I’ve always relied upon the gayness of strangers. At least since I’ve refined my gaydar. Prior to that calibration, it was pretty much hit and miss. Unfortunately, the ‘miss’ side of the equation meant I missed out on a lot of sex.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist – or even gay – to recognize that some men play for the pink team. A finely tuned sense of gaydar is not necessary. Take Liberace for example. Who could have ever confused that man for anything other that what he was: a big shiny ‘mo. Ditto for Elton John. Sorry, but there was never a question about his sexuality from the first time he stepped onto stage in sequins. Little hint for those trying to pass as straight: straight men do not wear sequins. Ever.
More recently celebrity-wise, Chris Coffer, the gay guy who plays a gay guy on Glee is too gay for that to be acting. On the plus side, he knows he can not fool anyone and just owns up to being gay. Unlike Taylor Lautner.
Gaydar, however, comes into play with the less flamboyant. The ones the straight folk never get right. Ricky Martin is a good example. Sure, I know a lot of gay guys now say they always knew Ricky was gay. But that was just mastabatory wishing. Kinda like Jake Glyndenhall, a straight guy who far too many gay guys fantasize over and so he ends up with a ‘might be’ rep based on nothing more than he’s been fucked by so many gay men in their dreams that it has rubbed off into real life. I think. But then for all I know Jake’s a power bottom with a minor in rubber fetish. Or maybe that’s just my fantasy.
Good looking celebrities are always suspect. Both for their mannerisms and their appeal to gay men. Outside of Hollywood, picking out the possibles is a trickier proposition. Flamboyant gays make it easy. Guys who act like other guys are the ones that you start watching carefully for clues.
‘Straight acting’ has always been a term used to describe gay men who don’t act like stereotypical gay men. I’ve never cared for that term. It implies that you are ‘acting’ in a manner not true to yourself. The truth is straight acting gay men are just being themselves: men who don’t fit the gay stereotype. It’s not like when no one is looking straight acting gay guys suddenly throw a boa around their neck and start belting out show tunes. Some of us don’t even know any lyrics of a show tune.
I recently caught the last half of The Rocky Horror Picture Show on TV. I hadn’t seen that movie in decades. It brought back a lot of memories. And made me wonder how anyone ever watched that flick without noting how gay it is. (And as a side note, if knowing the lyrics to Let’s Do The Time Warp Again counts toward the show tune thingy, then I’m gayer than I thought).
When the Rocky Horror craze was at its zenith, few urban youths had not seen it. Most had attended a audience participation showing. It was cool, in, an instant classic, and no one ran about saying how gay it was. Even though it’s about a alien drag queen and has copious amounts of gay sex in it. That Meat Loaf had a starring role in the movie made it okay. I guess to some, it was a straight acting movie.
I saw Rocky for the first time when I lived in Monterrey. It used to show every Friday night in an old warehouse on Cannery Row back before they built the aquarium and changed the entire nuance of the place. A friend from work, Tim, a guy who I hung out with a good deal, suggested we go one night when he found out I had not seen it nor knew anything about it.
The movie was enjoyable, but it was when the audience started in with squirt guns, umbrellas, and throwing toast and rolls of toilet paper that it became an event. I loved it. There is no other movie going experience that can match Rocky Horror. It was fun. It was hot. So was Tim.
Tim was basketball player height, well past 6’ 5”. Thanks to being the offspring of a Caucasian father and Japanese mother, he hit the dark mark, too. Some would call him handsome, but at that age he qualified more as cute. And mommy must have been Okinawan, ‘cuz the boy was a hairy little dude; his mustache made Tom Selleck’s look amateurish. Tim was an all-around nice guy. The kind of guy everyone wanted to be buddies with.
Tim was also gay. Not out. And not gay acting (I think I like that term better). Having just come to my senses myself, I knew what interested me, but hadn’t a clue about how to figure out if some other guy had the same interests. Rocky Horror could have been a clue, but then lots of straight guys liked that movie too. That we saw it together in a funky old warehouse, huddled together on a bean bag chair meant for a single occupant could have been a clue, too. But that was the available seating, so who knew? That he leaned over closely and told me how sexy he thought Tim Curry looked in drag should have tipped me off. Got no excuse for that one other than youth and being plain old fucking dumb.
Looking back I should have known. And should have scored. There were other instances that, upon reflection, should have told me he was fishing damn hard, hoping I might also be a not gay acting gay guy. We had lunch together often. Once, at a park along Del Monte Ave., on a sunny day – an unusual occurrence for the Peninsula – he suggested we take our shirts off. That’s gay. A straight guy, if he wanted to, would yank his shirt off and catch some rays. If his buddy did or did not would be of no concern to him. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.
