I'd be lying if I said I wasn't as excited as the next person to see the highly-anticipated, entirely overrated kiss on last week's episode of The O.C. I'd also be lying if I said I wasn't incredibly disappointed with the girl-on-girl action: there was no raunchiness, and it lasted for two seconds during the last minute of an hour-long episode. Just to make sure viewers were really turned on, someone at FOX made the brilliant decision to follow the kiss, i.e. the last two seconds of the episode, with the sexy sound of a FOX News headline proclaiming, "The 'L' word comes to The O.C."
First of all, the kiss was lame. Second, since when did the "L" word stop being "love" and become "lesbian?"
Obviously FOX News is not keeping up with the times: girls are no longer automatically labeled as lesbians when they make out with each other—it's not a big deal. I've definitely seen better real-life action than The O.C., though whether or not I've participated in it I'm going to have to leave up to your imagination. When a friend of my mother called me, panicking, to tell me that she had found pictures of her 14-year-old daughter and her friends kissing each other, I reassured her that, while the pictures were probably best destroyed, there was not much else to worry about. It's gotten to the point where it's just not all that exciting anymore for a guy to see two girls make out. Many girls are experimenting with each other in private.
If "straight" girls are beginning to act on their sexual curiosity and genuinely experiment, where in the sexual identity dictionary does that put bisexuality? It may seem funny to claim that bisexuality is bullshit—it's just an excuse to get twice as much ass—and leave it at that, but let's be honest: sexual identity is about much more than that. Do strict definitions of gay, lesbian, straight and bisexual ever hold true?
Queer theory is largely defined by "desire not grounded in gender-object-of-choice." The idea that sexual identity is based on natural physical attraction only to one sex is limiting and false.
Sexual identity is not based on physical attraction alone. On Super Bowl Sunday, The New York Times' Style section ran a column by a gay man chronicling the parallels between his relationship with a woman and his gradual induction into the Pats' fan base. As a diehard Eagles fan, I was admittedly turned off by the author's reverence for Tom Brady. Nevertheless, his discussion of the two separate languages that exist for straight and gay men—"a Manglish if you will"—is compelling. Tapley tells how being in a relationship with a woman gave him the chance "to play the straight guy" and learn to speak football. Is sexual identity, as Tapley's column suggests, a reflection of cultural and societal interests? Do we define our sexual identity based on our ability to speak "Manglish" or how much we act like the characters in Chasing Amy or In and Out?
A gay friend of mine once commented that bisexuality is about being with the people you love, regardless of gender. A family friend whose husband is bisexual likes to say that bisexuality is about the choices you make. A girlfriend of mine, once self-described as "not a fan of sexual labels, but a huge fan of big black women," has been in a serious relationship with a guy for several months now.
In some sense, bisexuality reflects the purest form of attraction, a desire that stems from something deeper than the "natural" hormonal, physical draw. A gay man's choice to get into a relationship with a woman or a straight woman's decision to kiss her best friend is almost always based on some form of emotional investment. Bisexuality has a lot more to do with love and a lot less to do with months of media hype and a two-second kiss than FOX would like to think.
In a world where popular culture plays such a large role in our lives, it's undeniably difficult to define and be comfortable with your sexual identity. When it comes to society's drawing boxes around what is gay, lesbian, straight, or bisexual, the media is often to blame. But it doesn't stop there: these lines are drawn in the most minute aspects of our lives, from the way we talk to the clothes we wear.
Experimenting with both sexes is a natural reaction, an attempt to erase some of these lines. In the end there is no one way to be gay, lesbian, straight, or bisexual; who you are and what you do are entirely up to you. No matter what, it's sexy.