I assumed that it was 100% public knowledge that Jay was bisexual. When we first met, he told me he’s very open about it. I assumed that meant it didn’t matter if I told other people about it, but apparently I was wrong, and we got into a little tiff about this. Here’s how it happened…
A few weeks ago, a guy that Jay used to date invited us to this ‘event’ at a club (lets call this guy Brad). At first I thought it was just clubbing, so I was planning to invite a bunch of my other friends. But the more they discussed the event, it sounded like something beyond ‘just clubbing’. I wasn’t entirely sure what it was, but I managed to gather that there would be men dressed in women’s clothing, so I thought to myself, “Hm, I better not invite all my conservative friends, and possibly freak them out, since I don’t know what this is.”
We went to the event, and it was really fun. People were dressed kinda crazy, but overall, nothing unreasonable was going on. I figured that I’d bring some of my friends next time. In the mean time, the group I was with all took pictures of ourselves having tons of fun, and put them up on Facebook.
The next morning, one of my best girl friends, Leslie, texted me, saying, “Blah blah blah, why didn’t you invite me last night? Blah blah blah I always invite you…” Yeah. She was pissed. Apparently that venue was somewhere she goes to all the time and loves, and she was really mad that I went there without inviting her. I know. I’m the worst person in the world. Whatever.
I figured I would try to explain that I didn’t plan the outing, and also why I didn’t invite her: Brad, Jay’s ex, this little gay dude, planned it and I didn’t know what it was until I got there.
The problem is Leslie doesn’t know Jay is bi. So that makes explaining his gay ex a little hard. I could have crafted a way around those details, but I figured the story would be easier to tell if I just explained the whole thing.
So I texted Jay and asked if I could tell Leslie he was bi. At first he said, “Yeah, sure.”
Then he added something like, “As long as she wont think I’m actually gay.”
I told him that she would more likely think he was actually straight… I don’t remember the details, but that lead to a discussion of whether she would believe he was bi or not. I admitted I wasn’t sure what she would think, and then Jay said, “Never mind, I don’t want you to tell her.”
“Why not? You tell strangers.”
“Because this is different. It’s your best friend-“ (Jay was wrong about this, Nora is my best friend, but that’s not important to this story…) “And she’s going to try to convince you that guys can’t be bisexual, and that I’m going to end up gay.”
I didn’t see the problem with that. Leslie has tried to convince me of a lot stupider things before (like that putting a caramel apple in a Ferragamo handbag would not ruin the bag [or the apple] if it was only in there for a few minutes). I have no problem fully disregarding advice that Leslie gives me.
However, Jay explained that Lesley’s opinion of his sexuality was not the problem. “The problem,” he said. “Is why you are telling her.”
I was confused. As far as I knew, I was telling her to get her off my back about not inviting her to some stupid club. But Jay thought differently.
“You are telling her,” he said, “For the same reason you told Max and your mom; because you weren’t sure about dating me, and you wanted their advice. And you’re still not sure, so you’re asking Leslie to help you decide whether it’s a good idea.”
I literally rolled my eyes at this. “Listen,” I said. “I never ask my mom for advice; that’s why we aren’t close. And as for Max, he has the good sense not to try to tell me what to do, which is why we are close. I can assure you that telling them about your sexuality had nothing to do with trying to get advice on whether to date a bisexual guy.”
Eventually Jay admitted that he believed me. He explained that he’s had issues in the past with girls blacklisting him because of his sexuality. Fine. Fair enough. Whatever.
But he also explained that I should not have just assumed it was okay to disclose his sexuality. This was very personal information, he explained.
“But its on your facebook,” I argued.
“Well then people can look at my facebook and ask me about it. But you can’t just assume you can go around telling people.”
“Well how am I suppose to know all these rules?” I said.
“I don’t know.”
“There’s no handbook of bisexual men. There’s no ten commandments for dating bi guys,” I said. “How am I supposed to know what I can tell people and what’s a secret? I can’t know what’s socially appropriate when it comes to bisexuality.”
“It’s the same as being gay. You can’t just go around telling people someone is gay.”
“No,” I said. “It’s not. If we were a gay couple, everyone would know just by looking at us, and there would be no need to tell my friends. It is different.”
“I don’t know,” Jay finally said.
So here is my question to all you readers out there; what are the rules for disclosing someone’s bisexuality? Is it a faux pas to ‘out’ them? Or does keeping it a secret mean you are ashamed?