Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Beware of SCB's!

Many gay men will at some point in their lives have an encounter, experience or relationship of some kind with an SCB.

SCB stands for Straight/Conflicted/Bisexual. An SCB is a man who flits around the gay community and gay men for one reason or another but does not identify as gay. He may be straight (or simply say/think he is), conflicted (not certain what he is, which usually means he's gay but can't quite get past the shame/stigma of it even though he may know many happily Out and Proud gay men) or genuinely or technically bisexual, which especially in the latter case means he may date/sleep with both men and women but even if he has a decided preference for men will never admit it -- not even to himself. [This is in contrast to those openly bi-identified men who admit they prefer men and/or have strong sympathetic ties to the gay community. Okay, I'm being a little PC here. Sue me!]

Some SCBs are hustlers, go go boys, bartenders in gay bars, models, work in the porn industry etc. As I say, they flit around getting what they can get, but they have no gay pride whatsoever -- which is my problem with them. They want the advantage of being gay -- or should I say they want to take advantage of gay men -- but as macho as they may think they are they completely lack the courage to deal with any possible disadvantages of being out of the closet.

Frankly, I think these guys -- while they can at times be charming and attractive -- are asses and bores. They act like it's 1950 instead of the 21st century, like we haven't had forty years (and more) of Gay Lib. Their attitudes are strictly pre-Stonewall.

Some of them can, however, bring out feelings of lust, romantic yearning, affection, and even love in gay men their own age and (especially?) older.

I remember an older acquaintance, "Joe," who lived in Boston and had a lover we'll call Frank. Joe was older than Frank but the age gap was not that wide. The two lived together, travelled together, the two seemed in every way a couple. Frank and I would dance together in Boston's gay bars (Joe did not enjoy dancing).

On one trip to Boston I ran into Joe who told me that Frank had married a woman. He said he knew he liked women and was perfectly okay with it. How could anybody be okay with having the man they were in love with go off with someone else? I never did get all the facts. Was Frank bisexual, and did he prefer this woman (or perhaps more to the point, a straight life) to living with Joe? Had he only been using Joe (I mean, who was paying for their vacations together?) While I seriously doubt if Frank was totally straight, perhaps he -- and even Joe -- thought of himself as a heterosexual. Was Joe so in love, so lonely, that he'd take up with a "straight" guy, knowing all the while that he'd inevitably walk out on him? Was Joe invited to the wedding? Did he stand there pretending to be happy for the man he loved while his heart was breaking? Did he make any attempt to make Frank see that his marriage could merely have been an act of internalized homophobia? (Joe was not exactly an activist type, however.) We lost touch and I never got the answers to these questions, or learned how he ultimately dealt with losing his companion. I don't even know if he's alive.

I think some gay men just fall for these SCBs and desperately hope that they're not only gay but will eventually feel the same way about them. Or at the very least that the SCB will make the smitten one part of their lives. Maybe they hope that they'll be able to turn them into loving friends or son substitutes -- they're just so infatuated that they desperately need to be part of their lives in some capacity. (And of course there are some self-hating homosexuals who feel they can only love a "straight" man -- talk about pre-Stonewall attitudes!)

Another friend of mine fell in love with a younger, straight co-worker. He denied he felt this way -- for some reason the gay men who fall for SCBs never want to admit it (more on that later) -- but (as is always the case) he talked and talked about the SCB practically to the exclusion of all else, which is a dead giveaway, trust me on this. The two became fast friends, a friendship which has survived the straight guy's two or three marriages. My friend has sort of been adopted by the family, and is godfather to some of the younger man's children. For his sake I hope that by this time he thinks of the SCB as a good, loving friend and nothing more. But this friend has always had strong guilt feelings over his homosexuality, and a sexless relationship with a straight man is, to him, sadly, preferable to a romantic and sexual relationship with another gay man. [This is of course similar to the situation with married homosexuals.]

Since I have no guilt feelings over being gay, it was a surprise to me when I (briefly) became infatuated myself with one of these SCBs. This was a complete surprise to me and I was not in any way thrilled with the development. After a couple of months of intense, foolish feelings, something clicked in my brain and common sense prevailed. I made no passes, asked for no dates, and certainly spent no money (he was not a hustler in any case). Now a bar friend of mine has become "best buddies" with the very same guy, goes out to dinner with him, exchanges text messages, and so forth and so on. He vehemently denies that he is in love with him, but talks and talks and talks about him incessantly....

Oy vey. When I look at him and see the goofy love light in his eyes, I can only shake my head ruefully and think "better him than me." Who on earth knows where this will lead but I know it probably won't be anywhere good -- or at least very sexy.

I dodged a bullet and don't I know it!

We gay men do not need SCBs. There are plenty of Great Gay Guys out there, out and proud men who will never give us half the grief and bullshit of the SCBs. Sure, gay men aren't perfect, not every relationship works and some gay guys wind up married to Out and Proud stinkers, but at least you don't have to spend half your time wondering "Is he or isn't he?" or "Is he really 'bi' or just ashamed ?" and all the rest of the crap.

SCBs haunt the gay community like prick-teasing incubi. Hopefully some of them will finally grow up and turn into Out and Proud Gay Men -- and the rest will just go away!


Piggy and Tazzy said...

First time here - found a link to you via blogdirectory.


I couldn't agree with you more - I've never heard of it referred to as an 'SCB', but it's very apt. It's a similar thing over here in the UK where they seem to be multiplying faster than we can spot them!

Anyway, great post and good blog. We'll definitely return.

Bill Samuels said...

Thanks for the kind words! I liked your blog, too.

In New York we have the term MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) because so many men who have sex with men don't identify as gay. It's a ridiculous, rather sad, situation.

But then we also have bartenders in gay bars who are in the closet and it doesn't get much more ridiculous than that!

Best to you guys, Bill

Tazzy and Piggy said...

Thank you.

And thank you for the comment at our place too!

Piggy and Tazzy said...

Oh damn. Signed the comment with the wrong ID.

Trying again!

Anonymous said...

Very good essay, Dr. Bill.

Bill Samuels said...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

So bis are really gays who refuse to admit it? You seem to have a real problem understanding that there is more to sexuality than gay/straight.

Bill Samuels said...

No, you have a problem with actually reading something before reacting to it.

Re-read my second paragraph where I talk about those GENUINE bisexuals who have strong ties to the gay community -- they are very different from conflicted, often homophobic "SCBs."

I have never said anywhere that I don't think bisexuals exist, just that I don't think everyone who says they're bi [or straight] actually is.

If that's a problem for you, too bad!