Barbershop Duo by Allan Craig

One of the best things about being gay is that you get to have sex with other men. For me, this was a crucial selling point when it came time to come out. It took me roughly thirty seconds to make the decision to come out. Here’s how I got there;

Me: Oh, I’m just not sure I want to come out as gay! Inner Gay Voice: You get to have sex with men.
Me: I’m in.

I should say, for reference, that my Inner Gay Voice is Mariah Carey.

Some men however, make the decision to conceal their true sexuality in favour of what I assume they believe to be a less complex life. These men have relationships with women. Even get married. Some of them even have children. They would rather forgo an uncomfortable conversation and live in a mind numbing hellscape of secrecy and deception. No judgment, but fuck that shit.

Of course, the complexities of men who have sex with other men while presenting as straight are more layered than I would ever assume to know. However, I have found myself literally standing on the precipice of one of those layers and even got lost inside it.

I have been having sex with my barber for a year and half. This man is pants-around-ankles hot and is one of the best fucks I’ve ever had. Period. I have never came as hard than when this dude is fucking me. It is borderline explosive. It is also allegorically explosive because this man is married. To a woman.

The date was November 20th 2016. I will never forget that. I’m lying, I had to scroll my texts to find out. I knew I’d sent my friend a message telling her I had just been nailed by the barber. I had been going to this guy for about a year. On my previous visits I felt there was a definite flirtation. I honestly thought nothing of it mainly because it’s not uncommon for a straight man to flirt with a gay man. Some men love approval from gay men. It means that they are in some way more attractive to women if the gays are on board with whatever they have going on. However, based on my experience, a gay man will mainly be motivated by boredom to give a straight man the time of day in that respect as there is possibly no other legit trade in their viewing range. The barber always seemed interested in what I was up to, where I shopped for clothes, where I hung out, what I did for fun. During previous visits, I was passive at best. I answered his questions, but I didn’t give much away. The inactivity of having ones hair cut, for me, is extended to speaking with the person cutting your hair. Relentless and vague questioning is excruciating. I will literally tip people more for not speaking to me. This also includes but is not limited to taxi drivers. Taxi drivers are the authority on inexplicably shit chat.

On this particular day, the barber and I were the only two people in the shop. This meant that the vibe between us was a little more relaxed given there was no expedience on account of people waiting. I noted the shift in tone almost instantly. The banter was rapid fire and there was a lot more laughter. He then asked if I had been out the night before. The truth was that I was actually at home watching old Whitney Houston videos on YouTube, but I told him that I was out at a gay club. I don’t know why but something told me to lie. As if lying would somehow push the conversation further. As though I was testing him to see what he’d ask next. And just like that, the barbers next question took the conversation to the next level.

“Did you suck a dick last night”
I looked at him through the mirror, half smiling. “Maybe” I said.
He continued cutting my hair.
“You like sucking dick” He said
“Yip”
“How smooth are you” He said.

Now. Lets pause here for a second. My phasers were set to stun the second he asked this. Harking back to my point on straight men who flirt with gay men; this was nothing like that. This was a straight up proposition. Our eyes were locked on each other through the mirror. I was thinking of something witty to say but this was not the moment to pepper in some levity to the conversation. We were getting down to brass tacks and I knew for a fact that this guy was genuinely interested in knowing how smooth I was. So I answered honestly.

“Beyonce” I said, with zero irony.

His eyes widened. It is unclear if this was based on intrigue or sheer bewilderment.

The truth is I am smooth. I exfoliate daily with activated charcoal and a giant paddle brush. Followed by a flick of a barbie dolls hair worth of Keihls Creme De Corps.

He cut the last few strands of hair and then unclipped the hair guard off the back of my neck. His last question was still lingering over us. I was repeating it in my head like crazy.

“All done” he said.
As we made our way over to the cash register he asked “What are you up to now?”
“I’m actually about to go shopping”
“Nah, stay here and chat with me”

I was completely fascinated by where this was going. There was no fucking way I was leaving now. I placed my bag on the marble counter and sat on the couch that was usually reserved for waiting customers. But, remember, there was no one else here.

“Do you have pictures?” He asked.

After this question, I absolutely knew that this guy wanted to fuck me and that it was absolutely going to happen. I knew he meant nudes. And I had them to show. I whipped out my phone and searched through dead Grindr chats in order to source a pic. I handed the phone to him. He scanned the photo. Of course, the photo was of my ass, so he was obviously speechless at how spectacular it is. He handed the phone back to me.

“Do you have one?” I said

 

“Nah” He said, giggling.

 

“Well, come on now, that’s not fair!” I said.

“You want to see my dick?”

“Well, you saw my ass.”

Then, without missing a beat, he reached his hand over to the door behind him and opened it.

There are moments in your life where the point of no return is when you are standing with two doors on either side of you, each door leading to very different places and consequences. I was facing the door that lead to the back of the shop. And behind me, on the other side of the room, was the door that would take me out of the building.

“Take your stuff and go to the break room up stairs”

The point of no return was here. Both doors were open. But as is the way when it comes to the point of no return, I let my failure to resist take over.

