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Bisexuality: Trial and error on the road to happiness

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Image courtesy of Atria
Image courtesy of Atria

� 2021 Atria
$18.00 / $25.00 Canada
336 pages

Back in the "aughts," when Jen Winston was rocking her AIM handle and pretending to be boy-crazy, she had no word for liking boys and girls — though she knew she did. Had she questioned anyone, she would have been told that it was a phase, an experiment, or a matter of confusion — but she never asked. She instinctively knew that doing the "gay stuff" was hard.

As she grew up and learned the word for what she felt, the idea of being with a woman became more appealing, but not quite comfortable. Yes, Winston quietly told herself, she was bisexual, but bisexuality "never felt queer enough." Besides, dating straight men was like the equivalent of "comfort food," though it never worked and was really not much fun.

Various roommates through the years participated in her search for love, though, by crowdsourcing answers to questions posed by online dates. They also looked the other way as Winston learned that self-pleasure could be ugly, and she didn't want to be "U-G-L-Y." She tried threesomes, but they were loaded with potential rejection. She tried chatrooms, but they were scary. She learned that "we" is a painful word when you're not part of it.

Bisexuality comes with a lot of frustrating myths, and bisexual people, says Winston, are sometimes not included in the LGBTQ+ community. Bi people aren't especially promiscuous — they're not trying to steal your partner from you — and they're not all just white or female. What they are is well aware that dating sucks, fairy tales are hard to believe in, and that there are lots of different ways to be gay...

You want it all: you want hearts-and-romance but you also want down-and-dirty. You want to be heard, but you don't want to talk about it. You want to be enough but not so much that it's weird. And you want it with laughs, though that's not the main thing about Winston's book Greedy.

While its cover indicates lightheartedness and Winston seems perfectly happy to tell funny, tongue-in-cheek tales about herself, Greedy sports a serious vein that almost feels like a shout. Winston writes of universal experiences — rejection, falling in love, vulnerability, and wanting so much to be adored — and she makes light of them in a way that clearly isn't meant to be all that humorous. We can chuckle, yes, but she also lets us pretend that we don't care about those hurts — even though, like Winston, we all know that we do.

Be aware that there are chapters here that are very graphic and are very much not appropriate for just anyone. If Winston's journey is your journey, too, though, Greedy is something to share.