How can I subtly let people know that I'm gay?
December 21, 2010 2:55 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to know if there are any others who have people who are not into the scene or online dating to let people know, subtly, that I may play for the other team.

This is actually sort of two questions in one.

Basically, is there some way to let people know, subtly, that I am gay?*

I am not openly gay, that may be the main problem here. If people ask, I am honest, but I'm not one to flaunt the fact that I am more interested in men. In fact, there are a few people I've told this fact, and they were quite taken aback, and have asked me several times if I'm sure or if I'm joking >.< What am I doing wrong, lol? :)

More details:
I'm only out for the last 11 months (thereabouts) to family and close friends. Will be 33 in the new year. Family, in an unexpected twist, actually expected it, so all is good there. I came out because there was someone I was interested in dating, and I did not want to drop a bomb on my family suddenly "I'm married... to... this cute guy here!" (everyone faints). Having no dating experience of the sort, that fell through but I do believe I have learned from the experience :)

And here's another aspect about me. The gay scene (I'm currently working in London, UK) does not interest me. I'm just *that* introverted, 5 minutes in a crowded pub and I really need to just head home and read a book. I'm also signed up on OKC, however, my gut tells me it's not right for me at the time of this writing.

Now, don't get me wrong - I'm not looking for someone, per say. If it happens, cool, but I'm really enjoying single life at the moment, most nights and weekends I'm either drawing, learning saxophone, books, out doing photography, exploring another part of the uk etc. It's just that maybe, maybe if I find someone nice, how can I you know, find out about the other party, or let him know?

Hope it's not too long and confusing :) Thanks!

*I found some askmes with similar question for females who want females, however I think that particular asker is way more outgoing that me :)
posted by Kamen Rider: Sock Puppet to Human Relations (18 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure what your question is: you want to date same-sex people on OkCupid? Just say that then! If you're shy/introverted that's a great solution for you... But I think I'm missing something...
posted by sweetkid at 3:06 PM on December 21, 2010

I think on the female-meeting-female thing the suggestion of a subtle rainbow pin or bumper sticker was one of the more obvious-yet-understated things you could wear on your person. Most other things break down into bad stereotyping or too-subtle sorts of things. If you're on OKC you may want to check out other gay men's profiles to see what sorts of indicators people have [other than the obvious Men Seeking Men] to get across their various predilections.
posted by jessamyn at 3:14 PM on December 21, 2010

Could you list that you're interested in men (and single) on Facebook? Anyone who's interested in you is probably going to check your Facebook page sooner or later.
posted by ripley_ at 3:16 PM on December 21, 2010

Best answer: You want people to know that you're gay so that they can introduce you to/set you up with friends of the appropriate sex, right? Easiest way is just to mention things in casual conversation in the same way a straight person would do unthinkingly. When someone is talking about flirting, dating, etc., toss in an appropriate anecdote of your own. "Oh my gosh, I know just what you're talking about. I saw the cutest boy the other day, but I was just way too shy to go up and say anything!" or "Gosh, this guy I dated last year would never go out for sushi with me. It was a total pain, because it's my favorite!"

Once a few friends know, they'll probably all know. (Because someone will be talking about setting you up with a cute girl, and someone else will say, "Nope! Better make that a cute boy!") And then the worst you'll probably have to put up with is the occasional setup that doesn't seem to be based on anything other than "Well. you're gay and Bob's gay... you should go have a drink!"
posted by MsMolly at 3:17 PM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]

oh oops you said no OKC. In that case, I'd echo what_ripley said
posted by sweetkid at 3:25 PM on December 21, 2010

Best answer: I totally understand how difficult it can be trying to make other gay friends when you're not 'one of the girls'. Luckily you're not the only non-scene guy in England and there are ways to meet other guys like you.

