A gay man cannot watch network TV for fifteen seconds without pointing out which characters have a little extra sparkle in their smiles. This may be of considerable annoyance to their families and roommates, who just wanna watch Heroes in peace, but good “gaydar” is one of the most important assets of the gay experience and demands nurture and exercise.
Nor can gay men walking outside in groups of two or more avoid giving each other little telling winks when one of the many passers-by has a little extra swish in his walk. “Can you say obvious?” they’ll snicker to each other, while the guy who just passed them will be telling his own girl “oh yeah those guys were ‘moes for sure. Definitely.”
The purpose is not to find dates or even to make friends, as no gay man would ever romantically approach another in public while sober. But suspecting gay men will get as good-as-possible looks at each others’ faces, searing them into their memories so that the moment they can get home they can sign on local profile sites in hopes of finding the stranger and asking him if he just bought paint at Home Depot.
The more attractive and masculine the guy in reference, the more points a gay man wins by calling him out as gay, even (and indeed especially) when there’s absolutely no way to verify this to anyone. The ultimate social score is to be able to say to your friends, “you see that straight-looking guy at that table over there? I actually fooled around with him once” at which point his peers will jealously nod their respect.
In gay culture, the code word for sexual orientation is “about,” as in “do your parents know about you yet?” or “have you found out about that guy who works at Starbucks?” Along those lines, gay men cannot resist knowing about closeted gay celebrities and public figures from Zachary Quinto to Ryan Seacrest.