Bae and I did not meet on a social media platform, thankfully. We never went through the “is he who he says he is” tango. We met under more conventional “hook-up” style circumstances.
Notwithstanding, Bae keeps a Jack’d profile that he and I both discuss (click here to read why), and it clearly states, as so many profiles, “I am not masculine nor feminine. I’m just me.”
Back, in the olden days when Jack’d didn’t exist, Blackplanet was a thing, A/S/L was a conversation starter and BGC was brown, we had a term for this–inbetween (no space needed).
It was the identifier of someone who is obviously gay but don’t-let-this-sashay-fool-you. I know it’s passé to talk about being “gay” in today’s mundane masc-for-masc times, but I found power in being and dating someone who is clockable.
Stop dick measuring
So many of the
letters… emails…DMs I’ve received on this site–and the letters I’ve sent to relationship experts myself–end somewhere in a dick measuring contest.
Not literally, but one mate (or both) for some reason are looking for clear identifiers of ¿Quién es más macho?-that is, who’s more masculine. I guess we’re trying to figure out who is the man and the woman in the relationship.
For as many times as we eye roll when Aunt So-and-so asks us “so who’s the girl” when Bae accompanies us to the family reunion, we do it to ourselves just the same. We’re trying to figure out who should open the door for the other person, or who should pay for dinner. We may be dating, but we silently judge the other to figure out how we can fit together.
NEWS FLASH: In-between isn’t feminine no more than vers means bottom. He’s still a dude.
Instead of trying to figure out who fits more in the stereotypical role of man-woman, or top-bottom, or masc-femme, just try to take him as he comes. You may find, like I did, that Bae has a switch in his walk that is equally as sexy as his ability to change oil and flat tires. He’s still a dude.
Just be yourself
For a long time, I thought something was wrong with me. When I first came out, I was a piece of trade in a tall tee, Negro league fitted cap, and some Timbs. Then I became a super queen. Now, I’ve landed somewhere in the middle.
All along the way, though, my transition into a more centered, more self-aware version of myself has been guided by the older ‘inbetween’ men in my life. Seeing them be themselves allows me to be more of myself.
For many chapters, that was an exploration. One football playing, firefighting, butch queen mentor showed me that being Black and gay could look one way. Another house music loving, business man with big hair and tight clothes showed me gay could look like something altogether different. Seeing, growing comfortable with, and finding attraction to inbetween men allowed me to see myself in a whole new light. They all gave me permission to just be myself.
Remember that you’re a dude, too
Valentine’s Day is approaching. In the straight world that means men everywhere are waiting until the morning of February 14 to run to Kroger and pick up some flowers and candy.
But for us, especially when you date someone who’s inbetween, we get to be a Valentine and give a Valentine everyday. I heard a great man–who’s name escapes me–say that “if he doesn’t make you feel like a Valentine everyday, you’ve got bigger problems that February 14 can’t solve.
So, no matter who is more masculine, dating someone in-between allows you to flex both sides of your vers everyday–Valentines or otherwise.
Photo credit: @Jahlove_thebrand on IG