Am I being flirted with without knowing it?
August 27, 2011 1:40 AM   Subscribe

I have a question about dating and attraction. It's, admittedly, a little weird, but I've been wondering for a WHILE now...

I ended my engagement about six months ago, and I haven't been able to tell if any girls have been interested in me. On the flip side, though, I have many gay friends and get TONS of attention from the gents at the clubs they frequent. I'm never dishonest; I always say I'm straight if someone buys me a drink and I NEVER lead a guy on (usually mentioning the engagement/dating history with women), and I still get the full-court press. I guess my question is: is there any corollary between the attention I get from the guys at these bars and the attention I don't notice from women (if it exists)? Are women giving me the same attention, just in a different way? I'm pretty hopeless when it comes to the opposite sex, so ANY help would be greatly appreciated.
posted by Capt.DooDooFace to Human Relations (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Males tend to be more aggressive. It may be that you notice it when guys come on to you because they're so much more obvious about it than chicks are. [/end generalization]
posted by goblinbox at 2:17 AM on August 27, 2011 [9 favorites]

Yes, I agree with goblinbox. At least in U.S. culture, though much has changed, women for the most part are still not encouraged to try to buy men drinks or pick them up. Depending on the community, some women won't even look at you directly from afar (only discreetly); it's seen as too forward.

Thankfully there are women who will make the first move, but this amount is far fewer than the number of men who will make the first move.

You're gonna have to be much proactive if you want more dates from women.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 2:23 AM on August 27, 2011

Uh. You're doing something "gay" - not that there's anything wrong with that. But most women pick up on it and if they're the ordinary "feminine" type, they'll avoid you and look for more of an "alpha male" type. You probably come across as very submissive, or the way you dress as too far from male stereotypes.

As to what you're doing... try getting a male wingman to tell you; it's probably obvious. If you're desperate enough, there are 1-on-1 pickup artistry coaching services available, though the fees tend to be in the hundreds of dollars for a few nights from what I've accidentally read.
posted by harwons at 2:24 AM on August 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Is it possible that your female friends and acquaintances think you are gay? (Since you have a lot of gay friends and go to gay bars). They might be not flirting with you because they made the wrong assumptions.
posted by lollusc at 2:25 AM on August 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Some gay guys think that straight (or "straight") guys are hot. Go to craigslist M4M, search for "straight", see what I mean? You could also be bisexual, pansexual, curious, whatever.

Summary: the fact that you date women does not mean that you won't have sex with men! "Not interested, thanks" or the polite equivalent would be the key to avoiding the full court press.

Anyway, yeah, guys are like this.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:38 AM on August 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


So guys are flirting with you in gay bars. . . well, duh. . . the clue is in the name. Guys in a gay bar/club are going to, quite naturally, assume you're gay until you tell them otherwise. All this attention could actually mean you come across as 'straight acting' rather 'gay acting' since, like the young rope-rider said, some gay guys are attracted to 'straight acting' men because they perceive them to be more masculine and manly.

As for the girls. . . If you're not ready for a new relationship then you're perhaps not being very assertive with your vibe-giving-off, which would explain why they're not seeming to respond.
posted by davidjohnfox at 2:47 AM on August 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Are you flirting with women and do they know it? While we often like to think of things as equal these days a lot of women still expect the man to initiate things.
posted by bindasj at 3:16 AM on August 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

The difference isn't in what you're doing, it's in what they're doing - they're actually hitting on you.

Women don't tend to do this partly because of traditional gender roles, and partly because men who are not interested may say yes anyway, 'cause it's a body, and they don't want to put themselves in that position.

If you are interested in a woman, do not hang about trying to discern whether she's attracted to you or not, just hit on her. At a certain point, directly ask her out using the word "date". Then watch for the signs of UNattraction. If the woman declines on the basis that she's busy or for some other practical reason, consider that noise, and ask her again on a later occasion. If she declines a second time, for whatever reason, assume nonattraction and move on. Since you've already asked her twice, she knows you're attracted to her and the ball is in her court to come back to you about it.

