I don't know about you, but it seems like it's getting harder and harder to tell who's gay and who's not these days. And then there's the bisexuals. Oy. Don't even get me started. What's a label-defined, everything-in-its-place, definition-loving society to do? I suppose we could do away with labels all together, but then that would probably make things more confusing. Seriously, though: human sexuality is a curious thing, innit?
I remember the days of grade school. We tend to have this view of kids of that age as being fairly innocent, doe-eyed young things that haven't been sullied by much of the world. And, in many ways, this is correct. But we were all there once, right? I remember a lot of what went on, and while it was (comparatively) innocent, there were also the stirrings of sexual attraction.
During class, there would be a bevy of girls vying to sit next to me whenever a film was shown. I do not say this egotistically, simply as a statement of fact. I remember having crushes on girls and boys. There was the occasion, as a kindergartener, that I saw a 5th grader changing clothes in the boys room and thought, 'Hmmm, that's interesting.' And then, when I myself was in 5th grade, I would sometimes stare, longingly, at a particular boy in my class. There wasn't a lot of thought behind it -- certainly nothing overtly sexual -- simply a mental notation that this boy was rather nice to look at.
My sexuality came to greater fruition during middle and high schools, with the likes and dislikes of guys and girls becoming more distinguished. I had a thing for Colin. And Chris. And when they were nice to me, it made my day. I also had a thing for Laura. And Sarah. And when they weren't nice to me, it was crushing. I remember riding around in Chris's car some nights, as he'd bump the soundtrack to Sliver through his speakers, and thinking that life was pretty good during those moments. Or riding my bike next to him as he (and sometimes Josh) would go on their nightly jogs (I had no desire to jog with them, so the bicycle would have to do).
Then there was Kyle, oh he of the religious devotion. He and his family went to church several times a week, and I spent most of my Junior year of high school tagging along with them, both out of a curiosity of religion, and because I had a supreme affection for Kyle. Truth be told, I thought he might be gay. To this day, I do not know if he was or is. In the end, our lives just didn't mesh, and after spending several months with a person who lit up my world, our friendship ended. The devastated emotions left in its wake are what prompted me to finally 'come out.' It was, initially, to my mother. I was 17. The rest is history.
All of this comes to mind whenever I think of human sexuality in a general sense and, yes, in a particular sense whenever I encounter folks who seem to defy the stereotypes. And there's a lot of them out there. These days there are effeminate, hipster guys who seem gay but aren't, and butch, no-nonsense women who come across as lesbians, but are in fact straight. I've had to take my Gaydar into the shop numerous times to have it fine-tuned. Of course, this is all fairly academic for me at this point. But it's still nice to distinguish one's own kind from the crowd, and it seems that is becoming more difficult each year.
One may very well argue that this is all a good thing. Perhaps it is. Sexuality is, after all, on somewhat of a sliding scale. You've got your die-hards at each end, and then the rest of the people in between. I think that most folks are able to appreciate the beauty of someone (inside & out) without necessarily wanting to bed them. Admitting to it is another thing, however. Overall, we're just here appreciating other human beings for their various attributes: intellect, talent and, yes, attractiveness. I think that the labels are getting less and less applicable.