Friday, March 12, 2010

On the Down Low: Answer this dating question, please

If a man to whom you are attracted and who seems to be attracted to you told you that years ago he considered having sex with other men in order to make ends meet, but he also said he was not gay, would you doubt him? I confess that this happened to me in my dating days, and I decided a relationship with this person might be too complicated because he was not joking.

I could be wrong, but I felt he was letting me know that he may either be bisexual or at least had some internal conflict going on about his sexual identity. He also said in passing once that women he's rejected accuse him of being gay.

I know women like that, those who assume that because a man doesn't want them, he must be gay. However, since I've got some body image baggage, I'd be more likely to think the man wanted a skinnier woman or a better looking woman or a dumber woman or a smarter woman or somebody who cares more not that he wanted another man.

The man I'm talking about also was no spring chicken trying to be cool or impress me, and so, I contemplated what he was actually revealing about himself. What was he really saying? By that time, how could I ask him directly, "Yo! Are you gay?" If I had he would have told me I was like those other women, most likely, even though he had not rejected me.

Perhaps there's some person out there who's studied sexual identity who would tell me I am wrong, that a straight man might consider prostituting himself to gay men if he were desperate for money, but I'm more inclined to believe a heterosexual would have a natural aversion to participating in same-sex sexual relations the same way many gay people talk about how hard it was for them to have sex with people of the opposite sex before coming out of the closet.

I mean, if you really need money to eat, McDonald's is always hiring and there are soup kitchens. Why would a person with skills consider being a same-sex prostitute rather than do something else to get cash?

By the way, when I say "gay" I mean homosexual not bisexual. Some people speak like they are one in the same but they are not.

To me, if you are an adult and comfortable with having sexual relations with someone of the same sex, you are probably not heterosexual. You are most likely either homosexual or bisexual.

I say "if you are an adult" because sometimes younger people go on exploratory missions or try to be popular and prove they're down for anything, especially girls. However, that is far more about self-esteem and self-knowledge than it is about sex.

Once you're an adult you should know better and avoid sexapades that have more to do with how other people see you rather than how you see yourself. But I know the journey to self-acceptance is longer for some people than it is for others, case in point, Meredith Baxter Birney. Coming to terms with being homosexual or bisexual or even asexual, with being anything that is not undeniably heterosexual, is more difficult than simply falling in line with the rest of the heterosexuals. This world favors straight not queer, especially this American world.

In addition, you may have noticed that America is far more accepting of two-women hopping into bed with each other than it is of two men. For years many porn movies aimed at arousing men featured girl-on-girl action. Watching two women make out is often listed as one of the top male fantasies. And consider that as we've into gay rights on television and in movies, seeing two-women kissing on primetime television or in a film was far more common than seeing two men kissing. Not saying no one showed two men kissing, but that two-women kissing was more likely scenario.

I acknowledge that implying men are in a gay relationship in a drama or comedy has been going on for many more years. Implying it, however, is very different from in-your-face Broke Back Mountain love on the big screen. The taboo for men to have even a casual sexual encounter with another man is stronger. Even the "I was drunk" reason is rarely accepted as the honest truth.

So, saying that, it's back to the question from the beginning of the post. Would you think the man in the question was heterosexual because he said so, or would you think that maybe you were getting involved with a man who'd be on the down low/living in the closet? By making such a statement, is the man revealing that he's comfortable with his manhood or is he dropping a hint that he may not be what you think he is?

I used to write on the topic of men on the down low sometimes back when it was a hotter topic. See these old articles:

As you can see, that last link will take you to something about novelist Terry McMillan, whose book How Stella Got Her Grove Back was based on her meeting her husband in Jamaica. Not too long ago I listened to an interview with Jimi Izrael conducted by an older woman at Psychjourney. Hearing the interview, I started wondering about the guy I mentioned in the question again because Izrael and the interviewer laughed at Terry McMillan, saying she went to Jamaica and picked up a man like a souvenir. They implied that she should have known something was amiss, that her lover turned husband was gay. Do you agree? Can you always tell?


Babz Rawls Ivy said...

...when someone tells you who they are, beleive them... Maya Angelou to Oprah Winfrey.

Soemtimes you can obviously tell. I beleive Ms McMillan saw what she wanted and needed to see. Sometimes you can tell, sometimes you can't. But there are ALWAYS signs (that can be explained away and excused)

Can't get down with folks of questionable sexual habits and tastes...even if its about employment and the earning of money. gotta have an affinity for smae sex activities.

