January 2, 2017

IT’S COME TO THIS: Hipsters Broke My Gaydar.

At a holiday crafts fair, a cute woman with a half-shaved head and a septum piercing pushed a tin toward me. “Smell this — it smells awesome,” she said, smiling. People brushed past me; the sun lit the woman’s head like a halo.

I reached for the tin, which had an image of a mustache on it. Our fingers touched, and I noticed a tattoo of the “female” symbol on her wrist.

“If your boyfriend has any facial hair,” she said, “this’ll make his face less scratchy for you!”

The tin held $14 beard pomade. I blinked, startled; I don’t have a boyfriend. If she casually assumed I was straight, that means she probably isn’t queer. But … how?

I backed away from her table. I was surrounded by strangers; I’d lost my way. I used to have a talent, but now it’s gone, vanished, like a beautiful dream I can’t remember.

I once had wonderful, startlingly accurate gaydar. I spent years writing a humor blog about the topic to educate fellow queers. Now I can’t always tell right away. It’s ruining my life.

In cities, trendy young people — queer and straight, male, female and non-binary — are blending together, look-wise. That’s because mainstream style is now hipster style. But here’s the thing: Hipster style is just queer style, particularly queer women’s style.

Put another way: Lesbians invented hipsters.

Okay, I never had anything against lesbians before, but now I feel they have a lot to answer for . . .