Of all the gifts that God supposedly bestowed upon gay men – a dandy fashion sense, preternatural design abilities, a predilection for the word "fabulous" – the gaydar is both the handiest, and the most elusive. To an outsider (read: straight person), the ability to instantly catalog and assess a litany of small signs and signals and determine whether any old person on the street is gay or straight might seem innate in all who enjoy homosexual romps in bed, but it is actually a learned skill, like algebra or injaculation.
And you can learn it too! These days with more and more social circles becoming sexually diverse, how can you tell if the guy swinging a glow stick next to you at some Bushwick "rave" is looking to put his pole in a hole or looking for another pole to pole all over his face? [Wait, what?—Ed.]I enlisted the help of Jeffery Self, the author of Straight People: A Spotter's Guide to the Fascinating World of Heterosexuals. He turned his sociological skills around and instead of telling us gays how to detect breeders, he's teaching everyone the best practices for finding queers and dykes out in the wild.
VICE: At what types of places or events is it easiest to spot a gay guy?
Self: Oh! I'm so glad you asked, Brian! The easiest places to spot a gay are: Broadway open calls, boutique gyms, one man shows, any major city with a bar named The Eagle, SoulCycle classes and Kevin Spacey's Annual Memorial Day BBQ, which, as an FYI, is being moved from Ojai to Brentwood this year. Please read the invitation VERY carefully as no one is allowed to bring more than ONE guest. Last year simply got out of control and Taylor Lautner is literally just NOW able to ride a bike again.
What's one sure giveaway that the guy you are looking at is gay?
Nowadays it's very hard to tell the difference between straight and gay men, probably because gay people control the media and ultimately the world. If the guy you're speaking to refers to screenwriter Dustin Lance Black as simply "Lance", he is without a doubt homosexual. Another rule of thumb is that if you look at a gay man VERY closely you will see the off kilter glare of a guy who has genuinely wondered why Monique hasn't made a movie since 'Precious'.
OK, let’s flip the coin. What's one sure sign that the gentleman in question is straight?
Do what I always do... surprise him by slapping your penis against his side and see if he shouts "Jesus Christ!" or "Eva Longoria!"
How do you tell the difference between a gay man and the fabled "metrosexual", or, just, you know, your garden variety European?
Metrosexuals have made everything A LOT more difficult. With the exception of Ryan Gosling, who has, as a rule, made most things A LOT easier. However, a metrosexual tends to try a bit harder than a gay man. Coco Chanel had that famous quote about taking off one piece of jewelry before you leave the house. Gay people are WAY more likely to know this quote/follow its suggestion. On a related note, few metrosexuals have heard of Coco, the Broadway musical starring Katharine Hepburn in the title role and cowritten by one of the guys who wrote My Fair Lady.
Are there different skills for picking out lesbians?
NOT MY DEPARTMENT. I'm sorry. Shall I transfer you downstairs to Ellen and Portia's Vegan Dungeon?
How can you tell if two girls making out are just drunk straight people or actual lesbians?
Drunk straight girls tend to be WAY messier than actual lesbians. Unless we're talking about k.d. lang, in which case I have reason to believe she is QUITE messy as well.
Aside from “Do you like penises?”, what sort of questions should you ask to figure out if your target is gay or not?
"Have you ever heard of The Wiz?"
"Have you ever seen The Wiz?"
"Have you ever been in a production of The Wiz?"
"What role did you play?" (This last question is more about my own curiosity, because you seem like somebody who could totally pull off Addaperle.)
Does the company someone keeps make it easier to spot their sexual orientation? What does someone's group say about who they want to bone?
Unless it's Stockard Channing, it's hard to say.
How can you tell the difference between a really butch gay and a straight guy, or a really femme lesbian and a straight lady?
First and foremost, let me say that butch gay guys are the hottest men on Earth. Period. They also make it hard to tell whether they're gay or straight. As a rule, most butch gay guys will dress the same as butch straight guys with one exception – the underwear. A butch gay guy can look as gruff and tough as you can get but underneath those distressed Levi's is a pair of blue trunk cut Andrew Christian briefs.
Femme lesbians vs. straight ladies are tricky for me. Mainly because the straight woman I've spent the most time looking at is Dixie Carter, and she's closer to a butch gay than anything else.
If you see a man who is dating Renee Zellweger, how should he register on your gaydar?