How To Be Really Good At Being A Down-Low Brotha » VSB

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How To Be Really Good At Being A Down-Low Brotha


Remember back in 2004? When gay Black men pretending to be straight became America’s boogeymen, getting blamed for everything from H.I.V. rates to your half-empty bottle of juice in the office fridge? (“Man. Damn DL brothas must’ve drank my apple juice again. Fuck J.L.King!”)

And remember how everyone  — well, everyone except Tyler Perry — eventually said “You know what? We probably should stop blaming a demographic that comprises .00001% of the population on everything that’s wrong with our community.”?

Well, apparently my Facebook feed caught a very strange bout of amnesia this morning, as multiple people were sharing and talking about Farrah Gray’s “10 Signs On How To Tell If He’s On The Down Low” — a list so 2004 that I felt (and still feel) like it was performance art.

Anyway, VSB is here for the people — down-low brothas included. And to combat Gray’s 10 ways to separate the manly men from the…not-really manly, manly men, here’s some help for the down-low cat trying to avoid detection.

(Gray’s tip) 1. He is meticulous about his appearance to the point he has more facial care products than you.

(My advice) Never shave. And if you do shave, use hand sanitizer as after shave. Cause that’s what manly men do.

(Gray’s tip) 2. Who are his idols? Does he like people, especially celebrities that take it to the limit? Frank Ocean, Don Lemon, Shaun T.

(My advice) Idolize three people. Jesus. Jason Bourne. And Ludacris.

(Gray’s tip) 3. His favorite TV shows are like “America’s Next Top Model,” “Housewives of Atlanta” and anything that showcases beauty and femininity.

(My advice) If you walk in on your girl watching “America’s Next Top Model”, say “Tyra Banks can be the next top model on my dick, wit dem tiddies”, fart, and leave the room.

(Gray’s tip) 4. Watch his eyes. Where do they go or whom do they focus on when you are out? Is he looking at other chicks or other men?

(My advice) Wear sunglasses.

(Gray’s tip) 5. He likes to shop. We’re not talking going to Sports Authority or to the mall to get the latest Lebron James sneakers. We’re talking clothes, toiletries and skin care.

(My advice) I have none. I’m just grateful to Gray for pointing out that gay men like to buy toilet paper. Cause I had no idea.

(Gray’s tip) 6. He understands other gay men, meaning he doesn’t criticize them and is not afraid to defend them if the topic comes up.

(My advice) If anyone ever says anything about gay rights, same-sex marriage, or Nathan Lane around you, start humming the chorus to TOK’s “Chi-Chi Man Song.”

(Gray’s tip) 7. Studies show that when it comes to gaming, a gay dude will pick a strong, strong man or a female character when they are playing games with family and friends.

(My advice) Just don’t game at all. Gaming is for queers. And Kobe fans.

(Gray’s tip) 8. It’s such a cliché, but it’s so true. Gay men are usually fashionable to a fault. He’s more likely to compliment your outfit or a particular piece than you.

(My advice) The next time your girl asks if what she’s wearing makes her look fat, say “Yes, bitch. But that’s good, though. Cause I like my bitches fat.” When done, fart and walk out of the room.

(Gray’s tip) 9. His social media profiles… are they full of other men rather than women?

(My advice) I can’t help you. I have no idea what this even means.

(Gray’s tip) 10. The obvious – the way he walks, the way he talks and the way he expresses himself.

(My advice) If in doubt, just ask yourself one question: WWCD (What would Cam’ron do?)


Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at Or don't. Whatever.

  • RewindingtonMaximus

    That #6…i kinda want to punch Farrah in the throat for that one. I defend gay men because like any other minority, they’ve been shamed for being what they are to the point where they do stupid ish behind closed doors. That doesn’t make me or anyone who stands up for gay men gay, that makes us aware a problem needs to be solved, not ignored.(And Champ, in case you ain’t know, TOK – Chi Chi Mon is about burning gay dudes alive… no, they won’t be humming that)

    And that #7…i pick female avatars in my games because dude avatars are boring and i like boobs. The nerve of this no information-having t.w.a.t typing this crap. You’re right Champ, this is so 04, I’m convinced she’s rocking Dipset jerseys to sleep and preordering the original I-pod while checking her Blackplanet & Migente pages.

