Amnesia On Demand: Gay Thing or Guy Thing?

Straight Guy,

Need your straight perspective.

I was once again on the receiving end of what I call "gay amnesia."

Here's what happened: A friend and I were in line at the drug store, and right behind us is a guy I see every day. My finely tuned gaydar tells me he's my people, but this is only an untested theory. He must live and work near me: He gets on the bus one stop after me every work day, transfers at the same stop and gets off at the same stop. Plus I see him out at lunch time.

Back to the drug store: While I slowly inched forward in the line, I said "hi" to him or nodded and smiled at him. He gave me that look that says, "I've never seen you before --Who are you and why do you recognize me?"

This happens to me a lot.
I admit to being hyper-observant and thus might have unreasonable expectations for memories to light the corners of other people's minds. Usually, I don't take it personally. It's not a friend; it's some guy on the same bus schedule or someone who works out at the same time as me or whatever.

Why does this bug me? I truly don't want anything in return. I don't expect to make a friend or have a chat or act like long-lost buddies. I'm not hitting on them. I just want a little silent recognition and acknowledgment. A little nod that says, "Oh, I recognize you from the gym and, gee whiz, there you are strolling down the sidewalk."

So I need to know, SG, is "gay amnesia" a:
--Figment of my imagination?
--DNA social tick unique to my people?
--General guy thing?

--Sign of my unreasonable expectations that there's a happy gay village inside the big straight city?

--Gay Guy


Straight in Upstate said...

i don't think it's a gay thing. I had a number of instances of making contact with someone, on the same level you described or higher, and they responded like they'd never seen me. (I, too, am accused of being observing & remembering everything.) Enough times to convince me A) I'm wallpaper and B) never take the initiative to speak to anyone, ever. My friends think I'm nuts - "forgettable? you!?" - but so be it.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's a gay thing either. Some people just don't know how to respond to something that subtle. They're afraid to overdo it and seem forward. They also may be trying to put you in context and failing that they panic and pretend they don't know you so they won't have to come up with a name.

Next time,try greeting them overtly. Betcha they pretend they know you even if they don't. If they falter you can help bail them out with "we're on the same bus route . . . " or whatever. Maybe you'll make a grateful friend.

David said...

I got a good chuckle out of this post. I've actually creeped people out over how much I observe strangers. I used to go to a neighboring school system back in junior high and I remember a lot of people. This one particular guy I remember, Brian, went to the same university as me. We never hung out or talked to each other but I remembered him and would see him around occasionally. He never remembered or recognized me and I was never in the mood to say, "hey we went to school together!" But,based on what I passively observed about him from what he said or what other people said, I knew what he majored in, where he moved to, and what career he got into. A mutual friend of ours, Stacey, moved out to San Diego near to where he lived and complained that she didn't know anyone there. So I told her that Brian was out there too. She was curious how I knew Brian and so he asked him. So he does a mini freak out because some stranger knows all this information about him.

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