Part of my problem, besides having a newbie gaydar set, was that I was in lust with the guy who later became my first lover and partner. At that time, I was in lust rather than love because he was straight. Unlike Tim. Tim never stood a chance. At least not at a full blown love affair. But for a quickie now and then, even as a regular fuck buddy, he’d have made the grade. But was too not gay acting for me to have realized it.
I met the straight guy who wasn’t acting, whom I eventually had all that with, through his sister, a good friend, a close friend from work who I hung out with a lot. She had a good twenty years on me, but was lots of fun to be around. And had a real cute son. Which is where my lust affair with that clan began. (Do the math, he was younger, but close to my age. I don’t do kiddie porn).
One morning I stopped by to pick up the sister for work. Phil had arrived late the night before for an extended stay. He’d been sleeping on the couch in a pair of shiny green shorts and got up when I arrived. The blanket fell off him and it was instant lust. My heart thumped loudly, my eyes lost focus on anything other than that body, my dick got hard. At least that was the gay acting part of me. The normal not gay acting part smiled, shook his outstretched hand, and welcomed him to California. Phil quickly became an integral part of our pack and our friendship blossomed.
When I landed a fortuitous contact up north and decided to move to Washington for a year, Phil decided to join me. I was still in lust. He was still straight. His decision came after a long debate, a long talk, little of which made much sense to me. Seemed it was a fairly simple decision to make and yet he poured his soul into it. Our first night on the road we stopped at a motel, I checked us in, and when we got into the room Phil was surprised. ”Oh, you got us two beds.”
The newly minted gay guy with the baby gaydar failed to catch the significance of that statement. Remembered it. But didn’t realize what had just been said. Hey, I already admitted to being dumb! We remained sleeping in two beds for the trip and for several weeks once we got to Washington. Until one night when we got into a silly argument. I don’t remember what it was about but do remember it ended when Phil complained (so obviously the argument had been about me acting like an asshole), “I gave up women for you!”
Whoa. Didn’t even need the gaydar for that one to work its magic. Make-up sex is always hot. Make-up sex when it’s first-time sex is even hotter. Phil and I stayed together for the next four years, never once mentioning the ‘gay’ word. At least about what we had going on. But I mentioned Tim once, who Phil also knew, and he immediately said, “That guy was so gay.”
Huh. Good. The previously straight not gay acting now gay guy had better gaydar than me. Fortunately, even with faulty gaydar, the gods looked upon me with favor, and I had the perfect first love experience. With a straight boy who temporarily decided to go gay. If you can consider a full blown four year love affair temporary. Which goes to explain why I’ve always claimed that there is a certain fluidity about sexuality among straight guys.
But then some gay guys have no interest in landing a straight boy, even one who is willing to go gay. So they rely on their gaydar instead, at least to land the not gay acting gay guys. That wouldn’t be a problem if gaydar actually worked. But too often it fails. Scientists agree are and are constantly performing trials, studies, and research that attempt to identify the physical attributes that differ between straight and gay guys.
Some results are useless, at least useless when trying to determine if a guy you are interested in is a potential bed partner or not. Others, such as the study that showed ovulating women could determine a speaker’s sexual preference just by the sound of their voice, are flawed. You don’t need a study or gaydar to know some guys are gay, their campy voices scream that fact.
In some studies, the conclusion is so insignificant that a wild-ass guess could be just as accurate, such as the research that determined that statistically gay men and lesbians have about a 50% greater chance of being left-handed or ambidextrous than straight men or women. Uh, 50% is a flip of the coin folks. That’s not science. But god bless those federal grants, huh?
Richard Lippa, a psychologist from California State University at Fullerton, is one of the leading cataloguers of the many ways in which gay people differ from straights. Besides the obvious one. His most recent hypothesis is that the hair-whorl patterns on gay heads are more likely to go counterclockwise.
Lippa studied the heads of 50 men and noted that hair growth patterns tended to show counterclockwise whorls in 23 % of the subjects, all who were gay. In the general population, that figure is 8 percent. Says Lippa, “We assume that whatever causes people to be right-handed or left-handed is also causing hair whorl. The theory we’re testing is that there’s a common gene responsible for both, and that gene might be a marker for sexual orientation.”
Possibly a more scientific approach than relying on gaydar, but even the gay guys are gonna think you’re pretty strange studying the back of their heads. An Ontario-based psychological researcher named Anthony Bogaert performed a study that I can much more easily support.
Bogaert resorted Kinsey Institute data – in which 5,000 men answered detailed questions about their sex lives, practices, fantasies, and measurements of their erect organs – along sexual-orientation lines. His results found that gay men have bigger peni; gay men’s dicks were thicker – 4.95 inches versus 4.80 – and longer – 6.32 inches versus 5.99. Which must mean I’m really, really, really gay.
So I’m retiring my gaydar. From now on when I want to figure out if a guy I like is gay or not, I’m just gonna ask to see his dick. Even if the results of my measurements are not conclusive, that he was willing to let me play might be all the proof I need.