talk to me

In ALL, DATING & MATING by Stephanie Klein50 Comments

My friend Beth is dating an “I don’t know if” guy.  I don’t know if…he’s gay.  Here are the facts about her "tough call" guy, as she has relayed them to me over spinach artichoke dip at Houston’s:

Walking through Chelsea, he says things like, “All eyes are on me here honey.  But, I’m holding your hand, so they know I’m fcuking you.” 

He stayed at the Versace mansion, sharing a bed with two gay men, claiming he’s secure in his masculinity and, “they’re just friends” a la Biz Markie. 

Post coitus, he needs reassurance about his performance.  “How hot was that scene honey?  Did I fcuk you or what?”

Beth confides after taking a long sip of her Shiraz, “He doesn’t even like a blowjob.”  She says ‘a blowjob‘ as if she’s an Irish grandmother speaking about “an Italian” or “a gay” who just moved in next door.  He doesn’t even like a blowjob, as if it only comes in packages of one.   
“Wait.  He doesn’t like it, ever?” 
“No.  I had my period and said to him, you know honey, there are other ways to get off.  But he said, nah—I don’t like bjs.” 
“Did he say bjs, as in pjs, or did he say blowjobs?”
“You know Steph, I really don’t know, but when I told my openly gay friend Nelson about all this, he said a lot of gay guys don’t like blowjobs that much because they prefer to RAM.”  She then snacks on some nachos before continuing, “Steph, here’s the worst part. He’s from the Midwest. His father is a firefighter.  The boy comes from no culture.”  I feel myself raise an eyebrow.  “Well, you know what I mean.  He’s very Wonder Bread. And now he’s double cheek kissing his male friends and saying, ‘mwah’ aloud.  He’s 25, a scorpio, middle child, played football in New Mexico, but post games, instead of attending fraternity parties, he chose to ‘dance his ass off’ at gay clubs.”
“Why not at straight clubs?”
“Supposedly because that’s where his friends went.”  She’s clearly made up her mind; I’m not sure why she’s asking my opinion. 

When Beth confronts her boyfriend (who keeps more and more of his belongings at her apartment) about his sexuality now, he says it’s an industry thing. The industry is the hotel/club business.  I thought that was more about Russian girls and ‘would you like to join me in the VIP room, say, on my lap?’ 

“He says it gets him more business if he embraces homosexuality into his life.  He keeps saying that he can flirt with these guys because he’s very comfortable with his sexuality.”
“Did you happen to ask him what that sexuality is?”  Next, I fear she’ll say this boyfriend of hers said he sleeps with men but doesn’t enjoy it.
“He always seems to be performing and selling his masculinity as some kind of proof.  See,” Beth says in a deep voice designed to mock him, “I can kiss and grab like a man.”  Then she drinks more of her wine and decides to ask the handsome man beside her for some input. 
“Exucuse me,” she says, touching him lightly on his forearm, “Is a man gay if he doesn’t like to eat pussy?”  Oh dear God.  I wave to the waiter for the check.  Before the stranger has a chance to answer, she asks, “Well, what I mean is, do you like to go down on women?”  As if this is a better alternative.
He responds, quite warmly actually. “Well, if a guy doesn’t, it can be a byproduct of a bad past and doesn’t necessarily mean he’s gay.  My first was horrible, but then I grew up.  Now, I’m 34 and more confidant.”
“Yeah, but what about a 25-year-old who won’t make out?”
“Yeah,” he says, “lot’s of guys see kissing as a distraction because all they want is sex.” 

I begin to wonder about the last time I really made out with a guy.  Men are visual creatures who respond to physical stimuli.  Want to turn a man on?  Grab your breasts with one hand and his dick with another.  Bonus points if you call it a cock and tell him how much you want it to be yours for the night.  But women are more cerebral.  Yes, we want the “I love you”s and “God, you’re beautiful,” but we also want him to boss us around a bit.  When I say “we,” I mean me, but I’ll still say we, just incase. We’re too busy being professional and assertive in our everyday lives, trying to prove ourselves in the world as women.  The bedroom is the one place where we don’t want to have to be in control.  We want to be told what to do, to be with someone who for at least some of the time is selfish.  I want role-playing.  “I’m your babysitter, and you’re going to be a good little girl and do what I say.  No, that’s too fast.  Like this.  Let me show you, so you’ll be good for all those other boys in your class when you’re older.  That’s it.  Now don’t tell your parents about this.”  Okay, I don’t mind taking my turn at being the older babysitter, either, mind you.  The point isn’t so much domination as it is cerebral, verbal play.  A woman becomes more quickly aroused with words than touch.  That’s the point.

