Where does this come from? Internalized homophobia, perceptions of masculinity, or our childhood fantasies of fucking the quarterback? Probably some compendium of all three. Gay and bi men are sensitive to our brothers in the closet because most of us were there at one point.
We remember the fear of getting caught, the curiosity and confusion, the threat of exposure, the furtive glances. What makes you an otter? I heard gay guys have different labels like that. Many straight men will visit a gay bar, but gay-heavy gyms are different. During a recent tattoo appointment, my artist and I were talking about our gyms.
I felt like a piece of meat in the lion cage. Today I would totally wear that T-shirt, and sometimes younger men look at me — in coffee shops, at theme parks, in pharmacies — and then immediately look down.
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They know, and I know. You know the look.
Everyone needs their journey. My father did when I was younger, my best friend from high school has hugged me, but the rest shake hands. Hugging is intimate, something you reserve for sons and fathers, family members and best girlfriends.
When a straight man hugs me, I raise my eyebrows.
Closeted self-loathing is the not-so-secret formula behind the most vehement antigay politicians — so much so that when I meet someone with major beef with us, I pull out my phone to see if I recognize his headless, faceless profile on Grindr.
One of my friends, a self-proclaimed straight man, was fascinated by the fact that I was a fisting bottom. Rather than probe me for more information pun intendedhe turned my nontraditional sex practice into a repeat joke.