Ask Angelo - Angelo Pezzote

Angelo Pezzote
M.A., N.C.C., L.M.H.C.

Dear Angelo,

How can I find out if a man I like is gay? Also, I just left a three year relationship with a woman. How do I plunge into the gay lifestyle?

Signed, Newbie

Dear Newbie,

Welcome to our community. The best way to find out if a man you like is gay is to ask him.

The belief that it's offensive to ask a man if he's gay is homophobic thinking. It reflects the idea that there's something insulting about being gay - something bad. One thing we're up against is that we live in a culture where it's just assumed that people are straight. Straight people don't ask each other if they're heterosexual before asking each other out. They just get up the courage and ask. If a someone says, "no," it's assumed they're simply not interested. The person asked on the date usually feels complimented rather than offended.

Well, the same needs to be true for us gays. While we need to use our best judgment to stay safe from physical harm, we also need to feel uninhibited to express our natural attractions. If another man gets offended that's his problem. Don't take his baggage - about being a man's man (another thing we're up against) - on.

Regarding part-two of your question - breaking into a gay lifestyle isn't like jumping into a pool. There is no action that plunges a person squarely into something called "the gay lifestyle." Rather than joining a stereotypical lifestyle, think of it as being more about building a well-rounded life as a gay person. The gay community has many subcultures: leather, jocks, drag-queens, bears, twinks -the list goes on. Enjoy the process of self-discovery and creating a healthy life that works for you as a gay person.

Dear Angelo,

When I email a guy and he doesn't respond, I find that extremely rude - even if I have not posed a question, it would be nice to hear something back! Is this my issue or am I right?

Signed, Internet Blow-Off Victim

Dear Internet Blow-Off Victim,

This is a frustrating experience. You can't control how other men respond to you. But you can control what you think about it.

First, if a guy doesn't respond to your email, then you wouldn't want him as a date anyway, since you find unresponsiveness to be so rude. His lack of response is a message about him - it's not about you. He's telling you he's not a good match for you. He's not blowing-you-off. He's doing you a favor. Try being thankful you saw this upfront, rather than feeling victimized.

Second, you have to eliminate your expectations for anyone over the Internet. Much of the net is based in fantasy. Unless you've met in person, you really have no idea who you're talking to. For all you know, it could be a 76 year-old woman posing as a 23 year-old gay man to have some fun.

Angelo Pezzote, M.A., N.C.C., L.M.H.C.

The Gay Man's Therapist

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Angelo Pezzote, M.A., N.C.C., L.M.H.C., All Rights Reserved

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