    • Damon Young

      “(And Champ, in case you ain’t know, TOK – Chi Chi Mon is about burning gay dudes alive… no, they won’t be humming that)”

      lol, that was kinda the point in mentioning it.

      • CamCamtheGreat

        lol You can almost hear the “Whoosh!”

      • RewindingtonMaximus

        Ha…youve got to see the awkwardness on a gay man’s face whwn that song comes on….especially if he’s a dancehall head. Priceless.

        • Obsidian Files

          @Mr. Rewind:

          Last week we had a discussion whre I asked you if you thought “Culture” was the prime mover and shaker in human endeavor and procivity; your response was in the affirmative.

          So, in light of today’s discussion, which is about putatively Gay Brothas, I’d like to hit you with the following scenario from my earliest days; please tell me what you (and others reading along, of course!) think!

          Here we go:

          As I’ve said here and elsewhere, I didn’t sspeak until the age of about 3 or so, primarily because I was keenly observing everything and everyone in my environment. Back then, my primary mode of communication was hand signals, and tugging on my mum’s skirt or dress hem.

          Now, being realtive newlyweds, my parents did not yet have their own washer and dryer, and so my mum did the laundry at the laundromat. Back then, the ladies wore not only dresses and skirts than they do today, but they also wore stockings, often times silk ones, to boot.

          My mother has told me on many occasions that I had taken a liking to the ladies and they to me at a very early age; not only that, but I had taken a liking to ladies of a particular type. In this case, those of the Big Legged Variety.

          At the laundromat, and on numerous occasins, if I happened to spy such a lady, I would simply walk over and begin to rub her legs, the response on the part of the ladies to alays be one of bemusement. My mum was embarassed of course, but the ladies didn’t seem to mind.

          Now – what was the drving factor here? Was it culture, or nature? If you arge for the former, how and why? What cultural forces were so strong in my earliest fdevelopment – remember I was barely three years old – that can account for and explain it?

          See, I think my predilection for certain types of ladies is very much an in-born thing – ggenetic, if you prefer. But I would be very interested in reading what you and anyone else has to say on the matter.

          Your thoughts?



          PS: to this day, I still am very much a fan of the Big Legged Brigade…

          • RewindingtonMaximus

            Its cultural and environment based. There were big women in your environment, so as a child the more of them you saw, the more stability they seemed to represent to you, hence why you then had an affinity for their legs. They may have seemed sturdy but close to your height level to touch, hold, or hang on to.

            But the curiousity to touch people in general was of your own accord, for as a curious child with limited communication skills, touching is how you envoked your sense of interest.

            • Obsidian Files

              @Mr. Rewind:
              Hmmm…alright, let’s consider your argument.
              It is true that Black America tends to have more zaftig ladies than White America, and that they tend to be held in more high esteem by males than in White America as well. Additionally, my own mum would have been considered a “thick/big-legged redbone” back in the day, so there’s that.

              Fair enough.

              But, couldn’t there be an in-born component as well, since after all, I carry the same or at least similar genes as my parents – my mum for the aforementioned reasons, and my dad for liking the same in my mom, passing on that same attraction trigger to yours truly?

              I ask because I have always held the view that “Gayness” if you will, IS a genetic thing – in-born – and as such, attempts to “deprogram them” and so forth seem to me, deeply misguided. I know NO such attempt to “deprogram” me from liking Big Legged Girls was going to work. Now again, I can’t completely discount what you’re saying about my cultural and einvirnmental factors growing up even at such an early age, because those factors are real. I am just suggesting and asking you, if there could be a genetic factor as well.

              Your thoughts?


              • Obsidian Files

                @Mr. Rewind:
                Just to followup on the above comment:

                I’ve always asked myself, WHY, do I like Big Legs(TM) in a Woman so very much -is it indeed culture and environmental conditioning, or is it something more innnate? So, to find out, over the years I did a few social experiments.

                One thing I did, was to find out if Race had anything to do with it, and to that end sought out a wide arrary of Women to date etc. I found that Race had no role whatsoever to play in my liking and preference for Big Legs(TM) on a Woman.

                So, if it came down to Slender Sayeedah vs. Big Legged Becky, all things being equal, I’m going with Big Legged Becky.

