Undetected Signals

Those two. There. The really handsome guys standing a little too close to one another. Are they a couple? Do they seem gay? You might find one of them attractive, in fact, if you are wondering whether or not they are a couple, you may as well forget about pretending that you don’t find one of them attractive. Of course you do. What’s more, the notion that he may be half of a couple does not make him any less attractive. Not at all. It may even make him more so.

You watch discretely. Not trying to draw the gaze of either. You just want to know if they are gay. If they are together. You notice the way they touch. How long they look into each other’s eyes when they speak. Does this seem like intimacy, or bro-hood?

It can be a pleasant pastime. Especially if you are in a place for a certain time and are without a book. Might as well make people watching more of a game, with rules and scores.

This past week I was at an event. Working. I do not work for either the client or the venue where the event was being held, so there were plenty of people I’d never met before, and it didn’t take long for me to focus my attention on two handsome young men who were dancing around one another so carefully, with such an effort to seem like casual co-workers, that I spent much of my time over the course of the week watching them. Furtively. With great interest.

One of them was tall, dark, and handsome. Perhaps there was some Middle Eastern ancestry, there. He was handsome in the Cary Grant mode. More dashing, really. Honey colored eyes, dark brown hair, carefully sculpted to look purposely tousled. He was stunning, but it was his maybe boyfriend that I found the more attractive.

Not as handsome, but he held his body in a decidedly sexual way. He was carrying perhaps ten extra pounds, which only added to his charms. His tummy was soft, clearly no sculpted abs under that tight tee shirt, and when combined with his broad shoulders, created the impression that he would be so comfortable to snuggle with.

When I returned the pen he’d lent me (which I did not need to borrow, I had five pens in different colors on me, but when he offered I was certainly not going to say no…) he reached out with one hand to take it, but at that moment dropped the bottled water he was holding in the other hand. There was a beat in which he wasn’t sure which was the more important, then decided to retrieve the bottle before the pen. Granting me a glimpse of his bright blue boxer briefs, as he bent over with his back to me. He’d missed a belt loop on his pants. His butt was soft, too. The belt stretched across the blue cotton a couple of inches over the waistband.

His sunglasses were the neon colored plastic kind I’ve seen many gay boys wearing. These were also blue. So I was reasonably certain he was gay. What I could not tell, and which fascinated me the whole week, was whether or not the Middle Eastern Cary Grant was, as well.

Cary would wander over to stand next to blue sunglasses. They would not acknowledge one another. They would not speak. They would just happen to be standing near each other. Close. Close enough for one to feel the presence of the other. Enjoy a shared arousal, initiated by the close proximity of the other man’s body.

We’ve all felt that. When dating someone. When having sex with that dating someone. All it takes is to stand within a certain distance, and that residual arousal gets activated. An erection is automatic at close range.

Then they would cross paths while going about their tasks, and blue sunglasses would mock body check dashing Cary. No words. No laughing. Just the physical gesture, neither received nor denied. In case anyone was watching? In case a co-worker might notice?

Off in the distance at one moment, I saw dashing Cary place both hands on the shoulders of his maybe boyfriend. Face to face. It seemed a natural pose to have held many times while they were about to kiss. Too bad they didn’t. I was left to imagine it.

There were two other guys I noticed in a similar dance, but unlike the first couple, these two seemed to have just met. One of them was far more good looking, in that way you’ve no doubt seen a thousand times. Brown hair, blue eyes, dimples. He was tall and athletic and almost certainly straight.

The other was short and bookish, but no less handsome for either. A type I normally go for, as a matter of fact. Dressed in a kind of sloppy way. Shirt half tucked, half un. Bit of scruff on his face. Hair unkempt, and not by design. Could be straight, could be gay. No way of telling.

Both guys appeared to be enjoying their newly formed buddy stance, but I wasn’t sure if maybe the bookworm was interested beyond that. Hard not to be enchanted by a pair of dimples, but if the little guy was gay, I half wanted to tell him not to waste his time. Been there before, it’s never worth the while in the end.

Seated within earshot, I heard them playing a kind of trivia game they may have invented themselves. One of them would introduce a topic, then the other would speak in opposites. Reverse double negatives. A kind of challenge, the rules of which were decided between the two of them, and which were meant to exclude onlookers. Or eavesdroppers.

They spent most of their time together, locked in close conversation. Perhaps they were both straight, each happy to have found a playmate, or perhaps there was more to it.

As I was walking to my car at the end of the last day, I spotted them in the parking lot. They were standing in a lingering goodbye. After a while, the dimpled fellow offered a handshake. Which turned into a side hug. The kind of hug performed while still shaking hands. So as not to be interpreted as anything other than manly affection. We’re just pals, here, get it?

They started to head off in opposite directions. Then the bookish guy turned around to watch his pal walk away.

Yep. He was interested. The other guy, of course, did not look back.




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