When I heard the radio news, I didn’t believe it; and then, after I’d read the front-page story, I said to myself, “See… .” I’m talking about the recent media articles that caused women – single and coupled – to quake in their booties, implying, as they did, that bisexuality in men is on the rise (no pun intended).
A careful perusal of the newspaper article will show that it is 25 per cent of the men already having sex with men who label themselves as bisexual and not a quarter of the overall male population admitting to playing for both sides.
While some were going “Whew!” with relief, I was going, “Chups,” because I think I know my Caribbean men well enough to declare that the majority of them are still very homophobic and that even those who dabble are way too macho ever to admit it, even in an Internet survey. Look at the big deal the local fellers make of a mere prostate screening: The Lions have to take out a big centre-spread advertisement in the paper and the doctors have to be profiled on radio, as if to say, “Come, nuh. You’re safe with us. All we’re checking for is cancer; not to determine whether you’re ‘funny.’”
However, this bisexual thing is no laughing matter for us, women. For, many of us think that because we are in a committed relationship we are safe, when we’re not. However, I know sisters who are long married but who insist upon their husbands’ always using condoms, because they know, or suspect, they have outside women. Which woman, though, will admit, even to herself, that her man has an outside man? And is there ever an inside man?
One of the things I’ve often thought – but not talked about – is a tendency I’ve noticed among some of our local fellers to “cluster.” You would’ve seen them, five, six, men, together at every social function, with every single one claiming to be heterosexual. In fact, you might even know each or, at least some, of them to be connected to a particular woman; but do you ever see him out with her? Never! I’ve speculated about this because these fellers rarely belong to one woman; and, because they’ve committed themselves – physically, emotionally, financially, whatever – to three or four sisters, they don’t dare take the chance of publicly “owning” any.
But is that all there is to it, really? Don’t get me wrong: I know many women who hang out together, too; in fact, I rarely go out without my circle of sisters or sister-friends. But women, by and large, even when they’re out together for practical reasons – like car-pooling or safety – are looking at, or for, men.
Many sisters will tell you, up front, that if they had their way, they’d actually prefer to be out with a feller. But circumstances being what they are, they’d rather be out with their girlfriends than stay in just because they don’t have a man.
I suspect these man-clusters of being more than a little girl-shy, quite frankly; I think something is wrong with them. I cannot credit that a man in his right mind, with a woman who is not deformed or drooling, and who can carry on an intelligent conversation, understand the plot of a movie, eat with a fork (if not knife and fork), and keep a rhythm on a dance floor, would choose, would prefer, to go out with a bunch of men. Subbm wrong; sorry!
As a woman, I know that we’re not always easy to be around and that sometimes we even drive men away from us – literally. I know, too, that sometimes, depending on the occasion, it’s better to hang with your sister-circle. But all the time? Not likely. If for nothing else but show, a woman will swallow her anger, her disgust, her disappointment and step out, even once in a while, with her man – with a man. I mean, you can hardly find a sister who wants to attend a wedding, an anniversary celebration, an awards function with a girlfriend or two. What is it about these men, then, that compels them to sideline one of us for a hairy-faced, sweaty-armed, big-footed double of themselves?
I once heard a feller say he was planning on going to a function with a man-friend because, if he told his girlfriend about it, she would expect him to buy her an outfit and pay to have her hair and nails done. So could it be a simple matter of cheapness? Somehow, I can’t credit that, because I know too many women who could not only buy their own tickets and outfits, but their dates, too. Or is it because going stag (or, in this case, “joint-stag”) will allow a feller to pick up more chicks, to be the recipient of more numbers and BB pins? But then, again, for what? Because, as a woman can plainly see, or already knows, this is not a feller who’s interested in going anywhere with her – except, maybe, to bed.
Deep down, I believe, these men in clusters are actually afraid of women. They are afraid of being taken over, of being owned; but, most of all, they are afraid of being vulnerable. You know that Paul Simon song, Slip-sliding Away? Well, it speaks to a man who admits to his woman: “Delores, I live in fear; my love for you is so overpowering I’m afraid that I’ll disappear.”
And that is something not likely to happen with their pardners, for men are not given to being vulnerable with other men. They are not likely to show softness or affection – beyond bumping fists or, if they’re in a fraternity, some other highly stylized form of physical, yet still distant, bonding. Men do not require of other men – like women require of them – proofs of their love and devotion, of their faithfulness. A man’s ugliness – or dress sense, or table manners, or mother’s hostility – doesn’t matter to another man…
The funny thing – the really funny thing – about all this is that I have often heard women say of the men who really do love other men: “Oh, gay men make the best friends.” Hmmm. I wonder if that’s what the fellers in the survey are finding out, too.