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My worst on-line hook-up date was with a hot Filipino mixed hunk back in Hawaii who decided we should meet in person at his local gym for a game of handball (oh, grow up!). Handball is not one of the world’s most popular sports (I’m not gonna be able to get through this tale if you keep giggling, so stop it!). I’ve played since I was a young pre-teen and just finding someone to play with was enough to give me a chub. That he turned out to be cute with a dreamy smile was an added bonus. So of course, being a guy, I trounced his ass, showing him no mercy.

Not having the patience for being devious myself, I seldom recognize it in others. David, as it turned out his name was (why do gay guys always use the formal version of their name?), admitted to his scheme after the fact. And after we’d finished not only the game but a mutually enjoyable orgasm several hours later. Being quite picky about the bodies he shared his with, and this being before the days when selfies were the norm, he invited all of his first-time potential sexual partners to the gym so that afterwards he could check out their entire offerings in the locker room. It turned out, even though his testosterone kicked in once we started playing and he did his best to not lose, his real goal was the free show in the showers. Sneaky little bastard.

Despite the joy of yet another win notched in my belt, what neither of us could ignore was that the primary purpose of our meeting that afternoon was to put another notch in our respective bedposts. The amount of time I spent checking out his ass during our game alone should have thrown the win to his side of the court. But then he spent a lot of that time with his eyes glued to my crotch instead of the ball too. I don’t know if the final check in the locker room was even necessary, but a shower was. And by the time we stripped down to the buff, it was cold showers that were the necessity.

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Which is why I say that was my worst on-line hook-up date. Getting a chub in a men’s locker room is not considered appropriate behavior. With sexual tensions at their highest peek, and getting a long peak at the body you plan on ravishing as soon as the two of you can find a private place to do so, not getting a bit hard is almost impossible. On the plus side, David became a regular fuck buddy and handball partner. But the difficulty in trying to act as though his naked body during our locker room experience was of little interest to me is something that has stuck in my memories.

I only mention this because of the current, rather silly, debate about professional athletes in America who decide to come out and live their live as openly gay men. Some idiot is even lobbying congress to pass a law banning gay players from the NFL. Like our current congress is capable of actually passing any legislation these days. What once was a hypothetical, has become reality with Jason Collins – an NBA player who came out after being let go by the Washington Wizards – having just been signed to the Brooklyn Nets, making him the first openly gay professional league player.

Interestingly, even though Jason has so far only been signed to a 10 day contract, there has been an unprecedented demand by fans who want to buy an official copy of his jersey – he’s picked 98 as his number in honor of Matthew Shepard who was murdered for being gay back in 1998. But that’s not the story. The reaction to his and NFL hopeful Michael Sam’s homosexuality in the locker room is.

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I’ve always liked Charles Barkley. Charles, throughout his career both in the NBA and as a commentator, has always allowed his mouth to get out in front of his brain. And he gets away with it because everyone likes him. Recently he ripped on King’s shooting guard Ben McLemore for having nappy hair; Charles is probably the only man in America who could get away with that. But in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, discussing how gay athletes will be received in the locker room, Charles said, “I think it’s an insult to gay people to think that they’re gonna be looking at their teammates in a sexual way.”

Um, sorry Charles, you got that one wrong. That’s not an insult. Because gay men do check out other guys’ junk in the locker room. And it is in a sexual way.

Chuck meant well. And the number of other professional athletes who’ve weighed in on the subject saying they are in favor of their gay team mates being open about their sexual preferences is encouraging too. But those comments, invariably, come down to the ‘naked with a gay man in the locker room’ question. And the fear that some queer is gonna be checking out your junk. As though straight guys don’t. Sure, the breeders may not be spinning sexual fantasies in their heads, at least not often. But everyone looks. And not just at your crotch either. A nice ass is a nice ass no matter who it’s hanging off.

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Jonathan Vilma, a linebacker for the New Orleans Saints, recently expressed his concerns, while making sure to let everyone know he’s not a homophobe. “Imagine if he’s the guy next to me, and you know, I get dressed, naked, taking a shower, the whole nine, and it just so happens he looks at me,” he said during an interview with NFL Network’s Andrea Kramer. “How am I supposed to respond?”

First Jonathan, you may or not be homophobic, but you may want to consider why it is you are imagining being ogled by another man. And as for your response, it sounds like you might get a raging hard-on. Which, I’m sure, would be just fine with your gay team mate. Self discovery is a wonderful thing.

Vilma, of course, got slammed by the press for his comments. Because the politically correct answer is that gay or straight it really shouldn’t matter who your team mates prefer doing. But that’s the problem with being politically correct. You ignore what are real concerns. When those concerns should be more fully delved into. And I think Vilma hit one of the problems with gay professional athletes in the locker room squarely on the nose. The problem, or worry, isn’t with the gay player. Because seriously, it’s not like just because he’s out he’s suddenly gonna be grabbing dick in the showers. The worry is about how a supposedly straight player’s body and mind may respond to being naked with a man whom he knows likes dick. The worry isn’t that the other guy is gay, but that possibly you just might be a little gay too.

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Straight men get naked with a room full of their buddies in locker rooms every day. It is not sexual to them, the scent of sex never enters their mind. They may look, they may note who’s a shorty and who puts them to shame. But thoughts of sex just are not part of that enjoyable picture. Even when they know one of those naked guys happens to be gay. When your thoughts turn to a sexual nature, whether you want to blame it on having a gay guy in the locker room with you or not . . . well, me thinks the lady doth protest too much. Unless it’s Tom Daley that you’re naked in the locker room with. ‘Cuz that would be understandable.

Homophobia, by it’s very definition, is about fear. Homophobia in the men’s locker room isn’t about the fear over what a gay team mate might do, but rather it’s a fear about what you – as possibly not as straight as you thought you were – might do. Do gay guys check out the other men in a locker room? Hello! See, there is such a thing as a stupid question. Does that mean he’s gonna lose control and suddenly sexually assault you? Not without an invitation. But I can tell you, if you’re hot enough and that gay guy notices your eyes are lingering just as much on him as his are on you, there’s a good chance he might invite you out for a cup of coffee, or a game of handball, later.

Jason Collins may be the first openly gay professional league athlete, but he’s not the first gay man to play professional sports. There have always been gay players in the locker rooms. Which is why this debate is so silly. An out athlete is not going to be any different in the showers than a closeted one. Or a straight one for that matter. He’s on the team to play ball, not to play with your balls. He’s on the team and pulling down a multi-million dollar salary because of his talents on the field, not because of how talented he may be between the sheets. And if all you can think of is gay sex when you look at him, that’s not his problem. It’s yours. But then Nike, Adidas, and other sporting equipment manufacturers are actively signing endorsement deals with openly gay athlete these days. So maybe that’ll work out well for you after all.

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