I have a great guy friend I hang out with all the time. He says he’s bi, but I don’t ever remember seeing him flirt or hook up with a girl—only other guys. The thing is, I’m really attracted to him. We always have a great time hanging out, we have great conversations, and he’s hilarious and really nice. If there’s a chance he likes women, I want to somehow let him know how I feel and see what happens. What do you think? —AT, Atlanta, Georgia
The Gay Man’s Perspective: Darren Maddox
I have a friend who’s convinced that there’s no such thing as a bisexual person. It’s been his experience that people who are experimenting sexually claim to be bi until they come to terms with their sexuality. I’m not sure how true that is, so I’ll simply advise you to do what women did to me when I told them I was bi: throw yourself at him and see how he reacts! Chances are, you won’t be the first person, male or female, to try to convince him he’s on his or her side of the fence.
I used to tell women I was bi, because I wasn’t ready to fling that closet door open as wide as a Carol Channing smile. On more than one occasion, I had a lady friend try to make out with me … maybe to keep me from going to the dark side? One time I had a girl literally take her top off, grab her boobs in my living room, and ask me point blank, “How can you look at these and tell me you don’t want them?”
Armed with this knowledge, I naturally told my straight guy friends that they should try telling girls that they were bi just to see what would happen. Hey, the way I saw it, everyone would win. But either way, you say you’ve never seen him flirt with a filly. He’s either gay and doesn’t want to admit it to you yet, or in love with you and doesn’t know how to show it. Either way, you know what you’re getting into. Go for it.
The Gay Woman’s Perspective: Jody Fischer
I’ve been where you are, and I know that it’s so easy to feel comfortable with a man like that. But I’m wondering, are you confusing “attracted to” and “comfortable with”? Granted, in a healthy relationship, there is some crossover, but they’re not the same thing.
He may be saying he’s bi because he’s not ready to say he’s gay. He may also be saying he’s bi because that’s how he truly feels. He may be curious about how it feels to be with a woman even though he’s been only with guys sexually. The possibilities are endless, really.
If your relationship is as close as you make it out to be, you should tell him how you feel. But before you do, ask yourself these questions: Will you still enjoy being BFFs if he’s not attracted to you? Can you have an intimate, nonsexual relationship with a man without wanting to turn it into something else? Our society does a pretty good job of conditioning us to believe that male-female friendships should also have a sexual component. So make sure you’re ready to be his close friend whether you become lovers or not.
The Straight Man’s Perspective: Chris Kennedy
Women who hang around gay men are called “fag hags.” I’ve come up with a term for those who hang around bisexuals. Ready? Remember, you read it here first: “bi ties.” Come on, bi ties. Bi ties! Always hanging around a bi man’s neck like a tie, or like an accessory draped around him. Yes, I like it. So should you. Give it a chance—I’m pretty sure I’m onto something here. Bi ties.
Okay, okay … I digress.
The problem is, what he says and what (and who) he does are two different things. Actions, not words, are what matter. He doesn’t like women; he’s gay. Why are you going after an unavailable man? Don’t answer that. Just focus on the solution, which is to go out and meet someone who is available.
As for telling him your feelings, that’s a bad idea. He’ll either reject you or give you a pity hookup. Bottom line: if he liked you, he would’ve made a move already—he’s a man. Bi the way, is he safe with these guys he’s hooking up with? Because if you hook up with him, you’re putting yourself in a big, bad, bisexual mess. I have to stop with these “bi” references, because the thing is, he’s not bisexual, he’s gay. But let’s put all that aside and call him what he is, most importantly, to you: a friend.
As a friend, he’d want for you what I want for you—to move on from this hang-up and find someone who really is attracted to you. You can’t afford to be bi-tied up on something that isn’t there.
The Straight Woman’s Perspective: Rebecca Brown
Didn’t Jennifer Aniston and my boyfriend Paul Rudd answer this question already back in 1998 in The Object of My Affection?
I really want there to be more meat to my answer than what I’m about to say. I mean, this is a column and I am obliged to try to impart whatever limited wisdom I have. But here’s what it sounds like to me, AT: if you’ve never seen him flirt with a woman but he’s told you he’s bi, it’s probably because he’s not ready to fully admit to anyone that he’s gay. That you even have to ask should tell you that you already know what the answer is in your gut.
Also, I’m not a huge fan of trying to convert someone—gay, bi, or straight—from friend to boyfriend. If it were meant to be more, it would be more, but it’s not, so don’t push it and risk the friendship. He’s a fan of the man, AT. He likes the wiener. He’s playing with the other equipment. I think you’re wasting your time with this guy romantically, but you may have made a great friend—one who will eventually have better highlights than you, will be the first to pony up for Cher and Madonna tickets, and will quote the best lines from Steel Magnolias when you need a laugh. (“Are you high, Clairee?”) Nurture your friendship. I think that’s the best thing you can do, because when he busts out of that closet, he’ll need all the supportive friends he can get.