My Kelly: A conversation with author David McCaffrey

PS Ferns
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written with David McCaffrey

I once heard a comment, many years ago, that being bisexual was just a stop off to being gay. I have also heard the words ‘confused’, ‘greedy’ and ‘phase’ used. A lack of understanding of a person’s sexual orientation breeds the silliest of descriptions sometimes.

Then we have bi-curious. I love this word. It describes me to some degree – I am gay but I appreciate beautiful women. On occasion I have looked at a woman and thought, ‘If I was straight, she is the type I would go for.’

At home, I have framed prints on my walls of both naked and semi-naked women. Of course, there are men galleried around too.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking to published crime fiction author David McCaffrey. He and his wife Kelly have recently celebrated the birth of their baby. A delightful couple with a great story.

‘Why is this relevant to my earlier story?’ I hear you ask. Well, you see, Kelly is bisexual, and although David is heterosexual he shared a little insight of how since meeting his wife, his mind has opened in such a way that he too may hang the odd male on his wall at home.

David writes…

‘But she’s gay, how does that work? Ah, she must be in the mood for a bit of the ol’ twig and giggle-berries, eh?’

My personal favourite (and Kelly’s): ‘She’ll have just been confused, mate. You’ve probably fixed her.’

The latter one pretty much sums up many reactions when people discover your wife is bisexual. My response is often, ‘Fixed her? I wasn’t aware she was broken.’

Kelly and I met at Thirsk Races in September 2012. As we both worked in the same organisation, I had seen her around, thought she was stunning and would enjoy any opportunity to see her. I knew she had a boyfriend, but I also knew Kelly had, in the past, had a girlfriend too. One day, whilst visiting a ward, one of the nurses practically broke her neck dragging me into the office to say, ‘You know Kelly? Well, she’s dating Emily! We never saw that one coming.’

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My outward response: ‘Okay that’s nice.’ My inner bloke was going, ‘That is awesome’

We seem to have a need to assign designations to individuals as it makes it easier  to understand their orientation, intentions or purpose. To me though, people are in love, happy, understood, appreciated or acknowledged so what does the rest matter?

However, designations are what we have so if we are talking about sexual orientation, then it is something I have been aware of my whole life. Perhaps not consciously aware, but aware in the broadest sense.

My mum and younger brother used to spend every summer with my eldest brother. Growing up, I just thought he had male lodgers. They took my brother and me out for walks, to the shops, bought us treats, and took us to the cinema – all awesome.

It was only as perhaps a teenager that I realised. Ah…I get it now! That was the extent of my reaction.

When I met Kelly, aside from being blown away, the fact her former partner had been a girl didn’t even register. I didn’t think that I might just be a passing fancy or someone to pass the time. We were just two people, getting on really well and having a connection. Time went by, we fell in love and now we are married with a baby.

Kelly would tell me stories about her exes – okay, I might have encouraged some of the girl tales as, what the hell, they are girl-on-girl stories – but I never once felt jealous or affected by her feelings for some of them.

Of course, when your friends learn your girlfriend or wife is bisexual, you get the usual applause for having landed such a catch, as though she is some sort of prize thoroughbred. The fact Kelly also enjoys MMA (mixed martial arts) puts her in a higher category.

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One night we were both out. Kelly was dancing and flirting with another girl on the dance floor. I ended up surrounded by blokes, gazing at such a vision of lesbianism. Once they discovered she was my wife, I had drinks bought for me all night, which saved me a fortune.

People asked if I was bothered, but it didn’t bother me in the slightest. Kelly and I have quite an adventurous sex life and, to me, though I had noticed her with this young lady, it hadn’t registered as much as the picture frames on the wall which were not straight (I’m OCD). To me, it was just Kelly being openly sexual and, well, normal.

Being with Kelly has been a two-way experience as I have learnt so much from her about life, sexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality and life in general. She leaves the toilet seat up, squeezes the toothpaste from the top instead of the bottom, and drops F-bombs like a trooper.

Kelly also allowed me for the first time in my life to feel more comfortable about my own sexuality. I will openly and now comfortably admit there are men I find attractive. Michael Fassbender and David Tennent are my dudes, or my ‘bloke crushes’ as Kelly calls them.

I love women and can only ever see myself in a relationship with a women, but Kelly taught me about being bi-curious, which is something I slowly realised many people are and either don’t know it or chose to deny it.

Being married to someone who is bisexual is an unexpected experience but perfectly normal to me now, though I agree that sounds like a contradiction in terms. It is an experience due to the fact that, as a mum, Kelly is amazing. She actively,  and directly acknowledges questions my eldest son will ask – for instance, if two boys or two girls can kiss or be in love.

She doesn’t shy away from the topic or consider her response as something to be afraid of or a subject to avoid. She will spot girls walking down the street and comment on them way before me.

I mentioned I was virtually high-fived by friends when they learnt Kelly was bisexual. Would their reaction be the same if I told them I dated a man? I am sad to say, I doubt it. I have experienced the occasional comment about how weird it must be being in a relationship with someone who likes girls as well as boys. ‘Are you not afraid of her leaving me for a girl?’ they say. The answer? No more than I am of her leaving me full stop.

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There seems to be an occasional assumption that being bisexual makes you less faithful and that they are more likely to move on if the relationship isn’t working. I get asked if it’s hard work but no more than any other relationship. Relationships should be hard work because is it really worth it in the end if it is too easy?

As I mentioned in the beginning, you get individuals who simply believe that Kelly is going through a phase. For Kelly it was simply about falling in love with the right person, not falling in love with a person of a particular gender. Love is love, gender is irrelevant, at least to her and as far as I am concerned as long as someone is happy.

I don’t see Kelly as bisexual – I see her as openly honest about her sexuality. And you know what, it makes everything more fun. Music videos will be requested by her because she likes the dancing girls. The FHM on the table will be Kelly’s, yet most visitors assume it is mine. The free drinks scored at the bar will be because Kelly had the female bartender enthralled.

I have learnt about lipstick lesbians (which Kelly admits she is) and spaghetti women (women who are straight until wet). As a straight man, I would never learn these things about life, sex, women, relationships and living life to the full from someone who wasn’t bisexual. And I imagine it would be pretty much the same the other way around. That’s not to say any happy relationship isn’t fun. Of course it is. This is just our kind of fun.

In my eyes, Kelly is not gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Kelly is my Kelly. And I wouldn’t change her for the world.

About PS Ferns

Author of the YA Fantasy series 'The Element Order' Choreographer and Artistic director of dance company 'The House of Cards' Artistic Director and Principle of Akademix dance company and academy

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