do you think my new boyfriend is bisexual or gay? or maybe just a little metro?
September 16, 2012 4:55 PM   Subscribe

do you think my new boyfriend is bisexual or gay? or maybe just a little metro?

we've known each other for about 8 months now, dated almost half that time, and officially became boyfriend/girlfriend a little over a month ago. he's a very literary musician. i've always thought i had pretty good gaydar, and the thought NEVER occurred to me until recently...

potentially worrisome:
- he occasionally makes comments about other guys' appearances when we're out (i.e. "his eyes are so blue"). i can't really remember him ever saying anything similar about another girl in front of me.
- in fact, he's said some specifically negative things about other girls' clothes... like "ugh, high-waisted pants don't look good on anyone..."
- he always compliments me on my clothes (i.e. "cute dress" or "cute shoes" or "you always look so good" or "i love the way you dress"). (to be fair, he also compliments my hair and skin and face and other things, but i feel like the clothing and jewelry compliments are the most frequent.)
- he has a lot of shoes.
- he saw my nails the other day and knew that it was called a french manicure.
- he's very clean and tidy and well-groomed (he doesn't shave his chest, but does keep his nether regions nicely shorn)
- we spent a solid hour or two online the other day picking out glasses for each other to order
- he frequently asks my opinion of his clothes.
- he bought me conditioner and face wash to keep at his apartment. (which i thought was sweet and thoughtful at the time, but...i don't know.)

but at the same time:
- we have amazing sex and frequently. he likes to initiate. and he also loves going down on me and does so as often as he can. he likes and is very vocal about liking all of my girl parts and thinking i'm hot and sexy and pretty.
- he has had a lot of girlfriends, two of which were long-term relationships. (i know this doesn't necessarily mean anything. but i mean, maybe he's just used to girls being a certain way and talking about girl-type things?)
- he comes from a very liberal, progressive family, so i don't know why it would be something he'd feel like he had to hide. (although i understand, it's never as simple as that.)
- he's super-affectionate-touchy-feely and seems to genuinely be attracted to me and care about me.
- i haven't gotten any weird vibes about any of his guy friends or their interactions or anything of the sort.
- while i think he dresses nicely, it's not designer-y or over-the-top or too terribly thought-out or anything. just sort of simple and classic and i think he said his mom bought him several of his shirts. i crazy? i really like him a lot.

i'll apologize in advance for my ignorance about these matters... i really don't mean to stereotype, and i know that there are effeminate straight men and hyper-masculine gay men and so on and so forth. (and i'm used to dating men who are pretty stereotypically masculine, even though i definitely prefer more sensitive, artsy types...)
posted by happyjuice to Human Relations (70 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Probably you shouldn't make weird assumptions about his sexuality unless you actually see him having sex with another man.

Your list of "potentially worrisome" behaviors is actually kind of offensive, tbh.
posted by elizardbits at 4:58 PM on September 16, 2012 [198 favorites]

If your boyfriend is gay, so is my husband. But he's not gay, because he's not attracted to men (and I hear that's the important part), so.... I'm guessing your boyfriend is not gay. But you could always ask him if he's ever felt sexually attracted to men.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:58 PM on September 16, 2012 [18 favorites]

- we have amazing sex and frequently. he likes to initiate. and he also loves going down on me and does so as often as he can. he likes and is very vocal about liking all of my girl parts and thinking i'm hot and sexy and pretty.
The guy likes fucking women. He's not gay. Everything else if just his character.
posted by Jehan at 4:59 PM on September 16, 2012 [33 favorites]

Have you asked him? Because really, the only criteria that matter are a) does he like to sleep with women and b) does he like to sleep with men. Neither of which random people on the internet can answer.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:00 PM on September 16, 2012 [16 favorites]

None of the things you cite are meaningful at all in determining someone's sexuality. You know what is? Who he chooses to date and sleep with. Which at the moment is you, and would suggest that he is attracted to you, a female.

Only he knows exactly where on the spectrum of sexuality he falls. Maybe ask him? Or maybe don't, because it sounds like there's no reason at all to suspect that he's anything other than what he presents as, which is straight.
posted by charmcityblues at 5:00 PM on September 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm a straight man. I have opinions on clothes and like things that look good. It's just having taste. It's no indicator of being straight or gay.

