Gay or Nay? How to have good Gaydar


According to Something You Said’s Tammy Potakh and Ty Tong, having a good Gaydar is important these days if you’re in the single-and-struggling-to-mingle gang. Here are their thoughts on how to improve your own Gaydar:

So, what’s Gaydar? Well, it’s basically the art of being able to pinpoint a person’s sexuality, simply by assessing their behaviour, body language, and clothing. Sounds simple, eh? Nope. There’s no manual or troubleshooting guidelines for Gaydar; It’s just you and your shallow judgments on complete strangers. Proudly owning a ‘solid Gaydar’ only glorifies attitudes towards gay stereotypes but hey, we all play the “gay or nay” game when we’re out and about. If you meet someone and believe there is a chance they are gay, that means that person has “pinged” your Gaydar. And no, unfortunately Gaydar is unavailable for purchase online. Perhaps in a few years there will be an app for that.

The hackneyed stereotype of a gay person is perhaps a flamboyant guy who wears low cut singlets and loves to duck face in all his selfies, while a token lesbian stereotype perhaps has a face full of piercings and arm full of tattoos. These archetypes aren’t necessarily homophobic – our snap judgments are social short cuts, led by what we gather from the general consensus in our media and social world as to what gays and lesbians look like. Gaydar would be infallible if all effeminate, fashionable guys were gay and girls with piercings, snapback hats and a strong stride were lesbians, but it is the people who don’t conform to these stereotypical features that further test our Gaydars. You’d be lying if you said that you’ve never hit on or pined after some cutie who didn’t bat for your team, only to be shattered and feel foolish when you found out.

GaydarSo here are some myths we will debunk when it comes to Gaydar:

1. Short hair is a sign of lesbianism.

Wrong. “Alternative” side cuts, buzz and pixie cuts do not a gay make, grasshopper. Short hair could be for the style or simply for convenience sake. Pixie cuts never quite go out of fashion.

I have a friend who has gorgeous mermaid hair down to her butt and people always tell her she is “too pretty to be a lesbian” although she happens to be just that. Telling someone they’re too pretty to be who they are or saying “What a waste” is NOT a compliment.

2. All effeminate, trendy men with higher pitched voices (and/or a subtle lisp) who strut when they walk are homosexual.


You’d generally think these guys are into theatre, are eccentric, over-emotional and will cry or laugh at a stray bottle cap (even when sober). I’m not going to deny that almost every guy I’ve come across who just “luhs” Nigella Lawson and appreciates a divine pair of corduroy pants has been gay, but still – what gives? Where did this infatuation with trends become the hallmark for subscribing labels onto people?

Some men have a knack for dressing fashionably and are impeccably groomed. Alternatively, a friend of mine has a skater boy style, a deep, rugged voice and walks like he’s about to get in to a boxing ring, but he is gay.

3. Flannel, snapbacks and tomboy/hipster dress in general is like a lesbian uniform.

False. It’s fashion and also fleeting, as trends change and people’s styles may change over time. If we paid too much attention to the amount of popularity the snapback and tomboy dress has, we’d all be playing the never ending game of “Gay or just Hipster”?

4. Women with longer index fingers than their ring finger are gay.

Apparently some people believe this is a thing. Not much is known on the relationship between finger length as an indication of sexuality but there have been studies done that showed lesbians and straight men have similar finger length ratios. This could be in an indication of that person’s sexuality but it’s foolhardy to base your assumptions solely on that.

5. You can turn someone gay/straight by honing in on who did/didn’t ping your Gaydar and seducing them.


‘Turning’ someone sexually about as likely as turning them in to a wizard. If someone who identifies as heterosexual discovers they are attracted to a person of the same sex, it’s possible they were not completely straight in the first place.

Don’t try to “sway” someone into becoming something that they’re not. Some people are not born that way. Lady Gaga knows it, you know it,  we all know it.

Gaydar is an illusive term that is thrown around too often. There are no foolproof ways to tell whether someone is gay or straight, or whether they fancy you or not, but here are a few helpful tips gathered from experience.

1. Eye contact is incredibly powerful. How does a person look at you? Do they hold eye contact for an extended period of time, maybe their pupils dilate? Pupil dilation is an indication the person is pleased to be in your company, and maybe even attraction. Eye contact won’t hurt you, try it some time with that cutie you haven’t spoken to yet.

2. Some people scan your lips as you talk and it could mean a number of things
a. This club is too loud and they’re just lip-reading.
b. They’re staring at that nasty piece of spinach stuck between your teeth
c. They want to be in and around your mouth
… Don’t be quick to make assumptions, you might just have a really nice smile they can’t help but admire, regardless of their sexuality.

3. Don’t put too much stock in what other people wear as an indication of their sexuality.

We naturally categorize people to have an indication on how to proceed socially and yes, life would be much simpler if we didn’t feel compelled to immediately subscribe labels to people but hey, we all get a kick out of believing in “Gaydar” anyways. So, Be wise and use your Gaydar at your discretion.



Words by Tammy Potakh and Ty Tong