It seems to be something only young people concern themselves about. Reuben is not the only person who has ever asked me. While I am not saying anything radical or outrageous, input or thoughts are welcome from any gay readers I may have. Of course straight readers are welcome too. I am very accommodating.
The question is simple. How can you tell if someone is gay or not, by looking at them or talking to them? The easy answer is of course you can't. Even at my age, I am prone to saying, oh, I didn't pick that one.
While personal grooming and clothing used to be a pretty well sure thing, it does not work in modern times. Should you come across a guy with excellent personal grooming and he is well turned out and you are strolling in Upper Kombuctor West, you might be right to have your suspicions, but guys like that are as common as blow flies in your inner city areas. It won't normally hurt to give them a decent glance. They dress to seek attention and admiration and they don't mind who it comes from.
But I think Reuben was thinking more along the lines of picking up another gay in the street. This is not hard. It is just a matter of meeting someone's eyes for slightly too long. Pausing just after passing. Looking back to see if they are looking back once past. Hesitating. Not my style really, but a smile might work. I have been the recipient of such a knowing smile on a tram.
If you are focused on someone and it seems like 'game on', you can be more obvious. A slight lick of the lips perhaps. Thumb in the pants pocket and hand framing the bits. A hand inside your shirt and a rub of your chest. Nowadays, with short shirts and low pants, a lean back to show some stomach is probably good, assuming it is in better shape than mine.
Perhaps I was thinking about this post this morning. I took some time to observe a couple of people this morning.
One was a guy who walked across the street. Well groomed, nicely dressed, good hair, smart sun glasses even though it was overcast. Not enough to be conclusive really, but the gleam of moisturiser on his face gave him away. GAY.
Next were four school boys on a tram, all from the same school and of a similar age, perhaps seventeen. Three sat together and one sat alone. Ok, loner, clue one. Very neatly dressed for a school lad. Tie was neat with shirt buttoned up to the collar, unlike the other three slobs. Something very shiny on his jacket, a badge. Maybe he is a prefect. Hair cut, good but the clincher, perfectly plucked and shaped eyebrows. I was sure. GAY. But then he left the tram and he had such a masculine walk and carriage that just did not fit in with him being gay.
So there you go. You just can't tell and no end of stereotypes will always hold true.