You are all smiles as you open the door to your cozy “clutchtastic” place. Life seems to have been going your way as of late. You have a handsome, intelligent, and family oriented man that has been in your life for the past three months (considering the time limit on steady relationships these days, that is practically a lifetime). Your wonderful man has held employment for the past few years, cleans house better than your grandmother, gives sex so amazing it damn near brings you to tears every time you make love, and just when you think he couldn’t get any more perfect… he turns out to be an excellent cook! Hallelujah! You couldn’t have prayed for better! Tossing your daily mail on the counter top you notice his keys lying on top of the coffee pot. Strangely you did not see his car outside but you dismiss that seeing as how you have had a good but extremely tiresome day. Maybe he is taking a nap you think to yourself. Quietly moving about the house you begin to make your way upstairs to the master bedroom to join him. That is when you see his work shirt hanging off the banister. Since he is usually very tidy you took the high road and decided not to make a big fuss. As you continue to journey up the stairs you notice two pairs of jeans sprawled about on the steps. Looking around in your immediate AO you have become aware of the two pairs of sneakers by the door and the belt that you should’ve tripped over but instinctively marched past. What the hell is going on? You ask yourself weakly attempting to keep your cool. Your heart is pounding so hard through you chest you can hear the ringing echo of its thumping in your ears. Standing in front of your master bedroom door…all time seems to have come to a stop. Sweat pours from your palms as you try to keep your knees from buckling. Your mouth has become exceedingly dry and all you can think of is… If this man is in here with some scandalous trick… in my bed…?!
Finally the time has come. You can’t procrastinate any longer. It is now or never…you close your eyes…take a breath… and the next image that you see is worse than what you could have ever imagined…
Your man giving it doggy style… in your bed…to another man!
Aside from the struggle to catch your breath, you are trying to run out the house, and find a way to get away with murder at the same time. The whole while your mind is racing with thoughts; Why me? How long has this been going on? I’m going to kill him! I never want to see him again! Has he always been this way? How could I have missed the signs…?
When dating a “Down Low” man there are always signs. Usually most women tend to dismiss them and overlook them rather than confront them in fear of being incorrect and/or losing a potential lifelong mate. Sometimes the signs are so minuscule they are easily overlooked.
J.L. King, author of “On the Down Low: A Journey into the Lives of Straight Black Men Who Sleep with Men” and a former “Down Low” man himself, breaks the mold by coming out and explaining to all women in his book why and how this epidemic got started:
“Many bisexual men choose not to reveal their sexual orientation because they dread the negative fallout that such a disclosure would likely cause. Homophobia is real. We all witness the harsh words and ridicule to which the gay/lesbian community is subjected. Also, there’s tremendous normative pressure to keep closeted about any behavior that exists outside of the prevailing social and religious norms. Being judged and ostracized isn’t something most folks would sign up for, especially not a DL man whose sense of self is intricately linked to his ability to express masculinity and fulfill the traditional gender expectation assigned to men. There are men from all walks of life who are living double lives and demonstrating little or no control over their sexual desires and actions. Many men living on the DL express no reluctance about their behavior and have little insight into the impact of their destructive behavior” King states.
According to bnet.com, “A CDC study in 2000 of 8,780 men found that the percentage of HIV-positive men who have sex with other men, but identified themselves as heterosexual was 25 percent Black, 15 percent Latino and 6 percent White.”
It is almost impossible to truly ever tell if a man is down low upon sight. In most cases, down low men are revealed after months and even years of dating. There are some whom may never get caught but that does not mean that women cannot attempt to stay alert and continue to battle down low men.
Here are some signs that women can look out for when dating a man on the down low:
1. He spends excessive amounts of time with his male friends. Male bonding is excellent but when a man spends more time around his boys than his woman, it could be a potential red flag.
2. He is extremely homophobic. It is ok to disagree and even dislike someone else’s lifestyle but when a man is extremely defensive to the point where he cannot stand even the thought of being around gay men, that could be a potential sign.
3. His sexual appetite has tremendously decreased. That could be a sign of his desire to sleep with other men.
4. He has spent large amounts of time in jail, prison, etc. These types of environments are where men are exposed to the “Down Low” lifestyle and because of its commonality in those places it allows them to become much more comfortable and enable them to accept that as something that is ok.
5. He has overly feminine gestures.
6. He has multiple email accounts and phones. This secrecy could mean that he has something to hide.
7. He is really into anal sex. Whether he wants to give it or he wants to receive it, this could very well mean that he is possibly on the DL.
Now that some of the many signs have been revealed here are some ways you can protect yourself:
1. Always, always, always practice safe sex! If you are not comfortable doing something sexual with some you suspect may be on the DL then…DO NOT DO IT! If your partner at the time gets upset and doesn’t want to be protected…LET THEM GO! Obviously they do not care about you enough to respect your body and your wishes.
2. Do not be afraid to question. If it doesn’t look right, smell right, or taste right…it might not be right
3. Trust your instincts. Ladies how many times can you count throughout your life where your instincts were telling you something and you refused to listen only to later on wish you would have? Do not doubt yourself. If it is a situation you have to force yourself to be comfortable with…then it may not be one that you need to be involved in.
For women who have found out that there man is DL J.L. King Advice is this:
“If he has come to her, shared his painful secret, expressed both a willingness to eliminate the behavior and a strong desire to heal their relationship, I would ask her to be open to that; especially if the other aspects of the relationship are solid. Many DL men want to stop the behavior and would agree to seek counseling if they didn’t dread the backlash. It is important that men who come forward be able to maintain their dignity, pride, and manhood. On the other hand, if she finds out about his DL behavior and then he is less than forthright or refuses to discuss it at all, she should end the sexual relationship because he’s still in denial about his sexuality”.
As women we have to protect ourselves from this increasing epidemic. With that shared Clutchettes my advice would be this: Be patient, be attentive, and be careful. Stay safe and happy dating.