DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I love all the amazing life lessons you give. I hope you can help me with my dilemma. My issue is less of a problem and more me being confused.
First, the back story: in high school, I had no issue talking or communicating with girls; in fact my best friends in the world are girls. I feel the closest to them and have had sleep overs and get togethers, something that I have not done with my guy friends in years. A while ago, they brought up that they think I could be gay or bi. Their reasons for this were my calm, sweet and feminine like personality, my best friends are all girls and other small points.
At first i dismissed it, but as the weeks/months went on, I started to wonder if there was any truth to this. I know I’m not gay because of my attraction to girls, but could I be bisexual? Or is the only reason I’m thinking of this because they brought it up?
With this being said, my second question is, how can a guy like me, who is described by quite a few people as a cute feminine guy get a girl? I spend most my time with girls, and I don’t want to send the message that I am a girl so stay away. I know this is not a normal question but I was hoping u could help with your usual dose of helpful advice.
DEAR MAYBEBISHYGUY: So, this is one of those times when I need to qualify my advice with the fact that I’m a straight, cis man. My perspective is — by definition — not going to be the same as an LGBTQ person’s, and so there’s always the possibility of missing something critical or an angle I wouldn’t have considered.
This is why I would like to that my LGBTQ readers chime in with their thoughts and experiences regarding how they came to understand their sexuality and sexual expression. Reading their stories and experiences could help shine a light on some of your own.
Now with that in mind: it doesn’t sound like you’re bisexual, MBSG. If we go by what you’ve written, then I’d feel pretty secure in saying that you sound like you’re straight.
You’re comfortable around women and have mostly female friends. That’s not inherent to any form of sexuality; guys can relate more to their female friends just as women can relate more to their male friends. That doesn’t say anything about who you want to bang, just who you are more comfortable with.
Similarly, being a feminine guy – either in looks or personality – isn’t an indication of sexual orientation. Gender is, after all, a social construct. You can be less traditionally “masculine” in presentation or in behavior and still be straight. Being softer-spoken or less assertive doesn’t make you any less male or straight. Neither does being more nurturing or less aggressive or domineering. Those are just different ways of being a man. You can be a soft, gentle straight man, you can be an aggressive, dominant gay man or any other combination you care to imagine. You can have camp straight men and straight-acting pansexual men; the behavior may be associated with one form of sexuality, but that doesn’t make it exclusively tied to it.
By that same token, the fact that your friends think you might be less than 100% straight doesn’t mean that they’re right. Women are just as capable of having weird ideas about sexuality as straight men are. You all sound VERY young, so if I were to hazard a guess, it would be that your friends most likely think you’re gay because a) you’re less masculine presenting than other men they know and b)you’re not actively trying to f--k them the way that they seem to assume most guys would.
Well, either that or they have some really odd ideas about what being bisexual means. But then again, who knows; you may just be a straight guy who gives off a gay vibe. I’ve known plenty of guys whose behavior has given false pings on people’s gaydar; they’re straight, but because they don’t perform their masculinity in stereotypical ways, they confuse some folks at first. As people get to know them, they realize that no, that’s just who they are and it’s all part and parcel of the wondrous variety that is the human experience.
The only person who could really say whether you’re bi or pansexual is you. You’ve said that you’re attracted to women, and the only reason you even think about it is because they brought it up. While that doesn’t mean that you definitely aren’t bi, you don’t seem to have given any reason in your letter to say that you are.
Of course, one of the things to realize is that sexuality is a multi-axis spectrum, not a line where you have to be equally split in your attraction to men or women to be bi. You can be primarily attracted to women, but there’s just the occasional guy who hits that exact sweet spot for you. You could be sexually attracted to men, but are only romantically attracted to women. Or you could find yourself into a wider variety of people including folks who are non-binary or otherwise gender non-conforming.
So COULD you be bi? Hell if I know, you tell me. One of the better indicators of where your interests lie is who you think about when it’s just you, your hand and your imagination. If you find yourself imagining Oscar Isaac or Li’l Nas X — and honestly, who could blame you — on occasion when you’re masturbating, then sure, I’d say you would qualify. But again: a) I’m a straight dude and b) my feelings on the subject ultimately don’t matter. Yours do.
Now as for how a feminine looking dude can get a girlfriend… well, can I assume you’ve never heard of the phrase “pretty boy” or “bishonen”? For that matter, have you seen how people respond to Timothée Chalamet or Harry Styles? Or when David Bowie was in his Ziggy Stardust phase of his career, with god-given ass?
Androgynous or feminine looking guys are like catnip to a large portion of the female population… and that segment is growing in influence. While there will always women who like their men hairy-chested and square-jawed, there are also many who like men who are softer, slimmer or otherwise less traditionally male. And there are more than a few who like their men to not just appear more feminine but to be more feminine in behavior as well.
Like I said: it’s all part and parcel of the diversity of the human experience. Some straight guys want amazons, some straight women want pretty boys.
Spending time with women or having a more feminine presentation isn’t going to keep women away, just women who aren’t compatible with you. You want the women who dig what you have to offer; if they think your being less traditionally manly is a problem… well, all that’s happened is that they’ve let you know that they’re not people you want to date.
(And if they’re s--tty about it or have awful opinions about LGBTQ folks, then they’ve doing you a favor by staying the hell away.)
The only thing I would suggest is to make sure that you’re not the passive guy that ends up being folks’ platonic BFF. Regardless of your sexuality, your gender or the way you express either… be an active participant in your own life. Don’t wait for other people to make a move for you. Make your interest known and ask people out when you’re into them.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org