“We broke up.”

I love it when my little cousin Mina calls. I grab some wine, pop some popcorn and settle in for off the wall conversations.

“Would you trust your man hanging out with a gay bestie?” She asked.

“Yea,” I replied. “Anyone can be friends with whoever they want to.”

I had to stop and think. I live in Atlanta so I am no stranger to gay men and how some of them think. Some of my gay friends have interesting stories about turning out straight men, especially married men. It’s like a badge of honor for them. Men, gay or straight, love a challenge so I could understand why she was concerned. Some people have a propensity to cheat, gay or not.

“From what I hear from some of my gay friends, some gay men can’t be friends with some straight men for the same reason some women can’t be friends with some men, eventually there is an opportunity to dip in the pool of lust and-“

Before I could finish my statement, she blurted “Exactly!”

“What happened?” I asked.

“I’ve been dating this guy” she said “and I asked him if he ever had a gay experience. I asked because I have never met a straight man with a gay BFF. All of a sudden, bae went from southern gentleman to the incredible hulk and I couldn’t understand why.”

“What did he say?” I asked.

“He said he felt disrespected by the question. He was angry. He belittled me and our relationship” She said. “He said that he wasn’t gay then told me he needed to reconsider our “little situation”. I think he broke up with me. I wasn’t with the drama so I went home.”

“If he wasn’t gay, he could have just said ‘no’. Sounds like you hit a sore spot.” I said. “You should be able to ask your boyfriend anything without so much vitriol. You guys have been together 3 months, how many times have you and his gay bestie hung out?”

“Once” she said.

“When was the last time they hung out alone?” I asked.

“The day after we broke up” she said.

“I can’t tell you if your boyfriend is gay. If something doesn’t feel right to you” I said “then something is probably wrong. I am concerned that he would explode the way he did. Better you see how he handles you now than two years from now after you are really invested in the relationship. It is one thing for him to feel offended by a question but it is another thing for him to disrespect you. Run while the relationship is still fresh. At this point, I would be more concerned about his temper than I would be about his sexual orientation. Has he called you back?”

“Yea, it is like nothing ever happened. He told me he was thinking about me and asked me if I could come over.” Mina said confused.

“Well, what did you do?” I asked, hoping she had enough sense to kick him to the curb because clearly he just wanted to fuck.

“I reminded him how he disrespected me. All he could respond with was how he felt disrespected by my question. I never apologized but somehow I think he’s okay now because he asked me if we could chill. There was no way I was going back over there, not after the way he spoke to me, his sorry apology and his anger towards a question I felt like I had a right to know the answer to. I’m done” she said. “Besides, I met this attorney from Dolce and Gabbana at this event I went to yesterday. I have zero problems moving on.”

I love my little cousin and her ability to let go. She did at three months what too many women are scared to do after years of dating because they are scared to be alone.

She asked a great question. With Atlanta having one of the highest HIV rates and down-low men, surely women should be able to ask such a simple question to the guy they are sleeping with. Sometimes a man’s reaction is more telling than the lies that drip from his mouth. Maybe her bae is gay, maybe he isn’t but his reluctance and anger towards a question that required a simple answer spoke volumes to not only how he treats women but his own frail male ego, and that’s problematic.

There are lots of men who have friendships from places like college, frats, and church. If someone comes out, I applaud the continuance of that friendship because respect and acceptance are beautiful things. With the prevalence of down low men and HIV in Atlanta and the culture of “turning out” straight men, it is hard to take issue with asking these questions, yet too many men feel offended, as though they are exempt from such a faceless epidemic. Should women risk it so they don’t offend their partners?

%d bloggers like this: