to him as something other than straight when talking to other people, assuming they have the same understanding of “straight”? Do I have to adopt his definition when talking to him? Am I completely off base here?

I must continue discussing this with him, because this type of mindset is just so utterly fascinating and new to me. Truth be told, his is a lovely mind to converse with about most anything. But this specifically, since it’s so very fascinating to me.

More on this after I talk to him again.

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4 Responses to “Straight as an arrow?”

  1. Maja said

    I’m interested in talking more about this with you in person. I know Eileen and May posted on this, and frankly the whole semantic mess of it made me want to throw up my hands. The thing about such a close-to-the-bone topic like sex/gender/identity is that it can’t BE defined. Everyone can try, of course, but everyone is going to be wrong in some way. [Sidenote: because how self-aware can you really be in order to come up with a fool-proof system of linguistics to describe your sexuality/gender/identity? And once you have that foolproof system, how on earth will it jibe with someone else’s similarly foolproof system? Sigh.]

    There should be a way or a word to describe the (relatively) simple pattern of Topdrop’s attractions, though. Even his cat seems feminine. Not that he’s boning his cat, of course.
    I suppose I’m failing to see the wrongness in him calling himself straight. Is it definition-wrong? Morally wrong? Maybe a tad confusing, but anyone who’s spoken to Topdrop for five minutes knows that he’s not easy. I say, use what works. Single words never do the job completely.

  2. The Scot said

    Hmm? Hmmmmm?

  3. Týr said

    So Topdrop informed me today that he had a 103 degree fever when we were talking, so anything he said should be taken with a grain of salt or fifteen.

    I await his promised lengthy comment.

  4. […] bed or toddled home, leaving Gael and Atlas  on our couch.  We’ve played with them before (see accounts on Týr’s blog, where they appear as The Scot and The Dancer respectively, but […]

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