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Gaydar! Gaydar! Is this thing on?

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In the June 7, 2012 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle, Jon Carroll has a funny column titled Gaydar! Gaydar! Is this thing on? that's definitely worth a read. I think there are several story ideas suggested by what he wrote. Enjoy!

Colin :icon_geek:

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Great article. Great skeptical points and very funny.

One other point would be, if there is such a thing, if you (observer) can tell if he or she (observed) is gay, that so-called gaydar, then -- do only gay/bi people have gaydar, or do straight people have gaydar too? No, seriously, if "gayness" (or "bi-ness") shows up just by looking at a face, then can your straight buddies tell too? Just what exactly IS it that "gaydar" supposedly senses? Looks? Sound? Movement? What? ...And I dare any of that not to sound somehow like picking up a stereotype. Is it hormonal, pheromonal? If so, we'd sense it in person, but not from photos.

It's a legitimate question. Is there some way you know a guy is gay or a girl is gay? (Yeah, yeah, somebody's gonna say, well, maybe the fact he's kissing a guy is a clue....) But no, I mean it seriously. Just how DO you think we (gay or straight) know for sure (and accurately) if someone is gay? Does it kick in at puberty? Can you tell if some kindergartener is gay? Honestly, it's a question.

OK, let's say you have a foolproof answer all thought out. Now how do you explain how one person can have a "reliable" (accurate) gaydar, and another one can't tell most of the time, or at all? Yes, this can readily affect the person, at least in his dating life and perhaps in getting hit (or missed). The theory would need to account for that too.

I'm being very honest there, because, well, I've never felt I had a gaydar that worked even half the time. That was definitely true before I came out, and still is mostly true afterwards. Being totally honest, as a teen, I was usually pretty clueless about whether someone liked me (was attracted) or how to take that or show I was attracted, without being obnoxious, or at all, pretty much. It seemed like, even to me, that I was blissfully unaware. Yet hey, I did want the chance to date and maybe find out. I had the desire, and the equipment seemed to work fine. (Except it seemed to work when thinking about guys instead of girls. Hmm.....)

I'm trying not to get too off-track there. What I'm trying to say is, if someone's going to prove "gaydar," they have to explain how gay/bi people know a person is gay; they have to explain how straight people can or can't have gaydar; and they have to explain how gaydar develops along with developing sexual awareness and sexual emotional maturation.

What about that girl or boy who seems blissfully unaware that some boy or girl likes him/her, or how to let that person, or the person they like, know that yes, they like them.

What about that gaydar? Come on, you're just as gay (or bi or straight) if your gaydar works or if it doesn't, right? But how does it work? How would you know if he or she is gay? Can you...auto-tune your gaydar?

Meh. I liked it a lot better getting a good laugh out of it. But it'd be nice to know if there is some real kind of gaydar, or how that all works, or the auto-tune thing.

Besides, I still wonder if Bobby just wanted to hang out, or if, like I was kinda hoping.... :angel:

Oh well, that one will always be a mystery. Darn it.

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This "research" seems like pretty thin stuff. Its appeal to some sort of physical characteristic reminds me a little of Phrenology and its bunkum science of skull measurements. My own limited and deeply-flawed experience of gaydar-like sensations seems more to rely on another person's attitude and presentation and body language--all those subtle cues we all use to form initial impressions and to detect threat or receptivity. I'd certainly never ask anyone out on the basis of it.

A comment to Ben: I think you crank your expectation up a notch too far if you want gaydar to be demonstrated to give you signals about whether someone likes you, or is attracted to you.

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I had some sort of comment worked out because Merkin was right, but a thunderstorm took out my power for a bit earlier today, and apparently a few of my brain cells along with it.

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When I was in high school there was a lot of joking about how girls had better gaydar than guys. I think it's true, even if the girls never seemed to ID me or Doug.

Colin :icon_geek:

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A comment to Ben: I think you crank your expectation up a notch too far if you want gaydar to be demonstrated to give you signals about whether someone likes you, or is attracted to you.

You're right, of course. I hadn't quite realized that's what I was saying, or implying, but it was. Dang. No wonder, huh?

I think, though, that what I'm seeking from that "gaydar" (mine really doesn't work well, I don't think) is to be able to tell if a guy is gay, bi, or straight (oh I hate labels more and more) in order to know if he is...approachable, open to the possibility.

One of the big things, one of the big indicators we do not have equality and equal acceptance, is very simple. -- A guy cannot simply walk up to another guy and say he likes him and ask him to dance or ask him to go out. Yet any guy can go up to any girl and ask her, and no one would think twice about it. Oh, she might say no, thanks, but she is not going to deck him unless he's an ass about it, even if she doesn't like him or if she's already going with someone. Counter that with being gay. A gay boy can't ask another boy out of the blue, no preamble or getting to know him first. If he asks privately or publicly, there can be consequences, unless that boy happens to be accepting or interested too.

I suppose that's what I meant and what I want, some way to know if the guy might be approachable, accepting, or even interested.

