Given that you are sexually fluid and defy all constraints on your sexuality identity, you do not want to come out. This is because the nature of your fluidity is such that you are not in any defined space to come out of. Instead, you exist on a barely identifiable spectrum, caught between your messy world of deconstructed social constructs and the other world that exists outside your head: the world where you make your money, the very money you used to go to that private college that got you into this mess in the first place. So, since you’re so big on deconstructing, let’s get busy.
(I know categories make you uncontrollably quote Judith Butler, but deal with it.) You listen patiently to your cubicle mate’s heterocentric dating stories. You do your best to offer relationship advice, but something is missing. When she and other co-workers go out for drinks, you are not invited. Why? Because you have failed to establish an emotional connection. You must introduce your cubicle mate to the spectrum before she makes too many assumptions and is left feeling betrayed when she runs into you at the farmers’ market and sees you looking decidedly dykey.
Step 1: Don’t explain your sexual identity to her via any form of instant electronic communication, even if you’ve turned off the notification that lets her know when you’re typing and deleting and rephrasing and retyping again. (And if you haven’t turned off that notification, believe me, you should.)
Step 2: At the next office social function, position yourself within a circle of male colleagues and your cubicle mate. Demonstrate your ability to hang with the hetero boys. If you can muster it, throw a few flirty gestures at them. Eventually, she’ll launch in on yet another one of her dating stories. But this time, instead of offering advice, tell her your own dating story. Be sure to make it boring enough so that she loses partial interest along the way, so she’ll hardly register it when, instead of “ex-boyfriend,” you say “ex-girlfriend.” Just let the word “ex-girlfriend” fade and disappear into the shameless paragraphs of your narrative so that it doesn’t hit her then but registers a week later while she’s playing Minesweeper at work.
At first, you thought you and your Obama-supporting neighbor had so much in common: you both signed a petition to make your town greener; you complimented one another on your Obama lawn signs; and you shared a laugh at the funny video on YouTube of Bush making flubs. Sure, he liked will.i.am’s “Yes We Can” video a lot more than you did, but, still, his heart seemed to be in the right place. But recently you’ve noticed that when he talks about a political issue he employs the phrase “it’s different for people like us.” People like us. It’s clear he’s under the impression that you and he share a seat on the same sexually constructed boat. You must right that ship and set him straight.
Step 1: Craft a conversation that forces him to expose his shades of progressive bigotry. Mention Pastor Rick Warren’s presence at the inauguration. Explain to him the universal sex appeal of Isis, the transgender Top Model contestant. Shortly, he will deliver a reckless explanation about why he understands lesbianism even though he believes it’s unnatural (“Women are just more sexual!”) and how gay rights is the one issue that’s jeopardized the Democratic Party’s mainstream branding. Be sure to respond with backbone, but limit your use of the word “patriarchy” and keep from making lazy “hegemony” substitutions. Simply liberal-shame him until he’s forced to blog about it in his Kos diary.
Step 2: Continue to expose him to a world of people who can take or leave will.i.am’s video but are certain to shed a few tears after watching that commercial where Jif peanut butter changed their slogan from “Choosy moms choose Jif” to “Choosy dads choose Jif.” Slowly immerse him into this world of gender fluctuation. He is the change you can believe in.
That tipsy girl who keeps touching your arm at your friend’s whiskey party looks like she knows something is up. Unfortunately, she went to a state school, so she doesn’t know that she knows something is up. You have to be careful here. If you even remotely verbalize what she doesn’t know she knows, she’ll walk away.
Step 1: You need to make her aware of your fluidity, but you must do this without broaching a topic having anything to do with sexuality. So talk about Lindsay Lohan, but not Samantha Ronson. Mention how lame Katy Perry is. If things go well, you can refer to your recent attendance at an Ani DiFranco concert.
Step 2: After you’ve laced the conversation with traces of girl-on-girl imagery, you’ll need to roll out some more-traditional game. Offer her a beer. (You don’t even drink whiskey.) Lead her over to the iPod and browse its playlists together. This will allow plenty of opportunities for forearm grazing. Never underestimate the suggestive power of simultaneous forearm goose bumps.
Step 3: Leave the heterocentric environment and take her to someplace less culturally oppressive, like a 24-hour Laundromat. At the first opportunity, ask her to dance. Don’t feel funny about dancing in a Laundromat; the girl is tipsy, she’ll dance anywhere. If there’s a gay man nearby, ask him to join you. His presence will diffuse any frightfully overt demonstrations of lesbianism. Make sure he’s aware of your goals—he’ll know when to be the center of sexual attention and when to step to the sidelines. Just follow his lead and, by the end of the night, you’ll have saved another victim from the confines of socially constructed identity.
After making your way through each category, you’ll have completed your seamlessly uneventful coming out. If you slowly and confidently integrate stories of fluidity into your daily conversations, you’ll be talking like a normalized other in no time.