While every woman is different, I think the majority of us respond to verbal over physical communication.  You can’t assume what one woman likes until she shows you.  And opening yourself up to a sharing session doesn’t make you gay.  But finishing with "Did I fcuk you or what?" just might.


  1. Hey,
    I haven't been reading your blog that long, but more lately b/c I'm writing my dissertation and reading your writing is great for procrastinating (especially since it's so different from my own writing about technology policy). Just wanted to tell you that today's entry on the closeted boyfriend came across as very genuine in its tone, a very palpable, yet relaxed voice. Very much like a realist novel a la Hemingway, Updike, or a female Vietnamese writer, Duong Thu Huong.
    Happy Writing,

  2. Nice blog!

    hmmm.. definitely… gay, if not certainly bi. But then again, it is just a matter of terminology. MSM (man who have sex with man) can also be having fun time with the right woman.


  3. He is gay with a capital G – – I went on a date with a guy who, over Ethiopian food and two bottles of wine, called himself a "dirty little slut" in college, said "like" more than a thirteen year old, and when we were getting up to leave, said that my sparkly purse was "really pretty." He also told me that he lost his virginity to his babysitter when he was thirteen and that he has "slept with SO many of my female bosses, it's, like, NOT even funny." Tell your friend to chalk this dude up as a fun friend and find herself a (temporary) frat guy, ranch hand, or something equally masculine until this one blows over.

  4. Hmmm. The guy sounds a little "off". But, hey, I'd be ok with sleeping in a bed at Versace with two women and be ok with that, just to say I slept there! And what's up with the Midwestern bit? Wonder Bread? Yuk, where did that come from? Whoa darlin', wholesome men are abound here. And I'm married to an Italian very manly man, and we always kiss people and say "mwah".

  5. Stephanie,

    I had a girlfriend ask ME that ten years ago, just after my marriage ended. Delightfully comfortable question, let me tell you, that post-coital query, "So, I'm a little unclear: are you sure you're not gay?"

    No, I'm not, but I had suppressed memories of being raped by my cousin at 13, and that was the driving force behind my desire to prove myself.


  6. It's a funny thing. I live in Manhattan and have for years. I'm in my twenties and I do PR for a very successful museum. I have plenty of male *friends* who are gay, but have yet to encounter the Tough Calls. I can usually call 'em pretty well: lying, cheating, too in love too soon, nice but no umph, etc etc. I do, however, have a questions about men wearing rings. Check me out and tell me what you think about Lords of The Ring. A strange thing? A hard-to-read thing? A menacing thing? Perhaps, even, just the right thing?

  7. Sometimes you don't have to say anything, just let it flow. The guy, however, seems to think he's performing in the spotlight and trying to prove his manlihood or something. He scares me.

  8. If he’s not gay, he’s definitely a bit confused sexually and probably mentally – an identity issue of the natural attraction kind. Being comfortable with your sexuality is not proven by dancing at gay clubs or flirting with gay men. I know very few straight men that are “comfortable” in that type of situation. A straight man having gay friends is not uncommon or unheard-of, but feeling like one must constantly remind a female partner that they are comfortable with their sexuality is questionable.

    And no breeder says “BJ”.

    Personally, I’ve never asked a woman if I f’d her well. That may get you a Porn Oscar and a free trip to Vegas, but it doesn’t usually get you much respect. Besides, all straight men think they are good in bed. Even if they had doubts, they certainly will not put themselves in a position where the answer could possibly be “did you start?”.

    A woman becoming more quickly aroused by words than touch is an interesting comment. I’m curious how many women feel the same way and will be asking other Manhattan women, but am curious if your love of writing doesn’t put you over the top.

