OK Legions of Fans, it’s time for some radical honesty. My “gay-dar” is not great. This point was driven home this morning when a work e-mail popped up announcing that a gay colleague of mine was getting married to … a girl.
Making the assumption that a straight man is gay, is probably the closest thing men have to have to being mistaken for pregnant. It’s awkward for everyone and more than a little offensive for the object of the assumption.
Now, usually when I’m wrong about someone’s *cough* bedroom proclivities, I’ve erred on the side of straight rather than gay. Statistically, my chances of being wrong are lower that way. This time, I’ve mistakenly assumed (for years!) this guy was quietly, but obviously, gay. I asked myself, how could I have been so wrong?
After much soul searching, I think I’ve come up with a few reasons why I made the assumption I did and why it’s unfair of you to judge me for it.
- My colleague is a snappy dresser. This is one of those complementary stereotypes about gay men. The less than flattering stereotype would be if I based my gay math on how my colleague throws a baseball. I wish I dressed well enough to be mistaken for gay. I wish I could whip myself into gay shape, too. I’m writing the word gay an awful lot here. Maybe it’s best I move on to the next piece of gay evidence.
- His first name is Hispanic. This one worked on a more subconscious level. I know intellectually that Latin America isn’t statistically gayer than the U.S. (although it would explain their love of parades). However, first names that end in a vowel just sound gay to English-speaking ears. Don’t believe me? Try to think of one that doesn’t. Paolo, Enrique, Alfonso, Ricardo. Can’t be done.
- His chat avatar is a picture of him in a cowboy hat. He grew up in Vermont so there’s no cowboy explanation for this behavior.
- I’m pretty sure a woman told me he was into dudes one time. I don’t know why, but we give more weight to a straight woman’s gay-dar than we should. They say such idiotic things sometimes but, if the topic turns to gay-ness, they’re all suddenly expert witnesses. Remember, Liberace fooled an entire generation of straight women for DECADES.
If you want someone who’s gay-dar is never wrong, why don’t you see what my Cousin Rupert has to say about Lance Bass.