Gaydar

by Marinka on December 28, 2011

You know how sometimes you notice that your elbow is sore and you’re all “hmm, sore elbow, weird” and then you go to bed and can’t fall asleep because your elbow pain has metastasized and you now have only minutes to live, minutes which you must enjoy to the fullest by getting up and Googling the shit out of your elbow pain so that you can confirm what you already know: Death by Elbow.

That happened to me the other day.

Because 10 year old Young Ladrinka has been reading (yes! reading! my son who refused to read!) the Cirque du Freak series, which is obviously great news. And Peajaye is reading it too, because God knows he’s not going to be doing anything useful, like photographing Nicki.

Anyway.

I told Young Ladrinka that Peajaye is reading Cirque du Freak too and he was all REALLY? and WHAT PART IS HE ON? and I was all, I have no idea, I’m giving him the silent treatment because he is refusing to photograph Nicki and Young Ladrinka said that he wanted to call him to discuss the book and/or to berate him for not photographing Nicki. I think.

So I give Young Ladrinka Peajaye’s phone number and as he starts to dial, I decide that we should review Our Phone Manners. Although to be honest, I meant mostly his.

You know, you say hello, and you say your name and then say “may I please speak to Peajaye?” And Young Ladrinka is all, “I KNOW, MOM, I’M NOT AN IDIOT! Wait, why would I have to say can I speak to Peajaye? Won’t he pick up the phone?”

And then I have to explain that although I have both Peajaye’s cell and home numbers (and you can too! Just email me!) I don’t know which is which. The reason that I don’t know which is which is that I never identified which is which on my phone because the designations on my BlackBerry are “home” “office” and “mobile” and I’m not going to put “mobile” because I don’t support the British monarchy and this is how I’m going to make my political statement.

But I don’t tell Young Ladrinka all this because he’s young and innocent, so instead I tell him that he should ask for Peajaye because Michael may pick up and he says “who’s Michael?” And I explain that Michael is Peajaye’s partner and Young Ladrinka is all HUH? and then I see a light bulb emerging over his head, but unfortunately it’s a very dim light bulb and is flickering on and off a lot.

“Why does he live with his partner?” he asks and I tell him that partner is really boyfriend and now the electricity has come on and the bulb is starting to burn bright and he says “Peajaye is gay?” and because every moment is a teaching moment, I say “duh”.

And then, my baby, my pride and joy, the product of my liberal West Village, NYC parenting says, “Oh. I didn’t think you’d be friends with someone like that.”

Someone like that?

Didn’t think I’d be friends with?

Hello, affirmation that I’ve been doing something right!

“What do you mean?” I started to Homer-Bart choke him. “I have lots of gay friends! Tons! John is gay!”

“He IS?”

“Yes! Huge gay! And your godmother is gay!”

“SHE IS?”

“Why do you think she lives with a woman and they have two children?”

He shrugged.

I let it go, and he talked to Peajaye.

But later that night, I couldn’t sleep.

I became alarmed.

What if something’s wrong with Young Ladrinka’s Gaydar? Could the pediatrician have missed it at the annual check up?

Is this something that can be taught? Are there specialists who can help him?

Is my parenting to blame?

Instead of welcoming homosexuals into our home as though they were regular people, should I be saying things like “thank you for taking time off from your Man on Man love sessions, please, come on in!”

I’m worried.

Very worried.

And scared.

Because what kind of a life is a Gaydarless one?

One year ago ...

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Andy December 28, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Okay, so my son, who is being raised by LESBIANS (that would be me and my partner) was APPALLED at the fact that she and I used to “date” because obviously we can’t DATE each other since we are both woman. But he seems perfectly fine with all the other points of our lesbian lifestyle. Just no dating.

Kids these days! Sheesh.

Reply

Issa
Twitter:
December 28, 2011 at 1:51 pm

I think it comes with time? Ten is a little young for this sort of gift. Maybe it comes with puberty?

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sherilinr December 28, 2011 at 2:55 pm

until they’ve had several rounds of “look, honey, that lady right there wearing the tool belt/man in sparkly shoes? she/he is gay.” they don’t necessarily get it. and i think it’s better if they don’t pick up on the less obvious ones when they’re younger. it might make some of the tomboyish/metrosexual straights feel awkward.