    “I find libraries very erotic.” – Alex (Threesome 1994)

    I’m good with words or physicality – just looking for the combination.

    Your suggestion about how to turn a man on is on the money with the exception of calling for cock – see above. But it must be said that a woman doesn’t need to go that far to turn a man on. Just say, “Make love to me” and give it a fifth of a second.

    Lastly, tell your friend, “If you have to ask…”. New men arrive to this city everyday that are willing and able. Cunnilingus lives.

    See you around.

  9. Food: Spin dip at Houston's is awesome as are the ribs and shoestring fries.
    Sex: Agreed. Why must everything be so formal? I wish we'd all just let our collective guards down and act out our fantasies, wants, and desires. You'd be surprised just how much better it can really be.

  10. Ummm, if he doesn't like getting blown, then how does that make any difference whether he's gay or not. Gay guys like blow jobs as much as straight guys. This guy just has confidence issues. I think if he's fucking your friend, then he's at the most, bi.

  11. Sorry, but he sounds as if he's nearly gay but still dates woman because it's what he knows based on his background and also because it provides good cover as he's not ready to go 'all the way gay'. I truly hope your friend is having safe sex.

  12. Gay? YES!

    Verbal over physical? Yes, yes, YES!

    The mere idea of the touch, the moment just before the meeting of the lips, the anticipation and all that other head stuff – hot. (And by head, I do mean mind.)

  13. His heterosexuality or lack thereof is beside the point. Any guy, straight, gay or something in between who says the shite this loser says is one for the remainder bin.

  14. how can anyone read this? you are so immature, insecure and self hating…Clearly you know NOTHING about sex. Please grow a brain and learn to spell. Your book may actually sell a few copies.

  15. definitely gay. no straight guys have ever called me "honey" for starters. and all my gay friends? they don't have ANY straight friends, unless they already know them through work or something. so gay people here, at least, tend to hang out on a segregated basis. and all my straight friends are afraid of them. (i know, it's retarded, but that's how they are).

  16. Puhlease! I don't care if he's gay or not. He has even bigger issues such as insecurity, inability to be genuine, and self-absorption. My advice to your friend is to RUN AWAY!!!

  17. I think you're right, words are sexier-or maybe it's with-holding touch a little that turns us on… about gay guy… I bet he's gay. But was is he doing with Beth?!

  18. Never ask a gay man if he thinks your man is gay. He will almost ALWAYS say yes. As for Beth, does it really matter if he's gay? What matters here is how she wants to translate this relationship. If she's having a fling with a hot-sexy-young-guy, then she really doesn't care if he's gay, she just wants to have some fun, move on and maybe have a fun story to tell her friends later. If she is looking for something more serious then she should always pay attention to her gut feeling/red flags. If Beth is uncomfortable for any reason she shouldn't waste time asking other's opinions, she should get out now. Generally writing, foundational characteristics of people don't change (i.e. sexuality) This is about Beth and red flags. Never ignore a red flag. It doesn't matter if he's gay, she is uncomfortable with his sexuality now and she probably always will be. In the words of Liz Phair, perhaps it's time to *fuck and run*

  19. I completely agree on verbal stimuli being better than physical.

    And there's a difference between embracing homosexuality because of work and just flat out being gay. This guy is gay and if he's not, he's definately on the fence.

  20. Your "friend" Beth deserves to be with this guy, what with comments like "here's the worst part, he from the MIDWEST!" Tell Beth to get her head out of her ass. It's that kind of arrogance that makes me soooo glad I don't live in NYC anymore, where I once had a professor tell me that it was so "exotic" that I was from Colorado. Puh-lease! The world does not begin and end in NYC, honey. Thank God I left Manhattan and no longer have to put up with obnoxious New Yorkers!!! They practically sell narcissism at every corner bodega.

  21. I like Lynn's post and Tammy's .. but there's something deeper here for Beth's boyfriend to explore.

    Putting on the therapist hat here on a couple of points.

    Re: BJ Issues – Most likely was molested in this manner as a teen / child, etc. and therefore has painful memories about that.

