Ask Phoenix

U-News Staff

Dear Phoenix, I heard my friends talking about a “gaydar.” What is a “gaydar” and how do I improve mine?

Dear naïve breeder,

“Gaydar” is a term used to describe one’s ability to detect another person’s homosexuality. Simply put, it is one’s gay-radar. For example, if years ago you watched Anderson Cooper and immediately thought to yourself, “He is a homosexual,” your “gaydar” is well calibrated. On the other hand, if you watched Anderson Cooper and assumed his heterosexuality despite his perfectly manicured hairstyle, your “gaydar” may need an adjustment.

“Gaydars” are based solely on stereotypes and past experience with homosexuals. Just because someone is a member of the gay community does not mean his/her “gaydar” is spot-on. For example, my “gaydar” is occasionally calibrated to assume everyone I meet is homosexual.

An important distinction I would like to point out is the difference between detecting gays and detecting lesbians. I, for one, have an incredibly difficult time differentiating between homosexual and heterosexual women. An exception to this difficulty arises when the female is wearing basketball shorts, sporting a ball cap and does not know the meaning of a manicure.  The complete opposite of those characteristics might determine the homosexuality of a man.

No specific feature is a telltale sign of homosexuality. Stereotypes can cause us to make terrible assumptions about people. Please get to know someone before you spread rumors about someone else’s sexual preference.

Dear Phoenix, my partner and I are struggling because we live in different cities.  How do I make a long-distance relationship last? Is it inevitable that we will break up?

Dear struggling significant other,

Long-distance relationships are extremely difficult. I sympathize with your hardships. While I have never been in this situation, I have helped many who have. The only advice I can give you is this: communication is key. Constantly talk to your significant other like you would if he/she were in the same city. It may be tedious, but it is necessary.

Many couples have different ways to deal with the geographical gap. The length of the relationship prior to  separation also plays a factor in its longevity. A relationship that has lasted for a few years before lovers are forced to live in separate cities is a whole different bag of gummy worms than one that is just starting.

Skype may be the savior of your relationship. Seeing your partner’s smile and hearing his/her voice can make all the difference.

The fear both of you may rightfully have is the possibility of losing the other’s interest, which may result in a breakup or cheating. Constant communication and honesty can greatly soothe this fear and decrease the likelihood of your partner joining the list of horrible, cheating human beings.

Long-distance relationships are a true test of love. Reuniting victoriously may be one of the most rewarding events in your life. Stick with it. Be honest with your partner about hardships, and communicate often.

Hope this helps!

Toodles for now,

Phoenix Rishon

Questions can be submitted by email to [email protected]

‘Ask Phoenix’ does not substitute for a professional psychologist or psychiatrist. If you need psychological support: Contact the UMKC Counseling Center at 816-235-1635.  If you are in crisis or thinking about suicide you deserve immediate supportc contact the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 -or- Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you are in immediate danger or in crisis, please call 911.