“Oh nah, I’m straight, I just like playing around with guys sometimes.”
A couple of months ago, a month or so out of a relationship, I returned to that great African savannah of sexuality otherwise known as Grindr. Perhaps a gay friend has shown you it. It’s like Tinder for gay men, though while at times the approaches come with a directness, and obnoxiousness that would make Donald Trump blush.
I was once asked out of the blue “Would you please do a poo on me NOW.”
Lordy, lordy. For the record, in the same way that some guys on Tinder are friggin horrible, gay platforms like Grindr can be as unpleasant or as rewarding as you make them. I’ve met multiple long-term partners boyfriends on there, and most of the chaps on there are relatively civilised, of course the gentleman don’t stand out as much as those who puts their kinks on display and ask you to share your breakfast with them at dinner time.
I digress. I’d been chatting to a gentleman, let’s call him David, for a few weeks and we resolved to catch up. We did catch up and had a perfectly pleasant and mutually satisfying meet up at his apartment. Until, that is, we were chatting afterwards and I asked him something inane like “Do you do this often?” and he said:
David: “Oh no, I have a girlfriend.”
Me: “Oh…So are you bi, or what?”
David: “Oh nah, I’m straight, I just like playing around with guys sometimes.”
Me: “And you didn’t think about telling me that you had girlfriend?”
At this point his main response was a bemused smirk.
Allow me to utilise my gay man spirit animal, Star Trek’s George Takei to express how this felt:
As I left I quipped “Say hello to your girlfriend for me.” and he replied “Whatever, mate.”
Where, oh where to begin. First things first, I want to be clear, I have nothing against straight guys. They’re perfectly lovely people. Some of my best friends are straight guys. But being used to facilitate someone else’s sexual adventure isn’t a pleasant feeling. I am not your gay bungie-jump cord, your white water raft, if you will, your… oh too far already? Okay. There’s this idea that gay guys are all secretly frothing at the mouth for those hot straight dudes and sure, there’s a few straight guys EVERYONE (even straight guys) would love some pash time with Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Antonio Banderas, Jon Hamm, Arnie Hammer, etc.
But being straight in and of itself isn’t a turn on. And the reasons straight guys drop into gayland is mainly because we’re perceived as more sexually available and, to quote, Therapist Joe Kort, speaking to Salon,
“But these men are not attracted to the men, they are attracted to the quick and easy sex that doesn’t involved social skills or getting to know one another.”
Not your fucking bungie-jump, bro. The reason I meet guys on Grindr is actually because often it does turn into something more than a one off hook up.
Mamamia Confessions- The moment I knew my relationship was over:
Add to that the cheating side of things. I don’t seek out guys in relationships and if I’d known I’d have backed out because I’ve been cheated on before and the fact that this brand of cheating involved a chap doesn’t change its nature at all. I don’t have a problem with straight guys who want to experiment with their sexuality. At some point that was what I was doing in my late teens. I just didn’t do so while in a relationship. And being used by a straight man to experiment isn’t that different to a woman hooking up with a bloke and learning he has a wife. We’re both being used as living breathing blow up dolls.
It’s possible he was actually bisexual or gay and just didn’t want to have that conversation. For a lot of gay history the reality of homophobia has forced men who were actually gay into relationships with women while maintaining surreptitious affairs. That’s no longer the case. If you’re thinking about experimenting with your sexuality, then you ought to be open with your significant other about it. And here’s where it gets more complicated. Because our society’s attitude to bisexuality is deeply problematic.
Try typing “Do bisexual” into google and the first result is “Do bisexual males exist”. That’s even though bisexuals technically outnumber homosexuals (in the USA) 3.1% to 2.5%. But while people in recent years have managed to get their heads around other people being gay, bisexuality blows the minds of both the gay and the straight community. It’s greedy. You’re indecisive. How can someone possibly be attracted to men AND women? Contrasting with this widespread ignorance, one recent study in England found that most women respond to sexual stimulus that involves other women.
But repressed desire aside there’s another important reason we need to talk about people playing around in this way. Several years ago I was in a long term relationship with a partner who contracted HIV while we were, ostensibly, monogamous. The trust and mutual reliance of being in love means that behaviour you wouldn’t consider with a casual partner (i.e. sex without condoms) becomes reasonable. I’ve always been a very careful chap, and even within this relationship, I’d been quite careful, but the three months after my ex’s diagnosis were the worst of my life. I came through entirely clear of HIV, but people do contract serious diseases from partner’s flutters (whether they be heterosexual or homosexual flutters).
Ultimately whether he’s a bi guy experimenting or a straight guy dipping his wick into the rainbow dimension for kicks is entirely irrelevant. He is a douchebag. There’s part of me that wants to send a hamper to his (and his girlfriend’s apartment) with a card thanking him for:
“The beautiful evening we shared together.
(Note: I just really like Roger as my fake floozy name, there is no rational reason)
But I’m a classier creature than that so I’ll just stew on it.
But it all begs a few questions. Is a straight guy who hooks up with guys still a straight guy? Does it really count if he’s really just playing around as one (straight male) friend suggested to me? Would you be comfortable dating a guy who was open about his bisexuality? Should I send that hamper?
Toby Halligan is a comedy writer and stand-up comedian and runs a political comedy room in Melbourne every second Sunday of the month called Political Asylum.