Skyspook: Are you perving on yourself?
Me: I’m a pansexual woman. And I just happen to be my type.
He’d strapped me to a black leather massage table, a vinyl pillow under my head. My restraints were locked. I tugged against them to check. As he turned to prepare various implements of torture (or at least good old fashioned annoyance), I relaxed, opened my eyes, and found I was staring up at my reflection.
I’d been strapped to this table a handful of other times but always face down or blindfolded. I’d never realized there was a mirror mounted to the ceiling.
It was a strange and intense experience to watch him torture me in the mirror, cane me, punch me, zap me with the electricity. I looked beautiful and soft and utterly helpless.
Later he drove me home and cooked me the most delicious curried eggs I’ve ever eaten. I floated on the endorphins for 12 hours, ethereal and lovely, before I came crashing down.
Fall 1999. My first semester of college. I am walking to the coffee shop with G, a non-traditional student in my honors section. I find him fascinating. He’s 25 years old, lived in Seattle for a bit, homeless with his guitar. He’s moved back East with his fiancee. She’s bisexual, he tells me unprompted.
“Oh?” I say, not sure why he’s telling me this.
G has a theory though, about bisexuality, that its roots are in vanity – that bisexuals are basically heterosexuals whose self-love has gone berserk to the point where they develop an attraction to the same sex. At least that’s how it seemed for his fiancee.
“That’s interesting,” I say, eager to meet up with the others at the cafe. I am inexplicably uncomfortable. It’s a time where I’m unsure of my own sexuality, find myself falling in love with a girl one week, a boy the next, not sure what it all means. G seems convinced of what he’s saying, and maybe it’s accurate for his fiancee’s emotional landscape, but it sits wrong with me. I’m young and feel terrible about my body image, my ideas, my self-worth. And yet, I am as undeniably attracted to girls as I am to boys.
But it’s interesting, and a question I’ll carry with me for years.
Am I really just vain?