I have a coworker who came into my cubicle area one day and did what bothers me the most. She asked an obvious question as if she needed someone else to confirm something bright as day. It went like this:
Betsy: Jay, can you do me a favor real quick?
Jay: Why are you crying?
Betsy: Can you just do me a favor?
Jay: [Thinks these women need to stop coming into my office crying like I’m a shrink.] Fine, what is it?
Betsy: Read this email.
Jay: [Reads email…] Wait, WHO IS THIS?! I don’t talk to none of my boys like that, plus this sounds like a response to a Craiglist ad.
Betsy: My soon-to-be ex-boyfriend.
I had just read an email that her boyfriend was sending to another man in another state about a possible rendezvous. Betsy was under the impression that he was traveling for work to various places in the country. But in reality, he was traveling to obscure places in the country for homosexual encounters.
There are few things to note about Betsy’s reaction:
- She was crying and upset – I can understand this, she was lied to in the worst way possible. He was unfaithful.
- She was breaking up with him – I asked her one question, “Is it because he’s gay or because he cheated on you?” Her response, “UM, BOTH.”
- She was leaving work early to go get an STD test – This is typically the same reaction most women have whenever someone cheats on them. I just think they move a little faster when they find out they’ve been having sex with a man who has sex with men.
Admin Note: While I was doing research for this article, someone actually tried give me some statistical analysis about how homosexual men are more likely to have HIV than heterosexual men. I told them that’s bullsh*t. I don’t give a damn about that statistic, Black people are catching HIV at way too high of a rate for me to worry about that stat.
The fact of the matter is Betsy reacted the same way that many women react when they find out the same news. When a man is dating a woman and he reveals to her that he is bisexual or gay and faking the funk, she’s upset. She doesn’t go on Twitter and start a trending topic about why she’s happy her man came out, and she surely won’t be buying his next mixtape, book, or anything else he puts out. (Yes, that was a shot.)
One of the top ten questions I’m asked when I’m trying to connect two people I think will be great for each other is, “Is he gay?” It’s almost as if that’s become a common concern in our network and a blatant indicator that it’s not widely acceptable for a man to be bisexual and be in a relationship with women.
Let me make a quick statement. I have friends who are homosexual or bisexual and are either openly gay or in the closet. I believe that no one should be told when to come out. Therefore, I notice their behavior and just make observations to myself. Openly gay men do have opportunities to and will, on occasion, sleep with women. Women will knowingly have sex with a man they think is gay if they find him attractive and only think the nature of the relationship will be sexual. THAT’S A RARE OCCASION. I can count on my hand how many times one of my friends that I’ve known for 20 years and is openly gay has told me he slept with a woman. The friends that I have who are “on the low” are constant victims of the rumor mill. They meet women, they start dating them, and sometimes even end up in a relationship. But once that rumor mill hits the woman, I get a phone call and it goes a little something like this:
Antoinette: Jay, can I ask you a question?
Jay: Hello to you too.
Antoinette: Is Tony gay?
Jay: I am not dating that guy, so why would I know his sexual orientation?
Antoinette: Because that’s your boy and the fact that you didn’t answer my question means yes. He can lose my number.
Jay: Well, damn.
Full disclosure: Of course, I know Tony is “on the low.” I only have an obligation to keep his private life, private. But I’m not lying for anybody.
And that’s pretty much how the story goes about 95% of the time. That’s why a couple weeks ago when Anderson Cooper came out, we all said, “Good for him.” When Frank Ocean came out, we all raved for him on Twitter. Privately, most men would agree we all said the same thing: “It’s great to see all these women in support of Frank Ocean, they’re not dating him though.”
Honestly, I don’t know how women who are currently sleeping with or have slept with him in the past few months felt about him coming out of the closet. However, in my opinion, there’s a 95% chance that she didn’t like it one bit. She felt that she had been lied to. She felt that somehow he found her inadequate. She felt embarrassed. She felt ashamed. And moreover, she felt like she couldn’t ever tell a soul.
“Hey girl, remember when I said I hooked up with Frank Ocean in Vegas last summer? That was a lie. Yeah, I’m just feeling like being honest. I saw him in VIP, but we didn’t really have sex. I was just chilling at his hotel room.”
That’s the problem with this “on the low” phenomenon. Publicly, since we’re all radically liberal on Twitter, we rave. Privately, we’re faced with those things that we really believe. It’s easy for women to support a brother coming out of the closet when they’re not with him. I’ve witnessed it with couples that I knew very well. Only once have I witnessed a woman who didn’t walk away with her head held down or frustrated. In that case, she admitted to herself that she kind of knew all along and just continued to lie to herself because he was a great guy. All the others have gone like this:
- She wanted all her male friends to beat his ass. (Not realizing this would be viewed as a hate crime because you can’t just go around beating up gay men.)
- She disappeared off the face of the earth and never returned. She took down her Facebook and changed her phone number. There’s no record that she exists and no one has a clue where she went.
- She beat his ass like he was riding round with Keisha and broke the news in his Altima.
- She passed out. Yes… I witnessed a girl pass the hell out when she found out. It wasn’t because she had the Holy Ghost either, it was because she found out her boyfriend was on fire and it wasn’t for Jesus.
I’m sure if all of those women could have the relationship back, they would take it back in a heartbeat. Nobody likes to carry around a learning lesson like that. It just makes me think of the larger female audience out there who’s looking for men to date — straight men to date. They’re struggling with this and while we’re becoming more accepting as a society, this is still a point of contention. My personal opinion is that it’s less about the homosexuality and more about the lying. Women aren’t upset because men are gay. They’re upset because men are gay and purporting themselves as straight. Focusing on the real problem might lead us to middle ground.
– Dr. J
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the “down low” brother. Do you think it’s unfair to women? Do you think it should be the man’s choice for how he wants to play it? Are you comfortable with men who are dating on both sides of the fence, provided their honest with both? A few things about today. I’m not going to argue with anyone unless you act crazy and I have to go all moderator on you. I know this can be a sensitive topic. Additionally, I’m not homophobic and I’m comfortable in who I am as a heterosexual male. That said, these are my thoughts. I sleep through the night.
Admin Note: Just a heads up that the next SBM NYC event is scheduled for THIS Friday, July 27th at Empire Room in Manhattan. CLICK HERE For Details