June 14th, 2007

_The Bisexual's Guide to the Universe_

subtitled: Quips, Tips, and Lists for Those Who Go Both Ways, by Nicole Kristal and Mike Symanski.

I've been eyeing Baumgardner's _Look Both Ways_, but I keep deciding against it. I will likely eventually buy it in paper (or when the used price drops low enough). It occurred to me I might as well survey what else was available on the subject, since I figured I should read _something_ about it. Which brings me to this.

It is somewhat odd. It has no index but it has a Resources section that includes a not-complete bibliography AND it has a Notes section. It is loaded (really) with little quizzes to help you identify what kind of X you are. It has lists of historical and fictional bisexuals. It has dating advice. It has a not-very-good description of polyamory (but it does recommend _The Ethical Slut_ so at least they point the reader in a good direction). Their vocabulary is limited, odd or something. They note that a bi might be a top with one gender and a bottom with others; they don't appear to recognize that a switch might vary. . .whenever. And when switch-hitter shows up in their quiz, they seem to be making a BDSM joke, but I don't get it. Their definition of a Brazilian is "bald" (landing strip? no?) and while they talk about women, strap ons and butts repeatedly, they never come up with the word pegging. I don't _think_ it's a negative term, but who knows?

I don't know what to make of all this. Are these errors? Are these regional variations of usage? Are the authors just not that up on some of these things? I'm awfully vanilla to be feeling like I'm catching mistakes made by people writing _this_ book. At least, I _think_ I'm vanilla. Possibly this is because I'm comparing myself to the wrong people.

Or the right ones. ;-)

Quibbles aside, if you are bi-, pan-, omni-, fluid, I-don't-like-labels, whatever, reading this book does have the refreshing effect of making one feel really, really, really normal. One might worry about their dating strategies (the advice to bi- men who want straight guys, for example, made me a little nervous, and their advice on setting up group sex made me groan. I'm all over using alcohol to implement, but I'd rather everyone was sober for agreeing what to do), but a realist knows that if you insist on everyone behaving correctly, no one is going to get much action. And these authors are Realists.

If this topic area is at all interesting to you, definitely read this book. I bought it new in paper, and don't regret it a bit. If you know of other good books in this topic area, I'd be interested to hear about them.