Sizing up someone else’s sexuality clearly isn’t my strong suit. When dog park guy came back 30 minutes later (he forgot the tennis balls), I was glad to have someone cool to talk to about something other than neutering. But when he suggested we get coffee, I balked, suggested we do a group thing sometime in the distance future for fear of the unknown. I asked my friend, who’d tagged along, if she thought he was gay. She said something like “could be, could be not.”
Was I ignoring the obvious or turning more screws into my spinsterhood? Or was it that I was looking for an excuse? A sheet of paper I could give Frances, my mother, that read, “Listen, it’s not her fault you don’t have grandkids, blame it on the gays, signed Dr. What’s-His-Guts.” If dude was gay, well then obviously it wasn’t going to work out.
The very next day I employed similar subterfuge at my regular Sunday watering hole. The chef who lets kisses on the cheek flow like unlimited mimosas asked me out on a date. Perfectly nice guy, but he’d been in my gay file for months, and I can’t for the life of me remember how he got there. Was it something he said? That chunky, black turtleneck he slips into after his shift is done? I asked one of the waitresses what she thought—“Not at all! But I wouldn’t be surprised if he was.” Nobody wants to commit these days.
Thing is I wouldn’t be attracted to him anyway. Not enough meat on his bones. Plus, I go to this place every Sunday and don’t want it to be weird (read: get cut off from unlimited mimosas) if and when things fall apart. Even so, the real snag in this plot is that I have no proof that any of these guys are, in fact, gay. Gay-ish? Maybe. But ready for a ride on the party bus down to Tangy Town—not so much.
Maybe my real job as Inspector Gayness is to beat them to the punch before I get outed as an asshole. Or perhaps it’s too late for that.
Helena Andrews is a regular contributor to The Root. Her book, Bitch Is The New Black, will be released this summer. Follow her on Twitter.