Toronto
2 min

Hair apparent

Shocked at being confused for straight

Credit: Xtra Files

How is it that relating to someone for 10 seconds can cause a flurry of questions in my brain when I’ve had long-term relationships that inspired far less mind commotion?



A stranger has me beyond confused.



A woman mistook me for straight. I think.



Picture it: Charles St on a recent Saturday afternoon. Me. A smart shopping bag. Sipping one of those over-priced ice coffee drinks.



Were I indeed straight I’d tell you if the woman coming towards me had great boobs or if her bootie was all that, but alas those weren’t what grabbed my attention (Those will never grab my attention).



It was all about the hair. Isn’t it always? Exhibit A: a coal-black bob with two thick creamy streaks of white blonde.



What happened was more my fault than hers. She had no way of knowing that I’ll compliment a female stranger out of the blue if I happen to think she looks great. I don’t pretend to be the next Mr Blackwell, declaring fashion hits and misses, and I’m not a creep – I just sound like one.



It’s more like in those old TV ads for Impulse body spray, but without the flowers or the underlying motivation. When someone crosses your path looking like art they should be told.



Since this woman’s funky ‘do was indeed making my world a prettier place to be, I let her know just as we passed.



She stopped. “Fuck off.” She looked me over in some nasty indignation.



It took a second for her reaction to hit me, by then she had strutted off.



Sure, in the past the odd compliment has caught its recipient off guard. However, up until now that reaction was always quickly followed by anything from blushing shyly to a pleased-as-punch grin, and always with a thanks. I do believe this was the first time I was ever told to fuck off.



But why? I continued along Charles St, mulling over some theories, taking care not to notice any other aesthetically pleasing people, lest the urge strike and I victimized yet another poor soul. I turned onto Yonge St (where no such urge ever strikes), and decided there was only one possible explanation.



Miss Stinky Attitude thought it was a come-on.



Which is even more ridiculous to me than it is to you. I’ve never come onto (or on) a woman in all my life. And it’s not like she was being led by Mona the seeing-eye dog. There I was: clean hair and nails, shopping bag, fancy coffee and a goddamn ankle bracelet, for the love of God. A summer friggin’ garden party, hello?



I mean, do the math, lady, instead of thinking some poor innocent homosexual spreading cheer only so that pretty people can feel good about themselves would be remotely motivated by the chance to be near your hoo-hoo.



Because, madam, I assure you I was not.



When I’ve told a woman she looks great I’ve assumed it’s obviously coming from a gay guy, which should make the compliment 100 percent non-threatening.



Hence the confusion. What in hell was I doing wrong that afternoon? Which was I being? Straight acting? Or straight looking? I can’t imagine multi-tasking both.



I wanted to hunt down Miss Has-Split-Ends-When-You-Get-Close-Up and ask her, regardless of whether I looked straight or acted straight, what specifically it was that I was doing. What? What, so I don’t do it again? The way she reacted I’m sure the horror of it all must be burnt into her mind forever; maybe she could even act it out for me.



Then again, maybe she thought her hair looked like a skunk pelt on her head. Maybe I struck a nerve. I only meant well. But if she did mistake me for straight, I believe I’m owed an apology.