I Could Never Be Your Man

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“Hey..want to meet up?”
“Sure..have you got any pics of yourself?..”
“Yes but ive got to be discreet..”
“Why?”

Hands up if the above scenario looks familiar to anyone. If (like me) you are of the generation of internet dating then you will know what the reply will usually be.. “I’m married” (or any other variation) is usually ranking top with “because of my job” coming in a second place.  

Being on the dating scene (internet and non-internet) can be a tricky minefield of experiences, and with so many fetishes and desires being catered for these days (especially when it comes to gay culture), you really have to adopt an open mind - or run for the hills clutching your pearls. I usually tend to favour the former, unless they happen to fall in the category of ‘gay and married’ (GM) or with a girlfriend for that matter. Don’t get me wrong I’m not rallying a group of pitch fork wielding villagers looking to ‘out’ and persecute all GM men, my sympathy goes out to them and anyone else they’re involved with . Its just from my personal experience the GM man is usually only after one thing; some ‘no strings attached fun’ (nsa for short), and that kind of encounter rarely develops into anything else but a fast and nasty bang. I don’t have a problem with a bit of ‘fun’ now and then (and lets be honest guys our subculture is rife with ‘fun’) but actively doing so knowing said GM man has a unknowing significant other waiting in the wings somewhere is just plain wrong.

Many people are genuinely shocked to hear of so many blokes looking for casual sex with other blokes when they are married, and with more ways to find sex (such as smartphones with an app-store for dating sites) more and more ‘discreet’ men seem to be coming out of the woodwork. That’s not to suggest this is new behaviour, it's just more accessible and thus more apparent. Imagine a world pre internet; a gay married man was a thing of whispers and rumours, and kept behind closed doors. These days however, there are websites and pages online designed specifically for hook ups with actual gay married men (amongst others I wont dare mention!).

Professional rugby player Gareth Thomas was one such GM man who, after struggling with feelings of suicide, finally came clean to his wife Jemma about his late night exploits with men he would meet at gay bars. As devastating as this was for both at the time, ultimately they have moved on (via a rocky road) and managed to maintain something of a close friendship. Although he cheated on his wife, in time he was forgiven and  then commended for having the strength to face the truth, as coming to terms with his homosexuality was more about facing ones true self rather than just the fact of cheating; not to trivialise the seriousness of cheating mind you.

“This was who he was. Something I could never have changed, something that was nothing to do with me as a woman” stated his now ex-wife. Of course not everyone has such a positive resolution and often GM men are advised by others in the same situation to remain in the closet and suffer! “Your kids will hate you for leaving”, “why throw away years of a good relationship and security now? Do the right thing”, and “you will lose everything”, are often meant as words of comfort in their hour of need! Even today many online posts where people go to find discreet help seem to be teeming with advice to stay married for the sake of the kids. Is it not our responsibility as adults to bring some awareness, truth and acceptance to our children? Are we really wanting to set an example of shame, guilt and lies so that history will invariably repeat itself? The floor is open on that one as I don’t know the mental stress and turmoil of having children. So please speak up if this is you and you disagree id love to hear your experience…

Some people argue that it is a generational thing, that it was the ‘done thing back then’ to get married and have a family and stick with it. I’m sure there is some truth in that, but just as there is an alarming amount of GM men looking for fun with younger guys, there is still many younger guys out there with girlfriends actively looking for the old John Thomas on the side.(Its a wonder we are managing to procreate at all with all this man on man action going on!!)

It's frustrating to think that with so much progression the world is making, there is, and probably always will be, a percentage of males that are happy to stay in the closet and cheat, those that are too fearful of the ‘consequences’ of coming out, or those that simply don’t find out until a chance encounter after one too many drinks. Of course by this time they are married and ‘settled’ and often with a family. It's no surprise GM men then feel that they are trapped in a situation with no resolve; they cant come out for fear of persecution or destroying their family and potentially losing everything and everyone around them, but they cant deny their ultimate secret feelings and desires either. The path of self discovery is (for the most part) one we each have to take alone, and plenty of us don’t even know how we like our steak to be cooked! Unfortunately some men choose to live a lie instead of coming to terms with, or even entertaining the idea of the truth. But of course sexual desire is a hungry beast that is hard to satiate. ‘Tea rooms’ - public toilets used for sex, phone apps and chat rooms used to arrange hook ups are just some of the ways men release their sexual frustrations then feel the shame and guilt of what they have done after each ‘quick meet’. This in turn leads to internalized homophobia and for everyone else this just perpetuates the old myth that gay men are only after sex! The film Brokeback Mountain is a brilliant (and probably the most honest) portrayal of GM men trapped in this scenario and the consequences of living in the closet; a must watch for any GM man!!

But lets be brutally honest for a second, we gay guys don’t really help matters either. I’m all for embracing ones sexuality, and being out and proud… But when did embracing ones sexuality equate to baring all and having no inhibitions. Attitudes of ‘fuck first ask questions later’ has become the norm for most guys and often the GM man is like hitting the jackpot for a hormone-fuelled guy looking for the next conquest. Far too often do we come across open invites for promiscuity. This is giving gay married men the green light to get what they desire instantly without having to face up to any kind of real interaction or follow up, and on the flipside us gay men that agreed to (or sought it out) it in the first place are constantly reminded that sex is really all we have to offer, or all we are really wanted for!

As a (supposed) minority of homosexuals striving for respect and not to be judged as just horny beasts, maybe we could do to well to look in the mirror from time to time and ask ourselves: "Am I behaving as such?" Maybe then it would be easier and more comfortable for guys to be openly gay in the first place, and just maybe parents wouldn’t see it as such a corruption of their kids to educate at a younger age on embracing ones sexuality… Of course we don’t live in a perfect world and everyone has freedom of expression however they want to live their lives or conduct themselves as consenting adults.. Just spare a thought for the wife and kids next time that GM man wants a quick no strings attached meet. There are after all plenty more uncomplicated cuts of beef to choose from!

Phil Robinson