If he's enthusiastic about doing it with you, a woman, he is probably straight. So go on with your relationship, leave the term "metrosexual" in 2007 sitcoms where it belongs, and live happily ever after.
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:01 PM on September 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

The ONLY thing that definitely makes a guy gay or bi is whether he likes to fuck other guys. None of the items on your list point to that.
posted by desjardins at 5:01 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

we have amazing sex and frequently. he likes to initiate. and he also loves going down on me and does so as often as he can. he likes and is very vocal about liking all of my girl parts and thinking i'm hot and sexy and pretty.

I am going to go with he is straight.
posted by mlis at 5:01 PM on September 16, 2012 [10 favorites]

Only the first item in the "worrisome" category could be indicative of anything other than good taste non-stereotypical masculinity. It's possible that he's bi, it's possible that he's not. I'd ask him, and then stop worrying about it regardless of answer, since he seems to be in to you just fine.
posted by feckless at 5:03 PM on September 16, 2012

How people present their masculinity is highly variant...I've dated stereotypically "masculine-passing" men who looked better in skirts than I do. Likewise, I know plenty of gay men who don't know a damn thing about fashion, makeup, or shoes.

But I sense that perhaps, you feel like his masculine sexual prowess does not line up with how he is outside of the bedroom. The underlying question of all this is: does his gender presentation bother you? Because sexuality has fairly little to do with it.

He isn't going to change; it would be wrong to ask him to change. You're going to either have to be okay with him - acquired feminine knowledge and all - or let him go.
posted by Ashen at 5:04 PM on September 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Your worry based on your description is silly. But, I had a female friend whose boyfriend disclosed that he'd had a steady boyfriend in college for two years. he said he wasn't gay or bisexual anymore, and that made no sense to her. It wasn't something she ever suspected. Suffice to say, they broke up and he's not her problem anymore.
posted by discopolo at 5:05 PM on September 16, 2012

Side note: that should be "feminine" knowledge, in quotes, because I firmly believe that those things are not the domain of a specific gender. Yeah.
posted by Ashen at 5:06 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

He's sexually attracted to you. You are sexually attracted to him, right? Then you're good. Everything you listed as "worrisome" points solely to the fact that you've got a lot of preconceived notions about sexuality affecting other aspects of personality, and also the probability that your boyfriend is a little bit vain. That's okay though, as long as he's got his priorities in order. If he's bisexual, would that be a problem for you? (Please note that bisexual people come in every flavor of monogamous to polyamorous as every other person and being attracted to people with different genitalia has no bearing on if he would do anything about it without your consent.) Is his continued attention to his appearance and those of the people around him going to be a problem for you? If not, then you have nothing to worry about.
posted by Mizu at 5:09 PM on September 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

A few have so far suggested that you simply ask him. I'd suggest you don't. If he is as you describe, he's probably had his sexuality questioned plenty of times over the year, particularly by assholes in high school, and he doesn't need to be questioned on it anymore.

If you like him, have fun and get over his shoe fetish.
posted by etc. at 5:12 PM on September 16, 2012 [14 favorites]

I like clothes, like talking about clothes with my girlfriend, sometimes mention other men's physical appearance, and am straight.

Why do you find it "worrisome" that he could be bisexual? I don't understand. Pretty much anyone might be bisexual for all you know. (Even if they say otherwise, they might be lying.) Why waste time worrying about this?
posted by John Cohen at 5:17 PM on September 16, 2012 [7 favorites]

The great thing about a hard on is that its usually difficult to fake. Especially when one is having frequent sex, as you two are.

He likes you, a lot. You like him, a lot. Go with that and work on ignoring the the strange voice in your head that says he's gay or bi. Whatever, he's into you.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:19 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Is your boyfriend gay? Likely not. Is he bi? Possible, I suppose, but nothing you've mentioned gives me reason to believe so. Is he straight? Very likely.

Frankly, your list of "concerns" is a bit ridiculous. The only thing on that list that doesn't read like an insecure stereotype of what you think a gay man is (or a straight man isn't, as the case may be) is the fact that he frequently comments on the appearance of other men. But, really, unless he tells you that he'd really like to fuck the dude with the extremely blue eyes, I think your concerns are a bit weird.

