*Because You're Too Afraid To Ask 🌈
Being a guy who likes guys can get a little tricky sometimes. It's hard enough telling if a guy that you know is gay or bi is into you, let alone a guy whose orientation is unclear. There's a lot of weird social baggage that makes it kind of weird to just come right out and ask because straight boy's masculinity tends to bruise easily.
At times, it can even be downright dangerous to ask. It's not uncommon for toxically masculine guys to lose their shit when their sexuality is questioned. At best, you might alienate your new friend, and at worst, you might end up in an ICU. The gay community has come a long way over the years, but not everyone has quite made it to 2018 yet, and that can be pretty scary at times.
So, what's an interested boy to do when he meets a sexy, macho Adonis he'd like to get down to some slap and tickle with? That's where our old friend gaydar comes in!
🌈 What Is Gaydar? 🌈
Chances are you already know exactly what I'm talking about when I say "gaydar". Just to be clear though, it's probably not a bad idea to cover it here.
Basically, gaydar is the ability to discern or approximate the sexual orientation of a person based, for the most part, on intuition.
Does Gaydar Work?
This might come as a surprise but, yeah, there is actually quite a lot of evidence out there to suggest that this is an actual social phenomenon that exists. A number of studies have been done that demonstrate that people are generally able to predict the whether a person is gay at a level of accuracy that is statistically significant enough to rule out lucky guessing, about 60% of the time. Which begs the question...
How Does It Work?
Well, it seems to be largely a matter of intuition. It's one of those things that's really hard to actually pin down, like a sense of humor or the ability to know that someone is looking at you without actually knowing they are there.
However, if you think about how the majority of the work that is done by our minds to facilitate social interactions occurs on a sub-conscious level, you start to understand a little better how it works. Our subconscious minds are constantly whirring away, examining all sorts of subtle cues that are all but invisible to the conscious mind.
The slight movement of an eye, the subtle twitch of a lip, a nostril that barely flares, often too slight to even be seen, all these minute gestures add up to something in the secret clockwork behind our eyes and are the major driving force behind our conscious reactions to the person making them. Ever meet someone that you instantly took a dislike to? Gaydar is kind of like that.
Can Gaydar Be Improved?
Again, this is a bit of a tricky question to answer. It's like asking if your sense of humor can be improved, or your intuition. One of the most interesting facts, to me, that came about from some of the scientific studies is that some people have better gaydar than others, much the way some people are funnier or more intuitive than others.
This might sound like a hard no to the question, but there are some things you can do to give your gaydar a fighting chance if you find that it's not quite where you want it to be.
Listen To His Voice 🗣
If you're at a party or a club and you see a guy from across the room who really interests you, be sure to strike up a conversation. One of the things mentioned in those studies was that people who heard the voice of the person whose sexuality they were trying to guess were 60-80% more likely to be correct than those who hadn't.
Make Lots Of Eye Contact 👀
The one thing that was concrete in all of these studies was that the eyes definitely have it. Pay special attention to where his eyes go throughout the conversation. If you notice him checking out some hot chick, there's a good chance he likes girls. However, that doesn't mean he doesn't like guys too!
Also, pay attention to his pupils. Studies show that a person's eyes will dilate when they are attracted to another person. Just be your charming self, and see if his pupils start to go crazy. This works with guys that you already know are gay, as well!
Another reason to make lots of eye contact is that it will give your subconscious a larger pool of those invisible cues to draw from to make a conclusion without you even having to think about it.
Trust Your Gut 😇
As I mentioned earlier, gaydar is basically another facet of personal intuition. If you have a gut feeling that says that the guy you're interested in is into guys too, chances are you are right!
Stereotypes Lie 💪🏻💪🏽💪🏿
While they can sometimes be decent indicators, they are far from reliable. Just because a guy is really into Lady Gaga and appreciates a rousing show tune from time to time, doesn't necessarily mean he's down to bump uglies with another dude.
Try to set aside your preconceived notions about what it means to be a well-groomed, snappy dresser who's into the arts and likes drinks with little umbrellas. In the end, they don't tell you anything about the guy beyond the fact that he has good taste in clothes, takes care of himself, and likes his drinks sweet.
Be Open About Your Own Preferences 🍑🍒🍆🍌
Try to steer the conversation in such a way as to "naturally" reveal that you are into guys and judge how he reacts. Guys are far more likely to reveal that they are into other guys if they know that the person they are talking to is too.
You should also see how he reacts to issues that involve the gay community at large. Chances are if he doesn't think that gay people should have equal rights, he almost certainly isn't going to be open to the idea of a knock at his back door.
Ask A Girl 💁🏼♀️
One of the really mind-bendingly weird things to come out of some of these studies about gaydar is that women tend to be better at guessing if another person is gay than guys. Even stranger, women were quite a bit more accurate while they were on their periods.
So, if you really want to get down to the...ahem... bottom of things, ask a close girlfriend what her gut feeling about the guy is and see if it matches your guess. Bonus if you get a girlfriend on her period to help you!
Be Zen About It ☮️
Another really fascinating fact to come out of these studies is that gaydar actually becomes less accurate the more you concentrate on using it. A lot of the people who took part in these studies and displayed good gaydar that were asked why they answered the way they did had almost zero insight to offer. They just "knew". This was especially true in studies where the subject had very little to go on, often just a cropped image of a nose or eyebrow.
This suggests that the less you think about it, the more accurate you are likely to be. Again, gaydar is another manifestation of intuition, so trust your gut!
My Gaydar Still Sucks, Is There Another Way To Find Out?
If all else fails and you still aren't sure whether the guy you're interested in is gay or not, there's nothing for it but to ask. You should, however, be very tactful about how you go about it. Here are a few tips to help you minimize the discomfort of popping this awkward question:
Do It In Private
You don't know if this guy is still in the closet or not, so if you are going to ask the big question, it's probably best to do it in an environment where privacy will not be compromised.
Be Sure He Knows That You Are Gay Before Asking 💅🏻🌈👬
If the guy you are asking knows that you are gay, he will be much more likely to reveal that he is too. Hell, maybe he's just shy and has been hoping you'd ask! In any case, even if he's straight, he might be half-expecting you to ask if he already knows your orientation. Straight guys are notorious for thinking every gay guy is out to get them, after all!
Try To Have A Sense Of Humor About it
If you feel confident in your sense of humor enough to find a way to make a joke to break the ice before you ask, it's a great way to soften the shock of surprise when you do. Be careful though, a poorly timed or executed joke can have disastrous effects at times.
Be Sneaky 😏
Don't actually ask! Say something like, "You straight guys have it so easy! You don't have to worry so much about how you dress and you usually don't have to worry about whether a girl is into guys or not."
Finding a way to get the answers you need without ever having to ask the question you would rather avoid is an excellent way of dodging the bullet of awkwardness,
Ultimately, telling if a guy is into dudes or not boils down to a few simple things. Trusting your intuition, observing his behavior and visual cues, being creative about how you talk to them, and, if none of that works, just nutting up and asking.