Some queer activists won't be thrilled when they learn that a sex-crazed, pubescent boy who regularly bones inanimate objects is about to become the next big bisexual icon.
Sometimes, however, we don't get the queer icon we want, but the queer icon we need. Right now, the bisexual community needs Jay Bilzerian (voiced by Jason Mantzoukas) from Big Mouth - Netflix's new cartoon series that follows preteens as they struggle navigating the transition into teenagehood.
Jay, one of the boys in the main cast, is constantly described as a sexual deviant by his middle school classmates. He wants to have sex with everything: sofa cushions, bath mats, pillows, girls, and now... boys.
In fact, whereas every other middle school character on the show has a "hormone monster" to help guide them through puberty by making them hornier, moodier, hairier, and all the other terrible yet "beautiful" things that come with puberty, Jay doesn't have one. He's described as not needing one because he's "his own hormone monster."
There were no real indications that Jay was going to be bisexual until the penultimate episode of season two. In the episode, the preteens play a game of "smooch or share" - a variation of "truth or dare." During the game, Jay is forced to kiss Matthew, the only openly gay kid at their school. What started off as a platonic kiss during a game led to a full on makeout session after the game was long over.
Following the makeout session with Matthew, Jay is solicited by a male sofa cushion. (I know this sounds weird, but stay with me here.)
Throughout seasons one and two, Jay has sex with various household items. The items, however, are always anthropomorphized, speaking and behaving like women. After kissing Matthew, a sofa cushion starts talking to him, but as man, which even Jay himself notes is peculiar given that this male sofa cushion only showed up after he smooched Matthew.
Jay starts getting blowjobs from the sofa cushion, and is walked in on by his female girlfriend, Suzette, who is a pillow. She notes that Jay is literally in the closet while getting head from this couch cushion. (Still with me?)
Suzette and Jay manage to reconcile and proceed to bone. After having sex, Suzette asks, who was better? Candidly, Jay confesses that he likes both. Both are different, neither is better, and he's into it all.
Suzette replies, "That's bullshit. If you say like boy pillows and girl pillows, that means you really just like boy pillows."
Wow, as a bi man, I don't think I can tell you the number of times I've been told I actually just like boy pillows.
Jay is still new to discovering his bisexuality, so doesn't yet have the appropriate words to discuss his attractions. He still says phrases like "a mouth is a mouth" - something I also (embarrassingly and crudley) said as I struggled to embrace my bisexuality.
So to some, he might not be the "ideal" bi icon. He's not a monogamous-oriented, straight-laced, vanilla bisexual that the queer media often likes to push in order to reject all the negative stereotypes about bisexuals (i.e., we're cheaters, confused, incapable of being monogamous, greedy, etc.).
I've written about this before, but when activists do this, promoting this "perfect bisexual," I think they further isolate members of the bi community who are polyamorous, DTF, BDSM-pigs (like myself and many other proud bisexuals).
Thus, Jay, like many of us, is a horny, hot mess who is trying to bone all the damn time, regardless of the person's gender. That is an honest depiction of what male bisexuality looks like for many preteens, teens, and screw it, grown-ass men like myself.
That's why I'm so happy to see Jay's bisexuality being played out on screen in an authentic, funny, and non-judgemental manner. Surely, the next season of Big Mouth will delve into exploring Jay's sexuality head first (no pun intended), and I cannot wait.