Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Everybody's Gay

I hear people talk about having gaydar and just knowing when someone else is gay, but the truth is I have no idea how to determine something like that just by looking at someone. There have been a lot of people who I thought might be gay, but who turned out to be very much straight. Then there have been a few who I would have never thought was gay who actually were gay. So, if you’re like me and your gaydar just doesn’t seem to work, how can you find out if someone truly is gay? Of course, you can just ask a person, but personally I find this a bit rude and awkward. So, unless they just tell you they are gay, how can you know?

One of the biggest methods I have used, and that I think is probably the most reliable method in determining someone’s sexuality, is to look at their eyes. Who gets their attention? If a man and a woman walk by at the same time, which one will be looked at? If a man is gay, of course his eyes may follow that hot looking guy as he goes by, and he may completely disregard the hot looking woman. If a man is straight, of course his eyes will go to the woman, and he will completely disregard the guy. Without a person actually telling you that they are gay, I think this has to be the best way of determining which side their bread is buttered on.

Now, in all truth, some people are as obvious as night and day, and they make no bones about it what they like. But not everyone is so out. A lot of gay people, if not probably the majority, don’t actually go around advertising that they are homosexual. Not all gay men are going to wear makeup, tight clothing (some of which are women’s), and rainbow colored jewelry (as certain stereotypes depict). And not all gay women are going to have close-cropped hair, wear flannel shirts, and get their arms tattooed. Nor is every gay guy very effeminate or gay woman very masculine in voice or mannerisms. Some people are those ways and are indeed gay. There again, some people may be like that and not be gay. And, though I would question any guy wearing rainbow colored jewelry, I have actually known a straight guy who a few years ago got a rainbow colored tattoo not realizing the rainbow had become a symbol for the gay community—wasn’t he embarrassed.

The point I’m getting at is that a lot of people want to look at stereotypes as clues to ones sexuality, but that a lot of times, those stereotypes are just that: stereotypes that don’t really mean anything. Sometimes you can go by the stereotypes and get things right, but sometimes you can go by them and get things wrong. Just think of the big and built football player who turns out to be gay, or the sweet, mousy looking florist who turns out to be gay. Or how about the quiet artistic high school boy who turns out to be straight, or the athletic tomboy who turns out to be straight? None of these people fit the accepted stereotypes in our society.

And so I say the hell with stereotypes. Not just in using them to determine someone’s sexuality, but just in general. They are stupid. They are stupid because they do not always cross cultural lines and because they do not take into account all the different forms of human self-expression. Some straight people may like some traditionally gay things and vice versa. Who knows?

So, if you ask me, the only real ways of knowing if someone is gay is if they tell you somehow that they are, if they get caught in some sort of gay act, or by maybe some close observation of the eyes to see who tends to more frequently catch their attention. And by no means are any of these three methods completely reliable. I’ve heard straight people say they were gay as part of a joke or whatnot, or straight guys doing gay porn for money or doing something out of mere curiosity, and maybe even a straight guy’s eyes go more to other guys than gals because he is self-conscious in comparison to other guys, or whatever. So, even those aren’t completely reliable ways of knowing for sure if someone really is gay, but they are definitely more reliable than looking only at the stereotypes.

What I really want to get across here by all of this is that I wish people would just stop obsessing about who is gay and who is not gay. It seems that anymore, everybody is looked at and questioned from one time or another for one reason or another. Oh, you sounded a little high pitched when you said that… you must be gay. Oh, your hair is so short… you must be gay. Oh, you like sports or don’t like sports… you’re gay, you’re gay, you’re gay. It just gets so old listening to people trying so hard to figure it out so that they can out everyone. I even heard lately a theory that Mike and Frank from American Pickers are gay. What!? As far as I can see, there is no basis to that accusation whatsoever. Just because you see a show where two guys drive around all the time, cross country without their women, doesn’t mean they must be gay. And so, as I said, it just gets old with me how everyone keeps trying to figure out if this person or that person is gay. If they’re looking for a date, I suppose it matters, but for a lot of people it’s just that they’re looking to throw some dirt on someone else just because they see an opportunity to do so. And I get so tired of that sort of thing. You’d think the way people act these days that everybody must be gay. But why should anyone really care?

1 comment:

Jim Jordan said...

How about Bert and Ernie? I've even heard Paul and Silas might have been a couple. I agree it's meaningless without clear evidence.

I had a good friend whom I worked with for many years but didn't know he was gay for almost a year after I first met him. A physically fit couple walked into the restaurant we worked at. I made a comment to him about the girl, "" I did a double take when he replied, "Yes, he's gorgeous!"
Wes had two interesting theories, one of which you touched upon. He said that he could spot a gay male as soon as they walked in the room. As a single heterosexual male I found my friend's "gaydar" very useful. "Wes, the guy with the blonde girl at the end of the bar. Boyfriend or gay friend?" "Gay friend," he replied on that occassion. "He's gay. I bet they just work together." He was right on both counts. Of course, I have no idea what his percentage of correct gaydar calls were.

The other point Wes repeated many times was that anyone can convince themselves to be gay or heterosexual. That would fly in the face of the theories we hear today that tries to firmly plant people in camps of homosexuality or heterosexuality. Wes passed away in 1998 from cancer complicated by HIV. Thus I use the past tense. He was a great guy.