I know I'm probably coming across like an asshole, but, really, what the hell? Your concerns are actually kind of offensive to both gay and straight men. There isn't a "proper way to be straight/gay." There isn't a proper way to be a man.
posted by asnider at 5:19 PM on September 16, 2012 [32 favorites]

I'm a man, as straight as the day is long, very happily married to my wife, and I exhibit all of those "worrisome" traits. Hell, I've been known to keep my legs shaved at times (for cycling, but still).

If he enjoys sex with women, and is in a relationship with one, he's not gay.
posted by The Michael The at 5:21 PM on September 16, 2012

Seriously, all of them. Just say no to high-waisted pants.
posted by The Michael The at 5:22 PM on September 16, 2012 [19 favorites]

The key to someone's sexuality is where they like to put their bits (or not).

Try to enjoy yourself.
posted by heyjude at 5:27 PM on September 16, 2012

You say that he loves having sex with you, and he usually initiates it.

Unless you are a guy, your boyfriend is not gay.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:28 PM on September 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

Ugh. Labels. He's into you, you're into him, and you're both presumably monogamous. Not much else to say.

And he does sound kinda awesome. Just enjoy the moment.
posted by Leon at 5:29 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I'm with The Michael The on this one. Your list describes me pretty darn well, and I am pretty well completely straight. I just wanted to point out one thing about item #1 on your list. It is perfectly fine for a guy to discuss another guy's appearance with his girlfriend, but it can be problematic to discuss (and especially compliment) another woman's appearance. It may make it seem like he is trying to compare you to her, and maybe he is respectful enough of you to avoid that unpleasantness. It would be a shame to lose a sensitive and thoughtful guy like that due to your stereotypical notions of masculinity.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:30 PM on September 16, 2012 [14 favorites]

am i crazy?

Yes. Kept waiting for the part of the question where he like frenched a dude or summat. Going to go out on a limb here and say the dude who's sexin' you (a lady) on the regular, he probably identifies as straight.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:35 PM on September 16, 2012

My husband not only does all the things your boyfriend does (although he will call out other women for their style or lack thereof, actually), but he also matches his boxers to whatever he's wearing and has a positively Imelda Marcos-ian shoe wardrobe. And he came with his own sewing machine. He has never been intimate with another man nor has he had fantasies about other men.

There are straight guys out there who are just really into this sort of thing.
posted by padraigin at 5:36 PM on September 16, 2012 [6 favorites]

By those criteria, I'm gay.

I, too, have lots of different shoes. I have: My running shoes, which I use for running. My dress shoes, which I have for dressing up. A pair of old running shoes for everyday sneaker use. My sandals, which I wear when it's 100 degrees outside. A pair of slip-on shoes I mainly use when I need to take the trash to the dumpster. A pair of cheap flip-flops I use at the gym. My high-tops, which I use when playing basketball. Some tennis shoes I use to play tennis. Some hiking boot/shoe things. I have more than the wife, which is because I do lots of different things that require different footwear.

I wind out picking out my wife's clothes because she swears nothing fits her and nothing looks good on her but oh look the thing I picked out fits her and looks good on her. Also after years of her watching her fashion TV shows, I've absorbed a lot of their lessons, apparently. Sometimes the women in the dressing room will overhear me and ask for a critique, so I guess it sounds like I know what I'm talking about.

I will make fun of poorly-dressed people.

I know what a French manicure is.

I do NOT use conditioner but I also do NOT have hair so that's not an issue. I do use a particular face wash because I have touchy easily irritated skin and I look terrible if I use other things.

I don't know if I'm objectively clean and neat but I'm cleaner and neater than the wife, who could live in a bombed-out, plague-ridden hovel and go "What dirt? What disease-carrying rats? What unexploded ordinance? It's not that bad!"

Not gay or attracted to dudes.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 5:45 PM on September 16, 2012

i've always thought i had pretty good gaydar

I wonder if this is getting you hung-up. You say later in your question that you know that gay men can be masculine but it sounds like it is a concept to you rather than something based on experience.

