If You Ask Me: Late Great Bi Trouble

By Matt Galletta 

Question:

I’m bi and in the closet. I’m pretty sure that most of my friends and family would be alright with me not being straight, but I was in my 30s and in a great straight relationship when I realized the truth about myself. There’s no good way to slip “I’m bi” into a conversation, so I’ve only come out to my girlfriend and a couple close friends. Mostly, I’ve accepted the way things are, even though it’s awkward when people assume I’m straight, but I have this one gay friend who makes passes at me constantly. He’s joking and doesn’t know I’m bi, so I tried my best to brush it off. A few weeks ago, though, I snapped and asked him to cut it out, and he accused me of being homophobic. I consider him to be one of my closest friends, so there’s a part of me that thinks I should tell him the truth, but I’m worried that coming out after all this time–it’s been years–will just make things worse.

-Late Great Bi Trouble

First off, I’m no expert in LGBT culture, but I think this is a universal rule: If someone is hitting on you, you have the right to tell him/her to stop. Even if you’ve laughed it off in the past.

Let’s look at a more stereotypical situation here instead: Imagine some guy who is constantly hitting on his female friends. He’s “just joking,” but one of his friends gets tired of it and tells him to cut it out. He gets mad and calls her some not-so-great name. Is it now the friend’s responsibility to reach out and try to make amends with the guy?

Well, no. This guy needs to step up and apologize. And switching around genders and orientations from this hypothetical situation to match what happened with your friend should make no difference. While it’s understandable that he got mad at you in the moment–nobody likes being told they’re acting like an ass, even if it’s true–he should have cooled off and then apologized for the homophobe comment, and also for constantly hitting on you.

You claim that this guy is one of your closest friends, but is that just misplaced guilt talking? I notice that he’s not among the “couple close friends” you’ve already told. For one reason or another, he didn’t make the cut when you first started telling people you’re bi. (Maybe because he’s an ass who hits on you constantly, who knows.) The only reason you seem to have for coming out to him now is to fix what happened during this argument you two had, and that doesn’t feel like the best reason to divulge something that you’re keeping, for the most part, private.

Besides, I don’t think disclosing your bisexuality is such a great counter to the homophobe accusation anyway. There are plenty of folks some flavor of LGBT who are also homophobic. If you don’t believe me, just ask the next Republican senator you meet lurking in a public bathroom.

If your friend apologizes for being an ass, great. If you want to broach the subject with something like, “I don’t appreciate being called a homophobe just because I don’t want you hitting on me constantly,” and he’s willing to talk about it, great. But until then, whether or not you’re bi, and whether or not he knows about it, is beside the point.

Have a question for Matt? E-mail advice@papertapemag.com.

Matt Galletta lives in upstate New York with his wife and daughter. His work has appeared in Paper Tape, Falling Star, Up the River, and the anthology A Six Pack of Stories: Short Stories To Read With a Beer in Hand. His poetry collection The Ship is Sinking was published by Epic Rites Press in 2014. Find him at mattgalletta.com.

New Staff Contributor and Advice Column

Paper Tape is pleased to welcome our new staff contributor, Matt Galletta.

You may remember Matt from “Still Warm from Satan” (August 2013) and “Flooding” (July 2014). He’s agreed to come back starting tomorrow with “If You Ask Me” a semi-regular advice column.

Have a question for Matt? E-mail advice@papertapemag.com.

Matt Galletta lives in upstate New York with his wife and daughter. His work has appeared in Paper Tape, Falling Star, Up the River, and the anthology A Six Pack of Stories: Short Stories To Read With a Beer in Hand. His poetry collection The Ship is Sinking was published by Epic Rites Press in 2014. Find him at mattgalletta.com.

 

V.A. Smith

V.A. Smith is a writer and photographer who feels lucky to live and work in Portsmouth, NH. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Gravel Magazine, Star 82 Review, Compose Journal, Driftwood Press, Connotation Press, Scissors & Spackle, Petrichor Review, Temenos Journal, and Stirring. She can be reached at vixworx.com.

Faces Out of Folkus

By James Penha

“Eh, you sonyamabeach,” Porky smiled to a passerby who, deaf to the words spoken from the other side of the front window, tipped his fedora enthusiastically. Porky waved back. He turned to me. “Stupidoudatowna. Minneapoli, whaddayatink?”

We played such games during the afternoons at Folkus.

I used to hope Porky would, in appreciation of the beers I nursed during the quiet hours, reminiscence about the folk singers and rock stars whose plastic-covered pictures lined the back of the bar and, especially, about the legends, living and dead, whose glossy eight-by-ten adolescent faces gazed with ours through the window onto West Third Street.

I used to prod Porky to orate on the subject of the cultural phenomenon of which Greenwich Village was, during the late Eisenhower years through the few Kennedys and early Johnsons, a pulsing center. And Folkus was somehow its . . . well, its focus. Continue reading

Paper Tape's Redesigned tumblr

Editor’s Note: Things are changing over on our tumblr!

As you may know, we feature previously unpublished work exclusively at papertapemag.com. We made the decision to work this way not because we think that self-publishing is “bad” but because we believe that the loudest voices aren’t always the ones who have the most important things to say, that being tech savvy and comfortable with self-promotion shouldn’t be a requirement for publishing on the Internet, and having the time to sift through the firehose shouldn’t be a requirement for reading good essays and fiction.

Of course, there are many artists and writers who participate on sites like tumblr who are not the loudest voices or comfortable with self-promotion and who are not comfortable working with a traditional publishing model, either. Some of them are too busy making art and telling stories to bother submitting their work. Others are avid supporters of Creative Commons and resent the terms of traditional publishing.

We get it, and we want to support these creators, too.

Thanks to our new social media editor, Cai, we have started using our tumblr to share previously published work by artists and writers that is related to our theme. Work that is published on our tumblr will still be vetted by our staff, so you can expect the same level of quality that you find on papertapemag.com.

So, I hope you will check it out, and if you do, please take a minute to welcome Cai.

PS If you’re reading this on tumblr, this is the last time papertapemag.com will repost to tumblr, so you may want to subscribe to our RSS feed or sign up to get new posts in your inbox.

This Word Is Teach

by Harmony Button

I was in the back of the bus, and I didn’t know when to get off. I couldn’t see out the front — there were too many kids in the way — but the houses and trees I could glimpse looked familiar. I pulled the yellow cord above the window — the bell went ‘dink!’ — and I began to gather my things. That’s when I realized that I was holding an open can of Strongbow Hard Cider: cold, delicious, totally-illegal-in-a-moving-vehicle-because-it’s-quite-alcoholic cider.

I had to drink it before anybody noticed! — but the bus was already coming to a halt, so I poured the perfectly golden bubbly brew into the two potted trees that I was (suddenly) carrying. It fizzed into the soil and I was sad, but I threw my beach umbrella over my shoulder, held my three-hole punch under my armpit (because you can’t leave those things laying around — they get “borrowed” if you turn your back and you’ll never see them again) and picked up a tree in each hand.

I had to get off that bus.

The driver’s eyes flicked up to his mirror, impatiently. I was trying to make my way down the aisle, but the trees were unruly and difficult to carry. Their drooping branches blundered into other people, catching in hair and smacking at faces. My potted trees were drunkards.

The bus driver asked who had signaled for the stop. Me! I shouted. I’m coming! But there was too much noise. He didn’t hear me. The other kids watched me struggle, their faces blank and pitiless. The bus started rolling forward, past my parents’ house.

Wait! I called. But it was too late.

Continue reading