06
Aug
08

You picked it up and you stuck it in your mouth! That’s how you know!

I got home yesterday from DC, where (among other things) I saw The Wet Spots play. I’d heard of them in passing, and I’d seen the video for Do You Take It, which has very little to do with the post at hand, but is so awesome you should watch it anyway:

Yay!

Right. So. I’d heard of The Wet Spots, but knew very little about them and showed up having no idea what to expect. And what I got was Cass King and John Woods: a self-proclaimed bisexual, polyamorous, kinky, sex-positive cabaret duo. They’re utterly adorable. Utterly. I thoroughly enjoyed their show. I went into it kind of tired and sad, and two sets later I was giggly and flushed and looking forward to anything the evening might throw at me.

The Wet Spots play up their queerness in a way that’s engaging and hilarious, and don’t seem at all self-conscious or apologetic about doing so while being in a different-sex marriage. It’s refreshing to see them appearing to avoid the trap even I sometimes fall into, of preferring to be seen with someone of a similar gender and assumed gay than seen with someone of a different gender and assumed straight. I haven’t yet analyzed all of what’s going on there for me, but there’s definitely some internalized biphobia mixed in with my preference for being taken for some kind of queer – any kind, even one I most decidedly am not – rather than being mistaken for straight, in my feeling that less of my essential identity is erased that way. Whatever it is, it’s lovely to see Cass and John avoiding it. They display their relationship in a way that makes crystal clear that it doesn’t contradict their queerness, and dares you to think otherwise.

I enjoyed them so much that I’m willing to forgive them for writing a song about a bi-curious man named George (I’m not very forgiving of puns – our title is one of the few I really embrace). Especially since I liked the song, and loved Cass’s rant about bi-curiosity afterward. “George” is an endearing number about a guy who spends a lot of time thinking about what it would be like to kiss another guy. He doesn’t come to any conclusions in the song – from the last verse it sounds very much like he chickens out and goes home to continue wondering. But he also doesn’t go around affirming all of the stereotypes about bisexuals that we hate around here, and that’s good enough for me. And check out what Cass had to say after the song [it’s about the first 56 seconds, before she moves on to talking about negotiation and articulating desires]:

I love this. I just love it. I want to go around now asking everyone, “How did you know you liked candy as a child, hm?” Because she’s right, it really is that simple. There’s nothing wrong with wondering what you like, sitting home and fantasizing – but the obvious next step is to get out there and figure it out. And it speaks volumes about the prevalence of homo- and biphobia and the way they get internalized that people don’t satisfy this curiosity as casually as they try a new food to find out if they like it. Why are people so afraid to get out there and smooch, flirt or go on a date with – or have sex with, if they’re the casual sex type – someone of a gender they think they might be into? Where do we get this idea that if you try it and don’t like it you’re still “tainted,” stuck being a big old queer forever (or, in the queer community, practically straight and trying to invade the queer community)? Why, in this realm, do we forbid people to experiment and tell them anything they do dictates what their identity will be for the rest of their lives? It’s more than a little ridiculous. I’m having trouble thinking of other areas of life where giving something the old college try, or even doing and enjoying it occasionally, defines who one is as a person. The only other things I can think of are also stigmatized – trying drugs a few times or being on occasional user makes you an addict in some people’s eyes, etc. And it’s about time we got over thinking that being any flavor of queer, and being bisexual in particular, is so problematic that you really don’t want to risk being associated with it by mistake. If you can’t stop eyeing it speculatively, if it looks delicious, stick it in your mouth and figure it out! The worst thing that happens is you don’t like it, and at least you’ll know.

So, yeah. Check out The Wet Spots. Watch the rest of their YouTube videos. Go see them play. Apparently they’re in New York all summer, though I haven’t figured out exactly what they’re doing here, and they also tour rather a lot. They’re clever and fun and very hot, and they’re out, vocal bisexuals. If you like to laugh about sex, I highly recommend them.

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6 Responses to “You picked it up and you stuck it in your mouth! That’s how you know!”


  1. 1 willendork
    6 August 2008 at 1:11 pm

    You know, you really don’t hear lyricists utilize “pervy” nearly as often as they should, ha ha. I’ve watched a couple of the WS videos now, and they’ve officially cut through my prudish sensibilities and become something I love. Fantastic.

    Your point about biphobia (specifically, and to an extent also homophobia) constraining exploration hit home for me. I was having an IM conversation just last night with a woman who works at my school, in which we were discussing a crush I kept referring to as “this person.” She was getting ready to tease me for the lack of pronouns, — after all, she knows I’m a lesbian, so what was I doing hiding it from her? — when I got sick of them myself and “admitted” the object of said crush is male. For the most part, I have enjoyed what struck me almost immediately as the still-queerer-than-I-realized nature of this crush, and yet I felt a risk in telling her, as if it would somehow compromise the lesbian identity of which I’m so fond. And that’s… lame. It hadn’t occurred to me until I read your entry how and why this might happen in general in our society, or why I might want to challenge my own tendency to give into it, not only for personal reasons but for more political ones.

  2. 2 Aviva
    7 August 2008 at 12:29 am

    willendork – I know exactly what you mean. I’ve often found myself talking in circles to avoid mentioning the genders of past (male) partners, especially in dyke spaces. And I’m a committed bisexual. I need to think more about that, and about the line between identity and behavior. Because one should be able to follow one’s heart, have crushes, etc. without putting an identity that feels right at risk. It’s a tricky one.
    I like the idea that having a crush on a male person complicates rather than contradicts your queerness – “still-queerer-than-I-realized” feels to me like a great way to view that. Probably because it’s very much where I‘m coming from.

  3. 3 willendork
    7 August 2008 at 2:21 am

    My notion of queer is genuinely one of “challenging gender/ sexuality norms and power dynamics, etc” so it’s been increasingly clear to me that many different-sex relationships fit into that, in some ways more so than relationships I would have as a lesbian, which don’t have to deal so fundamentally with the social assumptions about (for instance) how much power the man should have versus the woman and what kind. That said, my own sense of “queer” as something with significant nuances is a hard one to sell or be comfortabale selling to people who often have only begun (or haven’t begun) wrapping their head around a more strict, boxed-in definition of me-as-lesbian.

    [/Inadvertant takeover of your comments section.] 😉

  4. 7 August 2008 at 6:03 pm

    Oh, this is so delightful! I must see them!
    And I also really love when queer different-gender couples find a way to make their queerness a visibly integral part of their relationship. I’m always just so happy to see people out there gleefully smashing the model that says you have to just push your queerness aside once you’re not in a relationship of someone of your own gender.

  5. 9 August 2008 at 4:39 am

    I’m another person who was directed here by the mention in Bilerico, and I’m firmly convinced, after just the two posts that I’ve read, that it’s the best click-through I’ve ever had! Even as a firm 6 on the Kinsey scale, I look forward to reading all the posts to come! (Sorry, not much to do with the particular post, but a little gushing praise never hurt anyone, right?)


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