A Handy Guide to Dating in the Bisexual World

As a administrative staff of the Meetbi.com , I can see that many of you certainly experience the same confusion, anxiety and general bewilderment when it comes to meeting other bisexual people. Whether you’re a woman looking to meet a bi woman, or perhaps you’re a man looking for a woman who will be understanding of his bisexuality, or whatever relationship configuration you’re after. Really, when it comes to our complex personal identification, it is no wonder that finding others we can fit with is, at times, so challenging!

Bisexual people really do find themselves in a very tight spot in the general dating market. Straight and Gay/Lesbian people have it so much easier when it comes to picking up. Society is (obviously) very much geared to hetero folks, and to a lesser extent, gay and lesbian folks. They each have their own bars, some larger centres have a gay/lesbian area of town, and there are a plethora of dating websites aimed at both.

Unfortunately, for bi folk, we just don’t have the same reach into the public realm as “they” do. Instead , we’re more often than not left wondering… “Is she really interested?” “Will he accept that I’m bi?” “Look at her! Is she straight, is she a dyke? I just don’t know!” This guessing game is really tough on the self-confidence and very limiting when it comes to actually meeting people. And don’t even get me started on the discrimination that can happen once we meet someone and then reveal our bisexuality! But let’s not dwell on that. Instead, through years of hardwork and much, err, elbow grease, I present to you my guide to meeting and dating—bisexual style!

The Internet

Certainly the internet is much more straight-focussed with a very healthy dose of gay/lesbian too. In fact, I’d say that our G/L cousins might have the market cornered on hooking up via cyberspace. Whether you’re looking for a quickie in the park or a potential life partner, searching via the web has become a cornerstone for the singles market.

Fortunately, there are also very specific bi-focused dating sites out there. Be they community sites, such as the one you’re at right now, or sites where the main goal is to introduce bi folks to other bi folks, such as Bi-Bar, Bisexual Playground, and Bi Café. These sites can be wonderful, but they can also have drawbacks. For the shy, for the newly out, for the closeted—connecting with someone over the internet provides the anonymity and distance needed to slowly slip into the bi-dating pool. You’re able to search for your specific preferences and likes in a person, while at the same time being able to filter out those who contact you, but who you might not find attractive.

However, there are also two distinct concerns when it comes to using dating websites, and this applies to all kinds of dating sites, be they straight, queer, bi, whatever. First, most cost money to join and get all the benefits from. Many offer some level of membership that is free, but if you want all the capabilities, then you’re going to have to pay. Secondly, I don’t think there are any of us who are naïve enough to think that everyone on a dating site is being completely honest about who they are, what they look like, etc. That’s the double-edged sword of these sites. Yes, you can take much solace in your anonymity…but you can also totally reinvent yourself on a site. And then, if you happen to decide to meet someone you’ve met online, well, you might end up terribly disappointed.

So, as with all things internet-related, be sure to keep your wits about you. You may find yourself a soulmate or a fantastic fuck, but you might also find yourself throwing money away on someone who has been dishonest about him or herself.

The Bar Scene

Glorified in movies and on television, meeting people in bars seems the de facto form of social interaction out there. You get yourself all dolled up, grab some mates and hit the bars. Certainly, they do offer much potential for meeting new people, from the social lubrication that alcohol offers (please drink wisely, friends!) to the immediate closeness that dancing can provide, there is a solid reasoning behind the song “I Love the Nightlife.”

But again, for the most part, the bar scene is for “them.” Bi folks just don’t have bi bars. If there are any in this world, then I’m sure there are no more than a handful. And in some centres, there aren’t even gay bars, making being bi and on the make that much more challenging. So, we’re left with either trying our luck at straight bars and, frankly, risking our lives. Or we can go to a gay bar and hope that we find other bi’s or at least accepting gays and lesbians.

This is not to say that you’re not going to have luck at either. Really, it’ll depend on what you’re after that particular night. I don’t know about others, but I do know my appetite can change from night to night. So, I go to each type of venue accordingly. What I think is more important to consider here is that you head to a bar that caters to people you relate with, on a basis other than your bisexuality. Maybe you like dance music and want to shake your booty. Well, seek out that environment and see what happens. The key to meeting people is personal comfort and confidence. Forcing yourself to go to a bar you won’t enjoy won’t make it any easier for you to meet someone.

Support Groups

For many, their entrance into the wide bisexual world is by first attending a bi-focused support group. This is a wonderful baby step when first exploring your sexuality and can yield so many fantastic results. First, support groups can provide the confidence and reassurance needed when first accepting your bisexuality. And without confidence in yourself ,you’re not likely to get far when it comes to meeting people.

But support groups can also offer a bit more than personal support. I mean, we’re always wondering how to identify other bi people and how hard that can be out in the general public. Well, if you’re sitting in a room full of other bisexual people and you happen to look over and fancy a cutie…well, isn’t there a pretty good chance that that cutie is bi too?

Of course, please be sure to use discretion and care if you hope meet others who are attending a support group. It is certainly best to get to know the person first, you really should know where he or she is coming from before you turn on the charm. He or she might not be ready, might not even be self-accepting, so you should use care.

If you’ve not already checked it out, here is our support and advocacy group from around the world. If you happen to know of others, please do submit them.

The Bookstore

This is my personal fave idea and one that offers a host of benefits beyond just meeting someone. These days, most cities and towns offer a quality bookstore that carries titles relating to bisexual subjects, usually in a section devoted to the broad LGBT theme. It might be an indie bookstore (I prefer these) or it might be a chain. Whatever, as long as you feel comfortable browsing that section. One key to meeting people in the bookstore is that you need to know what you’re talking about. So, while you’re browsing the bi-themed titles, make sure you actually buy some on occasion and do read them. Not only are you supporting hard-working bi authors, but you’re also educating yourself. But back to the plan!

Grab yourself a coffee and start perusing the shelves. The general idea behind bookselling these days is to make the customer comfortable, let them look and read as much as they want. So, there you are, leafing through a title when you spot a hottie in the vicinity. Try, discretely, to scope out what he or she is looking at, what books he or she is reaching for. If you see him or her reach for a book you’ve read, well, here’s your opportunity. The reason book reviews are so popular is that people really respect the ideas and thoughts of others when it comes to reading material. So, more than likely, he or she will be happy to listen to you. And look, you’ve just met someone!

As a quick addition, you can easily substitute the venue here. Video stores are also outstanding for this technique.

Okay, okay, this is a pretty simplified look at dating and hooking up in the bisexual world, and unfortunately, these ideas just might not be possible for everyone. However, I hope that if you’ve been a bit shy, a bit nervous about taking the first step in your bisexual journey that you’ll consider some of these to make your fantasies come true!