Just like masturbation, fine-tuning your gaydar is a skill, but is it possible for a gay man to have his internal gay compass permanently on the fritz? If you ask me to make a grilled cheese sandwich, cut your bangs, or even snip your baby's umbilical cord, I'll show up and perform my duty with precision, ease and confidence. Yes, I've cut an umbilical cord, but that's another blog and it goes more under the file of burned bologna, but I digress. The point is, I am good at tasks; all but one, zoning in on gay men.
I'm not sure if it's a biological, mental, or physical but mine is clearly nonexistent. I've sat in amazement as friends--both male and female--turn their gaydar dials on and start to label gay men and women like they were stockers at Walmart sticking tags on tampons. Oh how I envy them. I feel like the ugly duckling who's still waiting for his magical feathers to sprout. And its been 34 years.
I remember the first time my gaydar failed; it was during my high school years. I fell in love with a young Black boy in the first-aid aisle at Kmart. He was buying hydrogen peroxide and I was reaching for the foot fungus cream when our eyes met. We both had our products and marched up to the sales counter. I was drawn to this stranger, intoxicated with a sense of lust, love and itchy feet. His mysterious dark eyes and thick full lips consumed me. I allowed him to go before me in the line--it would be unsouthern not to and I stared at him the entire time wondering if he had fallen in love with me too. Just then, a tall slinky black girl popped up out of nowhere and came up to him and snatched the peroxide out of his hands and yelled at him for taking too long. He turned to me as my eyes were still locked on him and said, "What's your problem? You've been looking at me funny since I saw you over there!"
In my embarrassment, I pretended to not speak English and just scurried out of the store. That was the first time my gaydar failed. Incidentally, it was also the first time I shoplifted. In all the commotion, I ran out of Kmart without paying for the foot cream. To this day my gaydar doesn’t work and at times I don't know whether a guy is flirting with me from across the street with a wink or just having a mild stroke.
When did you discover your gaydar? And do you think you have to be gay to have it?