Karine Jean-Pierre
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Bisexual Author Samantha Irby Breathes Life Into All Our Intersections

samantha irby

Samantha Irby is among The Advocate's Women of the Year. View the full list from the current issue of the magazine. 

There is no greater truth teller out there these days than Samantha Irby, the bisexual writer behind the blog, Bitches Gotta Eat.

The author of four books, including the newly released Wow, No Thank You, Irby made it to the New York Times bestseller list for We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. Her first memoir, Meaty, is being adapted into a television show by writer Jessi Klein and comedian Abbi Jacobson.

The Kalamazoo, Mich., (by way of New York City) author writes about intersectionality in a way that’s never dogmatic or academic, but unselfconsciously real. From race (she’s Black) to weight (she’s fat) to homophobia (she’s bi) to disability (she has Crohn’s disease and degenerative arthritis), Irby’s personal writing gets at the heart of our daily interactions with life’s most irritating people — like reacting to that friend who loses 20 pounds on Whole30 and now thinks she’s an expert on nutrition with a signature: “Holy shit, shut up girl.”

Blogging since the MySpace days, the 40-year-old laid out the classic adult bisexual coming out experience in her last collection of essays, We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, describing how after years of dating men, she has sex with a woman.

“It wasn’t until I felt her definitely female fingers fumbling awkwardly with the zipper of my hoodie in that hotel room downtown that it dawned on me: I don’t really know how to fuck a lady,” she writes. “My stomach dropped as I tried to recall every article I ever read on G-spots and nipple sensitivity, my arms stiffening at my sides as she bent down and pressed her lips to my neck. I assumed it was up to me to do the man stuff because I have a fantasy football team and can grow a full beard, so I just lay there while she did stuff to me waiting for her to yell at me because I hadn’t taken the garbage out yet. That’s how this works, right?”

The relationship isn’t a one-off. It leads to marriage. Before that, it ends up serving as a critique of all the men who treat Irby (and fat girls like her) as though they should appreciate male attention regardless of the package it comes in.

Irby, who also wrote an episode for the first season of the TV show Shrill (“Pool,” which fat girls debated for weeks), is a deft analyzer of larger cultural examinations — like men’s behavior in the pre-#MeToo days — as personal diatribes. We can’t wait for more.

Tags: Exclusives, Women

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