Gays, lesbians and bisexuals, how do you go about making romantic/sexual advances?

About a year ago, I shared classes with a guy who was friendly, clean cut, well dressed and very much into theater. He twice did something that very few male acquaintances had done before; he touched me twice on the arm without really having a reason to do so. I’m thinking he was trying to determine whether I was gay or not and if I was, if I was interested.

Now, this particular individual was a big (at least 6’4" and 250 lbs of muscle) black man with a shaved head so it’s not like he had to fear being attacked. But he still seemed tentative.

How do homosexuals and bisexuals go about hitting on, flirting with or otherwise showing romantic or sexual interest in a person of the same gender, especially when the orientation of that person is unknown?
This question excludes gay bars and similar situations where hitting on heterosexuals is not anywhere as much of a problem.

It’s been years since that was an issue for me, but I don’t really see touching someones arm as flirting. I (and lots of people I know) casually touch people in conversation regularly.

Anecdotal, but the only guys I know who do this conversationally are gay. Most straight guys I know wouldn’t necessarily take it as “flirting,” but would probably see it as odd.

Most gay guys I know would indicate it’s either a “know it when you see it” thing or else that’s what gay bars / clubs / parties / friends are for.

Good time as any to ask, without starting a new thread-does Gaydar actually exist? Is yours accurate, and if so how often?

I had my ass grabbed the other night by a guy. I was not really all that surprised that he did it, but where he did it caught me a little off guard. I was walking away from the bar with my wife at the end of the night and there were a few people around us, just seemed strange and I know he’s into chicks.

I believe that gaydar exists, and I think mine is very strong. That being said I have no way to know how accurate it is. There may be a dozen openly gay males around here and anyone else is definately in the closet. If my gaydar is as good as I think it is there are alot of guys who are bi/bi-curious if not gay.

:dubious: Especially to the “shaved head” part… WHAT?

If I’m a man (I’m not, but let’s just say) and I hate gay men so much that merely being flirted with is enough to set me off, I can bludgeon or shoot or knife a big black man just as easily as I can anybody else. Or, if I think it’s possible that I really can’t, I can go get a whole pack of my equally bigoted friends to help me.

Sorry, I’m just not getting why black men with large builds and bald heads can’t be wary of being attacked for being gay.

RAWR, I lost the rest of my post which was basically a rant about “gaydar” which can be summarized like this: “Gaydar” is stupid. It’s a stupid word and a stupid concept. At best, it’s the very basic ability to pick up on and interpret non-verbal social cues which, really, human infants can do at some level so it’s not terribly impressive or advanced or whatever.

A gay person isn’t really risking anything of a markedly different kind from what a heterosexual person risks when s/he runs that kind of calculus, as far as I can see. I mean, how does a straight person go about making romantic or sexual advances? First, kind of identify an interest in a person, then try to establish some trivial level of connection, and hope that goes well, and try to monitor the other person’s reaction, and when you feel confident enough that there’s a romantic connection, you grab her in the biscuits. Right? Why is that entirely different from what a gay person would do?

It’s not like there’s not any danger of negative consequences for a straight person to just go professing romantic attraction willy-nilly in the case of a blown read. If the big black dude asked you out and you balked, that’s more or less the same kind of awkwardness that would occur if a dude asked a female friend out and she balked, or vice versa, isn’t it? Depending on the parties, it might be a little more or way more intense, and in certain circles there is still a general understanding that you just can’t be gay, which involves a different kind of hazard, but I would at least hope that in general in 2011 it’s the same general dynamic gay or straight. “I’m not into dudes,” as far as that one dude is concerned, is basically just “I’m not into you.”

While I have to agree that at the most basic level this is true, it is also a skill which can be developed. Not just as “gaydar” but as tool to help read people in general. It may not be 100% accurate but it definatley helps.

Gaydar Exists Scientist Say

Homosexuals, bi etc. still do get beaten for it, still do get discriminated for it, still get denied access to their younger siblings for it, still get judges taking away their children because of it. It may be illegal, but that doesn’t mean it ain’t done.

