GETTING MORE TALE #778: Bi-curious
You could tell Mrs. Powers didn’t like Elton John, and why.
I was just beginning my exploration of rock and roll, at a very young age. I knew who Elton John was. He had at least two songs that I knew and liked: “Sad Songs Say So Much” and “I’m Still Standing”. Although in the 80s he had toned down his image, my mom explained that he used to be known for his crazy hats and glasses.
I don’t know how Elton John came up, that day in Catholic school. It was grade 7 or 8, so 1985 or 1986. Powers was strict and believed in public shaming. Like the time she said “Shame on you!” to me for choosing a non-Catholic highschool, in front of everyone. My sister had Powers a few years later, and got in shit in front of the class because she wasn’t as good at math as (presumably) her dad, who was a bank manager. She was just a nasty teacher.
However Elton’s name came up that day, it doesn’t particularly matter. What I remember was what Mrs. Powers said about him: “And I don’t care that he’s BI-SEXUAL.” Emphasis on that “BI-SEXUAL” part. The immediate undertone was that she did care, very much, or she wouldn’t have brought it up. And her feelings on the matter were in the negative.
Questions swirled in my head. Elton John, the guy with the glasses and hats — was bisexual? Most importantly, what the fuck did that even mean?
If you think Catholic school sex-ed curriculum covered things such as bisexuality, or even homosexuality, you’d be sorely mistaken. She dropped that word, “bisexual” in a sentence and didn’t elaborate. My immediate assumption (and you can see how I got there in my thinking) was that Elton John probably had both genitalia. It’s not like I was going to raise my hand and ask.
I don’t know how many years I went about my life, thinking that Elton John had both a wiener and a vagina. But I did, and it was because of a Catholic school teacher. Nice, eh? In many regards, although I went to class every day like anyone else, I think I was largely homeschooled until I got to highschool. I learned more about history, science, and the arts at home thanks to my mom and dad. At a young age, I was watching Carl Sagan’s Cosmos with my dad, and listening to early Canadian rock and folk music with my mom.
The second takeaway from this story is the negative tone when Mrs. Powers said “BI-SEXUAL” like that. I don’t need to explain how that just reinforces negative stereotypes.
The irony of course is that, bisexual or not, Elton John has been with his husband David Furnish for over 25 years, and they have proven to be model parents to their two kids. I wonder if Mrs. Powers has since changed her tune on Elton John.