Tongue-in-cheek, that. And not in the literal sense.

I wrote just a little bit ago about being poly. For many years I wondered how to handle a conversation that got more intimate—or that I wanted to get more intimate—when relationships as such require a great deal more communication. As someone who is biologically male, it would always come across as perhaps a bit mendacious, too. That made me uncomfortable.

Now that I have my gender identity squared away—and by that I mean not squared away in any way, shape, or form—the conversation would conceivably become a great deal longer.

That’s okay, of course, but it can also feel a bit isolating. Combine in the fact that I get rather shy when things turn intimate (and I’m unsure of the other person’s feelings; when I know, I’m all good), and it really does equate to having a seat on the sidelines, watching how others meet, get to know each other, and how those relationships grow.

But what will that look like in the future?

In the general sense, I see us moving more towards the reality of a spectrum in both gender and sexual orientation. That’s a good thing. Non-standard relationship models seem, by my own eyeballs and with no figures to support me, to be getting more common as well. So what will flirting look like in a decade, then?

There was a whole lot we were able to assume in a majority monogamous, gender binary, heterosexual world. It kept many people closeted as well, and by no means do I mean that world was a good, healthy place. Now? Now we can’t assume. Now we have to use our words. It does make it a good deal more interesting, and I think it also means we can get to know each other as people, perhaps reserving judgment on sexual interest.

Sounds like a much more equatable world to me. Not that I want to stop anyone from hooking up—we’ll always figure out the communication route to that. But it will be interesting to watch.

Doesn’t change my shyness, mind you.