Vérité Parlant said...

Thank you for commenting, Babz. Would that include being in artistic fields like theater and fashion design? You're going to have to work with people of different sexual orientations and get along well, but there's nothing sexual involved. Or do you mean actually performing the sexual act itself or being romantically affectionate with someone of the same sex to get ahead on the job or in business?

I wouldn't do that even with someone of the opposite sex to whom I feel an attraction? Can't think of anything I want bad enough to sleep with that sense of loss of dignity. However, that's far from being in the position of starving on the street.

Yeah, it's hard to tell. The man in question was not homeless, and so it was not a starving on the street scenario. He had no stereotypical signs that he was gay or bisexual, in fact he had that testosterone flush of the Alpha Male, but the words coming from his mouth caused me to wonder.

Unknown said...

I definitely agree with this post, and with Lovebabz's Angelou to Winfrey quote.

Times do NOT get that hard. If you are straight and want to sell your body for money, why would you sell it to the same sex? Suspect.

And to me, if you've engaged in any homosexual activity in your adult life, you are either homosexual or bisexual. No questions about it.

Tyra did a show recently with "straight" and sometimes married guys who do gay porn because they get paid more...a LOT more. I don't know how to feel about that...if someone was giving me THAT much money, I could do it and then buy a good reputation lol!

Vérité Parlant said...

I think once you do porn, you're on the side of the line where you don't care what people think of you. So, gay or straight, you don't care. You may care later when you want to switch jobs, but not when you're getting your porn paycheck. :-)

What do the guys do, take Viagra and imagine it's a woman? I thought a man had to be aroused and stay aroused to make it look good for the camera. What turns you on when you're naked and right up against it tells the story, I think. But I don't know. That's why I'm asking readers.

I wish a guy would weigh in.

MrsGrapevine said...

It really depends on the situation, disparity is disparity, and it will make you do crazy things just to survive.

We will consider doing anything if we felt it was life or death. I need to know if he had an addiction, or if he was kicked out of the house a young age and living on the street before I cast my judgment. It's common practice for street kids to sell favors for money.

People always use the line McDonald's is always hiring. 1) They are not always hiring and 2) It takes up to 3-4 weeks to get a paycheck. So someone on the edge don't have 3-4 weeks to wait for a minimum wage check.

I would have asked questions, because I couldn't move forward without knowing what was so bad that he considered gay sex.

That statement certainly would have lead to more questions right then and there.

Why not have sex with women, because women are not big hunters or solicitors of sex. Men, gay and straight are the ones seeking sex for money.

Anyway, before I start going in on how suspect that sounds, I just need to know what his definitions of desperate was, and his definition better be good.

Vérité Parlant said...

Hi, MrsGrapevine. He was not an underage boy on the street. He was grown and had shelter. Neither has he ever been a runaway to my knowledge. I know McDonald's doesn't hire on the spot, which is why I gave soup kitchen as alternative. This particular person hadn't reached bottom yet back then. He's the type to wonder about his image, how it looked for him to be seen working in the McDonald's or eating at the soup kitchen. Get my drift? :-)

I don't think he'd rule out McDonald's now, however, if it was a question of eating. Getting older makes it harder to barter with your body. :-) Yet, he might get in line for a wealthy female. LOL.

I know teens on the street feel desperate enough to do that, however, which is why I stressed what we do as adults. He was young during the period he referenced, but not that young. ;-) That's why the red light went off in my head, I think.

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment.

Anonymous said...

He also could've sought out a woman and lived off of her, it's done every day. Most likely he is gay or has tendencies that he would've like to explore and hasn't.

As a straight woman, I will tell you that I have been turned on by males in gay porn.
Why I don't know, I love the male body so I guess watching two is better than one? LOL!

Vérité Parlant said...

Hi, Cactusrose. I think that's why men are turned on by two women in porn. They think, "Hey, two is better than one." :-) I like male bodies, but male on male doesn't do it for me. I was tense watching parts of the movie Milk.

What you say about women who are willing "keep men" has definite truth to it. I had a boyfriend once, an artist, who a woman offered to "take care of." She told him she would pay his bills, feed him, buy his art supplies and he could stay home and paint. He said, "No." He said he didn't feel right about it because he had no feelings for her at all. I learned about this years later, long after we broke up. But even before we started dating, I knew there were women offering him stuff. Well, he was good looking and buff.