Other than that, I agree with you in that the basic process is the same for queer folk as for heteronormatives.

Except that when you come onto a girl who’s not interested, does she ever come back with her friends to beat the crap out of you, or worse? Yes, it still happens.

Now, it’s been a couple of decades since I was single, and I was never good at making my feelings known that way. But I’ve noticed that gay guys make more eye contact than straight guys, more than would normally be required in a given situation. And of course if you’re passing someone on the street, and he looks back at you (as you’re looking back at him), that’s a no-brainer.

IME, by the time I’m thinking about hitting on someone, we’ve been chatting long enough for me to have a reasonably good sense of his/her general character. Anyone who gives me a “violent psycho” impression is not likely to be someone I’d try to hit on anyway.

I’m bi and when it comes to showing interest (i.e. hitting on someone) I find no difference between the general mechanisms of flirting. Granted I’ve been in a long-term relationship so long now, maybe I’ve forgotten what it’s like to flirt with new people. However, in my recollection it’s essentially the same: 1) the “make eye contact repeatedly from across the room” game, 2) the “ask the blabbermouth friends if you’re single” game because they’ll report back to the person you like 3) “touch you on your arm to get your attention in the loud venue, but do so a liiiiiittle bit longer than a heartbeat + see if they return the gesture” game etc.

The only actual difference is 4) the “dropping BIG hints that I’m queer” game to evaluate the response. It’s almost like an unwritten code:

a) If I’m speaking to a pretty girl and drop a hint that I’m queer, if she’s gay and interested, she’ll respond with a similar hint herself - in parentheses she will be saying “yes, I am queer too”. In comic books, this would appear in a text bubble over her head, I would read it, and nod knowingly.

b) If she’s gay and NOT interested, the conversation will suddenly go sour in that “Oh, crap! I just stuck out and feel like an awkward boob. Why doesn’t the earth open up and swallow me now to save me from my idiocy?” kind of way.

c) If she’s straight, she’ll say something that sounds like a non-sequitur like “You like sensible footwear? My ex-boyfriend’s sister is gay!” and somehow, even though it’s verbal and not written down, you can hear that the word “boyfriend” is underlined twice with a thick, black magic marker.

In any case, straight or gay, it’s equally as awkward if you strike out.

Look, you can leave aside the (very real) threat of getting attacked and beaten, and just conclude that really no-one wants to be rejected with horror or disgust. So if that guy was testing the waters and the circumstances were ambiguous, then I don’t blame him for being tentative.

To answer the OP’s question, even if I were single, I wouldn’t be able to do that. If it were someone I saw fairly often (at work, for example) then I might ask around after a while to see if people thought he was gay (or if he had just said so). Otherwise, I am too afraid of turning people off to me completely. Not that everybody doesn’t know that I’m gay. But that changing a relationship from polite or amiable or even friendly, to “Ew, he came on to me, ew ew ew!” is not something I want to do.

For the record, I’m 61 so I probably am carrying a lot of baggage from pre-gay lib days.

There’s a few differences. The biggest one that the OP seems to be considering is the “outing” factor. There are still areas (and social circles) where gay guys want to keep low profiles, and I think it’s fair to assume the OP thinks said fellow might be in one. I know in my hometown the gay guys wouldn’t want it known outside safe circles.

It’s not just (nonzero) worries about physical or verbal threats. There’s a risk of ostracization, personal conflicts, or even just “not wanting to be the gay guy everybody talks to about what it’s like to be gay.”

And I think there’s a perception that guys are MUCH more likely to respond aggressively to gay advances compared to, well, anybody else hitting on anybody else. I don’t think it’s a serious risk if you’ve vetted decently, but I’d wager more guys have been punched in the face due to simple flirting with guys than, well, anybody else with anybody else.

I actually have known a couple of gay people that said they weren’t because they didn’t want to go out with the guy because, well let’s be charitable and say the person asking was “less than attractive.”

I am a gay male and I’ve never been hit on by a woman nor asked out by a man outside of a gay setting.