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Michael Musto

Sneaking a Peek at Your Boyfriend's Messages—Is It Ever Okay?

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Also: The best date bar, biggest lesbian, and messiest drag queen

One good thing about being in a relationship is that you apparently get twice as many emails and messages. What I mean is that a lot of gays traditionally check up on each other's inboxes, feeling it's only their right to snoop around and find out if the beau is cheating (and with whom and with how much lube)!

A friend once told me that he snuck into his boyfriend's phone and found explicit "sexts" from someone very famous he was obviously dating, stuff about how the notable personage was erect just thinking about the guy. I wondered what kind of dark distrust led my friend to become an amateur private detective, and if he himself was as faithful as he always claimed. Could he withstand the same scrutiny he'd given his wandering man?

Since then, I've heard many other stories of guys furtively diving into the private files of their loved ones, desperately trying to sniff out improprieties and fuckups. But it's wrong! Delving into someone's messages is obviously an unforgivable invasion--just as bad as cheating! Just because you're in a relationship--even if you're married--that doesn't allow you to cross that line, no matter how much you're just dying to. If you have your doubts about your partner's behavior, you'll have to gracefully bring it up in a more direct way and maybe you can discern from their body language if they're telling the truth about it. But of course, that introduces a breach in the relationship because you've sown the seeds of doubt, exposed your insecurity about it, and not necessarily resolved anything.

So many guys like to search for hard evidence because then they can confront the boyfriend and shriek, "Aha! Gotcha! Here's the proof!" Alas, that's a shady approach--and even after transgressing, you still might not have found anything substantive. It calls to mind the Golden Girls episode where Dorothy and Blanche sneak into Rose's diary and get furious over what she said about them, later finding out that she had actually been writing about other people. If you're doubtful enough to probe into someone's private stuff, chances are you'll assume the worst from what you see rather than getting a fuller picture out of what's really happening.

One guy I know won't even glance at his longtime partner's phone for fear of finding something--or inventing something. "No news is good news" is his motto, along with "Leave well enough alone" and any other cliche that doesn't rock the gay boat with too much information, or misinformation.

But hold on to your Grindr profile. A 30 something player on the scene feels there are times when being the snoop is OK--not necessarily looking through his things, mind you, but still tracking him down in his tawdry misdeeds. Says he: "I think it's not cool to do it for no good reason, but if you smell something fishy, then you may discover a rotten mess. Although some folks may prefer to leave unknowns unknown, I'd rather know the truth. My ex from long ago was behaving suspiciously, spending too much time on AOL. We were in a long distance relationship, but agreed to be monogamous. Late one night, his phone was busy, so I knew he was online (AOL dial up). His usual screen name did not show up as being online. I'd done a little detective leg work in advance by screening for profile names that were around his specs. I made note of the ones that might be him. I saw that one of those 'mights' was online in a m4m4now chatroom. The secret screen name mostly matched his description, but a little younger and thinner. I started chatting him under a friend's account. It quickly became apparent that it was him, and he was cruising around for a hookup! He suddenly dropped off the chat, so I called him to explain that I was the 'guy' chatting with him before he logged off. He said he was just bored, but wasn't going to actually hook up. I didn't quite buy his story. As we argued, he grew impatient and wanted to get off the phone. He called me a crazy, jealous nutcase for not letting him get to bed. And then his buzzer rang, obviously signaling the arrival of a trick. I said, 'Oh, that's why you want to get off the phone.' He said, 'yup' and hung up, leaving me distraught with the realization that I was in a relationship with a lying cheat while he took the phone off the receiver so he could continue his evening undisturbed." And the relationship continued for a while, so the detective work obviously wasn't all that effective!

Another gay told me he wishes he'd done some investigating when it came to his ex's antics. Says the guy, "I should have wised up when he had Snapchat and he was getting all these messages from guys. I had to basically ask him not so politely four times to get rid of Grindr. (He's an ex for a reason). There's also this huge thing of being the 'main bitch' or the 'main squeeze.' I think monogamy might dead. Then, in true Game of Thrones fashion, the backup normally becomes the one on top." And the top had better change his passwords!

But let me end with a male who actually agrees with my thesis. Finally, someone with some ethics. Says he, "Nothing good can come of being a Sneaky Poo with your boyfriend. It basically exposes (A) Your mistrust of him and that you are a suspicious, insecure, codependent, clingy, immature crazy person, and/or (B) You are a cheater yourself. If you really don't trust him, then you need to decide to either allow him or let him go. It's too easy nowadays, with all the media available and so many enticing venues for potential hookups. I have yet to find a couple who isn't recruiting some romping around, either separately, mutually, or secretly. But most interestingly, a poor, dedicated, loving soul can nowadays be rudely made aware of their other's effing around without even fishing for it. And it all happens right here on sleaze media--Facebook! To date, I have known three couples to play out the demise of their ill-fated coupling right on Facebook, the most recent one actually calling out Facebook as the instrument of the undoing." Yikes! Thanks to the plethora of hookup forums, plus all the armchair sleuthing going on, I now have to know about other peoples' boyfriends cheating? This is sick. Let's make it stop, people. Learn to trust--and to not cheat yourself.

GLAD I GOT INTO THE 'GET OUT' AWARDS

If you checked my emails, you'd see I just won "the Voice of New York" Award from the LGBT nightlife magazine Get Out. But enough about me--for now. The same awards ceremony--hosted by drag stars Honey Davenport and Brenda Dharling--gave no fewer than 160 honors for bars and personalities from here to New Jersey. Everything was honored except for the best rest stop on the Jersey Turnpike! Pieces Bar won for karaoke, Boots & Saddle was named the best place for entertainment seven days a week, and Therapy and Barrage tied for the best date bar in Hell's Kitchen. The human plushie known as Ari Kiki won Drag/Trans Performer of the Year (West Village) and made a dramatic exit off the covered-up pool table of a stage, falling flat on her ass after the makeshift steps caved in. At first, some people thought it was Ari's usual shtick, but she had really fallen harder than Alice Through The Looking Glass. But like a star, she picked herself up (without the wig, which had gone flying) and bravely smiled. It was as if Divine had suddenly been possessed by Jennifer Lawrence.

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Photo of Ari Kiki at the Get Out Awards

Another special honoree, Sandra Bernhard, sent a video offering gratitude and a plug for her radio show. Presenters Samara Riviera and Robbyne Kaamil urged the crowd to congratulate Sandra, "a big lesbian!" And then Samara came back up again with DJ/performer T-Boy to give me my award. "He's been around forever, like Madonna and Cher," they said in their speech. So heartwarming--but they forgot "and roaches!" Speaking of which, the award--a glass cylinder--is so heavy it could kill one. My speech: "When I heard I was winning a Get Out award, I said, 'Get out!' But I'm thrilled. Thank you, New York, for being so fabulous you make these exorbitant rents worth paying. I've long been honored to celebrate the LGBT nightlife community and give you the celebrity status you deserve. I love you, Mike Todd, Eileen Shapiro, and the rest of the Get Out crew. I want to have your babies by C-section." And as long as I'm bragging, I also won their award for NYC Nightlife Writer/Blogger of the Year. And with two awards in hand, I'm off to Therapy Bar to find a boyfriend I can cheat on.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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Michael Musto