Hi Dr. Nerdlove. Can you help?
There is a guy who is attractive and as a gay person I find it difficult to tell if others are gay. We “jokingly” flirting and I’m not sure if he is serious or not. He doesn’t know that I’m gay. How could I find out? How can I ask without revealing my sexuality?
This is a tough one in some ways. In an ideal world, I’d tell you “just ask him out” and let the chips fall where they may. Unfortunately, this isn’t an ideal world and for many gay men and women, asking someone out can be a genuine risk to their personal safety; I have several gay friends who live in areas where “gay panic” is still considered a viable legal defense for assault.
Now that having been said, if you and this guy have been jokingly flirting back and forth, then I’m willing to bet that if he’s not gay, then he’s at least someone who isn’t going to freak out if you mention that maybe he’s kinda givin’ off the gay vibe a little. Homophobes and other assholes who fear being mistaken for closet cases aren’t the ones who’re going to be willing to indulge in some flirty banter with another dude. They’re usually the most dedicated of the gender police, wanting to make sure everybody knows just how much they luuuuurve the pussy.
Now, how do you find out if someone is gay without giving away your sexuality? It’s fairly simple: you just ask. “Hey, just out of curiosity, are you gay?”
How do you find out if someone is gay without giving away your sexuality and without being kinda rude about it? Slightly more difficult, but again it comes down to using your words. Sure, there are other ways you could go about finding out. You could check who’s on Grindr in your vicinity or troll through the gay and bi listings on OKCupid and see if his profile pops up. You could hang around the gay bars in your area and see if he happens to wander in for the two-for-one drink specials and buffalo strips. You could try telling stories about exes and seeing if he’s going to play the pronoun game.
But honestly, I’d recommend just asking him. “Hey, I know we kinda joke back and forth and that’s cool but I’m kinda getting a vibe here and you seem like you might be into guys? I mean, it’s cool either way, I’m just curious.”
And like I said: I understand why you might want to keep your sexual orientation under wraps but if he’s the type who’s willing to flirt with another guy – even jokingly – I’m more than willing to bet that he’s not going to freak out over the fact that you’re gay, even if he isn’t.
Dear Dr. Nerdlove,
I am an average geekboy looking for love. Okay, not quite average. For one, I’m looking to find love with another geekboy. For two, I’m transgender. I used to be The Nerd Girl who a lot of guys idolised, which was awkward for all parties, because she didn’t exist – I was pretending I could be the perfect girl as much as they were.
Now, well, I’m in my twenties and I’m happier in my body and I’m lonely. I want a boyfriend. But I don’t know how to find one. Where are the actual gays among the guys who just call things gay? And moreover, how can I find a nice gay geek boy who doesn’t treat my gender issues as an intellectual exercise to be pondered, explored, and constantly discussed – I’m not a science project.
Shouldn’t Be This Hard
There are plenty of bi and gay geeks out there. Many of them may keep their heads down a little since geekdom still has a problem with gender norms and sexual identity, but they’re definitely there to be found.
I’m going to be honest: it may be a little difficult at first finding someone who’s totally blase about someone being trans; even in this day and age, it’s fairly uncommon and even people who are cool with it in concept may not have had much exposure to the practical realities of it. As a result, they may want or need a little time to wrap their heads around some of the more obvious questions and may not realize that they’re making you uncomfortable by treating you as The Representative For All Trans People. You may need to be a little patient at first – sometimes the well-meaning don’t realize that they’re being a little intrusive and need the occasional prodding to get the point – but don’t be afraid to set some firm boundaries.
All of which is well and good but doesn’t necessarily help on a practical level. The first thing I would tell you is that you’re going to have better luck in larger cities; if you’re living in Bumblefuck, Arkansas, you may very well find that the total gay population is in the single digits. Just based on sheer population, the more people who live there, the more gay men there will be. Certain cities are going to have a larger and more vibrant gay population – New York and San Francisco obviously, but also Seattle, Portland, Austin, Houston, Phoenix and Boston all have significant gay communities. The larger the communities, the more gay geeks you’re going to find. In addition, the more liberal and cosmopolitan the city, the more likely that you’re going to find a population that’s going to treat your gender identity as a non-issue.
The next – and really, obvious – step is to get involved in the geek community, especially in an organizational role. If there’s a convention held in your area, getting involved with that can be a good way of getting to know lots of geeks really damn fast. Like I’ve said before: the more you involve yourself in your passions, the more you’re going to meet people who share those passions and who you’re going to be compatible with. Even if you’re not necessarily meeting people who are boyfriend material right off the bat, you’re going to be meeting cool people who will also know cool people and can introduce you to them.
Beyond that, I recommend that you pursue online dating – after all, you can screen for geeks or the geek-curious very easily in your profile. OKCupid is an obvious choice, but you may also want to look into dating sites for people who are specifically looking for (or open to) dating trans men like buckangeldating.com (Disclaimer: I can make no claims about the quality of the site. It seems oriented more towards hookups than dating necessarily, so caveat emptor). I don’t recommend sites that pay for membership – they have a financial incentive to trick you into thinking there are more active profiles than there really are.
It can take some time and effort but if you stack the deck as much as possible (big city, online dating, involvement in the geek community) in your favor, you’ll start meeting some awesome geekboys soon.
Hey Doc, I’ve never made out with a girl and I’m 19 turning 20 this year.
My biggest fear (besides it never happening) is that once I do, I’ll be so embarrassingly horrible that I’ll completely turn the girl off because I assume she’ll have more experience than me. This makes me especially afraid to even try anything with a girl that I might want to date because even if I do get that far it’ll just blow up in my face. Do you have any tips or advice? Thanks for reading, I hope to hear from you soon.
Dude. You’re 19. Chill out. Being inexperienced isn’t a horrible deal-breaker; if it was, nobody would be dating or having sex. We all start with zero experience and stumble our way forward from there. Some of us find partners who are just as inexperienced as we are and fumble our way through the dark together, others find partners who are more experienced and willing to give some guidance and still others learn through trial and error.
Occasionally you will run into an asshole who will treat your being inexperienced as a huge problem. That’s fine: this has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the fact that they’re an asshole. Most people aren’t going to freak out if you’ve never made out with anyone before and the ones who do aren’t people you want to date in the first place, so fuck ’em.
The keys to successfully making the transition from noob to experienced is to relax and ready to learn. What you need more than anything else is a willingness to go slow and take direction. No two people kiss the same way or necessarily like the same kissing style – every time with someone new is a learning experience. The best way to avoid awkwardness is to not be overly aggressive or intense; better to keep it light and follow your partner’s lead rather than attacking her face like an overly affectionate golden retriever.
If things do get awkward – you bump teeth, get the nose when aiming for the lips – stay relaxed and just laugh it off. If you don’t act like it’s a big deal, she won’t treat it like a big deal. If you do something she doesn’t like – too much tongue, grabbing the back of the head like a dying man, something – apologize and ask her how she likes to be kissed.
Keep your cool and it’ll all go so smoothly that you’ll be wondering why you were getting so weirded out over it.