Q [Part 1]: I like to think of myself as a stylish guy -- I think about what I wear and I've been known to put a bit of gel in my hair. I'm also a little shy around girls (meaning I very rarely (never) go throw-her-over-my-shoulder-and-take-her-back-to-my-cave macho), but I'm definitely interested in them. In high school, everyone got that I was into both style and the opposite sex, but I recently started college, and I'm not sure that message has gotten across. To come right out with it, I keep on getting hit on by other men. The attention is nice(?), but I really wish it was from a different source. You guys seem like a good source of friendly/anonymous advice, and I was wondering if you had any ideas how I can show both my style and sexual orientation at my new school.

Q [Part 2] (sent two minutes after Q [Part 1]...): Sorry, I should have sent this with the first email, but I just really want a girl's perspective on when she thinks a boy is gay. I guess that's what I was trying to say.

A [Parts One, Two, Three, Four & Five]

One (The Hunted): College is a great time to move out of your comfort zone. If you're really interested in dating (girls), then I say release your inner, well-dressed caveman. Mr. One isn't the chest-thumping type, either, and I'm glad for that. Back in college, and then in the many years we dated on-and-off since, he was always the utterly charming, terribly polite, consummate gentleman that he is. At the same time, he left absolutely no room for confusion about what he wanted out of our relationship. I -- and I dare say most girls -- love to be pursued. And he was a very good hunter. I'm not suggesting you change who you are. But if there is someone you find really compelling, then compel yourself to win her heart. And if there isn't anyone in particular, I don't think there's any harm in keeping folks guessing. It makes you mysterious. And mysterious is basically a synonym for sexy. (I learned that in college...)

Two (Totally Clueless): Make sure your facebook status says that you are interested in women.  If people have a question about it, they can just look.  If you're interested in anyone, casually ask them out for ice cream, hot chocolate or bubble tea.  You don't have to spend a lot of money but you should pay for her drink or dessert or whatever.  They'll be flattered (especially if you are well groomed) and if you get the door and act like a gentleman, they will just assume you are a rare, modern example of chivalry.  If she insists on paying, tell her she can next time.  Finally, if you receive undesired attention, don't be offended.  I think my husband, brothers and brother-in-law have all been subjects of boy crushes.  It is no assault on your manliness.  On the contrary. You probably are just kind of hot. Just tell them you're straight, but thanks for the compliment... then go find the nicest girl in the room and ask her if you can buy her an ice cream cone.

Three (Overly Confidant): Fear not! Thou well dressed freshman! In this world there are indeed girls who like a well dressed fella. "How can she state this with such authority!" you ask? Because, my friend, I used to be one of those girls. I dated boys who were sweet, sensitive guys, who knew a lot about music and were seriously aware of what they wore.

So that's the good news, there are girls out there for you, and I also believe that the way men dress is appreciated more as they age. So while your heart may pine for the ladies rushing off with those rough and tumble dudes now, in 5 years they'll appreciate that you don't look like a slob.

For now take advantage of your access to chicks. Gay guys have a much easier time being accepted into the inner circles of lady-dom. So get there, and then talk about your ex-GIRLFRIEND, how you have a crush on Sloan from Entourage, and how girls have an easier time getting dates than boys do. DO NOT talk about A) what designer you're wearing, B) how much your jeans cost, C) how much you luuurv Beyonce, D) actually, don't use the word "love" too much in general, also avoid "fabulous," "tots gorge,"and "OMG." Finally, it's quite manly to say "adios" instead of saying goodbye. That's what Dr. P does, and it's dreamy.

Four (Clued in): I go to a school where there are a lot of boys who like boys. Because I normally have a really hard time discerning when boys are gay, I've kind of just started assuming they're gay unless proven otherwise....
Here are a few things that help me to puzzle the question out:

1. If you're regularly much better dressed and groomed than I am, I'm going to wonder...Don't get me wrong, I really like it when a boy is well dressed, but there comes a point when it's obvious that they're spending a lot of time on their toilette. Significantly more time than I am, and--for me--that's off-putting. I don't want to date a boy who thinks they're prettier than I am. 
2. If you don't show any interest in me whatsoever, I'm probably going to wonder...
3. If you wear a fedora, I'm going to think you're gay--or an idiot (animal prints, intricately tied scarves, and exceptionally tight pants can be added to this list).
4. If you wear baseball caps, I'm going to assume you're straight.
5. If you make an effort to get to know me for no apparent reason, I'm going to assume you're probably straight.

As I've mentioned before, I'm really bad about going out of my way to get to know people--this includes boys. So, if you want to get to know girls, you're going to have to put in some effort. I know it might sound excruciating, but just start talking. Don't be creepy, just remark on something in your immediate surroundings that you two can laugh/commiserate/talk about. If you're sweet, charming--and don't start talking about project runway, they'll probably get the message.   

Five (Probably Confused): As a chick currently attending the self-proclaimed 'Gay Ivy', who's statistics on male sexual orientation have spawned the catchphrase, '1 in 4, maybe more', I have some experience with this problem. As far as when girls think a boy is gay, I think that openly exhibiting romantic attraction to other men is a pretty good indicator. This includes public man-on-man hand-holding, cheek kissing, mouth kissing, and face licking -- the jury's still out on groping. If you're a straight man who has been doing any of these things, STOP! When girls see you, they'll just assume that you don't swing their way, and leave you and your bro to your PDA (Platonic Display of Affection).

Beyond that, it can go either way. How I view it, boys sit on a sliding scale-- I've already mentioned one side, and on the other lies guys that I know aren't gay (mostly due to excessive and lingering shoulder pats). Everyone else sits somewhere in the middle. And it's not bad to be in the middle, it just means that you when you decide to pursue a lady (don't expect it to go the other way around), she'll know she's special to you-- and also that no, you aren't gay.

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