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Ask Chicagoist: "Not" Gay!

By Sarah in Miscellaneous on May 3, 2005 1:02PM

mens clothes.jpgHello,
I’m an attractive guy and when I go out to the bars I tend to dress fashionably. Occasionally a gay friend will accompany me. I don't consider myself effeminate, but many times girls assume that I am gay. In fact I am not.

How do I deny such a charge? When I respond politely with, “No, I’m not”, it is often answered with, "Oh come on. There's nothing wrong with it." They seem to think I'm still "in the closet" or just not one to flaunt my sexual preference. So I feel like a bit of rigor in my denial could be a bit more persuasive. But too much emphasis may also lend credence to their assumptions (subscribing to the idea that the most staunch homophobes are actually homosexuals themselves) or an intolerant bigot. Help!


“Not That There's Anything Wrong With That"

Dear Nothing Wrong With Fashion,

A Curious Dilemma.

Three Approaches, and a Comment.

Approach One.
Rephrase your reply in positive terms. Counter “Are you gay?” with “I date women, not men, if that’s what you’re asking”, rather than explicitly Denying The Accusation. Or try, “Funny you would ask that--I guess so few straight guys actually iron their clothes nowadays.” Then quickly change the subject to something that has nothing to do with accessories.

Approach Two:
Nip it in the bud. It’s a bit coy, I realize, but if you’re talking to a heterosexual woman and you find her attractive, see if you can casually mention an ex-girlfriend or a recent date (using a feminine pronoun). Or, make a joke about your Aunty Lou trying to set you up with her co-worker’s daughter. The woman’s subconscious will file you under “my team” before she notices your fabulous shoes.

Approach Three:
When you say “I dress fashionably”, I’m sure you look terrific. But! Ask Chicagoist wonders if you might be sending out a stronger “gay” signal than you realize? Ask your friends (boys, girls, gay, straight, whatevs) for a quick comportment-check. Maybe there’s some small-small tweek you can make that will keep you off the ladies’ gay-dar, while preserving your fine style.

Final comment:
Something about this question is driving Ask Chicagoist completely nuts. Why are people jumping to ask about your sexual orientation? It says more about their need to make snap judgments than it does about you and your fashion sense. Who are these people? Does the PDA of an attractive and self-assured guy like You have room for Jerks Like These? We think: perhaps not.

Got an issue? Need some advice? Email ask(at)chicagoist(dot)com.