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16 Ways to Let A Gay Man Know You're Interested
Browse these 16 ways to tell a gay man you’re barking up his tree.
Unfortunately for us, we are bound by language. In Spanish, there is te quiero — I think you’re awesome, I dig you, a casual “I love you,” something you shout at your friends after a great night — and te amo, which means “I love you.” The full-on romantic love. I want to kiss you.
“Interested in” may mean anything from a hardcore crush to a casual “huh, maybe.” It’s your job to communicate what you’re feeling. Language is at your disposal, along with a few more tricks. The fact is, you like him. You may know him very well or not at all, but you’re — for lack of a better word — interested. What now?
1. Stalk his Facebook page and like one of his profile pictures.
Not the most effective way, but it sends the message that you’ve at least browsed as much as you can through his digital life. Find that one awful picture from 5+ years ago. He’s standing in a group producing a pained smile and a cringeworthy peace sign. He’s wearing one of those white seashell necklaces we all wore in the '90s. Go a step further and comment “Cute” with a winking emoticon.
2. Send an unsolicited dick pic on Grindr.
Unsolicited XXX pics are the subject of endless debate. Send one via Grindr and you may get blocked. Or land a hookup. Some guys like anonymous sex and will meet up from a dick pic — no face needed. I will.
The line between what is allowed and disallowed in sex is drawn at consent. Whipping out your junk in public to someone nonconsenting is a crime. Sending XXX pics, solicited or otherwise, is a severe offense in all 50 states if the sender or receiver is underage — even if the person in the images is an adult.
Sending nudes between two consenting adults is generally fine, although if distributed vengefully, as sometimes happens between exes, you can sue for harassment.
The trouble with sending nudes is that it’s difficult to control their dissemination once you send them. If they end up on a child’s phone, things get very messy, and you may need to call a lawyer.
However, if you’re on Grindr or Scruff (or any gay sex site, really), seeing unrequested cocks, holes, and sex shots is unavoidable. You assume the risk of seeing one (or ten) every time you log onto the app.
If your crush is 0.5 miles away, why not? Who can blame us in a culture where we are so commonly reduced to our basic anatomy?
3. Cruise him at the gym.
There is an art to gym cruising. Guys who master it get numbers, dates, hookups, and all sorts of fun from the slightest head nod. They know when to meet eyes and when to look away; when to hold his gaze and when to break it.
4. Send him a Facebook friend request.
Some guys accept friend requests from strangers, but many don’t. Many people are smartly wary of giving accounts which may be bots, spam, or dangerous people access into their personal lives, locations, activities, and so on.
I’ve accepted friend requests from hot guys on Facebook before. There are so few ways to bridge social gaps, so sending a friend request to someone you haven’t met in person will sometimes work.
We go to work and go home. Some people go to the gym, some don’t. Some of us have pets, which restricts our time outside the house. Some go out with friends on the weekends. Some don’t. Adults everywhere struggle to form friendships with people outside their regular circles — coworkers, roommates, bar buds, etc.
If none of his circles overlap with yours, send him a friend request. Having more “mutual friends” increases the likelihood he’ll accept.
5. Avoid interaction with him at all costs.
The avoidance game never, ever works, but for some reason many people keep playing it. Avoiding him will lead to absolutely nothing. It will simply make you appear disinterested, unfriendly, and rude.
If you see him regularly — and you probably do if you’re interested in him — avoiding him at all costs is going to leave you agitated and alone.
6. Woof him on Scruff.
Scruff isn’t the only app that gives you the option of letting someone know you’re interested without messaging them directly.
Recon (a gay fetish app) lets you “cruise” guys. Grindr recently gave users the ability to “tap” a profile (as in, “I’d tap that”). I’m sure others — DaddyHunt, GROWLr, Jack’d, Ass Pig, BBRT, etc. — have similar capabilities.
Woofing him lets him know you’ve seen his profile and you like what you see.
7. Study who he hangs out with, talk to his friends, and hope that someone you interview relays your apparent interest to him nonchalantly, in passing.
An absurd tactic, but it’s been done. We see someone on the other side of the room, and instead of walking up to them and saying hello, we talk to everyone in the crowd between us, gradually moving closer.
That’s how gay social circles often work. You have your circles, he has his, but you know the steps it would take to wind up in the same circle as him, so you start making friends with people he hangs out with.
Friend, resist this ridiculous tactic. He’s not a beast in a circus you have to court with your chair and whip. Unless he’s into that.
8. Go to his workplace. Fill out an application.
Nothing sparks romance like working eight hour shifts together.
9. Go to his house in the guise of an exterminator, plumber, or pizza delivery guy.
“Good evening sir. I heard you have a big, leaky pipe.”