I have a relative who is the rocky shoals that many a woman's "gaydar" has foundered upon. He has a blue-collar job that is interesting and that women and men want to talk about, he is a veteran, he plays adult league sports, there is always a ballgame on the tv in his house, he is rugged looking and in great shape. And the way he carries himself is "macho" w/o all the posturing crap and negative connotations that go along with that word. And he is gay.

Over the years I have seen women flirt with him, give him their number, start conversations, it's crazy how much female attention he receives. I am sure some percentage of those women considered they had a well functioning "gaydar".
posted by mlis at 5:50 PM on September 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Are you, perhaps, worried that your boyfriend's gender presentation somehow implies that your *own* gender presentation is not sufficiently feminine?

What would it mean to you if your boyfriend were bisexual? What would you be worried about? I've known a bunch of men who are Kinsey 1's and 2's and 3's, and, really, they're just as honest and faithful and loving with their partners as Kinsey 0's. They vary in their gender presentation just about as much as Kinsey 0's. Some of them are married to women. Some of them are married to men.

What's underlying the worry that your boyfriend is sexually interested in men? He's probably sexually interested in a lot of different kinds of people. But what matters is who he's actually having sex with -- and who he's actually having sex with is you.
posted by endless_forms at 5:51 PM on September 16, 2012 [12 favorites]

Some people are just more vocal with their thoughts ("his eyes are so blue" or commenting on clothes, etc) and he probably feels comfortable enough around you to share what he's thinking.
posted by fromageball at 5:53 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'll go against the grain here and say he is possibly bisexual, or could realize he is bisexual or become bisexual depending on how you see that.

As you've said, he's quite aware how attractive are other men, and while I think the rest of your list doesn't add up to much, it is possible you're just articulating what you've intuited using the limited means of expressing it at your disposal.

I don't think you're going down a good road by pondering this, though.
posted by michaelh at 5:56 PM on September 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

I work in an office completely full of (apparently straight, i.e. are married to or in relationships with women) dudes. Most of them spend the day talking about the relative attractiveness of other dudes. Is it unexpected? Yes. Does it mean that they're gay? Evidently not.
posted by phunniemee at 5:57 PM on September 16, 2012

I've started to type a response and deleted it several times now.

1) If he's fucking you enthusiastically, he isn't gay. End of story.

2) As a gay person, your list of reasons you think otherwise borders on offensive. You are conflating gender identity, gender expression, and sexuality pretty thoroughly here. I don't think your gaydar is as good as you think it is, if these are the kinds of things you think makes somebody gay.

Pretty much the only thing that makes somebody gay/bi is preferring sleeping with somebody of the same gender. All the rest is just stereotyped B.S.
posted by zug at 5:59 PM on September 16, 2012 [9 favorites]

Best answer: Sounds like a straight guy with good taste who is comfortable enough with his masculinity to appreciate handsomeness in other men.

He also sounds like a goddamned unicorn, so maybe you'd better lock that shiz down.
posted by Lieber Frau at 6:00 PM on September 16, 2012 [71 favorites]

All empirical signs point to him not being gay. Bisexual-- no real basis on which to confirm or deny, I suppose, right? Who cares? If the answer is "you", you're within your rights, but it's your issue, not his.

Should note that you're perfectly entitled to have an irrational preference regarding the gender presentation of your significant others-- just don't make it something it isn't.
posted by threeants at 6:01 PM on September 16, 2012

If we're doing the advice thing, I would encourage you to think in terms of real life happenings instead of in terms of labels. Maybe he's straight, maybe he's bisexual-- if he said he once kissed a man and enjoyed it, does that really change the fact that you have great fuckenings and an enjoyable relationship? Again, if that does change something for you, you're entitled to feel that way, but I might counsel that you'd be happier if you didn't.

(Also, I'm not implying that your boyfriend is likely to be queer; just talking on the theoretical level here.)
posted by threeants at 6:06 PM on September 16, 2012

I once worried about this with my now husband. When we first started dating the thought never crossed my mind. Then one day he said something that my brain had some preconceived notion was a "gay" kind of thing to say. I don't even remember what it was now.

Then I started over analyzing and worrying and I started seeing all kinds of things that might have been clues to his hidden gayness! I eventually got so wrapped up with it that I asked him. He said no. Things were kinda weird for a few days and he cited all the things that everyone has said here as proof of his ungayness and we went about our merry way.

