Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Old Dad’s Hatband

A new member joins one of the global virtual teams I run on behalf of Vertucon. He is a fresh-faced young analyst assigned by his management to be thrown into the fiery volcano of my latest program as a sacrifice on behalf of his organization. I get to abuse his virginal form, in return for which my organization leaves his alone until he’s all used up or they take pity and replace him with a new one. Thus are the senior executive gods appeased so that the sun rises and the rain falls in our little corporate paradise.

As I pride myself on knowing my people, I do a little checking on him in case I need to fake an interest later. His online entry in the company directory includes an extremely ill-advised link to his blog. He’s only been out of college a few weeks and, while the latest entries are fairly anodyne, many of those among the archives constitute a master’s degree course in the more bizarre practices of the modern gay scene. All that was missing was a glossary. Thank God there were no pictures.

I’m amazed that he listed it, really. Perhaps he’s just forgotten what wonders he shared in his college posts. I suppose someone should warn the poor boy to clean his blog up, or at least stop listing it on the company intranet. But knowing modern corporate culture as I do, I am certainly not stupid enough to start any conversation that is going to end with me saying “and that’s why I think you should censor your gay blog”.

It all goes to show how useless my gaydar is. Lispy as he was on the phone, the word “gay” simply didn’t occur to me until that bit with the three Moroccans and the bucket of hummous on June 5th 2004. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been caught unawares either. On at least two occasions in the past I have gone out for a pint with a colleague only to discover about halfway into the evening that I’m actually on a date.

With my accent I suppose I’m asking for it, especially over here in the US. But it is a little tiresome to keep having the same conversation over and over again in the showers at the gym:

“No, I’m not gay – just British.”
“Yes, there’s a difference - gay people have better teeth.”
“And no, that’s not my soap on the floor, thanks all the same.”

How’s your gaydar?


Gaydar – now only $14.99 plus tax, from Radio Shack.

15 comments:

R. Sherman said...

To avoid those embarrassing misunderstandings which result from your accent, I suggest taking up chewing tobacco and calf roping. Oh wait, that's been appropriated, too, hasn't it?

Cheers.

Desargues said...

Mine was really broken when I came to the States. But I was able to do some serious calibration--campuses are places where many a gay saunters gleefully, basking in his non-standard glory. On the other hand, I had to do some 'splaining myself, on account of the way I dress--"No, I'm not gay; just European." But they understand. More or less. I was once in this mall, and a young redneck resting against the wall next to a Eddie Bauer store hissed after me as I was passing by, "We don't like no French people 'round 'ere." I really didn't know whether to take it as an unwitting compliment or to show outrage. Y'know, I really don't wear berets or red scarves. And no, I don't sport a moustache either.

Ivan the Terrible said...

Of course! Dress like a cowboy! That'll fix it for sure. No-one could suspect a guy with a moustache and leather chaps of being gay. Thanks, Randall!

And Des, interesting equivalence between being French and being gay, there. Which would have left you more offended, I wonder?

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Every time I've been by today to try to read this, the phone rings, or a child yells or a cat vomits.

My gaydar's normally functional but imperfect. I think it works about 4/5 functionality on men, but some fly right under. I haven't met many lesbians, I don't think, so I'm not sure if it works at all on women. Are there similar numbers of male and female homosexuals? I tend to know only gay men.

On more than one occasion, a female friend and I might pretend to be gay to deflect the attentions of males who were being persistently pesky etc. Sometimes this worked well, sometimes it made them worse. (Oddity, truly thy name is Man).

I'm not sure what romantic wooing books some straight men are reading these days, but they are the wrong ones: being persistent is only charming if a woman has given a man any reason to believe she may enjoy a flirtation. If two women are telling a man or men "We are lesbians, so leave us alone now, please", either they are, or they aren't but would rather finish their own conversation in peace. Either way, the suitor has nothing to gain there, and he'd better try again elsewhere. That's what most normal, sweet men will do, (and, often, a man is more intriguing when he is walking away).

The "lesbians" are not to be viewed as then as a "challenge", but after a few in a bar, it is amazing the number of men who will think precisely that. I'm not tarring you all with the same brush, I know better than that; these are the same, special kind of men who often finish their evenings with a cocktail peanut inexorably lodged up each nostril. Through every fault of their own.

"Faint heart ne'er yet won fair maiden" is absolutely the worst advice a fellow should follow if the pursuee is so fed up of him she has said she's a lesbian.

Desargues said...

To judge by the number of gay men living on the down low while in heterosexual marriages, you'd think many a fair maiden's gaydar is badly broken. In all fairness, tho', few guys, if any, whose wives later turned out to be gay had any inkling of that coming at all. Probably it's because guys aren't that dismayed by the idea of being married to a lesbian, as Sam's persistent suitors are keen to prove. ;-)

Desargues said...

And yes, Ivan, being mistaken for a Frogman did offend me quite a bit. Even more than being mistaken for a German, I'd think. Or a gay.

Ivan the Terrible said...

More than being mistaken for a German? Steady on now, Des. No need to go overboard...

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

I was mistaken for a German once. I felt a deep outrage I can hardly explain.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the young lad is aching to be outed? No pun, natch...

Stew said...

My gaydar is shite. Mind you, my striaghtdar is shite too. I've often been told that women have been coming on to me and I've been oblivious. I always thought that all the lip licking nd hair tossing was because they had dry lips and no hairbrush in their handbag.
Doh!

Gorilla Bananas said...

In the wild, we just watch who they have sex with.

Ivan the Terrible said...

Sorry, GB - that'd be cheating.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

And possibly illegal too, GB

Aunty Marianne said...

I get accused of being Spanish. And was once told I was a racist for denying my African genetic input, which was a surprise.

I wish I went out with drinks for colleagues and found out I was on a date.

P.S. Can anyone explain why I am a magnet to butch lesbians?

Ivan the Terrible said...

Well duuuuh. The norks, obviously...

Good to have you back, Aunty :)