Now, on the other hand, getting to know someone first, becoming friends, finding out what they think about things, is a great thing. Highly recommended.

But even so...with friends growing up, or even now, I often was not / am not sure quite what someone thinks. There are degrees, shadings, of acceptance. It's one thing to say you are OK with gay people. It is another to actually be OK with gay people, including gay people expressing themselves, and including gay people showing gay love. It is another thing again to be OK with a gay friend asking you if you'd like to date...or dance...or pass go and never mind about that Monopoly money (i.e., bypassing everything and having sex). -- Now, (1) Perhaps I'm splitting hairs there. Possibly it shows my own fears or lack of experience. Or maybe it's an accurate assessment. And (2) I don't think immediately hopping in the sack is a brilliant idea. Even if it's someone you know pretty well before doing that, it is a bit sudden to go from "friend" to "benefits" or to "sex" and risk bypassing "love." The idea of entering a couples relationship or sexual relationship, and bypassing or losing either love or the friendship, is a poor trade, I think. But I brought it up because it's one of the things that can happen in starting a relationship. I wonder sometimes if I've missed out on the possibility of love, because I was too reluctant to take a first step which might include the more direct approach. Or perhaps it's just my personality and my past experiences getting in the way. When those past experiences didn't have a chance to start, or were disappointments (failed crushes, saying no), or were bad experiences (ouch, emotionally or physically), then you develop a certain reluctance, if you're already a bit shy and trying to figure your gay self out. Uh, and yes, that libido is there all the same. I'm not a saint. Yeah, see how it's all tied up in knots? Frustrating.

But my main point was, I wish it were more possible to tell if someone is gay or if someone's approachable. I wish it were as easily acceptable for a boy to tell another boy he likes him and ask if he'd like to go out, as it is for a boy to ask a girl like that. For that matter, why can't the girl ask the boy as easily? And yes, very obviously, it should be as OK for a girl to ask a girl as for a boy to ask a boy. I wish it was as acceptable for two boys to walk holding hands or arms around each other hugging, or kissing in public, as it is for a boy and a girl couple. I wish it was acceptable for a boy to show all his emotions, instead of being a sissy or unmanly for doing so.

I suppose it will take generations to get out of this mess, since we didn't get into this mess overnight. But I'm impatient to see the change.

My biological clock is running and my batting record so far is not exactly stellar. (Not zero, thankfully, but not what I'd like, either.) Sure wish my gaydar worked better, but I think it got shoved over near the off switch, almost. Dang it.

Nothing profound to say, I'm just trying to figure it all out.

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Thankfully, the Christian right has relieved us of the burden of using gaydar to detect gay men. This is from their http://christwire.org/2010/08/is-my-husband-gay/ service and intended for wives who have grown suspicious of their men, but it would appear to serve our general population as well:

'For the wife unsure about her husband’s proclivities, the most important thing is to first confirm your suspicions. Drawing on the expertise of spiritual and medical professionals, ChristWire has put together a list of 15 commonly-accepted characteristics of men struggling with homosexuality within a marriage:

1) Secretive late night use of cellphones and computers

Porn addiction is closely associated with homosexuality and a secretive nature implies he’s trying to hide something from you. Be on the lookout for a man who doesn’t want to web surf or answer phone calls in your presence. Texting is another favorite trick used by adulterers. For the sake of trust, a married couple should share everything, including phone logs, email accounts, chat friends and website histories.

2) Looks at other men in a flirtatious way

When you’re out in public, does he spend too much time looking at other men? Is he fond of winking at people? Does he get visibly upset when someone does not return a compliment about his physical appearance?

3) Feigning attention in church and prayer groups

Have you noticed a lack of interest in spiritual issues? Does it ever seem as if he’s just using church as an excuse to spend time around young men? Does he volunteer to mentor in all-male groups?

4) Overly fastidious about his appearance and the home

Natural men have a certain amount of grit about them. They sweat and they smell. Homosexuals often abhor this sort of thing and will also be incredibly particular about the cleanliness of the home. Does your man tweeze his eyebrows, trim his pubic hairs or use face moisturizers? Is he picky about brand name shampoos? Does he spend more time getting ready for a night out than you do?

5) Gym membership but no interest in sports

Gay men use the gym as a place to socialize and to have secret liaisons in the bathrooms. They like to work out their bodies without the competition of sports play. Afterward, they use the showers and steam rooms to engage in sexual activity beyond the prying eyes of women. If your man returns from the gym too exhausted to talk or have sex, that is a worrisome sign.

6) Clothes that are too tight and too “trendy”

Gay men don’t need words to communicate their availability for sex “hook ups.” They silently broadcast the news by showing off their lean, hard bodies in designer clothing labels. If your husband owns skinny jeans and looks at his buttocks in the mirror or if he wears an inordinate number of small-sized t-shirts, it is probably worthwhile to pay more attention to his private activities.

