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From Phyllida's Desk

Advice Too Good to Ignore

Advice from a Wild DeuceAdvice from a Wild Deuce by Tiggy Upland

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What's the best part of any newspaper or magazine? The advice column, of course. And what's the best kind of advice column? A sex advice column. If you're tired of Dan Savage's biphobia (I know, he got better, but still) and if you'd like something more real than Penthouse Forum, Jen Bonardi's Advice From a Wild Deuce : the Best of Tiggy Upland might be what you're looking for.

Before I'm deluged with emails and comments (I wish!) let me say that a bisexual advice column isn't all about sex. And before the rest of you protest that you're not bisexual so why should you care: if you're not bi, you undoubtedly know someone who is. Besides, you probably don't have all the issues that people write in to other advice columnists about (at least I hope you don't) but isn't it fun to read about them?

A lot of work and planning went into this e-book. The selected queries and responses are organized into themes, from the basics of labels and identities, on through coming out and relationships. There is a linked table of contents, and links throughout to the text to a Resources section at the back. As a librarian and often-frustrated reader, I would give the book five stars for these features alone.

Advice from a Wild Deuce is a lot more than a collection of answered letters. Bonardi is also a writer, comedian and performer who has appeared at the annual Bilicious show in Boston and, as her "Wild Deuce" alter ego Tiggy Upland, wrote the "Ask Tiggy" column on the Bisexual Resource Center's webpage. She also has a webcomic ("Upland") and a project on Tumblr and Twitter, "a year’s worth of bisexual cultural signposts" ("You Might Be a Bisexual"). The book includes interviews, graphics, and excerpts from the other projects, including some of Bonardi's comedy routines, and an epilogue with a biography of Tiggy herself.

Like any successful advice columnist, Bondardi/Upland is witty, sexy, and a very fine writer. But most important, she is also deeply sympathetic and humane. She never loses sight of her questioners as vulnerable human beings in need of comfort and support.

Part of me wishes we didn't need this book anymore. Unfortunately, people are still being bullied, assaulted and murdered for their perceived sexual and gender identities; and young people especially are still struggling with the pressure to conform, even within the LGBT community. Perhaps the most essential advice is stated early and reemphasized throughout the book: any label, including bisexual, is meaningful only if self-chosen, and if it feels right.

Even if all of society's prejudice and injustice disappeared overnight, relationships are difficult for everybody. Do yourself and your friends and families a favor, and buy this book. But don't just take my advice for it. I'll close with a couple of quotes from the "You Might be a Bisexual" project.

"If someone says, 'Which superpower would you rather have: invisibility or--' and you interrupt loudly with 'overrated,' you might be a bisexual."

"If your coming out is met with a demand for proof, you might be a bisexual."

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