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hokgardner
Twitter:
December 28, 2011 at 2:56 pm

I had a very good, very fun conversation with my daughter last year about what being “gay” meant. At the end of it, she said, “gay also means really, really happy. Like SpongeBob.” To which I said, “exactly.”

My girls have gay aunts, and it doesn’t seem to shock them in the least that two women are living together, which makes me think I’m doing something right.

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anna see December 28, 2011 at 3:52 pm

you tried your best, mom! loved this. I also think mobile sounds pretentious.

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magpie December 28, 2011 at 3:58 pm

tears are rolling down my face i am laughing so hard. how the hell do you grow up in the west village WITHOUT gaydar? oy.

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Peajaye
Twitter:
December 28, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Look, I came out to my parents when I was in my early 20’s, and even on their death beds a few years ago, they were still like, “You’re gay?! Are you sure?”

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Amber December 28, 2011 at 7:12 pm

So I lived next door to lesbians in elementary school and until I was like 15 I just thought they were sisters. They were teachers…one a was a softball coach…in my VERY small town. I played in their yard a lot. Didn’t have any idea until my mom told me. Also when I was even younger we had a preacher who was a lesbian…but that’s another story.

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the mama bird diaries
Twitter:
December 28, 2011 at 11:46 pm

I really look down on people that use “cell” instead of “mobile.”

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ladyday December 29, 2011 at 1:55 am

I grew up in the Midwest and had to tell my very open and liberal mom that our male hair dresser was gay. I was in the 5th grade. She had no clue. Her response (I swear to God this is true), “But Joe has a mustache, so I thought he was straight.”

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Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes December 29, 2011 at 9:51 am

Perhaps it is like being colorblind?

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Megan December 29, 2011 at 10:26 am

I don’t think the Gaydar gets installed until a bit later. My brother’s been gay my whole life, but I didn’t realize it until I was 16. My mother’s BFF was a gay man, but I didn’t know it at the time either (the fact that he was divorced with two children probably threw me off).

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Wendi
Twitter:
December 29, 2011 at 11:55 am

John is HUGE GAY. I’m sure he’ll love that.

Reply

anymommy December 29, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Wait a minute. There are no gaydar classes in the village? The rest of the country is doomed.

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Suzy
Twitter:
December 29, 2011 at 12:09 pm

When in doubt, always assume it’s the fault of parenting.

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Olga
Twitter:
December 29, 2011 at 2:18 pm

You don’t support the British monarchy? I assume you didn’t watch the Royal Wedding either.

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Jonathan December 29, 2011 at 6:42 pm

I don’t think heterosexual men have as good gaydar. They seem to only be focused on women and don’t think about men sex lives too much in my experience.

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Dawn December 29, 2011 at 8:15 pm

I recently had the following conversation with my kids.

7 year-old Daughter: Mommy, can two ladies get married?
Mommy: Yes, Heather and Moe (Maureen) are married. Remember, I performed their marriage ceremony?
9 year-old Son: Moe is a girl?

Apparently my son not only doesn’t have gaydar he can’t even tell the difference between men and women. That could be an issue some day.

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Loukia December 30, 2011 at 10:38 am

I have no gaydar. Is it different for women, though? I mean I just recently found out that Jay Manuel from America’s Next Top Model is gay. I HAD NO IDEA.

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maryksyracuse January 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm

I am still wondering why your son would think you wouldn’t have gay friends. What is up with that???

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EJ January 10, 2012 at 11:26 pm

This post and comments really cracked me up. I think it’s an interesting conversation that I haven’t thought about having yet with kiddos (I have a baby in the womb and that’s it, soI am not being too neglectful). However, being a little more serious, I think it’s sad for people (all people – not just children) to assume that everyone is straight unless proven otherwise, and I frown on people assuming someone is gay as well. I have girlfriends who have been harassed by assuming classmates and family members – even friends – to “come out” already just because they have played sports for years and years and haven’t had a boyfriend. Newsflash! Most American men I know shy away from super intelligent, artsy women who kick ass at every sport ever invented and don’t advertise their bodies for sale for all men to consume! …Sorry to get too serious. I know your post was humorous only (and I LOVE your humor!), I just worry that “gaydar” reinforces stereotypes of homosexuals that just aren’t true. Noticing that two grown men live together and love each other is different from equating effeminate men with gay men, or “butch” men as straight.

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