In a recent relationship (that obviously blew up in my face), I was confronted by some interesting behaviour that I’ve been subject to over a dozen times lo my many dating years: the wandering eye of a new beau. Before we make the easy joke that I’m“clearly not enough man to keep the new guys interested”, I’d really like to ask you boys: is it okay to flirt with or fawn over other guys in plain site of your new man in the early stages of your relationship? To put some details to my histrionics, I had been on three dates with a great guy and finally stayed over at his for the first time and we went out for breakfast the next morning. Everything was on track: I was smitten, things were moving along nicely and I’d even deleted my Grindr and Scruff thinking this could be a good one. And then, he started talking about the hot bartender from the night before… Mid hash brown, the man I had slept with the night before and was about to spend the day with, started to go on about how “god damn hot that little new bartender kid from last night” was. He explained he thought he was gorgeous; that he couldn’t believe he was single; and, that he had tried to ask him out once but it seemed the guy may or may not have a boyfriend himself. I was pretty shattered.

Here I am, wondering what cute place I could take my early-stage-guy for dinner to, and he’s telling me he’s dripping wet horny for some (much younger by the way) kid we had serving and cleaning up our drinks the night previous… about 2 hours before we were naked together. Well, let me tell you: I did not react well. Yes, I should have been direct and told him that that bothered me, or hell, yes, I should have not cared at all and been so confident in myself as to ignore the fawn altogether, but I’m not that good a gay. I’m flawed, I’m reasonably self-conscious and I’m not someone who wants to hear how hot you think some barely 20, south american kid who is nothing like me: to me it sounds like I’m just straight up not good enough to hold your attention. Not only was his mind on someone else, it was all over a kid that I look nothing like, worrying me that maybe that’s really his type and I’m the temp: “filling a position” for now, so to speak. Am I crazy to be bothered by this?!

To finish my tale, the long and the short of it all is that I withdrew and became both angry and hurt. We went for a long walk and a bit later that morning I was able to talk about how I felt, but it never completely disappeared from my memory. Further, when I explained to the guy that I didn’t feel good hearing him talk about a guy we were around all night previous as someone he “wishes he could fuck”, he essentially told me that what he said and felt was totally natural: that guys can’t turn off being attracted to other guys so why hide it and why deny it? I told him the third date was probably not the greatest time to bring that up: we did not see eye to eye on that.

So, here’s where I’m at. Is this something I should just suck up and deal with or stand my ground on? Yes, we’re all allowed our feelings and that should be valued by someone we’re with who care about us but sometimes gays are irrational (I’m so self-loathing ha) and maybe I’m the only one messed up enough to be bothered by this? I’ve definitely heard mixed reviews from friends I consulted with after this occurrence: many telling me to get over myself, others saying they do this all the time and guys need to stop being so sensitive and still a few others telling me “that sucks”. I have to ask: when is it okay to tell your guy you want to fuck the dude across the bar?

I want to prefix this musing by saying I (personally) do NOT hold it against guys when they say that “Joe Manganiello from True Blood” is hot: I don’t live in LA, and he’s straight, and you probably don’t have a chance with him anyway. Star gazing doesn’t bother me all that much, but when the object of your lust is someone ten feet from us and he’s about a drink away from being good to go home with you while I’m in the bathroom, then there’s something a little off on my “Is This Situation Okay” meter. Sure, confidence plays a huge part here for me. I don’t think I’m the shit, but I do think I’m a good guy: are there others better looking, bigger, stronger, more money etc? Yes, of course. It’s therein that I find some worry. I haven’t been with this guy (or anyone for that matter haha how sad) for long enough to feel confident that he’s committed and won’t just drop his number for the cutie across the way if he’s that into him. Trust aside, it just doesn’t feel good as the receiver of this “he’s so hot” tidbit to think that your attention is on someone else’s junk. Hey, if we’re not monogamous then by all means, flirt on your own time with the guy and maybe even have a coffee… but why do I need to hear about it and how do you not get how gauche that is? I think it’s straight up rude.

While I’m not looking to put a time limit on how long people have to be together before this level of comfort kicks in- it’s different for every couple- I would argue that TACT and regard for the other guy’s feeling is what matters here. Congrats if you’re the guy who couldn’t care less if your dude is hoping to get dicked by the local night club dancer, but don’t assume everyone else feels that way and certainly don’t be confused if you hear that it felt shitty to know you’re having an awesome and dirty time looking elsewhere. “Look but don’t touch” can still hurt when you’re looking is done loudly and in plain site- at least if you’re dating this raw nerve gay ;)