Sometimes he says or does something that society has told me is something a gay man would do and it usually makes for a good laugh between us.
Now if only he will start bringing home conditioner and moisturizer for me!
posted by fogonlittlecatfeet at 6:08 PM on September 16, 2012

Who cares?

You guys are dating.

You're having sex.

He initiates and enjoys the sex, and isn't squicked out about your body.

He compliments you a lot.

You guys sound like you have a lot of fun together.

Has queerness ever come up between you before? I mean, would it be completely out of left field for you to ask him about it, or get a feel for gay experiences he might have had in the past, without being all "We Need To Have A Talk"? I'm bi, so maybe it comes up more in my relationships, but I will say that more than half of the (straight-identified) dudes I've been with have told me about gay experiences from their past. It's not uncommon at all. It's not even uncommon for guys to initiate conversations with me about it, or to make offhand comments about vague hand-wavey bi-curious thoughts/fantasies. I might have a little more access to this stuff as a bi woman, but it's not really a taboo thing to talk about with your boyfriend unless he's a raging homophobe.

That said, being well-groomed and liking shoes doesn't make a man gay. Frankly, I'm a bit offended at that idea, if only because I refuse to date smelly dudes who think they can wear flip-flops with a suit.

I would emphatically NOT frame this in the context of "you have good taste in clothes, therefore I think you're secretly gay."
posted by Sara C. at 6:09 PM on September 16, 2012

zug brings up a good point about gender identity and gender expression. Diagram of Sex and Gender is a very useful resource.

I wish there was an additional scale that represented "masculine" and "aesthetic" interests on that diagram b/c that would be helpful.
posted by mlis at 6:12 PM on September 16, 2012

Ask yourself why you're worried about this - I mean, it doesn't sound like he's given any indication that he's looking to leave you or unhappy with your relationship, so why are you worrying? (If you weren't worried, you wouldn't be wondering - it would just be "oh, my boyfriend does [thing] that is not chest-beatingly macho".) Do you feel like your relationship is too good to be true? Did you experience some kind of secret-keeping or betrayal in some other major relationship? What do you expect from relationships?

Also, do you know very many gay guys socially?

As a queer person, I don't find your question offensive...just a little naive. It sounds like you know in theory that gay dudes are many and various but you haven't really had life experience to back that up. That's okay.

Two data points:

1. I am not typically into men. None the less, I have dated them - one even after being out and pretty committed to not being straight. That didn't mean the relationship was a hollow sham; it just meant that we hit it off really well. It doesn't sound like your boyfriend is gay, but you know what? Sometimes people who think of themselves as gay, lesbian or queer have a heterosexual relationship just 'cause. It doesn't mean that those people are any less G, L or Q, or that they're longing to play the field. It just means that for some but not all gay, lesbian and queer folks, sexuality is a bit fluid. What I'm saying is that even if your boyfriend really liked guys, which doesn't seem to be the case, he could still be really into you because you're you.

2. I dated a bisexual guy! It was great! A+++! Would date again! I mean, all it really boiled down to in practical terms was that we sometimes talked about cute guys and he was a bit more sexually open and sophisticated than some straight dudes are. And he was a lot more secure about gender stuff than some straight guys, but that wasn't directly because he was bisexual.

And a third point, just for kicks - back in the day when I thought I was straight, I dated this great guy, a prince among men. Handsome, built, could throw me over his shoulder (and even in youth I wasn't skinny), really liked me a ton. Worked a blue collar gig, had arm muscles, looked sort of like a poster for the Industrial Workers of the World. And not only was he incredibly fussy about his clothes and shoes, he was happy to look at vintage dresses with me. Truly a sterling fellow.

Your guy sounds like he's into girls and grew up in a progressive environment so he isn't too hung up on doing gendered stuff that he doesn't enjoy. He likes dating girls, so he does that. He likes buying shoes, so he does that. Go him. I second the suggestion to lock that shit down.
posted by Frowner at 6:20 PM on September 16, 2012 [9 favorites]

I had a boyfriend who bought me high-quality hair products and body wash to keep at his apartment. My reaction: how sweet and caring! He is also incredibly neat, folds clothes impeccably and is well versed in all soho menswear establishments. And he is now Mr. Keasby. So here's hoping he's not gay! (Seriously: sounds like a great guy who is thoughtful and observant, from your feelings and well-being to his and others appearance.)
posted by keasby at 6:24 PM on September 16, 2012

Did he have sisters and has he ever worked in retail? Sisters train you about what girls want to hear, and retail makes you overly analytical about what people wear and how.