PUAs are told to adopt the mindset that they should assume a woman is attracted to them until they are more or less directly told to go away. I don't recommend you become a preposterous arrogant jerk, nor think to yourself "she wants me! my plan is working!" when all she said was "pass the salt". However, there is something to be said for starting from the assumption that women will be attracted to you and holding that thought until it is actually disproved.
posted by tel3path at 5:07 AM on August 27, 2011 [5 favorites]

Okay true story: I was walking down the street in the Castro with my husband (admittedly on Halloween which is a big party there) and two guys came up and said. "ooh straight boy, delicious" there's no friggin way anything like that would EVER happen with a yes, if the gay boys find you cute they are going to tell you and be aggressive straight or not and if women find you cute not so much. The good news is that the attention you are getting from gays probably verifies that you are good looking and now you need to (politely, respectfully non-douchebaggery) go hit on some ladies.
posted by bananafish at 7:35 AM on August 27, 2011

Another thing to think about is whether you were getting attention from women before your engagement. When did you start dating your ex? Was it because you were the aggressor? Have you become a lot more tentative to hit on girls after the emotional trauma that you went through? This could help you identify if there's a change in yourself that is leading to your concern here.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:54 AM on August 27, 2011

Ummm.......if you are a man and hanging out at gay bars, you are likely to get attention from gay men.
Try a different sort of bar, maybe?
But women don't generally come on to guys so brazenly anyway. We are much more subtle, donchaknow.
posted by SLC Mom at 9:29 AM on August 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

There are all kinds of reasons why this might be, many of which have been mentioned already.

Another possibility is that you're not putting off any sort of "I'm looking to meet someone tonight" vibe when you're at the gay bar. You're relaxed and casual because there is no pressure to impress. This can come across as confidence, and confidence is sexy. Alternatively, it can come across as aloofness, which sometimes makes people respond with something along the lines of: "Why the hell isn't this guy paying me any attention? I'll show him how hot I am!"

I've had similar experiences, and this is the theory that one of my friends came up with. It's also his theory about why women hit on him all the time (even in gay bars!), despite his having no interest in them. I think there is probably something to this theory. I mean, hell, he once got hit on by a straight a gay bar...on Pride Day.
posted by asnider at 9:39 AM on August 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'd be willing to guess that most of the guys who flirt with you don't really want to sleep with you — or at least, aren't making a serious effort to sleep with you. They just enjoy flirting with you. And why not? Flirting is fun! But so keep in mind that the attention you're getting in gay bars probably means "Hey, you're funny and clever and fun to joke around with," and not "Let's fuck" or "I want to be your boyfriend."

You won't see that sort of casual flirtation between a straight men and a straight woman very often. Generally, in the straight bar scene, a woman who gives you any sort of flirty attention is signaling very, very serious intent. And a woman who just thinks you're fun to chat with will be quite careful to keep her tone non-flirtatious, lest you "get the wrong idea" and think she's hitting on you after all. (Hell, as tel3path points out, even if a woman is seriously interested in you, she might still try to keep her tone non-flirtatious, for fear of being labeled as "slutty" or "easy" or "desperate.")

So it sounds to me like you're getting basically the same reaction at both straight and gay bars: "Hey, you're fun to chat with, I'd like to keep hanging out, but it's not like I'm gonna insist on taking you home and fucking your brains out right this instant." It's just that gay bar culture and straight bar culture have two very different ways of conveying that same message.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:59 AM on August 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

We used to have a saying...

"You know you're something if the gay boys love you!"

That is all.

(used in the context of gay boys being all flirty and fawning upon us girls at a club when we were dressed fabulously enough. works for you, too.)
posted by jbenben at 8:41 PM on August 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Guys will actively flirt at people. Girls allow you to flirt at them. Stop looking for the same cues. She won't be actively interested, she'll be open to the possibility. (This is actually a lie. She will be actively interested, and flirting at you. But you won't see it, and it it isn't useful to find out the facts, but how they facts will present themselves to you.) So if she is creating opportunities for you to flirt, you're supposed to take those.

Guys also flirt with a shotgun. Pull both triggers, and see what birds you hit. So yeah, they'll flirt at you. Worst case scenario, you say no. That's already where they are at with you anyway, so why not try? Their chances with won't go any lower. You are pretty much the easiest to flirt with because, ironically, there's no risk of rejection with you. When you reject them, you only made a statement about yourself (hey, I'm straight), and no judgement of them. But when a gay man rejects them, that carries with a judgement of not good enough.

Also, girls get nervous, too. They can (ahem, will) be afraid of rejection. Doing things that (from their perspective) increase the likelihood that you may reject them will make it harder for them to pursue you. Hanging out at gay bars will do this (sorry). They won't (or don't) necessarily think you are gay, but wonder if you are experimenting, trying to find yourself, curious, or whatever else they're calling it these days. Heck, if they thought you were gay, they could more openly flirt, because the rejection wouldn't hurt (see above). But the rejection will hurt if they think you are "experimenting", because that does become a judgement about them.
posted by BurnChao at 2:23 AM on August 28, 2011

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