Honing Your Gaydar, or how to tell if a girl is gay, part two

Lesbian Gaydar Questions gay gaydar 2013

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post describing what a gaydar is, why it’s useful and wondering whether the gay community will ever feel like they don’t need gaydar… (You can find What’s Wrong With Your Gaydar here.) This next post looks at how ‘baby-gays’ and those who don’t yet have a gaydar might hone their lesbian-seeking skills so that they to can feel the magic of locking eyes with someone, both of you recognising that you’re on the same team at the same time. So what are the signs that a woman might just be gay? Well, as I said in my last post, there are no hard-and-fast rules – but here are some of the things I’ve found myself clocking when trying to work out if a girl is gay:

– What are her fingernails like? Nail varnish isn’t going to help (what with femme lesbians liking to paint their nails etc) but you’ll generally find that lesbians have short nails – and fake nails are usually a no-no. So, short nails is generally the first tick in the is-she-a-lesbian checklist.

Stacey fixing things
Skinny jeans – check. Skater sneakers – check, Messy hair – check. Getting technical – yup!

– What about her shoes? I’m not suggesting that all gay girls love their DC’s and Vans, but if she’s no longer a teenager and still wearing Converse or other ‘sneaker’ type shoes from www.soleheaven.com, I’d definitely look twice. Brogues and flat boots are also identifiers – particularly if paired with a sharp work-wear outfit.

Carley and Stacey
You can’t quite see it here but I have a ‘top ear’ piercing which I wear with a small ball-closure hoop. It’s not so much that the piercing is particularly telling – more the choice of jewellery! (Also, I have no idea where this photo is from…)

– Earrings and piercings. Whilst I know many femmes who have a dangly earring collection which could rival Pat Butchers, I also see a lot of gay girls with studs and alternative piercings. I’m not so much thinking stretched lobes, but more cartilage and tragus piercings – or more ‘normal’ piercings but with small studs or captive hoop rings.

– Haircut. Whilst some gay girls (like myself) chose to have long locks, there are some haircuts which kinda look gay right from the outset. Whether it’s an undercut with you can only see if she swings her head a certain way, or maybe she’s shaved the side of her head or has a Mohawk which escapes from her beany hat (hat’s – another lesbian-identifier!), generally, short hair is thought to be ‘lesbian’. However, it’s not the length which is the tell per se. For a long time on my walk to work I kept seeing a girl who always made my gaydar ping. (I recently found out Stacey would often walk past her after me, and she gets the gay-vibe too…) There’s something about her haircut – a messy bob which ends around her jawline, a very fair, almost platinum blond that was even blue for a while over the summer – which definitely screams ‘lesbian’. I think it’s something about the length, the cut and the confidence she wears it with.

Stacey at Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Stacey LOVES her blazer, which when worn with a band t-shirt or a collared shirt, gives off a pretty gay vibe!

– What’s she wearing? Now, if you catch someone wearing a ‘No H8’ t shirt or a rainbow flag as a cape, you’d probably guess that they have a few queer tenancies – or that they’re a very committed ally! However, there are more subtly tells that a girl might like other girls – brands such as Superdry and Cult are often loved by the lady lovers – so keep an eye out for layered vest tops or a Superdry jacket. Alternatively, a gay girl might be found wearing slouchy jumpers or cardigans with band t shirts or a collared shirt – think granddad chic with a hipster edge, or a whole look bought from Urban Outfitters… (For queer outfit inspiration, why not take a look over at QWear?)

These are the things that I think my Gaydar is based on, but so much of the ‘ping’ comes from non-verbal cues which occur when you meet someone or walk past them on the street. Sometimes it’s the way I see a girl’s gaze rest on another girl for just a split-second too long, or how she pushes her hair back when talking to someone that suggests she might be flirting. Once you get the chance to chat to someone, it’s far easier to get an idea of whether she’s a little gay – if she’s into shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Glee, Rizzoli and Isles, The L Word or The Real L Word or even Ellen, you might be onto a winner. It’s similar with music (think Tegan & Sarah, Uh Huh Her or an unhealthy addiction to Ke$ha, Beyonce or Shakira) BUT it’s important to remember that she can have a mohawk, wear a cute superdry jacket with converse and have the world’s shortest fingernails and STILL be straight… So the only fool-proof way to work out whether a girl is gay…

is to ask her.

Anyone else have any ‘tells’ you always notice on gay girls?


8 Comment

  1. Nat says: Reply

    Chunky wristwatches, slouchy hats and lingering looks that tell you they are trying to work out if you are of the same… Persuasion!

    1. Carley says: Reply

      Haha, yes – chunky (and often white!) watches is def another sign, and not just slouchy hats but hats in general!

      1. Nat says: Reply

        Oh my word only just seen this reply! Yessss chunky white watches are def a ‘thing’. Also hats are immense.

      2. Nat says: Reply

        Oh my word only just seen this reply! Yessss chunky white watches are def a ‘thing’. Also hats are immense!

  2. Khim says: Reply

    Very good analysis :-)). I so agree with the gaze that’s a tad longer…never really picked up on that before now.

  3. Gia says: Reply

    So there’s this woman who happens to be my boss. I have a crush on her ever since I meet her. She meets all the criteria plus she’s very masculine. Lately she’s been texting me and hugging me every time she could in a more than friendly way. We have all these staring situations and she usually takes her break with me. She knows I’m gay and she might know by now that I’m attracted to her. She has a boyfriend and has been in that relationship for the past 8 years. I kind of want to just get away from her but I know I have a little hope. I don’t know what to do, I need help. She only acts that way with me

    1. Amanda Adams says: Reply

      i had the same with a co-worker she was married … we shared lots of texts some very flirty… she would text me every day but now she remains just friends an states she is happily married alot. i think some women are very curious but if they are straight they soon realise when they overstep the mark. then go all weird. Women are hard to judge and hard to read! if you do fine the one.. you are very lucky! Its harder for women to find a woman with the same feelings.

  4. helen rehbein says: Reply

    I don’t think short hair does define a gay woman. Im gay myself. In terms of a girl having a bob around the face. However some hairstyles as we know yes maybe could be seen as defining the point for example a mohican, its like drawing attention to an genuine emotive issue ill advised as Its going out of range of the majority. I think people should celebrate who they are, how someone decides to have their hair is personal & its up to them.

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