Any number of other social/professional combinations could produce the same result.

Since the "nature" part seems to perform pretty well, I wouldn't worry too much about the "nurture" aspects.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 6:35 PM on September 16, 2012

in fact, he's said some negative things about other girls' clothes... like "ugh, high-waisted pants don't look good on anyone..."
I will make negative comments like that about a girl as a flimsy excuse about why I'm staring at her butt. "Oh, man, her shirt is cut WAY too low!"

he occasionally makes comments about other guys' appearances when we're out (i.e. "his eyes are so blue"). i can't really remember him ever saying anything similar about another girl in front of me.
And I will do this because if I can get my my wife to check out a guy and we chat about it, that puts us on more equal footing so that I can do more of the aforementioned butt-checking-out act without as much guilt. Or, optimally, she will reciprocate by pointing out especially attractive girls to me, time to time.

Just my data point.
posted by ftm at 7:09 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Not. Gay. You are correct, you DO NOT have good gaydar. Not. Gay.
posted by nanook at 7:11 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

If the tables were turned, and a guy was going out with a girl who was into stereotypically guy things like sports, cars, and action movies, I think his guy friends would agree she's a keeper.

Not quite the same thing (obviously it's a lot more common for women to comment on other women's looks), but it kinda puts things in perspective.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 7:12 PM on September 16, 2012

An appreciation of aesthetics doesn't equal homosexuality. Shit, David is one of the most aesthetically sculptures in history, does it "make me gay" to appreciate it's beauty?

I'd like to think that I'm comfortable enough in my heterosexuality to appreciate the looks of a hot guy.

I still want to know why I didn't get the memo that shoe color doesn't matter anymore.
posted by Sphinx at 7:23 PM on September 16, 2012

I'm going to be the devil's advocate here. It sounds to me like

Just kidding. He isn't gay. He also sounds pretty cool.
posted by 4ster at 7:29 PM on September 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

My guess is that he's an aesthetically-oriented guy, since that's what the majority of things you've mentioned involve. As others have said, he probably does notice women's appearances, but just doesn't comment on them because he knows that's usually not a good idea when your girlfriend is around.

The straight men I've known who are willing to comment on clothes and other men's appearances have generally been really awesome, by the way. And good in the sack, as you mention. There's a lot of confidence there.

Do you think there might be a part of you that is made uncomfortable with his expressing this more culturally-defined "feminine" side? There have been a few AskMes from people who wanted their female partners to act or dress more feminine because it gave them more room to ask masculine - is there a chance that's happening here?
posted by the essence of class and fanciness at 7:38 PM on September 16, 2012

I don't really think the internet can answer this question for you. I also don't think you or he should answer this question for you, because asking it puts you in a not great place, relationship-wise. I think you have to just keep dating him.

Things are good, right? Well, good! If things stop being good, then they're not good and you will have to make decisions based on them being not good, but this is really... not a productive thing you're trying to examine, understandable as your interest may be.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:39 PM on September 16, 2012

I dated a guy like this for a while. Add to it that for about two years prior to dating me he never ever talked about his personal life at work. Everyone was convinced he was gay. No, he was just having an affair with a married woman they all knew.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 7:44 PM on September 16, 2012

I don't think you need to be "worried" about the possibility that he's attracted to men, any more than the possibility he's attracted to other women.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:46 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sounds like my boyfriend, and I highly appreciate all the qualities on both of your lists. So, here's my question: you say this hasn't occurred to you at all until recently. What happened exactly that brought this on?

I don't want to speculate too much, and I apologize if I'm wrong, but based on the timeline of your relationship, this sounds to me like an "oh my god we are recently exclusive and what if it's too good to be true?" thing.