    Re: hanging out with gay guys – abused persons tend to be attracted to the abusers later in life. So he's seeking out the kind of attention that was wrongly put on him as a teen / child.

    Insecure about his own prowess – again, he's a people pleaser. He wants to know he pleased Beth. Part of possible post sexual abuse issues.

    Surprised no one brought this up. My spouse is a survivor, and it really fcuk's up your sex life in adult years.

  22. what i want to know, is why does your friend care? with all those qualities, why is she bothering to consider him as her boyfriend anyway? i know sometimes people get attached, but c'mon. send him on his way – whether he admits to it or not – having that many things bother you about a person should point you in one direction – break up already.

  23. as a long time reader.. and a long time ny'er and a straight male.. i too don't dig on gettin'a blowjob.. maybe it stems from not getting enough good ones for it to matter to me.. also, i dont equate a blowjob with "love making" to me its 2 different sex acts.. i love goin' down on my woman and love her taste from her lips to her toes…and i do like to RAM.. call me a guy.. what can i say ? maybe beth's pal is gay, maybe he's bi.. but i think i could drink him under the table come super bowl time..

  24. Agree with Aimee-Marie, gay for sure or maybe bi…. gay and just enjoys keeping himself inside the closet.
    About guys and bed… yes…my fantasies are always bad boys… like that movie Carlito's way.. (not the Al Pacino version)..being w/ a bad boy just becomes so arousing.

  25. I dated a gay guy for…hmm, about 2.5 years. And can say that if you're wondering, "is he gay?" – there's something amiss. Break up. Now.

  26. I have to agree with "e"…yet I'm too polite to put it exactly that way.

    My guess is if isn't a self proclaimed gay man now….he will be in a few years time.

  27. Even if he was straight, why in god's name would a girl want to go out with him? I have seen this issue in a lot of guys from white bread midwestern backgrounds. That doesn't mean that if you are from the midwest you are necessarily white bread but the midwest is also not a cultural mecca.

  28. the issue is not really this guy's sexual orientation…some readers come close to identifying it but no one hits it on the head:
    your friend Beth has some self-esteem problems to find this guy attractive. he is a closeted bisexual/gay who is lying to her but holding on tight to feeling masculine by continuing to try and "prove" to himself that he's not gay…
    since she is not even getting the increased sensitivity or cultural and fine arts appreciation that typically accompanies many gays, what the hell is she holding onto?
    He main concern should not be whether he's gay but what is it about HER that chooses this kind of guy and ends up calling him "boyfriend"?
    She needs some help of her own to understand how she could hold onto this guy for so long…and her (drunken?) behavior of asking a stranger whether he likes getting a blow job is immature and further evidence of her having no idea what matters in trying evaluate whether he is right for her. amen.

  29. gee…. ok the guy is gay for sure… not for the kisses with the ‘mwah’… i live in italy and everyone does that! i would be more worried about the BJs…. in my experience I met only one man who did not like blowjobs and he is gay! tell your friend to let him be and find a real man! :)

    Ciao ciao from rome….

    ps… bad boys in bed are always better!! ;)

  30. What's RAM (in caps?) as in thrust or is it an abbreviation? What do I know. I'm from Africa. And yes the verbal over the physical, oh yes.

  31. I read this yesterday afternoon and then proceeded to go on a first [online] date with a tough call guy that evening. Wow. Hey, he loved my bag, fondled the leather. At least he's got good taste.

  32. Interesting how the guy being from the midwest automatically means he comes from 'no culture'…quite a stereotype…

  33. Hmmm…Sometimes men have mannerisms of gay men…so I'm not sure…

    One thing is, being that I have plenty of 'gay male friends' living in the homosexual lifestyle, I find that my male "bi-sexual" friends prefer "bjs" from men only. ""They say"" that women are too delicate with them, and aren't creative enough…

    Just like the saying I always give, "A woman knows what a woman wants…" The same gay men say to others.

    Maybe it's the case of that? IF he is gay… But…maybe he is just super feminine.

    I know straight men who look & act gay, but they're not…it's sometimes their environment.

  34. I know girls try to ignore certain issues in order to proclaim themselves happy in a relationship (I know I have), but I truly think we should all listen to our internal radar a little more clearly.

