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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Knowing Look

I would really like to make it socially acceptable for me to loudly announce when I see other gay people. I want to take a bullhorn and proclaim, for all people to know, that I have located another queer and that we may or may not have made eye contact.

Instead of being a total lunatic (and more important than that, maintaining my reputation of imperturbable - hahaha), I've invented a system to satisfy this urge: if I'm lucky enough to be holding someones hand, I may squeeze that hand twice to indicate the observation of a gay person. Sometimes I lose my cool and will squeeze a few extra times when I see a couple, especially a young pair of sweethearts who could care less if anyone is watching them love on each other.

I'm super aware that this involves immense amounts of judgment and crude assumptions on my part. I'm sorry if I've squeezed my partners hand in regards to you and you weren't actually the gay. I take that squeeze back and instead give it to the millions of queers who would loved to be visually identified.

I know I'm not the only one who freaks out upon seeing gay people walking and talking in real life. I asked a friend I super respect for some advice on this blog post and she wrote me back confirming that I'm not alone in this: "Actually I also want to hug basically every lesbian and queer person I ever see on the streets."

I love those moments when I'm walking on those streets, holding hands with some fine girl and I get a look or smile or nod or wink from a stranger. Those signals could mean a million different things: "I'm happy that you found a partner" "I also hit for the other team" "I think you should leave that person and come with me" "My daughter slumps her shoulders to hide her breasts too." I call those signals The Knowing Look. I gave it a name because I cherish The Knowing Look. I try extra hard to make eye contact with strangers just for this look.

Recently, I've started squeezing my own hand. Two light pumps as a reminder to myself that I am not the only queer in this world.


  1. "Recently, I've started squeezing my own hand. Two light pumps as a reminder to myself that I am not the only queer in this world. " loled myself awake at work with this one.

  2. Yeahhhh, kinda pathetic and totally true.

  3. What she doesn't mention is that she also hand squeezes for EVERYTHING she sees that is even a little bit interesting. Hot girl couple making out = small cute dog in a people outfit = man on street doing something unusual = don't look now, we know that person and we don't want to say hi to them. The system needs refining.

  4. I wanted to "like" Andie's response, and add that it's kind of like me tearing up, at a certain point you're endearingly crying wolf.

    However, the Knowing Look is never more exciting than when you're far from home, in another country perhaps, and there are the queers, and they see you. I've rarely had this experience though, because unless I'm with a queer partner, I'm just some girl staring at them. I probably confuse a lot of queers trying to give them the Knowing Look, actually.

  5. You should write a regular column in the New Yorker. It would fit right in to the Talk of the Town section. Checkit.

  6. i love this, i do the same! my question is, why is every queer in nyc either so absorbed in their own world or so reluctant to give the nod of acknowledgement in public spaces?