Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What does “discreet” mean?

I often see cruise posts — especially on CraigsList — where the writer describes himself as “discreet”.

Once upon a time, that would have referred to the person himself being discreet, being trustworthy when it comes to dealing with people who may have careers or other situations where it would be bad to have their name and pics broadcast widely in a homosexual context.  (For example, an elementary school teacher or someone living with an elderly parent.)  By extension, a request for a hookup connection to be “discreet” was a request to respect those sensitive areas: don’t broadcast my name, understand why the only pic I can send you includes a woman, please don’t leave sexy messages on my answering machine.

Today, of course, that meaning has mutated.  Today, “discreet” allegedly means closeted.  From Urban Dictionary:
A word gay/bi men use to describe themselves in a cool way that they are closet cases and have no intention of coming out soon.  This allows them to maintain perceived heterosexual privilege while engaging in their true sexual desires.
Beyond “closeted”, though, these days “discreet” today tends to mean “cheating”.  When a guy says he’s “discreet”, you can bet that he’s not in an open relationship and he’s not just in the closet: he’s sneaking around on his boyfriend/husband/girlfriend/wife without permission.

Which means:
  • He may be giving you a fake name.  (I got hit up by someone going by the name “John Master”, a name one porn film short of “Rod Steel”.)
  • He doesn’t have a facepic to give you.  If he’s gay, he might have a dickpic, though.
  • He may well flake out on actually meeting for sex.  (Yeah, just like the out gay boys, you say, but it’s even more likely.)
  • He will be offended if you suggest that he is cheating on someone.
  • If you ever see him out socially, he probably won’t even acknowledge knowing you (especially if he gave you a fake name), much less be friendly to you.
In general, there are enough horny gay guys out there who are reasonably out that you don’t need to settle for the dodgy ones who won’t do the online equivalent of looking you in the eye.

Updated on June 8, 2010
This post was inpsired by a guy I was chatting with for a potential hookup who dropped the “pretty discreet guy here” bomb only on the third exchange.  I completely blew up at him:
  • If it means you’re scared to death you might be seen in another neighborhood than you are usually in, stay home.
  • If it means you’re scared to death that if I see you out and about, I might say “Hello”, stay home.
  • If it means coming here would be cheating on a boyfriend/husband/girlfriend/wife — if you don’t have an open enough relationship to do this — stay home (and talk to that person about your interests).
On the other hand:
  • I’m not going to come up to you on the street and say “Hello, want to fist me again” in front of your buddies.
  • I’m not going to post your pics on my blog to say “I did this guy.”
  • I’m not going to stalk you after the fact, or get “weird”.
  • I’m not going to protect your closet (whatever sort of “closet” it might be), but neither will I tear off the door and point at what you have in there.


  1. haha that's great Jim.. my favorites are the ads looking for "discrete" men.

  2. In this context, in my personal experience, Discreet = Liar. I wouldn't put my dick in a guy like that. I prefer to play with men who are themselves, as completely as possible.

  3. This is great. I am bored of posts that say 'discrete'. I don't really understand what they mean. It's not as if I want to publicise the fact I'm meeting guys on-line for sex either...

  4. Great post. Was looking for an explanation after seeing it on Grindr.

  5. I live in Portland OR and am constantly seeing this, spelled incorrectly ("Discrete") too. I don't get it. Do they think I'm going to knock on their landlord's door and be like, "Hi, are you the powerbottom into felching? Oh no, that's 221B... my mistake?" Seriously it's 2012 in a blue state. I don't friggin' get it.