The Down-Low Men I Left Behind

man walking in the night

When I think about what I did — getting into men, separating from my wife, divorcing and starting a new life on the gay side — I was either very brave, very stupid, very crazy or all three.

Would I do it again? Mostly in hindsight I say yes but then at other times I doubt myself.

But then I look at guys I have interacted with who are still down-low and doing the same thing. Remember, almost a decade has passed since I started this blog. I was in my early 40s. Now I’m in my early 50s.

And there are men out there my age and older who are still doing the DL song-and-dance.

There is Gerald, 70 years old and still creeping. Remember him from this 2014 blog post? His wife had a stroke and he wanted me to come and lay up with him at his house while she was in rehabilitation. I just couldn’t do such a disrespectful thing.

Now Gerald is recovering from prostate cancer treatment but is still as horny for man sex as ever. I have heard sexual desire really does not fade as we age — just the ability to perform.

Gerald is staring mortality in the face (we all are now that we are middle-aged) and he texted me something very poignant. He said sometimes he looks back and knows he would have been happier if he had come out as gay in college instead of just getting married to meet other people’s expectations.

To be 70 years old and regret not being your true self is profoundly sad to me.

Remember Samuel, the older Caribbean man who came to me for advice about leaving his marriage? It’s six years later and he is still with her and sneaking around like an undercover agent searching for dick. Just stuck in a rut.

Then there is Lamont — the DL businessman with the big house who creeps on his wife with men, even boldly doing so while vacationing with her on cruise ships. Well,  last month his wife and child went on a vacation together and he had the house to himself.

Like Gerald he wanted me to come lay up — and bring the condoms and lube too because he couldn’t keep stuff like that around the house where wifey could find them.

I politely turned him down. I like sex as much as the next person and he has an amazing body but the whole thing — sneaking into the house while the wife is away — just doesn’t appeal to me. It’s not sexy or exciting. It’s just kinda pathetic.

Married guys still hit up on me online. DL men my age who have been swinging with men on the sly since high school and college and are still doing that same shit at 20, 30, 40 and even a half century later. How they keep that from their wives for so long amazing me unless their wives really don’t give a fuck.

Sometimes I envy them, I gotta admit. They have the hetero-privilege, the respectability, the public persona of being upright family men. They didn’t disrupt their families and have to rebuild relationships with children, friends and other family members like I did.

But when I really sit down and think about it I’m happy and content and free. And my life is not a half-lie. So I guess I’m good.

21 thoughts on “The Down-Low Men I Left Behind

  1. You’re honest with yourself and others about who you are. That’s what really matters in my book. There’s no shame in your game!

    I dated a man on the DL once. We had fun and great sex but I couldn’t take the having to stay at my house all the time and NEVER being able to go out. We lasted all of seven months together!

    Welcome back, man! I was wondering where you had disappeared to: Mars?!

    Naked hugs!

  2. Good for you. Whether and how much and how to “come out” or be open about one’s sexuality is an immensely personal decision. There is no one answer for everyone.

    It is stupid and disrespectful to have sex with other than your spouse at the marital residence or otherwise such that your spouse will find out about it.

    Sex is a strong natural urge so people should choose carefully about whether and how much to come out and whether to aggravate the situation by marrying, dating, sexing or making a child with a woman.

      • I just sent you an email relating to solving the problems that plague African Americans. It may have gone to your bulk or junk mail folder. In the from column is the name “Leadership Begins” and in the subject column is the subject that begins with the words “Leadership Begins at Home”. Please read it and reply promptly. Thank you.

  3. This is an EXCELLENT post!!! There are many of us who look back once we reach our 40s and older and ponder these things. I think about my circle of friends from my youth, many of whom have passed away from risky behavior and excess, some who got married, are heavy in church, putting on fronts but still got boyfriends on the side or either hooking up on chatlines, the ones who came out, went through hell for it, only to end up jaded and bitter because the perfect love they thought was out there wasn’t, then there are the old fat and tired sex kittens like me who just go to work and look after their families, who went through the rigors of long-term relationships and now flat out don’t want to be bothered. I think we all play the “what-if” game but, ultimately, it’s futile. We are where we are, we were where we were, and we’ll end up where we’ll end up, – sometimes, even to spite ourselves…

  4. Greetings❗️
    Your new blog post is such a profound look down memory lane 🖤
    I’m glad you came out.
    You gave a young man like me hope for a somewhat brighter future 🙏🏽

  5. I commend people for staying in the closet for so long. I couldn’t pretend to be straight even if I try. I tell older gentlemen even if I was back in your day I would still come at 16 regardless of parents acceptance or not.

  6. Bravo ! My friend.Excellent reflection and word of truth. I think of all the what ifs in my life. I was fortunate to have come out to my family in my early thirties but publicly I pick and choose who I want to disclose info to (Although its written all over my face.) I was never the one to creep nor did I have a wife or girlfriends but I do often wonder how different life would be if I was bold enough to live my life totally free from what other people thought of me.

  7. Respectability, self respect, happiness, freedom to live my life as Ibsee fit, for me is one of the most importantthings in life. I know of a few of these situations, however for me, I couldn’t bother living like that. It takes a lot of self actualization to get to that place, and I’m grateful that I got there. I feel being a Psychotherapist has helped me in many ways, in stages of my own growth, I wouldn’t trade who I am, my choices in life for anything.
    I think having to live as a gay man during those years took courage, support, and the attitude that I’m going to do me, for me FK. who don’t like it, not everyone was strong enough, able and ready to take that stand.

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