By Emily Van Arendonk
“You’re just confused.”
“You just want to be on trend.”
“You’re gay and don’t want to admit it.”
“Don’t be selfish, just pick one!”
These are the phrases I have heard from friends and family. These are the phrases I will continue to hear. However, the one that really grinds my bisexual gears is “So…what’s your percentage?” I despise this question. Besides the fact that I dropped maths in Year Eleven and went on to study arts and humanities, it is one of the most undermining questions to be asked regarding my bisexuality.
I look at “percentages” in the same way I look at chocolate bars. One doesn’t just like Kit Kats 40 per cent and Cherry Ripes 60 per cent. Each is appealing in its own way and can be more or less desirable at different moments in time. Why can’t someone’s sexual preferences be like their chocolate preferences? Why must I have to turn to numbers to describe my sexuality?
The realisation that I could (and do) feel affection for both women and men came slowly, but at the same time, I always knew., Never did I think that I would need to, or should, dissect those feelings into a percentage. The question came from a straight, white, male friend the first time, who I now realise only wanted my percentage so he could fantasise about sleeping with me and another woman.
Much like men asking about bra sizes (as though their hand and lotion are going to have a date thinking about my 12C breasts), the question is unrealistic, objectifying and stupid. I understand that it is human nature to label things and place them into little boxes – I myself was once a “Percentage Prober”, demanding the percentages of someone’s sexuality in an effort to normalise my own internalised feelings.
However, after meeting people who hold more accepting understandings of bisexuality, the label became obsolete. I don’t need my sexuality and identity to be defined by numbers. If I were to say that I was 60/40 men to women respectively, it wouldn’t contribute to my self-identity or bisexuality. It would contribute to another’s assertion that I’m “more straight than gay”. So I’m asking, please stop asking me for my percentage, and leave me to like both my Kit Kats and Cherry Ripes.