Boi Problems 106: When Straight Men Hit on Bois

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Boi Problems 106: When Straight Men Hit on Bois

Image from Pariah Movie

Photo: ©Pariah, 2011

I recently hung out downtown with Dennis, a guy friend of mine. He had been hounding me for weeks but his “hanging out” meant club hopping from place to place. Reluctantly, I agreed to go. I haphazardly picked out a Polo shirt and slacks, ironed them and, headed out to meet him.

Somehow he and I got on the topic of men flirting with lesbians. He couldn’t seem to understand. “They are probably just being nice,” he said, “they probably aren’t flirting.”

As a woman, even as a gay woman, we can tell when a man is trying to hit on us. Before he approaches with his signature line, we can spot him from a mile away. Dennis didn’t believe me.

That was even more apparent when we stopped in our third club. We went up to the bar and leaned in looking at the drink menu. A guy approached my side and leaned on the bar about a foot away. He was turned toward me and I could feel him staring. I did the arbitrary phone check. I studied the drink menu. I talked to Dennis. I picked at imaginary lint.

The guy was still there, facing me, not looking away. I guess my body language was not obvious enough. I looked at him.

“How you doing?” he asked.

I raised my eyebrows in response as I moved to the other side of Dennis. He started talking to Dennis but I couldn’t hear them over the music. Later Dennis told me, laughing, that the guy said I was mean and that he just wanted to tell me I had on a nice shirt. Yeah, right.

It made me wonder, and it also made me do a self-assessment. I haven’t worn a dress or skirt in almost a decade. I don’t wear perfume or makeup. I have an extremely low haircut. It takes me 30 minutes or less to get ready. And I often get mistaken for a teenage boy or called “sir.”

But maybe I need to amp up the gay wattage I emit. Maybe accessorize with some rainbows. Perhaps with my androgynous mannerisms and outfit made him assume I was straight. Or maybe there was a shortage in this guy’s gaydar. Or maybe he knew…and that was the appeal.

The Challenge
Most guys are game for a challenge. They love the thrill of the chase, acquiring something seen as unobtainable. So telling them we are lesbians seems to be a motivator instead of a deterrent. We aren’t saying, “We are lesbians, try harder.” We are saying, “We are lesbians, and we are not interested.”

The Yo-Yo
With so much talk about the fluidity of women’s sexuality, maybe guys think we are fickle and will suddenly be attracted to them. I guess they think they can catch us at our heterosexual moment as we yo-yo on the Kinsey scale. Or maybe they take us for libation lesbians. You know, the girls who get a few drinks in them and all of a sudden they kiss girls like Katy Perry’s song, but are actually still straight.

The Fantasy
The fantasy of participating in a romance with two women is quite popular among men. Boyfriends encourage girlfriends to have this sort of affair. Husbands encourage wives and single straight guys consider it the moment they hear that a woman is a lesbian. Voyeurism is the other appeal. Recently I heard a guy say he didn’t have to participate, watching was enough.

The Magic Stick
Some guys have great confidence in their sexual prowess and they believe that if a woman is gay, they can change that. However, despite this confidence, no one has the ability to rewrite someone’s sexual orientation.

Perhaps we should be flattered that we masculine presenting lesbians appeal to women, as well as men. Regardless of what attracts men to us, it seems that it’s not going to wane anytime soon. We can’t wave a magic wand and change anything over night after all.

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Ares Glenn
Ares Glenn
Ares Glenn is a masculine of center queer person of color living in the D.C. Metropolitan area. She enjoys traveling and studying the queer LGBTQ dynamics.