I’m delighted to introduce a lady called Karen Soutar. I know her through Facebook (yes, who doesn’t meet their entire friend base that way lol. Ooh look, more tongue in cheek references. I’m so going to get into trouble for that one day…)
Anyhoo, Karen said she’d love to write for Divine and tell us a real story of what it’s like being married to a bisexual man. So she put this together for us, and it’s funny, frank and entertaining, as well as being a wonderful take on life from the perspective of a bisexual guy and his straight wife.
A bit more about Karen
Karen Soutar is a blogger, a writer of short fiction, and is also working on her first novel. When not writing, Karen can be found working as a driver trainer, and being a rock chick and a crazy cat lady. She lives in central Scotland with her husband and four cats.
Blog link: http://karensoutar.wordpress.com/
The Best Of Both Worlds?
Hello, my name is Karen and I’m married to a bisexual man. Which is just being married to a man. Except that we sometimes fancy the same film stars and I can actually get him onto the dance floor. Gordon and I have been together for 21 years, and I’ve always known he was bisexual. Our relationship does make for some daft questions from people. Do you have threesomes? No, he’s bisexual, we’re not swingers. Aren’t you worried he’ll go off with a man? If he goes off with anyone, he’s toast. Does he steal your clothes? What? He’s bisexual, not a transvestite. Good grief.
But you know what? I’ve never heard the full story of his ‘journey’ (eek, I used the ‘j’ word). So I interviewed him to reveal all…
Me: So, when did you realise that you were attracted to men?
G: I think I was maybe about 12.
Me: And what were you doing – meaning: come on, who were you perving over?
G: Some of the guys in my cycling club, and some in the cycling magazines! They encouraged – stirrings…
Me: Yes, I think we get the drift. Was this before you were attracted to women?
Me: Did you at any point think you might be purely gay?
G: At the beginning, yes. It was scary. I was brought up in a very traditional household. Even that young, I didn’t think my feelings would be dealt with kindly. That’s where some of the fear came from. After seeking advice, I got some leaflets and books, and a telephone number for the Lesbian and Gay Switchboard. They were very helpful. This all happened between ages 12 and 14. I was also being bullied, because I was different, being into rock music and long hair and black clothes, and partly because the bullies were trying to get me to flip, as I had a temper. Amazingly the bullying wasn’t about me being possibly gay. Another part of the fear was of them finding out.
Me: Where did you get the leaflets and stuff from?
G: The Citizens Advice Bureau – the only place I could think of at the time. There was nothing in the library.
Me: When did you realise you were attracted to women, as well?
G: I guess at about age 16.
Me: And how did that come about?
G: Too much booze! (Oh for goodness sake – Me)
Me: So who did you get physical with first?
G: Girls, because I didn’t discover the gay scene until I went to college. No, tell a lie, I discovered it before then, when I started working in my local theatre. It was with one of the sound guys. The first thing we ended up doing was holding hands. It just sort of happened. To be honest, I think he was a bit more savvy than me.
Me: Oh yes? So how far did that go?
G: Well, not very far at first. There was a lot of exploration and fumbling. I think the phrase now is ‘mutual masturbation’.
Me: Well, quite. So, when did you realise you were bisexual?
G: I realised when I got more into the scene, at college, and I joined the Lesbian and Gay Society.
Me: Who did you first come out to, and why?
G: It was a guy in my college class, although with hindsight, it was a stupid thing to do. He asked why I was hanging about with all those weirdos. I said it was because I thought I was one of them – I thought I was gay. He then dragged me into a corner and beat me up. However, one of the ‘weirdos’, a six foot strapping lad in denim and docs, became my knight in shining armour.
Me: So what did he do? (I think I can guess…)
G: He and a couple of others from the Society took the guy to one side and warned him off going anywhere near me. But after this experience, I decided it was best to keep it to myself for the time being. Then, time went on, and I got more comfortable with it. I did more with the Society, and I also started working in big Edinburgh theatres. Some people tried to talk me into coming out. Then, some didn’t like it when I told them I was definitely bisexual. Oddly enough, girls had more problems with it than guys.
Me: Did you tell your family?
G: I’ve never told my direct family. I told my cousin Carol, who I was close to when I was younger. She was cool with it. Mind you, she was cool with most things. I almost got caught out at a big family gathering in Edinburgh – I still don’t know who the guy was, but we were both bored and wandered off to the back garden…and stuff happened. Someone came looking for us, and we hastily got dressed and climbed a fence to get away. I said I’d been for a ‘walk’.
Me: U-huh. So, fill us in a bit on the journey from there, to when you met me.
G: Well, when I was 17, I met a girl I liked. We ended up getting married, but it didn’t work out. She turned out to be a violent person. I also found out she was being unfaithful. We separated, and I started seeing other people. There were men and women during this period.
Me: Did your then-wife know you were bisexual?
G: She found out when we separated. When we were dividing up our stuff, I told her I was away to find ‘Colin’, the guy I was seeing at the time. She went mental. Her exact words were ‘How is that possible? You are married to me! Are you telling me our whole life was a lie?’
Ironically, she later discovered that the guy she was seeing was bisexual. She dumped him.
Me: So why hadn’t you told her before then?
G: The way she reacted to others who were gay or bisexual made me wary of telling her. She said it was disgusting.
Me: That must have been hard.
G: I guess I kind of ‘regressed’ during this period, to when I was in my younger teens, being scared to ‘come out’ because of possible consequences. When she found out, my then-wife threatened to tell my family, and I didn’t think they would accept it. She used it as a threat to get me to come back to her. Which I did for about a year, then we split again. During that split I met you, and the rest, as they say, is history…
Do you ever think that subconsciously you consider men are just for fun and frolics, as both times you’ve been married it’s been to a woman? Just throwing it out there…
G: No! If something went wrong between us (or a piano fell on me, lol), and I starting dating again, I would be just as interested in a long term relationship with a man as with a woman.
Me: So, why pick me in the end?
G: You were prepared to take me for what I was, with all my baggage, and the fact that I was bisexual didn’t faze you. Plus, you looked good in hotpants!
Me: Ha! How do you feel about those people who say there’s no such thing as bisexual, you just haven’t made up your mind?
G: I feel upset, because I’ve been certain since I was so young. I’ve not just become bicurious recently. I’ve also been told ‘Bisexuals are just greedy’, mainly by gay people, which makes me sad. That’s just as bigoted as the way some heterosexuals treat gay people.
Me: What was, or is, the hardest thing about being bisexual, in your experience?
G: Growing up in a small town, in the 80s, was hard. It was hard to get resources, and I was scared to look for them in my own town in case I got ‘caught’.
Me: And what are the good points? (Apart from ogling cute men with me!)
G: Well, you’ve got twice the field to play! (OMG, you are so totally playing into the hands of the cynics with that remark! – Me)
I think a good point now is that, generally, people are more accepting of it, including gays, and if I was to have a male partner he would be more accepting of the fact that I was bisexual.
Me: And finally, what advice would you give to anyone who may be feeling they’re attracted to both sexes?
G: Do your research. Use the internet – a great resource that I didn’t have. Get in touch with LGBTQ organisations. The Q is for Questioning, so even if you’re unsure, they are there to help. Be yourself. Even if you’re scared.
Me: Good advice for anyone of any sexual orientation, I think.
Thanks, honey! Now let’s go and watch Strictly Ballroom together…