Unless there's something you're not mentioning, you have nothing to worry about, as far as I can tell. And nthing locking that shit down, because any man that wants to go down on you as often as he can and gets you conditioner and face wash to make sure you're comfortable in his space is a keeper.
posted by dysh at 7:57 PM on September 16, 2012

I don't think this is a naïve thing, or a you-don't-know-queer people thing, or anything like that.

I think some of this is actually about newer, broader understandings of things, and trying to pick your way through those landmines.

What's the big deal if he's bisexual? Well, if you're insecure about the relationship, it gives you twice as many people to be afraid of. And the "but what if he really likes something that isn't me better" gets a bit louder.

You translate things through your experiences, and you're used to these as red flags. Relax. Yes, he might be "metrosexual", but he undoubtedly seems to love the ladies. Come back in six months if this changes.
posted by corb at 8:51 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

It doesn't sound like you actually prefer the "sensitive artist types" because now that you are dating one you are worrying that his non-normative masculinity means something is wrong with him or your relationship.

And yes, your list of reasons he might be gay is cringe-worthy. You didn't find gay porn on his laptop, he bought you moisturizer and complimented your outfit.

I think you really need to examine why you think these things would indicate that he's gay. Are you really attracted to a man like him or are you wishing he would be more stereotypically "male"?
posted by inertia at 10:01 PM on September 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

I just checked your earlier questions. Is this the shy guy you had a crush on? The one who complimented your dress?

I would like to apologize for bringing up "aspiring fashion designer" and "cross-dresser" as alternate explanations for why he complimented your dress. It was a joke.* If that played any part in seeding your current insecurities, I'm very sorry.

*And a cross-dressing fashion designer could still be straight.

But think about it, a couple months ago, saying he liked your dress was a sign he might like you. Now you're trying to use it as a sign that he's gay? If he's dating you and having sex with you, I think you should stick with the former meaning.
posted by RobotHero at 10:45 PM on September 16, 2012

I can think of at least three men I have known who fit those bullet points you listed, and none of them are gay. Heck, one of them is me. So there's that.
posted by davejay at 10:54 PM on September 16, 2012

Although I agree that the OP's speculations are totally unsubstantiated, no one here should be so confident as to say the boyfriend is definitely straight, or how probable it is for him to be bisexual or gay. The only reasonable answer we could provide is that we wouldn't know, but reiterate that characteristics have nothing to do with sexuality itself, and try to be perceptive all the while enjoying what you've got. But those who keep saying sexuality is all about sex and with that reasoning conclude the boyfriend is straight is also being too simplistic. And cut her some slack, as if no one here ever speculated someone's sexuality by their behavior, especially if you really like someone. It doesn't justify the foolishness or inaccuracy of the assumptions, but it's a pretty common and understandable mistake and tendency. There's no need to talk down to her as if you were personally offended by the possibility that someone may one day question your own sexuality.
posted by snufkin5 at 12:00 AM on September 17, 2012 [5 favorites]

Clearly he's not gay since he is sexually attracted to you. Maybe he's bisexual. Would that be a problem?
posted by univac at 12:15 AM on September 17, 2012

This i feel like the clothing and jewelry compliments are the most frequent and this and he also loves going down on me and does so as often as he can. he likes and is very vocal about liking all of my girl parts and thinking i'm hot and sexy and pretty. make me think that he's possibly transgendered, or has transgendered feelings. There are other things to look for, although they're not foolproof, of course, and you could just have a nice guy.

Why did I have the instinctive reaction I did to your post? Because I've dated five people who turned out to be trans of some sort. Two who later transitioned to FtM and two who while we were dating transitioned to MtF. One was a crossdresser. Things I noticed, especially in the beginning before they "came out": higher than usual interest in clothing, particularly women's clothing. Higher than usual interest in things involving makeup and hair. Is your boyfriend avoidant of penetrative sex? Or is it at least infrequent? Start listening for "hints" because I guarantee if you are dating a transperson, they're dropping hints like mad, hoping you'll get it without needing to be told. This is fairly delicate. It's not the sort of thing I'd want to ask someone unless I was pretty damn certain, because if he's just a nice outlier dude, he'd feel pretty weird and self-conscious if you asked him if he's trans. So there's probably not a lot you can do at this stage except wait, watch, listen, and ask yourself how comfortable you are with this behaviour in general. It IS okay to realize you're not comfortable and look for a different type of relationship. It's also okay to realize you love it, but you love it conditionally, and you wouldn't want to be dating someone who is going to change genders, and it's also okay to realize you love it no matter what. The important thing here is to KNOW how you feel, and be prepared to act on that.

