The age-old ideals of masculinity don’t shape modern men as they used to. Many fellas have abandoned the need to ride motorcycles, maintain six pack abs or scream at the TV during a football game to impress women. And most ladies don’t mind, either. The archetype of the macho American man is outdated. It rarely influences dating lives anymore.

So sometimes, a young woman will overlook culture’s exaggerated notions of masculinity and open her heart to a soft and sensitive young man. She’ll pay no mind to effeminate attributes, like his burning love of Britney Spears, suspiciously good dance moves, or an unhealthy infatuation with the latest gossip. In time, the relationship unravels, her ex proudly announcing that he’s gay.

This situation rings true to a handful of women we spoke with who have experienced such queer curveballs first-hand. After unwittingly dating gay men, they confess to us the warning signs they naively ignored. Their red flags span the rainbow from boyfriends falling into flamboyant cliché to witnessing sexually charged moments between bae and another boy.

Even in the absence of any glaring stereotypes, straight women seem to have 20/20 hindsight when it comes to dating gay men. We’ve compiled several of their colorful memories, and share the love with their stories below.


"He was outrageously excited when I offered to give him my old Beyoncé B-day album."
– Peta


"On one glaringly obvious occasion, my boyfriend and I were having dinner at a fancy restaurant on the beach. A handsome server comes by and introduces himself, and my boyfriend introduces himself back, locking eyes with our waiter."

As the waiter spends a few minutes listing off the long menu of specials, he and my boyfriend are both suggestively smiling, nodding, and gazing into one another’s eyes the entire time. I’m becoming increasingly uncomfortable, so I try to recapture my boyfriend’s attention by violently tapping on his leg under the table, loudly interrupting the waiter’s spiel, and generally taking all measures to break their agonizingly prolonged eye contact.

All my efforts were unsuccessful, though, and he wouldn’t tear his eyes away until the waiter left the room. It wouldn’t surprise me if to this day, he refers to that server as 'the one that got away.'"
– Jasmine


"His body language should have clued me off from the start. The impatient foot tapping, the sassy limp wrists, and then when he walked, his hips swayed like crazy. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it walking. That man strutted like a runway model."
– Michelle


"We were only 14 at the time, but he was adorable, funny, and probably the most popular boy at our middle school. So when he asked me on a date, of course I said yes. We went to the movies and saw Paranormal Activity. At one point, I got scared and I asked to hold his hand. He looked at me, totally repulsed, and told me to just hold onto the cup holder. Several years later, I spotted him at the mall, holding hands with a little Asian man."
– Paige


"He was always super obsessed with his outfit, even down to the underwear. He had those American Apparel tighty whitey briefs in every single color, and legitimately coordinated them with the color of his outfit. Even worse, he was super obsessed with my outfit too, sometimes to the extent that he’d insist I change. Also, he’d always say I wore too much makeup when I wear like… zero makeup. God, he sucked."
– Katie


"He never took the initiative when it came to sex. Every time, I’d have to find creative ways to seduce him. But my attempts weren’t always successful, and that was confusing, because up until he came along I’d been applauded for my dick-handling skills. Eventually, I realized he wasn’t interested in sleeping with me at all, and it was only polite amounts of cooperation from him that kept it from looking like a full-blown sexual assault. We broke up and lost touch. A year later, I found out from mutual friends that he had come out. I honestly felt relieved, and sincerely happy for him."
– Lauren


"At my 18th birthday party, the boy I was seeing, Kaleb, and his 'best friend,' Matt, got into an argument in my backyard. The verbal fight escalated into a physical one, and they started rolling around in the grass, wrestling each other. Kaleb finally got the upper hand on Matt and pinned him down, but instead of claiming his victory and getting off of his friend, they both just lay there, all intertwined and staring at one another. This soft, drawn-out ending to a wrestling match was getting confusing and awkward for everyone else who’d been watching, and so of course, someone childishly yells 'Gayyy!' to break the tension. Ironically, they were right."
– Leighann


"One Saturday night, we went dancing at a Latin nightclub in Miami called La Covacha. As soon as we get inside, he breaks out these sexy salsa dance moves, and like a magnet, dozens of little Spanish ladies flock to him. He’s twirling and dipping them, and they’re cha-chaing all around him and rubbing his chest. It might sound like the kind of thing I’d be jealous of, but I couldn’t be, because the whole scene was so blatantly and flamboyantly gay. When he’d had enough of the spotlight, he ran back to me — sweating bullets, with his shirt unbuttoned to his belly button. I honestly cried laughing. At that point, I no longer wanted him to be my boyfriend, but I needed him to be my best friend."
– Alexandra


"I started dating this guy when I was 13 and he was 16. We were hopelessly in love, and lost our virginities to each other. He played all the sports, dressed in all the latest heteronormative fashions, and was always super into sex. He even cheated on me with another girl at one point, so I never really questioned his sexuality. In fact, I never even thought about it.

That is, until they built a new mall by our house.

Gay Josh, as I'd later affectionately call him, would spend hours perusing the stores, window shopping and crafting theoretical outfits out of the clothes he couldn't afford. Zumiez and Vans and Pac Sun became his happy place. He'd walk up and down the halls of this mall, just absolutely fascinated by what he was seeing, until I'd beg him to leave. Thing is, he wasn't really doing anything 'gay' per se. He just … really liked the mall. No big.

Looking back on it, I'd have had no way of knowing. He was dressing like a little skateboarder-rapper kid, totally into vagina, and not at all outwardly presenting as anything other than a stereotypical teen boy.

It wasn't until we broke up that I had any idea whatsoever. He dumped me one day out of the blue, and when I asked him why, he told me it was because he 'Wasn't attracted to me.'

'Actually, it's not you,' he said. 'It's girls.'

'You're … gay?' I asked. He nodded and started crying. It was kind of beautiful. I was shocked, because there weren't really any warning signs.

Then I thought of the mall. Finally his mall obsession began to make sense. But at the same time, it goes to show you that just because someone doesn't 'look' or 'act' gay, that doesn't mean they aren't. Gay boys come in all shapes, sizes and modes of presentation. Gay boys can even like straight sex! There are stereotypes, and then there are exceptions. Gay Josh was definitely the latter.
– Isabelle