7) Strange sexual demands

Fetishism is a sign that a man is seeking a harder thrill beyond the normal intimacy of heterosexual relations. The woman may not appeal to the deep desires that are coming to the surface as the marriage drags on. If there is a sudden interest in sodomy, sadomasochism, lubricants, role-play, sex toys or other non-traditional intercourse methods, this is clearly an indication of deep emotional abnormalities.

icon_cool.gif More interested in the men than the women in pornographic films

Pornography is a dangerous element in any marriage but there are many Christians who feel watching it does add something to their sexual lives. If you have gone down this road and find that your man perks up at the sight of the men in these sorts of videos, you should be concerned. If he selects films because of specific male actors, this is an obvious sign that he is suffering from a crisis of ego and desire.

9) Travels frequently to big cities or Asia

Some husbands will spend a great deal of money traveling far from home to hide their deplorable same-sex actions. Big cities offer indulgence of every kind. From gay bars and clubs to prostitutes and sex bathhouses, a man seeking encounters can find them easily if he’s so inclined. Is there ever really a good excuse for a husband to visit Thailand or San Francisco without his wife?

10) Too many friendly young male friends

Someone who makes an extra effort to surround themselves with younger men should raise concerns in any community. If this is the case with your husband, ask yourself if he prefers their company to that of women. Do they touch each other or embrace in long hugs? Do they exchange expensive, personal gifts like scarves or cologne?

11) Sassy, sarcastic and ironic around his friends

A man who is secretly engaged in homosexual activity with others may exhibit feminine qualities when they get together in a group. In a sense, he has “let his hair down” and this will be seen in excessive back talk and speaking with one’s hands.

12) Love of pop culture

It’s quite common for young men to enjoy the science fiction end of popular culture, but when your husband becomes overly obsessed with romantic and feminine shows, that is cause for alarm. Gossip websites, Glee and The Golden Girls are three well-documented icons of the gay movement that genuine heterosexual men avoid.

13) Extroverted about his bare chest in public

Does he go shirtless in the back yard or at picnics when other men are around? Does he wear a speedo at the beach? Does it seem like he’s purposely standing right in the middle of a crowd to show off his chest and arm muscles, peppering people with questions about how strong he looks? He may be craving physical affirmation from other men and desperately looking for hints of shared desires in those around him.

14) Sudden heavy drinking

Sometimes people dealing with an unbearable emotional issue like homosexuality will turn to alcohol to hide their distress. Does your man disappear on drinking binges for long hours without answering his cellphone? Is there a strange odor about him when he returns, some strange mix of cigarettes and gel? Does he cry frequently?

15) Ladies, have you dated men in the past who turned out to be gay?

This is an important question to ask yourself when your marriage starts to have problems. Statistics have shown that women who have encountered gay men romantically in the past are the most likely to repeat this mistake in future relationships. If you answered yes, you should ask yourself whether you’re honestly looking for a man or just a shopping companion. Is sharing gossip more important to you than raising children? Ultimately, it’s a question of getting your priorities straight!'

So, fellas, now you know what to be on the lookout for.

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It's good to learn new things. Like gay men don't stink and straight men do. That gay men have hard, lean, muscular bodies. That gay men wear Speedos. That gay men go shirtless in groups of other men.

So let's see. If I can find a good-smelling, lean and hard muscled, shirtless man on the beach wearing Speedos, that's the one to hit on, right?

Whom do I sue for the bloody nose? The article seems to cover everything else, but not that.


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Hahahahaha! Though like Bruin, I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry. That thing's so full of holes in the argument, you could strain something.

How many of those would apply to straight men? To straight men who are comfortable with expressing their sexuality, unafraid of their bodies, who want to look good and don't mind showing it? Or to the part of the country?

So...a real man, a straight man, can't be affectionate or show his emotions or friendship to his buddies and family? Wow. Explains a lot of the problem, right there.

But the one that ticks me off is the assumption that "trust" means not only they share everything, but they have no privacy, and they scrutinize, hunting for something wrong. That is not trust or love. That's just plain wrong and mean. If you habitually search your husband's or wife's or children's actions or belongings, there is something wrong with *you* in the relationship, no matter what there may or may not be in the other person's side of it. Trust and love do not require that kind of spying. A real honest, trusting relationship gives each other elbow room, and has no problems with someone else doing something where they might see things, because there's nothing wrong to see. At the same time, a real relationship gives privacy because the other person doesn't need to be up in your business trying to find some wrong thing.

That is the one thing that says the most to me about the mindset of people like that group. They're actively looking for, wanting to find, something wrong so they can feel justified. So very wrong.

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All I can say is that the list should be retitled as, 15 steps to create a paranoid wife.

And indexed under, How to ruin a perfectly good marriage.

These people watch too much day time TV.

Men naturally parade their attributes to attract sexual partners. The straights assume it is for the opposite sex, whereas most of us know that straight men aren't that fussy.

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Good grief! I guess there aren't going to be many men interested in women because most of them are gay. Who would'a thunk?

Colin :icon_geek:

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