By Anna Chase
The train is hot and crowded. I find a seat next to an elderly white man in a black pea coat, cross my legs and place my brown leather purse on my lap. My phone vibrates against my thigh: a text from her. We’re at Central bar! Come find us. I notice the absence of excitement, but I do want to see her. I envision us sitting at the bar with our Manhattans, speculating as to whether or not the couple to our left is on a blind date.
I wonder if we will kiss tonight. Last time I saw her she revealed her bisexuality and her haitus from men, “until they grow out of this frat bro phase.” She already knew I was interested in women. Now the possibility of an attraction between us is in the open, and we both know it. Has she been asking me out this whole time? I’ve been dating women for a few years and I still struggle with discerning between friendliness and flirtation. (I find that men’s intentions are often more obvious.) I’m unsure of my own feelings for her. But she is beautiful to me and has full smiling lips that seem like they would kiss well.
We reach Harvard Square. A man walks on, thirtyish, boyishly handsome. He’s tall with dark brown hair and wears a simple blue zip-up fleece that looks likes it’s from L.L.Bean. I stare at him in that way you can stare at someone on the train and get away with it. His eyes are directed at the MBTA map above the door. He doesn’t appear to be studying it so as much as resting his eyes on the familiar graph. I decide he’s a law student, a 2L, on his way to meet a friend after spending the day in the library. He looks at me, holds my eyes for a moment longer than a glance. He gives an acknowledging smile. I recall an article I read recently about signals the right sides of our brains send to one another when we make eye contact. We are not entirely conscious of these signals, but they give us an instinctual, underlying feeling about the other, whether it be fear, dislike or attraction. I return the slight smile and fix my eyes on the red leather boots of the woman next to him.
We ride on. I begin conducting a silent survey of which gender of those around me attracts me more, a habit I’ve found hard to shake since I realized a few years ago I may be bisexual. I had hoped these surveys would determine if I were straight or gay, yet the results consistently revealed that I would not be content excluding either gender. I wanted to be firmly on one side of the dichotomy I knew was false. If I were certain of who I desired, life would just be easier. But after deconstructing my own attractions (ad nauseum) and dating both men and women, I’ve accepted and embraced my bisexuality. I see now that having a fluid sexuality doesn’t mean I have to choose a side. It means I don’t have to.
The train eases into the Central Square platform. I don’t look back at the man when I step through the parted doors into the sweaty station. I walk forward, up the narrow stairs and onto the street where she waits for me to find her.
Anna, 23, is a social work student living in Boston and currently interning at BBWN.