Move over metrosexuals, the new guy with a questionable um, appetite is the stray, a term coined by Details writer Mike Albo, used to describe the straight guy who everyone thinks is gay.
Now, I had a knee-jerk reaction when I came across this term because fact is, I know this guy. Several of my friends' growing up had a stray dad, the man we were all sure was gay, but was married with children, and not because he was in the closet. (One of these stray dads however, did have a walk in clothes closet, but I digress...) Albo sums the phenom up nicely: It's usually the single guy friend you have, the super nice, great catch that you're always trying to fix up with your single lady friends, who automatically discount the guy because they assume he's homosexual. When said guy excuses himself to go the bathroom, the gal leans over, a quizzical look on her face, and whispers, "So, he's gay, right?"
Says Albo, in an attempt to define the man behind the mystery, "The characteristics that define a stray as such vary widely. Maybe it's a melodious laugh. Or a fastidious shirt-and-tie combo. Or an effusive signature salutation ("Oh my god! I'm totally psyched to see you!"). But more often the thing about a heterosexual guy that makes everyone assume he's a homo is almost impossible to pinpoint. He may talk up his love of ladies more than Bret Michaels does, he may have a wife and kids, but people always react the same way: "Really? No, wait-really?"
This phenomenon shouldn't be confused with that of actual gay men who masquerade as straight. And we're not talking about the metrosexual, that embodiment of a played-out consumer megatrend that involved slim-cut pants and moisturizer."
Do you see what I mean? I totally recognize this dude. In fact, I think I even went to prom with him. How 'bout you? Know any strays?