"Bisexual flirting with guys"
No, I wasn't looking for the gay guy's guide to flirting with bisexual men.
The truth is I'm dumbing it down for Google because what I really mean to say is a tad complicated:
"How do I, as an unlabeled queer who for the sake of theory could be most accurately labeled as pansexual, let a man know that I am not in fact the lesbian he believes me to be?"
The problem is bisexual/pansexual invisibility. If you're not doing the binary thing people are still going to assume you are.
See, I've been flirting with my Starbucks barista.
Yeah, I know. Roll your eyes at me.
Do it now. Just get it out of the way.
You done? Okay then.
Let's establish that it's not just for-tips-flirting because:
a) tipping is still not common in Austrian Starbucks' (we're a stingy people, it seems) and
b) damn, other people have noticed what's going on. That's how obvious it is.
So anyway, heavy flirting, for a couple of weeks. Once I realise that I'm not just seeing things and that he's actually flirting I'm enjoying the heck out of it. Because it's been ages since men have flirted with me since I tend to fly both under the radar and under the gaydar. And I've gained a serious amount of confidence lately and it's working like a magic sexy-potion.
But one day during the winter holidays I come in with Finn who usually only frequents that store in the mornings and not during the day like me. During our usual chit-chat Flirty Barista tells me he didn't know that Finn and I knew each other and without thinking I answer with my usual "Oh, we're married." Cue his face falling. Oh crap, the poor guy seems to have been actually quite into me and I immediately wish I'd bitten my tongue.
I wasn't thinking, okay! Because we are married so why would I say anything else!? And because I don't see my marriage as something that should or could keep me from flirting. But from that moment on he treated me - and Finn - differently. Wouldn't even look at me or her. Extremely awkward, super awkward.
First we thought he'd gotten shy because, well, he had been flirting with someone else's wife! But then, about a week later - in a weirdly late and ill-timed epiphany at the bus stop - I more of less exclaimed for the whole street to hear: "Oh my god! He thinks I'm GAY!"
You could call us a bit thick but to our defense this is simply a reality that we both have been living with for quite a while: One of us is most definitely not a lesbian. To us this is "normal". And although I continuously have to come out as not-straight-but-not-gay I tend to forget about how people see me with my wife and immediately assume things about my sexuality. So I can't really blame Flirty Barista for assuming so as well. He probably feels really dumb about flirting with that lesbian who probably wasn't even flirting back at him.
But I can blame society, sort of. Like I said, I come out to most people twice. The innocuous "my wife...." is easy. I have that casual conversational mention down pat. Or mostly. But then people assume. Just yesterday one of my coworkers asked me "So how long have you been a lesbian" and was stumped into silence by my unfiltered response of "I'm not". But people don't usually ask these questions thus providing me with an opportunity to explain. And I still have no fucking clue how to go about those cases. (Not coming out at all is no option for me because I believe that if I want society to see me and others like me I'm going to have to be visible.)
How do you let someone know that just because you're not straight it doesn't mean you're a lesbian either? I mean, I honestly doubt it would lead to more because I haven't had dude-sex in a decade and dunno yet how I feel about getting back on that proverbial horse. Proverbial! I said proverbial, so get your mind out of the gutter!
But I do want Flirty Barista to continue being flirty because it's lovely and I enjoy it and we're obviously a bit into each other. So why not? Now how on earth do you let someone know that it's okay a) because I am not actually a lesbian so he didn't get that wrong and b) that Finn won't rip is head off for flirting with her wife?
I can't be the only pansexual woman with that problem, right?
Please, say it ain't so.