Growing up, my mum didn't expect me to come out as gay but if I had, she wouldn't have been surprised. The signs were the stereotypes; I preferred browsing in the boys' section of the high street shops and loved Star Wars and Nintendo. She'd say to me regularly that if I was a lesbian, it wouldn't put her up nor down. She'd love me just the same.
I knew I wasn't a lesbian. In fact, I've always been the fickle friend who's in love with half a dozen boys at once. Knowing I had my mum's support, should it come down to that, was reassuring, although I didn't think I'd ever need it. A few years ago, she emailed me an article about women like Cynthia Nixon who come out in later life, as if to let me know it wasn't too late to change my mind.
I didn't start masturbating until I lost my virginity when I was 17. There was nothing sinister at work; no guilt, no fear. I just didn't have that curiosity about my body so never thought to explore it. It was three years later during a conversation with my boyfriend at the time that I realised I'd never masturbated while thinking about a man. It had always, always been a woman.
In its most relaxed state outwith sleep, with no partner to judge me or to please, my brain's automatic go-to was (and is) women. It seemed like a lightbulb moment but I stuffed it away at the back of my mind for the duration of that relationship. The whisper of the word 'bisexual' meant jokes about threesomes or "remember to film it for me!" and I didn't need that pressure.
As with most positive things in my life, Mike was a catalyst for honest conversation and I downloaded Tinder again earlier this year. Whatever way I looked at it, I was using the girls I was speaking to. My intentions were honourable but the bottom line is that I'm in a relationship and was simply looking to experiment; I couldn't commit to anything more and didn't want to use anyone. Not being able to fall back on my Zooey-Deschanel-does-Star-Wars schtick that has been my male pickup formula left me lost and I uninstalled the app after a fortnight of nervous flirting.
Simply speaking to women meant I came to a simple conclusion: I care what women think. If I made an idiot of myself speaking to a man, does it matter? No, I couldn't give a toss. But the women I know, the amazing, glowing, goddesses of everything...I CARE A LOT, YOU ARE ALL AWESOME. The reason I've never pursued this side of myself is fear, plain and simple. I don't think I'm good enough for women. I can't process the idea of a woman being attracted to me.
Am I bisexual? I don't know and maybe I'll be too scared to ever find out for sure. For now, I'll just say "almost".