10. Try the best method. Introduce yourself.
It’s okay to want a hookup. But when we say we’re “interested” in someone, we generally mean more than casual sex.
Romantic interests usually form when you’ve had some basic interaction with someone. You see them regularly, or you see them out in social settings (Pride, your favorite gay bar, the gym, the laundromat). Maybe he’s the barista at your favorite coffee shop. Maybe you see him every Sunday in the dog park with his bijon frise. You may have spoken to him in passing, heard this or that rumor about him, and you want to know more. Simplified: you have some context for knowing him, some way to break the ice.
Introduce yourself. Hold out your hand and say your name.
All the games we play to find connections are truthfully not silly. They’re serious. We don’t know how to connect.
No one, queer or straight, is taught how to make friends as adults. We’re taught the rigor and necessity of work, but the most basic needs for our well-being — connection, intimacy, friends, sex — require skills that aren’t covered in college curricula.
I sincerely believe gay men and queer people struggle with this more severely than our hetero counterparts. Growing up in the closet often stunts our social development. Growing up with the message that our relationships are evil or risky create closets for men who cannot start these life-saving connections. They have no way to step outside their shame.
The result: countless blank, faceless profiles on Grindr. Sky-high divorce rates. Lonely people.
All skills take practice. If you simply don’t know how to talk to him yet, talk to others. Start up conversations with people you don’t know. Learn how to introduce yourself.
12. Let yourself be uncomfortable. No one says this is easy.
When strangers come up to me and appear too confident, too self-assured, I call it “salesman syndrome.” Is this rehearsed? I talk to strangers on hookup apps all day long, but when I try to talk to a stranger in person I look like a bumbling, red-faced fool. That’s okay. It’s okay to look foolish. This is called “sincerity.”
13. Learn proper timing when suggesting a coffee date.
The first time you meet may not be the time to ask him out for coffee. If you’ve been enjoying casual conversation for a few minutes, ask him for his number.
There are no rules at this point. Read signals. Assume his honesty. You must take people at their word (when he says “Sure,” don’t assume he’s saying it just to be polite so you’ll leave). I’ve met guys who destroyed connections before they had a chance to happen by assuming I wasn’t being sincere.
That being said, don’t be too eager. Stand your ground, be polite, smile, and be kind. Say something funny. Laughter is the language of connection. (That’s why advertisers show people laughing whenever you’re encouraged to buy a TV or credit card.)
When the time is right (after you’ve run into him a second time or after he texts you back) ask him to coffee. Don’t assume he drinks alcohol unless you met him in a bar. Coffee is my go-to. Very little time is invested at this point that he doesn’t feel backed into a corner. He can say “Sorry, man, I’m seeing someone,” or some lie we say to get out of these things, or, “Ok. When?”
14. Don’t be mean.
Some people turn awkwardness and anxiety into meanness. Try not to tease him. You may not intend to come across meanly, but potentially sharp humor is risky when you’re still determining someone’s sense of humor.
15. Know that your mythology might get shattered.
If you’re interested in someone without knowing them that well (or even if you do know them well), you’ve probably filled in the gaps of what you don’t know with the most adorable, kind, amiable characteristics possible. If everyone lived up to our fantasies then Donald Trump would not be president.
Here’s a rough fact: People are sometimes terrible. They are cruel, judgemental, ill-informed, hurt, hurtful, prejudiced, mean, emotionally unstable, and so on. He might be interesting and charismatic — many terrible people are. Even if he’s the hottest guy you’ve ever talked to, if he says something that you don’t like, ask him about it. Ask him to clarify. Ask his opinions and views. When your opinions differ, say so. The greatest mistake I’ve made in relationships is attempting to make myself more palatable to people who I knew wouldn’t like my more difficult traits. I thought this was a good thing to do, something one is required to do in order to date. I don’t think that’s true now.
Be honest. If you clash in your first chats, put the brakes on this one and get interested in someone else.
16. Invite him into your circle.
When you’re at the bar, introduce him to people you’re there with. If you run into him one-on-one, invite him to your next group outing: “Some friends are going to [ ]. Wanna come?” Or, “I do this group fitness thing on Sundays. You should come sometime.” (The additional message here is that social activities outside of work are vital and recommended for everyone.)
Groups are usually far less intimidating than one-on-one. It feels less like a date and more like an invite to a party, and party invites are always awesome.
Inviting him to your circle is one of the first things you should do when you’re interested in him. It’s the greatest way to say “I’m interested in you.” Not in love with you, not obsessed with you, not infatuated with you, but interested. Let’s see where this goes.