Have you tried Out Everywhere? It's social networking for gay blokes. I don't use it so I can't vouch for it, but apparently it's specifically for gay men looking for friendships without the sex. Or if you're into outdoors-y stuff, try OutdoorLads. They run group activities for gay men (although straights aren't banned) at stuff like rock-climbing, walking, camping etc etc. If you're into Football... well, there are quite a few gay teams in london, some, are high quality and competitive, others like the Leftfooters welcome all abilities (even first-timers) and run an pick-up game every sunday. The post-practice socialising is completely optional. If you're into team sport then you'll find a gay team for almost any sport.

Otherwise, it's completely OK to use websites like Gaydar or Eurowoof to socialise and make friends. Not everyone on them is cruising for sex and you don't have to put any revealing pictures of yourself on your profile.
posted by davidjohnfox at 3:31 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It sounds to me like a lot of your problem is stemming from your introversion. It is really, really hard to meet people (of any gender/orientation) if you don't get out there much. And, in my experience of being bi, it is also harder to meet same-sex partners in settings where introverted people tend to meet potential romantic interests - largely because there just aren't as many gay people at work, in structured activities or workshops, etc. This means that you have to try a little harder, and put yourself out there a little more. Dating online can help a lot with this, in my experience.

But OK, let's say you're not having trouble meeting gay people, you're having trouble getting them to notice you. If you are pretty damn sure that the person in question is gay and is single, available, etc. then why not just ask them out? Or if the few gay people you know are not attractive to you or are not in a position for you to date, what I would do is make some conversational reference that revealed your orientation in a subtle way (mentioning a past romantic situation with correct pronouns intact, mentioning some LGBT-oriented activity you participate in). That way they'd know you were gay, and maybe you could get to be friends and they would introduce you to people that it would be appropriate for you to date.

Getting involved with LGBT organizations can also be a good way to meet gay people in a context where everyone there is assumed to also be gay. New York has a Lesbian And Gay Community Center which holds a lot of social events, most of which are not party/clubbing/alcohol related. They even do speed dating nights and singles events. Or if you're interested in volunteering or charity work, I'm sure there are some local organizations you could get involved with.

But, yeah, honestly, the absolute easiest way to get around this is to sign up with an online dating service and specify that you are a man interested in men. Then you don't have to use any social skills or invest any time with outside activities, you just say "Hi I'm Gay And Looking To Meet Men."
posted by Sara C. at 3:35 PM on December 21, 2010

(Er, could I suggest that either you or a mod edit the above-the-cut question here? Right now it doesn't make any grammatical sense [to me at least] which makes it harder to know how to approach your question.)
posted by maryr at 3:46 PM on December 21, 2010

Best answer: You are really going to have to make a real lifelong goal of being more assertive. It gets easier the longer you keep at it.

Look, I sympathize. I've been incredibly shy my whole life. And the first couple years of college, when I was actually out in the world and could meet whomever and date whomever without facing any real reprisals for it were really terrible -- I'd desperately wish for someone to talk to me, and then if they did, I'd get out of the conversation ASAP because I was too nervous, or because I was afraid of seeming too desperate, or whatever. I never mentioned I was gay to people because I didn't want them to think I was hitting on them -- even if I was attracted to them!

The key to letting people you're attracted to know you're gay is by paying them specific and nuanced attention. There really aren't that many reasons for two non-gay dudes who don't know each other to talk about more than just superficial matters. Ask him getting-to-know-you questions, and he'll think, "Wow, this guy really wants to get to know me. Maybe he's gay."

As for people you're not interested in, it's easy to let them know pretty early on with a joke or sly remark. Like if they say you look nice, you could come back with, "You think so? Well, I'm single, so if you have any gorgeous male friends, be sure to send them my way!" If it's played off like a joke then they won't take it very seriously at all. You're just cleverly broadcasting your availability and preference.

There's no law that says everyone gets to have romantic sexytimes. You have to participate in the world if you really want them, and that means being able to play the world's games. Maybe that means spending five minutes in a pub finding the guy you'd most like to talk to, asking him if you can buy him a drink, and then halfway through the drink asking him if he'd like to go somewhere quieter. Maybe it means maintaining an online profile and checking in with it once a week just in case. But you can't expect the world, or any one dude, to meet you 3/4 of the way.
posted by hermitosis at 3:53 PM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]

Best answer: It is really, really hard to meet people (of any gender/orientation) if you don't get out there much.

