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LIVING LIFE ON THE DL…REALLY? STILL?

By Jewel Carter
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(Photo MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

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Not that long ago, I was listening to a show on-line and the host was talking to women who recently found out that their men were on the down low. I don’t want to assume that everyone knows the term “on the DL”. It’s been out (no pun intended), for some time. The term’s used to describe married men or me who have girlfriends but are secretly sleeping with other men. All though same-sex marriages are legal in several states now, some brothers will continue to choose to remain on the down low.

Why is that?

Some think it could be a cultural thing. For many races other than African American’s, friends and families even communities have embraced or at least accepted the gay lifestyle. Black men on the other hard, are still having a very difficult time within our communities. At least that’s what J.L. King, author of “On the Down Low: A Journey into the Lives of “Straight” Black Men Who Sleep with Men”, seems to believe.

The author talks about his own experience with leading a double life. He says, “His marriage was NOT a lie because he loves his wife and she was his best friend. However, he did lie about his desires to have sex with other men”. Well, I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a big damn lie! He says that he didn’t tell her because he was scared. The truth is that he had a very good reason to be.

That’s what “WE” should be scared of!  The caller said that she and her “man” of four years were living together and “all happy and stuff” when she found pictures of him and another guy kissing and in various non-heterosexual situations. She confronted him; he admitted it to her and moved out. She is now six-months pregnant with his child and he’s still in the closet with his friends and family.

Talk about timing. Well, the good news is that he only gave her a baby. It could have been so much worse. The tragic thing is that he’s still living a lie. I’m certain it has more to do with how others will perceive him and his lifestyle. My fear is not that he will have to live this lie all his life, because the truth is that it is his choice. My fear is that like so many other brothers choosing to live their lives on the DL, he will continue to have other relationships with women and not tell them that he also likes to have sex with other men while continuing to have unprotected sex with both men and women.

It’s difficult trying to be something or someone that you are not. When we make a choice and decided that keeping our “secret”, is more important than the safety and well-being of others… there lies the bigger problem. Some say that it’s about being labeled. Men don’t want to be labeled “gay or bi-sexual”. How about the label “irresponsible”…does that work better?

Personally, I really don’t care who you love as long as the two of you are consenting adults. What you do is between the two of you. It doesn’t matter to me if you are called gay, bi-sexual, homosexual, heterosexual with bi-weekend tendencies. I don’t think that it makes you less of a man. What makes you less of a man is NOT MANing up and telling the women that you lay down with that you could be endangering their lives. I would say the same thing to men that were sleeping with more than one woman. Whom you sleep with doesn’t make you a man or not a man. What makes you less of a man is when you single-handedly make a choice that you will have it both ways and that somehow you deserve that right, because that’s what you want or because “society just doesn’t understand”. BULL@#*T.

Believe it or not, there are some women that will still continue to love you. Maybe enough to stay with you and keep your secret…but LISTEN to this… it’s important…THEY WILL BE ABLE TO PROTECT THEMSELVES if and when they choose to have sex with you! I beg every man who is out there right now to come clean. Even if you have to lie and tell your unsuspecting partner that, there is “another woman”. Please use a condom. If you are best friends with your mate, they will at least listen to you. There will be hurt and pain but I’m pretty sure that there is a great dose of that already.

Jewel’s Soul Therapy: YOU truly deserve to live the life that is best for you…not everybody or anybody else. Do you baby, just don’t play with the lives of others.

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