The only reason my friend in the post probably didn't seek out a woman who would keep him is because it takes longer to cultivate a woman into that relationship. He wanted some faster cash.

I also know some women who would take a male mate who they know for a fact is gay. They keep hoping they'll turn him straight. That has never happened, turning a gay man straight, to my knowledge.

It's possible the man in question is bisexual, but I think life is complicated enough without entering a relationship with folks who've let you know or hinted that they're in a phase of questioning sexual identity.

Thank you for the visit.

Anonymous said...

I feel I must qualify that statement. I really meant soft porn, not the actual penetration porn. Perhaps that would be a little much for me also!LOL!
I did not see Milk but I did see Brokeback Mountain, and also the Queer as Folk t.v.series which had quite graphic scenes in it also.

And even though this is not pertinent to your question, I would just like to add that I have many gay friends and don't know what I would do without them! :)

Vérité Parlant said...

You're right it's not related to this post. And actually I have another post scheduled about the touchy subject of heterosexuals stating the fact that they don't want to sleep with either the same sex or gay people of the opposite sex who've had a string of gay lovers and how that is being treated as "Oh, you're homophobic. You don't like gay people."

I don't think an unwillingness to have sex with the same-sex is related to the number of gay friends anyone has or doesn't have or whether you have gay people in your family or know gay people on the job. It's about who you chose to be a sex partner. That's sexual preference. We're all allowed to have one.

I just think if folks who say they want a romantic relationship with you can't tell you the truth about their sexual identity, the relationship is probably not a relationship because they don't trust you or themselves.

When you add that to men on the down low are sexually active with other men but who tell women "Baby, I don't need to wear a condom," then the lie becomes infinitely more complicated and potentially life threatening.

MrsGrapevine said...

In that case, then he is GAY. I'm sorry only disparity can make SOME step out their zone, but if you love money more that your VALUES then I don't know if we would have a second date.


I was hoping it was something tragic that would make him say something like that. Now, that I know the details, I will definitely say something is off with this guy.

I wouldn't even date Donnie McClurkin. My theory is why put yourself in that situation just to find out your worst fears may come true like Terry McMillian.

I just thought it was more to the story. I can't believe someone is really to sell out their being over something so trivial.

Vérité Parlant said...

And that is the crux of it, MrsGrapevine, avoiding that kind of heartache. I also had a known player chase me once, and he had all the goods. He was hot and successful, but why get involved with someone that you know likes the chase more than he likes relationships?

Whatever the issue is--you suspect he's gay and too confused and afraid to accept it; you know he's straight but he's a known player; you see he's good-looking, but he's also self-absorbed with questionable values--a smart woman would pay attention.

But I know love and lust sometimes makes even smart women take on what's not good for them.

I'm older than the people answering this question. I'd say a young woman can take risks and chalk it up to cosmic love, but an older woman's already done enough stupid things to make her remember how to put the brakes on. :-)

Thank you for coming back.

Marvalus said...

I'm uncomfortable with the THOUGHT that there was even a consideration...that tells me that even if that man has lived his life straight, he must have some inclinations. Do you know what needs to happen to have sex with someone of your same sex? The consideration bothers me...

And if he stepped to me and told me such, I would instantly think he was a closet homosexual and run immediately in the other direction.

I totally agree with Lovebabz Maya Angelou quote: "When someone tells you who they are, believe them."

Marvalus said...

And another thing...

I think women put so much into finding someone that we are willing to look past these "red flags" when they pop up. I get so mad thinking of the girls who risk their lives, put aside their morals and values, and throw everything that their mothers tried to teach them (assuming there were lessons) out of the window...all for a man who is going to do damage that may be irreparable.

OK...I think I'm done now.

Vérité Parlant said...

Thank you, Marvalus. That's my way of thinking on it. My mulling it over more than once is about trying not to jump to a conclusion, but there were other signs too. We have to listen to the little voice and use common sense.

Val said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PPR_Scribe said...

Seriously, Ladies? Y'all don;t look at that pic Nordette has in this post and think, "My my, those brothers look fine together"? OK--guess I'm just odd woman out! lol

Vérité Parlant said...

Oh, they do look fine together. I want them together and honest too. Not that finding out your straight man is lying about you for some other serious reason like having a whole different family in another city is any less painful. LOL.

Dating said...

The man in question was not homeless, and so it was not a starving on the street scenario.