My visits to the barber continued every Sunday for around four months. He would send me a message on Snapchat to let me know when to come to the shop. Along with the message, I would always feel a relentless gnawing feeling. I knew the man was married and I tucked away any thoughts of being complicit, brushing them off with an indignant “he’s the one who’s married, not me.” But over time I came to realise that there were multiple elements of this affair that I was complicit to. I was indulging in a relationship with a man who was married, and this presented an element of shame that I absolutely did not like. Like I said earlier on, it was not hard for me to come out as gay. At all. My coming out was in no way noble or earnest. I was gay and that was the end of it. So the fact that I was giving credence to this mans perceived denial was completely anathema.

Moral dilemmas aside; it is extremely intoxicating when someone pursues you. But that intoxication becomes somewhat vapid when there is an element of discretion that you are duty bound to adhere to. Duty bound by code. The gay code. And when you are playing within these limits, it gives the pursuer a power that allows them to dictate when and where your dalliances take place. The element of secrecy that I once found exciting and sexy was starting to wane. The indigence of “he’s the one who’s married, not me” was becoming increasingly more difficult to quantify and then exponentially when the man asked me to go to his house. He was was moving his business to the other side of town. This meant he had to get a little more daring in order for us to meet. I knew I was in deep shit at this point. More so when I told my friends.

“DO NOT DARE GO TO HIS HOUSE!”

I didn’t listen. And I wish I did. Because the moment I left, I knew that I was the same as him. I was a liar and a cheat. I made it clear to him after that; no more house visits. As though me making boundaries somehow made what we were doing less wrong. I also began to feel that niggle again. I didn’t seem to be getting a lot out of this. Was this it?

Most of what I am saying to you now was of no consideration to me then. The reason I kept going back was because the sex was incredible. The barber didn’t know how to have sex, he only knew how to fuck. Occasionally there were glimmers of intimacy. He would often put his fingers in my mouth or hug me tight after he came. And it was during these moments that I felt myself become closer to him. I was mistaking brief moments of intimacy with affinity. But, of course, there was no real connection between us beyond attraction. In the beginning I had feelings for the barber. But I learned very quickly that those feelings were based purely on desire. I knew nothing about him. The only thing we had in common was appeal. Therefor I couldn’t possibly ask for more. Because there was no more. The deal was superficial sex. I didn’t have to take it.

I didn’t even consider the idea that I wasn’t the only one he had this type of association. But let me put it this way; based on how this guy fucks, there is no chance on this god green earth that he hasn’t been fucking dudes since he was able to. And this, to me, poses a bigger question. What are the numbers on straight men who are having sex with gay men? And how do the gay men feel about taking on a role that can be seen an transactional? What happens when they start acting crazy and show up to their place of work? Threatening to out them or some shit. And to that end, the only people I give a flying fuck about is me, myself and I. So if the barber had a platoon of side chicks/dicks, then good for him. I’d be over here getting fucked by some other hot guy. He could Snapchat me if he wanted. But if I wasn’t available, then I would ignore him. Bear in mind this was after the “what the fuck am I getting out of this” realisation.

How sexuality is labelled is becoming more complex. There are some straight men who have sex with other men (not even necessarily gay men) purely for sexual pleasure. It’s not about self-identification. It is simply about sex. Period. Are we moving into an era of human sexuality were fluidity is more prevalent? And if so, what does that mean for monogamy? In the gay community it is normal practice for a couple to be “open.” But this is an anomaly in heteroville. But to be fair heterosexual relationships sound like a fucking borefest. I honestly can’t see any woman being OK with their male partner saying “On the weekend, I like a bit of ass.” That will never be accepted in our lifetime. However, that means that gay men will have to accept the fact that this type of liaison is purely sexual. It’s not a relationship. It’s an agreement.

When the affair with the barber was at it’s peak I thought about his wife a lot. I’d close my eyes tight and screw up my face at the thought. Like a reaction to a flashback of an embarrassing thing you once did. She was a person I knew about. But she didn’t know I existed. The aforementioned shame I felt was growing. My entire life has been protected, uplifted and nurtured by women. I was raised by a woman who demanded the respect she gave. Most of my role models are women. My love for Mariah Carey is borderline idolatry. So how could I do this to a woman? That, to me, was unqualifiedly shameful. Like I said before, I never felt ashamed of being gay. Ever. But this is the only thing I can liken it to. I was fucking with someone else’s life. Literally. It was the last call for me and the barber.

In a plot twist worthy of Emmy nomination, I did not get the opportunity to call cut because shortly after what would be my final visit with the barber, the bastard literally vanished into thin air. He had deleted his Snapchat account. This was the only way I could communicate with him. And now I couldn’t. I didn’t even have the satisfaction of telling him that I was over it and he should find some other smooth ass to fuck. Maybe relegate to Jennifer Lopez instead of Beyonce. Initially, I was a little stunned. He had slammed the door shut with as much thought as he’d given to opening it on day one. But then I remembered. I had been given a small role. And I fulfilled it. What was I expecting? F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda? They were a pair of drunk lunatics who ended up dead.

I don’t know where he went. I’ll probably never know. But what I do know is that I am worth a hell of lot more than what he was offering.

By Allan Craig

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