People think I'm gay...but I'm not.

Originally Published: July 29, 2011 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: August 26, 2011
Share this
Dear Alice,

I am what you may call a nice guy. I'd say I'm rather sensitive and easy going. I don't really like sports, racecars, or other uber manly things. I've never had a girlfriend. Finally I enjoy theater arts and my favorite cable station is a decorating network. You can see where I'm going. BUT I ENJOY WOMEN. I'm very attracted, I think about them all the time, I check out female butts when I walk to class. Yet everyone, especially women, seem to think I am gay. It bothers me because it makes me feel like less of a man. Additionally how am I supposed to get this woman that I've been waiting for, for all these years, if she thinks I am gay? Please help me!!!!!

Sincerely,

"MO" is me.

Dear "MO" is me,

Man or woman, masculine or feminine, gay or straight. Entrenched in a culture whose institutions perpetuate these rigid dichotomies and strict gender ideals, it may be extremely difficult to break the norms and be accepted for doing so. However, the fact that you are comfortable in your personal tastes, regardless of their alignment with these ideals, shows confidence which many women find extremely sexy. Though some women may find a man's penchant for cars and sports to be the seeds of attraction, it's oftentimes more the content of someone's character that truly tips the scales when it comes to love.

As you've experienced, if you don't conform to a traditional male gender role, some people may label you as homosexual, "metrosexual," "girly," or simply just less of a man. The irony is that there is no one size fits all representation of masculinity. Gay men may like sports and cars, too, and it has nothing to do with who they're sexually attracted to. "Feminine" characteristics such as caring for others, expressing emotion, and getting enjoyment out of the arts, theater, and fashion have nothing to do with anatomy but are still widely seen to be emasculate and unacceptable in males. To be fully accepted by others (at work, in relationships, etc.) men and women may feel pressure to adhere to their respective gender role rather than finding their own unique placement on the spectrum of gender identity. But why is that?

For some men, this feeling of being different, wrong, or "weird" may lead to denial of self. For example, this is often noted as one of the forces that keep homosexual or bisexual men in the closet. One of the unfortunate side effects of this is that boys who are raised to strictly adhere to these gender roles instead of developing their own sense of self-identity often exhibit more violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and unsafe sex practices. This brings up the question of whether these roles are benefitting or hindering young men. Though for many, it may not be an issue, in your case, it seems the latter. The fact that you are able to step outside the proverbial box in spite of this is great. But being outside the norm may be difficult and garner criticism so the trick is learning how to manage that while maintaining your self-confidence.

One way to do this is to surround yourself with people who don't make snap judgments on your sexuality based on surface traits like your affinity for the arts. It may take time and a little extra effort but first ask yourself a few questions: Do you find this judgment to be more prevalent within certain groups of people? Could you try to shift your social circle to include people who may be less likely to assume your sexuality before getting to know you? Perhaps you could explore clubs, organizations, or common interest groups that would allow you to not only pursue your hobbies like theatre and decorating but also give you the chance to meet women in a more personal setting. This may help them get to know you and either avoid or get beyond any initial assumptions they may have about your sexual orientation. Columbia students may want to check out the on-campus organizations listed on the Student Affairs website.

Surrounding yourself with people who accept you for you will likely up your chances of finding a woman who will find you attractive and date-worthy. In reality, there are very few people who perfectly fit the ideals of masculinity, femininity, or the other dichotomies that many cultures perpetuate, so it's futile to try to be someone you're not. Those who jump to conclusions or choose to think less of you because you don't conform are the ones missing out. Embracing this and the fact that you are worthy of acceptance and love regardless of how "manly" you are, will lead to a sense of self-worth that may translate to a greater sense of confidence when it comes to dating.

Alice

February 26, 2014

553086
I was a lot like you when I was younger. However as I got older and started getting out more into the the world I started meeting women with which I did not have to put any effort into getting them...
I was a lot like you when I was younger. However as I got older and started getting out more into the the world I started meeting women with which I did not have to put any effort into getting them to like me. They were simply attracted to my confidence in who I was and that I unlike a very large percentage of men out there was not trying to be something I was not. A lot of those "manly men" have to put huge amounts of time and energy into that appearance of being "manly" which is just a waste. It's actually quite funny the things you can notice, for example the very different ways a man might walk based on who he thinks is watching... But anyways the nonsense is never ending. It is a great idea to try and surround yourself with more intelligent and mature people however it will not always be possible. Times like when I'm at work I cant escape it, one thing I do that helps and that I truly believe is that I am actually better than them for embracing who I am and being my own person and not denying the things that make me unique.