Good luck. I have no idea what's really going on here, but I've dated bisexual guys too, and fooled around with gay guys (dirty little secrets), and nothing here is making me think gay or bi. It is, however, tickling my trans sensor. You know the guy best, however, and I could be off-base here. I didn't write the gospels. Just use me as another random data point and go from there.
posted by thelastcamel at 1:32 AM on September 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

By the way, your guy comments on other guys because people like commenting on people but he'd rather avoid commenting on other women because then you'd be asking if he might be unfaithful. He probably compliments your clothes and jewelry instead of your face because you can choose your shoes but you are born with your face, and your clothes change more often than your appearance, so there's the novelty factor.
posted by ersatz at 3:28 AM on September 17, 2012

I'm a straight man and I checked "yes" to pretty much all of your "worry" list. And I'm a slob!
posted by zardoz at 4:36 AM on September 17, 2012

Please don't introduce him to my wife, he sounds like her perfect man!
Oh and "he has lots of shoes"? I don't think I've had a good laugh like that for a few months!
posted by humpy at 6:03 AM on September 17, 2012

Garfunkel and Oates might be able to help you out on this question...
posted by kuppajava at 6:52 AM on September 17, 2012

If, based on your criteria, your boyfriend is gay, then I am too.

(p.s. I am not gay)
posted by brand-gnu at 7:26 AM on September 17, 2012

Not gay. He sounds like a well evolved man, just my type. Enjoy his attributes and indulge in them.
posted by i_wear_boots at 7:27 AM on September 17, 2012

All I have to add to what's been said is this. Is he from a large city and you're not? Because when I moved to mid-sized American city from another country, I couldn't believe how backwards and obsessed Americans were with gayness. If you like arts, wine, fashion or theatre, then you were gay or closeted. It took awhile for people to accept that you could just, you know, like art and design. Which is something most men back home did. Girls had no time for dudes who couldn't dress well and only talked about sports.
posted by Smegoid at 7:35 AM on September 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

He's not gay, but it wouldn't surprise me to find out he had slight twitches in the direction of transvestism. Just a guess.
posted by zadcat at 7:46 AM on September 17, 2012

Have you ever been checked for anxiety disorder? My guess about this is you love your boyfriend because he is great and deep down (perhaps even subconsciously) you are terrified of losing him. So your anxiety is picking out things to worry about. And what is the one way you could lose your wonderful boyfriend and never get him back? Well, if he were dead but also if it turned out he wasn't interested in you at all because he was secretly gay. You might want to see a therapist about this is what I'm saying.
posted by Jess the Mess at 9:46 AM on September 17, 2012

The thing about the compliments on your clothing and accessories coming more frequently than other compliments... are you sure that's not confirmation bias? In other words, since you seem to be looking for things to label as "gay" behavior, it is possible that you're dismissing compliments he gives you that don't fit the model you're setting up in your head?
posted by palomar at 11:12 AM on September 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

To put things in perspective, I am a dude, and I:

- Never make comments about other guys' appearances to anyone
- Barely notice what girls around me are wearing
- Never notice or compliment anyone's clothes, and have no fashion knowledge whatsoever on which to base such a compliment
- Own 3 pairs of threadbare Vans and a pair of worn-out dress shoes
- Have no clue what a french manicure is
- Am a slob and poorly manicured in all relevant ways (don't bite my nails to cut them anymore though, so progress)
- Can't stand shopping for more than 5 minutes
- Don't care what anyone thinks of my cheapass clothes
- Don't moisturize.

On the other hand, I:
- Am really, really gay

In both my and your boyfriend's case, the second list is the only one that matters to sexual preference.
posted by ordinary_magnet at 4:46 PM on September 17, 2012 [7 favorites]

My boyfriend shaves every goddamn hair off his body except his eyebrows and the hair on his head, because he likes how it feels. Weird? Perhaps. Sexy as hell? To me, yes. Gay? Not one fucking iota.
posted by thrasher at 5:41 PM on September 17, 2012

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