Dear Mistress Maeve,
As you and your readers know, our planet is comprised of gay people, straight people and lots of people somewhere in between. As a gay man with a normal (or slightly elevated) sex drive, I often see guys to whom I am attracted - but without a nametag that reads, "Hi. I'm gay," I have no idea who falls into the category of my liking. Every time I see someone of interest, my confidence level flatlines, and I end up not approaching him. What's a guy to do when he spots someone who makes his engine roar?
Cyclically Excited and Frustrated
Flirting is a game of risk and chance - you have to be willing to experience rejection in the pursuit of scoring a date with a hottie who catches your eye. For gay men, flirting can be a still riskier business. Even now, with marriage equality enshrined in state law, violence against gay people remains a real threat, and you don't want to incite the rage of a gay-bashing idiot by asking him for his phone number.
That said, if you see a guy who "makes your engine roar" at the grocery store, there's no harm in asking him to help you select a ripe avocado. If you end up exchanging guacamole recipes, it's a pretty safe bet that you can also exchange email addresses. If he's not interested, he'll move on to the next aisle.
If you don't trust your gaydar in mixed company, volunteer for your favorite queer organization or attend art shows and performances featuring gay artists - you're sure to find a few flirting prospects in these places. You can also sign up for online dating - it's pretty tough to get your wires crossed when sexual orientation is printed clearly on the screen.