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How can I tell if a guy is gay or not?
Dear Zaida,

How can I tell if a guy is gay or not? I am 17 and it is impossible for me to find guys my own age. I have strong feelings towards some guys, but some of them I really think are gay and some I just wish were.  How can I know for sure? And how should I go about it?

Dear Johnny Quest,

An easy out is to cruise in locations where the community is predominately gay (gay bars, gay community social events, gay chat rooms, etc.). However, in most social settings, there is no quick & easy way to determine who is gay and who is not. Some of us have 'gay-dar', but no matter how perceptive you are, there is no stereotypical prototype for the gay male (despite what homophobes may tell you).

The real question at hand is how to determine who is attracted to you. The best approach is to be friendly. Most people smile back if you smile at them, and if they don't, they're usually not worth your time. You can find a topic of common interest and build a conversation with it. If you ask him casual social and non-sexual questions, you may find clues to his sexuality. After you've warmed up to each other and feel that the conversation is flowing naturally you can give a suggestive clue and see how he responds. If, for example, you are discussing movies, you can say, "Vin Deisel (or insert your fav actor) was hot in that movie. If he responds as if he's uncomfortable, you can discuss another aspect of the film. If his eyes light up, you have something to work with. I would suggest avoiding directly sexual questions on your first encounter. Even if he is gay, too strong of a come on can be a turn off. Unless of course, we are talking about a very sexual setting. For example, if it's 4:00 AM at the gay bar after the hot body contest, then by all means you can be more aggressive.

Body language also speaks volumes. One indication of interest is how comfortable he is getting close to you while talking. For example, if he leans in towards you as he talks or casually rests his hand on your leg while talking, he's probably flirting. A lot be can be said for eye contact, as well. If he pulls the classic glance at the crotch with a lingering smile as the eyes move up the body, then he's definitely giving you signals. Most importantly, keep yourself open to meeting new people and getting involved in gay-friendly activities.

-Zaida

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