Saturday, February 9, 2008


The other day, I was at Whataburger for lunch (a fastfood chain in the southern US). Although I was getting it to-go, I prefer to go inside to order so I can fill my drink after ordering and then refill it again when I get my meal (Whataburger makes food to order, so they take longer than other burger chains).

I was standing in line behind this gentleman who was, I'm guessing, in his mid 30's casually dressed in slacks and a collared shirt. He placed his order and then went to sit at a table to wait. There was something about him that caught my attention. After placing my order and filling my drink, I stood over to the side to wait. My eyes scanned the room and rested on him. Again, there was something about him that I just couldn't put my finger on.
  • I've never seen him before, so it wasn't a feeling of recognition.
  • He wasn't that great looking; so, it wasn't a feeling of attraction.
  • Overall, he was pretty average and normal looking.

Yet, something about him kept grabbing my attention.

They called my number; so, I picked up my order, refilled my drink, and then left to get in my car. As I walked out the door, I glanced over one last time to look at this guy.

Now it's really bugging me. What was it about this guy that caught my attention? Is he gay? There certainly wasn't anything in the way he was dressed or sat there to suggest such; nor in his speech, although I only heard him speak a few words as he placed his order. It was lunch time, so the place was fairly crowded; so why him? As my eyes scanned the room, there was a table on the other side of the room with a couple of attractive college aged guys; so, if it was eye candy I was seeking for then that is where my gaze would have been.

I've always regarded gaydar as a myth; but, now I'm wondering if there is really something to it. Do we exhibit subtle clues that only someone else in the family would pick up, perhaps even subconsciously? Do we emit some sort of gay pheromones?

I'm sure I'll never see that guy again; so, I'll never be able to confirm my suspicions. But, there was just something about him that caught my attention.

UPDATE: Results of Gaydar Poll


Peter said...

One of my high school teachers from freshman year had me pegged way back in my first semester of high school. He is gay, and I have since come out to him. How did he know? Eye contact. He says that he can tell who is gay and who is not by how long a man will hold eye contact with him. He's a very good looking man, perhaps that makes it more obvious.

Abelard Enigma said...

I've heard that before. But I don't think that is the case here since I never made eye contact with this guy.

Christopher said...

The eye contact thing is a dead give-away for me. When I catch a man stranger's eye and hold it for a slightly longer than usual time, it is often the case that he also is gay. I have had it confirmed to me numerous times.

Of course, there are non-eye contact cues, as well. I don't know yet what they are, but I think there are ways of knowing. Maybe you're right... some sort of gay hormone we emit...?

Beck said...

My eyes often scan the room and settle in on a certain guy - sometimes for eye-candy purposes, but most of the time for a sense of connection. Doesn't mean they are gay. My gaydar is keen on the obvious, but mostly broken when it comes to the more subtle.

I've a friend who has a very fine tuned gaydar. He spotted me well before I noticed him. There is a real "sense" about these things that some are better about picking up signals than others.

Maybe it's for the best that my gaydar isn't always so finely tuned.

Vanson said...

I don't think mine is that great... I haven't even noticed the eye contact part till about a month ago.

I was in Target with the man I was in a relationship with... when we walked in, he told me that one of the employees was gay. He could just tell because the employee was looking at me for so long. When we left, I tried to notice the same thing... and sure enough, there he was looking at me.

Sean said...

this probably will soud really corny...

we know (or at least I believe) that everything emits energy (and yest i do mean everything). We know that the human eye is typically only susceptable to a very minute fraction of the radiation within the energy spectrum. Is it possible though that because we are familar with who we are as gay men (and women) that do have a, ahem... different aura about us?

Not very scientific i know but it certainly seems like a likely theory.

it could also be that I watch way too much Sci/Fi

Mike Kessler said...

My gaydar was so much better in the 1970's! But now, with so many metrosexuals out there, I rarely trust my gaydar.

One of So Many said...

Either I never had gaydar...or mine is really broken.

Abelard Enigma said...

we ... have a ... different aura about us?

Hmmm, maybe there is something to that. Perhaps all people do emit a certain aura that our eye can see but our brain can only perceive subconsciously. And, a person of the gay persuasion emits more of a [ahem] rainbow aura.

Although, it does sound new age-ish - I feel like I need to get some crystals or something.

OHMYGOSH, we have Jim Brickman, Enya, David Lanz, Andreas Vollenweider, and Yanni CD's in our collection. I even have a couple of Enya and David Lanz piano books. Am I a closet New Ager?

honkapuu said...

I can tell quite easily even if it isn't overly obvious that someone is gay exception been my husband of 14 years and six months. I do not know why I did not notice him been gay. Maybe he was way too close to see, or it was the best subconscious level denial ever. There were times when a though would pop in my head if he was gay but I put it out quickly saying he would have never married if he was. Perhaps it was also conscious level denial as well. I think partly I can tell who is gay due to my cultural background. We do not only cue in on verbal communication but we also rely a lot on physical communication, I mean body language. Body language speaks volumes. I also think people do emit energy as many of you have mentioned. Just thought to sent in my two cents...