                However, if the choice was between say, Big Red Rhonda with the Big Legs(TM) vs. Hershey’s Chocolate Helena with the Big Legs(TM), now I’m forced to consider other factors because my choice and preference is to mate with Sistas. If itt turns out that Rhonda the Redbone is Cray-Cray, then I’m going with Helena. Still, all that being said, I found that Race played no role; the lady in question had to have Big Legs(TM), fullstop.

                Now – is that still a cultural factor, and if so, how and why? I still argue for genetics playing at least a role.

                What do you say?


              • RewindingtonMaximus

                I can’t predict that a child can be prediposed to a specific type of person or body part, just because their parents are, at least in my mind because opinions and preferences are not genetic, simply mental constructs.

                I view being gay simply a mutation of biology. If our biology signifies we go in one direction, in due time that very biology mutates down the line, and some will go in the opposite direction. I don’t think that comes from a parent, i think that’s naturally how someone is wired.

                I do believe though environment and culture plays a huge role in it though. If a child is born on an island full of men as the last woman dies, it isn’t far removed they may like men when that’s their only option, even if their biology tells them differently.

    • I remember Black Planet!!!

  • Val
  • Lea Thrace

    If this aint bout the dumbest ish I have seen all year.

    And I have seen some seriously dumb ish living in Atlanta…

    Where is the line to junk punch this farrah gray character? I need to hop in that right quick.

  • Lea Thrace

    #11 He is named Farrah and is obviously trying to supress some inner inclinations by lashing out and making a dumb a$$ top ten list…

  • He’s a Doctor of what? I see this guy posted up and down my Facebook TL all of the time and swiftly block the posts. How is this happening? How Sway???

    • Aly

      From his website: “…he received an honorary Doctorate degree of Humane Letters from Allen University. This was in recognition of his ingenious economic mind…”

      • From Allen??? In Columbia, SC??? My state???

        • Aly

          Lol. Apparently so.

        • menajeanmaehightower

          You got to this comment before i could. Exactly! Allen “University.”

        • Paradigm

          I didn’t know Allen even had PhD program. S/O to a very unknown HBCU but answer me this Wu: When they gonna combine their one building w/ Benedict tho!?!? #803Born&Raised

          • I don’t think they actually have any post grad programs. I could be wrong but I’m puzzled. Allen and Benedict combing anything would mean that the AME church and the Baptists play nice…

            Where in SC are you from?

            • Paradigm

              Yeah I guess that’s not happening then…

              20minutes from the Met.. Moved outta state but go back to visit despite the humidity.. I see you from the Chuck.. I had a geechi homie back in the day went to West Ashley.. Dat boy was “fool up!” *Patiently waits for geographic/slanguistic confirmation*

              • I’m from Allendale County but I went to college and live in Chucktown

        • Marc.J.H.

          I’m pretty sure Allen does not have any phd programs but I’d have to double check. I’d be very surprised if they do. Every day that I pass the college I almost tend to forget that it’s there. IMO I think the name Benedict-Allen has a nice ring to it.

          • Almost went to Benedict. Glad I missed that shipwreck.

      • ED

        Humane Letters? what’s that?

        • Aly

          Beats me lol. I got stuck on “ingenious” and “mind.”

          • ED

            Lol. According to Wikipedia Doctorate degree of Humane Letters is specifically an honorary degree. So next time you see “Doctorate degree of Human Letters” that means it’s an honorary degree.

  • Aly

    Sigh… smh.

  • CamCamtheGreat


  • Medium Meech

    That picture if very 2004, well done. Actually, it’s more 1999. I mean, you number 6 make me question if I should even comment on this list. Seriously though, did this guy pick up a manual about “the homosexual scourge” from the 1960s and print it word for word? Number 6 is the most damaging one. It dehumanizes (you can’t even empathize or recognize basic rights for gay people), and promotes out group exclusion through hyper-masculine overcompensating.

    • Yonnie

      Lol. I wonder what Champ googled in order to bring up that picture.

  • I like Frank Ocean. I have no idea where this idea that REAL MEN (TM) are anti-bathing and just generally against this idea of smelling nice came from.

  • towninc

    you are hilarious with the “fart and walk out the room”.

    • TheOtherJerome

      And it better be a manly fart! not one of those wussy silent but deadlys!

      • Me

        oh man… i’m so confused now… all this time i had been judging dudes on the level of rancidness… i figure the more rank the smell, the more manly the food he must’ve ate, right? wouldn’t that automatically put sbd at the manliest spot?

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