January 22, 2014

549434
Just be you, those other people don't matter. You don't have to prove yourself to anyone.You know who you are. and that's all that matters live your truth
Just be you, those other people don't matter. You don't have to prove yourself to anyone.You know who you are. and that's all that matters live your truth

August 8, 2013

534346
im bi and i get flirted with by guys a lot and hit on by girls but mainly i wanted to say to mo is man i went threw the works in life with people judging my character the best and healthiest thing to...
im bi and i get flirted with by guys a lot and hit on by girls but mainly i wanted to say to mo is man i went threw the works in life with people judging my character the best and healthiest thing to do is be honest and true to yourself no one no's you better than you and just do what you do and be confident in yourself and what you want will come to you

August 28, 2012

515579
I'm the opposite. I'm a Gay man. I love sports, I love sports cars (big racer), I'm masculine and love the extremes. Women hit on me constantly but I am not into women. At times it can be funny, but...
I'm the opposite. I'm a Gay man. I love sports, I love sports cars (big racer), I'm masculine and love the extremes. Women hit on me constantly but I am not into women. At times it can be funny, but most of the time, it's rough. I can see why women would hit on me and then become shocked when I say I'm gay but it shows how diverse the world is. Being gay, straight or Bisexual does not have a specific look or style. Not in today's world, I would say. Good luck! And don't worry, your lady is out there!

March 20, 2012

508869
I'm a girl and people think I'm gay (I solely get hit on by women), but I'm totally into guys. I understand your frustration. But, it sounds like you have some uber attractive qualities. I rather...
I'm a girl and people think I'm gay (I solely get hit on by women), but I'm totally into guys. I understand your frustration. But, it sounds like you have some uber attractive qualities. I rather like a guy who's sensitive. Sports and cars aren't important and I love musicals and would love for my guy to love them too. I'm not hitting on you here, I'm just letting you know that there are definitely women out there who will find these characteristics which you have described far more attractive than the stereotypically manly characteristics. You shouldn't worry; perhaps the girl for whom you are waiting is waiting for you too.

March 20, 2012

508868
I'm a straight woman, but I'm enough of a tomboy that some people assume I'm a lesbian. My first boyfriend was a costume designer, and a lot of people assumed he was gay, which he wasn't. He usually...
I'm a straight woman, but I'm enough of a tomboy that some people assume I'm a lesbian. My first boyfriend was a costume designer, and a lot of people assumed he was gay, which he wasn't. He usually had longer hair than I did...he wore a bit of makeup, and I didn't...at home, he did the sewing, and I did the furniture building. But we were both really interested in the arts. So we both went to the theatre, we both went to the movies, we both lay on the couch reading poetry, and we both sat under a tree and talked for hours about everything. It was a great relationship, and we liked the stares we got from people who couldn't figure out if they were looking at a couple or not. Anyway, trust me, I'm definitely not the only woman I know who has a real thing for artsy/intellectual guys. And there aren't enough of you out there! Keep being yourself, and as Alice says, go find some people who are interested in exactly the same things. That's where you're sure to find people who are interested in you!

August 26, 2011

21626
You are not alone, I grew up somewhat like you, but back in the 50's and 60's, the line was not so drawn, and gays were not hardly even thought of. When I grew up, being gay still meant being happy...
You are not alone, I grew up somewhat like you, but back in the 50's and 60's, the line was not so drawn, and gays were not hardly even thought of. When I grew up, being gay still meant being happy and a queer was someone who just asked weird or different. A truly full spectrum man, is half male and half female in nature. I consider a full macho man an extreme obscene thing. You hang around the wrong people, most kind and loving church or moral people I know here, would not agree with those who call you names. At least in the Adult realm, kids and young adults can be more cruel, as they don't really know themselves, let along life and reality. You sound like me and others I know who are more sensitive. Most sensitive artistic people I know, are just like you, including myself.