Yep. For what it's worth, I (lesbian) have never met a girlfriend at a bar. I've always met partners through friends or through work or through some group activity.

Maybe gay (men's) groups in the UK are totally different from those in the US, but at least in major cities, there are groups for everything. Find an art group or an amateur musician group or a photography group - something focused on a thing you like. If it's mixed-sex even better - more people who can set you up with their friends!
posted by rtha at 4:05 PM on December 21, 2010

Best answer: Seconding with rtha said. The "gay scene" in any major city is much more than bars (I presume that's what you mean). A quick google, for example, brought up this gay men's book club in London. I really urge you to find some community. Your post, especially your use of the term "flaunt," makes me think you're not comfortable with yourself yet, and that will be hard to accomplish if you're not comfortable with other gay men.
posted by Wordwoman at 5:13 PM on December 21, 2010

This might be fun and helpful!
posted by Wordwoman at 5:19 PM on December 21, 2010

Best answer: This reminds me of a conversation I once had with a girl I had a crush on. I thought she was probably gay because of her hairstyle and I wanted to let her know I was too. So she says, "My favorite 80s movie star is Molly Ringwald." And I say, "no, Ally Sheedy was totally better in The Breakfast Club, and amazing in High Art." (which is a lesbian movie.) That exchange was enough for us to recognize each other as queer.

So if you want subtle ways to find out if someone else is gay, referencing gay culture is a good way to go. I agree it's great to be more direct, but sometimes it doesn't come up naturally when you're getting to know someone to talk about your crushes or past relationships. It might feel more natural to talk about books and movies and music that you like, and just mention some that have gay themes.

Putting a little rainbow button on your bag is good too.
posted by zahava at 5:28 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Basically, is there some way to let people know, subtly, that I am gay?*

I am not openly gay, that may be the main problem here.


I'm not trying to be snarky, but guys who are in the closet meet other guys either online or in gay bars. If you're ruling those out, the only options you have left are, er, maybe public toilets or cruising spots in the woods.

If you look at what zahava said, you'll see that a lot of "meeting people" is actually a back-and-forth. If you're still in the closet, still caring about who knows, you're not meeting them halfway.

Everyone's recommendations - joining clubs, going online, referencing gay-culture things - are good. But they all involve minor moments of coming out.
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 6:04 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

I think fugitivefromchaingang is spot-on. I don't want to presume to know about your situation--you might have lots of reasons not to want to share your sexual orientation with casual strangers--but it's really hard to meet same-sex dates when you're not out as gay or bi.

Putting your status on Facebook or a little button on your backpack or bookbag may be enough to do the trick. Also, one of the best ways to meet people (especially for shy people) is through friends, so if your friends don't know you're gay, maybe that's a good place to start.

If that works for you, of course. If it feels more important to you to be in the closet than to date right now, only you can make that choice for yourself. But if you're not out, it's really going to be hard to meet dates without going online or to cruising spots.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:19 PM on December 21, 2010

Thank you for posting this question. It gives one a measure of comfort to know that others out there are also dealing with these challenges.
posted by Nomyte at 6:53 PM on December 21, 2010

I second Nomyte's answer.
posted by antgly at 8:29 PM on December 21, 2010

Response by poster: Hey mefites!
Thank you very much for your answers. In retrospect, I think I should have phrased my question simpler and not ramble as such:

I'm already attending various group activities as mentioned above (drawing, photography) but have no idea who plays for the other side, and I'd like to give out subtle clues.

That said. the responses are marvelous, and some of them have got me thinking more about this side of myself. I definitely agree that I need to socialize more, in a socialization sense. Even though I do say I am attending group activities, I know I tend to get very focused on what I'm doing to the exclusion of everything around me.

I also may not have looked into the "scene" deep enough - I have not realized there were such websites mentioned by davidjohnfox, will definitely look into it.

Again, thanks everyone, this has given me alot to beanplate about :D
posted by Kamen Rider: Sock Puppet at 3:32 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

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