Gaydar. Pansyscope. Homosexory perception. Whatever you call it, many people believe they possess an innate ability to spot Gays at 20 paces. (Well, American Gays, anyway. In Europe, all bets are off.)
In reality, however, there’s nothing mystical or innate about it. Anyone with at least one functioning eyeball and some fourth-grade analytic skills can separate Gay wheat from Straight chaff.
Exhibit A: this photo of hot-but-minimally-talented Justin Theroux embracing unhot-but-super-talented Terry Richardson. Because they’re celebs and because I keep up with celeb news (it’s for work, I promise), I know they’re both straight. But even if I didn’t, I could figure it out from this snapshot, which demonstrates at least seven hallmarks of the straight-boy bro-hug:
1. Bros hug with one arm: During a bro-hug, under no circumstances does either bro bring both hands up to his fellow bro’s shoulder-level. That’s reserved for the ladies. And yeah, I know that we can’t see Justin’s left hand, but I’m sure it’s below Terry’s chest. If it happened to slip up a tad, he could feign innocence by claiming that he was trying to unhook a bra. You know: heterosexual force of habit.
2. The drink stays down: Because of human nature, it’s not always easy to follow Rule #1. This is why bros often carry empty drink cups at parties: to curb the impulse. A bro instinctively protects his Crown and Coke. Or Jack and Coke. Or, if he’s a metrosexualist like Terry, his chamomille-acai-berry decaffeinated iced tea.
3. Non-touching crotches: Bumping nads is definitely a no-no for the bros. As a general rule, they maintain an inter-bulge distance of at least eight inches, which is roughly the width of a hungry Eastern European runway model. (Ask Terry for exact measurements.)
4. Tattoos: This is a sartorial thing, not gestural, but it’s still a giveaway. The Gays had their tattoo moment in the 90s, and it was abstract Tribal. This millennium, it’s the Straights’ turn, which explains Terry’s monochromatic Realist ink.
5. Biker gear: Another relic of the Gay 90s (and earlier), repurposed by Straightey McStraightertons.
6. Dangly things: The last time Gays wore that much jangly metal outside a sex club, C+C Music Factory was on the charts.
7. Terry Richardson: Terry stands out like a sore thumb. It’s mostly the glasses. And the hair. And the muttonchops. And it’s impossible to deny that Terry is aggressively, ruthlessly heterosexual.
Interesting side note: Terry was attempting to throw off my analytic skills by closing his eyes during the hug, which is something that most bros don’t do. Maybe he has a sensitive side. Or a good prescription for Xanax.