What am I up to?

I saw on someone else’s blog recently that they make a regular post on what they are particularly enjoying at the moment. This seemed like a really good idea and something that I thought I would institute on here.

Reading!

I have always read a lot, as far back as I can remember I have had books around and have devoured pretty much any reading material that I can get my hands on. I started with The Hobbit at the age of about nine and moved on to The Lord of the Rings a few years later. That pretty much cemented me into loving fantasy. I added sci-fi in my early teens with lots of Arthur C Clarke, Orson Scott Card and Harry Harrison. More recently I have come to love the setting and flavour of “urban fantasy”. My first introduction was the Anita Blake series by Laurel K Hamilton which is great, but gets a bit samey after five or so novels. Much better examples are the Women of the Otherworld novels by Kelley Armstrong; she builds a completely believable world of the supernatural around us and alongside us. It’s one long story too, with characters dipping in and out and a very strong internal narrative.

Best of them all, and what I am currently completely addicted to is Harry Dresden. The Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher are, at least to me, the finest example of urban fantasy around. Obviously I haven’t read every single series and book in the genre, but they will have to go some to beat the Dresden Files! The books are each a self contained story with Harry at the centre, but there area also a number of continuing story arcs that carry through a number of books. All manner of supernatural creatures appear both as allies and enemies. We get vampires, werewolves and all manner of Fae from the Nevernever. I won’t go into any more detail since the stories are essentially mysteries and I don’t want to spoil anything, but do give them a go!

I am currently reading Turn Coat, which is the 11th in the series and if anything they are getting more page-turney rather than less.

Music!

Another of my great loves throught my life is music. I have touched a little in previous posts about how particular musical tastes intersect with what I now know about my sexuality, but that aside I cannot imagine my life without music. It’s probably the thing I would miss most on that theoretical shipwreck isle (other than obvious things like family…). There are some bands/artists that I have been listening to since the early eighties like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Madonna, Billy Joel, Slayer, Venom, Falco and many others. I did say I have varied tastes right?

Recently I have been on a bit of a voyage of musical discovery. I have always like David Bowie for his looks (See top of the page…) but I have never really explored his music beyond the huge hits that most people will have at least a passing familiarity with. I decided that I was going to listen to some complete albums and see what I thought. I put “Best Bowie albums” into google and found this list which seemed as good a place to start as any.

I started with Low, which is the first of the Berlin trilogy of albums released in the late seventies. It’s an unusual album with quite a heavy electronic flavour to it. It’s also quite dark, having been written at the height of Bowie’s cocaine habit.

After that I moved on to Hunky Dory, a much earlier album from 1971 that has “Changes” on it, one of Bowie’s most recognisable tracks. This album has a completely different feel, as if it is from 20 years apart from Low rather than just six. Station to Station, Aladdin Sane and (The Rise and Fall of ) Ziggy Stardust (and the Spiders from Mars) have been on constant rotation on my Spotify account for the last couple of weeks. David is one hell of a talent, to be able to be so damn good at so many different styles is almost inhuman.

OK so that was a bit longer than expected, and in my trademark rambling style to boot 🙂

What are you up to?

Pansexual definition and exploration

I identify as a pansexual cis male. So what does that mean to me?

Well, the cis bit is pretty straightforward; I identify as the gender that I was assigned at birth. It’s something that I have never questioned and one of the few things that I have been certain of my whole life. It’s probably fairer to say that it’s something I have never questioned. I have thought that I was gay and straight at various times over the years but never anything other than male. I have occasionally wondered what life as a woman is like, as the experience is, I am sure, very different, but that’s as far as it has gone.

When I had my “moment of clarity” regarding my orientation my initial reaction was that I was bisexual. It was a term that I understood and could relate to. I enjoy looking at a well built male as much as a curvaceous woman so that’s the term right? Well, not entirely as it turns out.

Frank!
Tim Curry as Dr Frank N Furter

The thing that got me thinking was The Rocky Horror Picture Show. One of my favourite films and a show I have been to see at the theater several times, one of the most fun evenings you can spend, I heartily recommend it to everyone! The central character is (in the film version) Tim Curry’s Dr Frank N Furter. Frank describes himself as a “Sweet Transvestite” in the song of the same name, which is one of the most famous from the show. I fell in love with Frank immediately. The swagger, the voice, the self-confidence, everything about Frank just oozes sex. He is clearly as interested in Brad as he is in Janet so I understood that he was bisexual (Again with Frank I think that Pansexual is more accurate, but more on that in a bit) especially once the Rocky story line comes in. I remember finding his appearance and behaviour confusing initially. I was about sixteen and pretty confused generally as are a lot of sixteen year olds! I was asking myself – Is he a man wanting to be a women? Is he a man pretending to be a woman? Is “He” actually a woman? Is he a man who just likes fishnets? Bear in mind that this was before the internet and information on sexuality/orientation/alternative lifestyles was rare or impossible to see deliberately or accidentally as a sixteen year old.

The conclusion I came to should have allowed me to self-identify there and then but you know what it’s like being a teenager; everything is wrong, nothing makes sense, you doubt yourself in every way and the world hates you…..

My conclusion was that I didn’t care! I found Frank intensely attractive and that was that.

Pansexual Flag
Pansexual Flag

To me, that is the essence of identifying as pansexual rather than bisexual. The term bisexual includes the term “bi-” coming from the Latin for “doubly” or “having two” and as such only really allows for a binary view of orientation and identification. Fair enough I find men and women attractive and could happily have a loving relationship with either, but that is also true of someone whose gender identity is fluid or androgynous. Essentially it is the PERSON that I am attracted to regardless of any extraneous details like how their body is built and out of what parts. I have settled down with a lovely, beautiful girl who I intend to be with till I die, but there is no reason why that couldn’t have been a man or indeed a genderfluid or androgynous person.

That’s not to say that I don’t care what someone looks like or that I fancy the pants off everyone. Of course I have my own preferences but gender is not one of them, I think that’s probably the simplest way to put it. Gender just isn’t part of the equation. I have a feeling that Frank would understand and probably feel the same.

In many ways it’s a great place to be. I feel unhindered and free to accept my feelings about anyone without any worries about falling in any particular box. It’s also particularly easy to stay “in the closet” in public since I can truthfully join in with the ogling of my fellow males. That’s a subject that I am agonising over at the moment. Part of me really wants to be “out” and honest with everyone, but I can’t bring myself to do it just yet.

As always, please let me know any thoughts. Do you recognise anything I have mentioned? Any questions? Anything you want me to talk about?