    Instinct is there for a reason. If deep down you think the man's gay, or even if you're waivering, you probably know it to be true but just don't want to admit it to yourself.

    There are plenty of straight blokes around; I'd go jump on one of those ;)

  35. i fooled around with one of my best friends recently, a guy who calls me "honey" and acts effeminate and sings into my voice mail messages … his sexual preferences have been questionable in the year or so we've been friends. yet there was always this attraction. so when i finally asked him if he'd ever thought about kissing me, his response (without a split second's consideration) was "always." then he proceeded to kiss me. we fooled around. it wasn't incredibly hot, but it was nice. reeeaallly nice. and the thing is, he kissed me like a man – and he "felt" like a man, if you know what i mean.

    well, we talked about it after the fact and he seemed very clear that fooling around was something we needed to get out of the way. but that there was no future (he doesn't want kids, i do) … and that we should remain friends.

    don't mean to use you all as a sounding board, but i'd love some feedback. as much as i wanted him to be straight so that i could forge a relationship, now that i've been somewhat rejected, i am kinda hoping he's gay. it would make me feel better somehow to know that he was rejecting my entire gender rather than just me.

    any thoughts out there? should i be in a chat room somewhere instead?

    steph, i adore your blog. i've got my girlfriends reading you now, too. austin loves you!

  36. cul·ture n.
    The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.
    These patterns, traits, and products considered as the expression of a particular period, class, community, or population: Edwardian culture; Japanese culture; the culture of poverty.
    These patterns, traits, and products considered with respect to a particular category, such as a field, subject, or mode of expression: religious culture in the Middle Ages; musical culture; oral culture.
    The predominating attitudes and behavior that characterize the functioning of a group or organization.
    Intellectual and artistic activity and the works produced by it.
    Development of the intellect through training or education.
    Enlightenment resulting from such training or education.
    A high degree of taste and refinement formed by aesthetic and intellectual training.
    Special training and development: voice culture for singers and actors.
    The cultivation of soil; tillage.
    The breeding of animals or growing of plants, especially to produce improved stock.
    The growing of microorganisms, tissue cells, or other living matter in a specially prepared nutrient medium.
    Such a growth or colony, as of bacteria.

    So, are you saying that Midwesterners are uneducated, lack aesthetic training, or that you don't recognize their traditions as having value? Or are you saying that the coasts are filled with bloodsucking parasites?

  37. Gay, shmay. Who cares. He sounds like a jackass. Why would any woman want to be with a man that would think (let alone say) "All eyes are on me…". He sounds like a complete tool.

    I hope she quickly finds a man that is focused on her and not himself!


  38. Culture? Don't you people read? 1- Her friend Beth said the midwestern comment 2- Stephanie raised her eyebrow to it 3- It seems like a frustrated joke.

  39. bisexuality…it's not a new term there in new york, is it? because it's pretty prevalent in the rest of the U.S. of A. just FYI…bisexual or not, it's all the same. he won't look at men or women if he's in love with beth. sexuality doesn't matter. loyalty does, though. if she doesn't trust him, dump him. this doesn't sound right though, sexual preference or not.

  40. Rabid midwestern pride/defensiveness drives me up the wall. Not that I am a self-hating midwesterner but jesus! Geological generalizations of the US are to be taken with humor or, at the very least, grains of salt. There is a lot of salt in Cleveland, make haste chump.

  41. i've had some guy friends that everyone thought were gay, but they weren't. it's nice to be around these types sometimes. they're so sensitive and great shopping companions. if he is gay, he needs to stop wasting beth's time.

  42. It'd be strange if he's not gay, from the way you're putting it. Sounds like someone is in denial, or something.

    I have a gay friend who flirts with girls all the time and grab their asses, though, no one wonders about his sexuality :-D

  43. Here is the reason he said he doesn't like BJs. . . because Aimee may not good at giving them. A bad BJ (or HJ) is worse than no BJ or HJ, and us guys will say that we dont like them just so that we dont have to go through something that could actually be unpleasant. Besides that, everyone likes BJs if they are good. Everyone.

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