The Intersection Between Common Culture and Sexuality: “Confession 296: Gaydar”

In her introspective piece, “Confession 296: Gaydar,” author Raechel Segal shares with us her humorous but poignant viewpoint on the relationship between technology and sexuality, considered both through the lens of childhood and as a member of Clark’s community. Segal’s reflections within the narrative reveal aspects of commonalities, such as going to the movies with our parents or scrolling through a popular Facebook page, that we may otherwise have not considered. Consider the ways in which your viewpoints are challenged as you read “Confession 296: Gaydar” below.

Confession 296: Gaydar

Raechel Segal

I un-followed Clark Confessions. Not because I have a problem with the rag-tag mumbo jumbo of “my-roommate’s-jacking-off-at-4:30 AM-and-I-need-to-take-a-dump” posts that reveal What’s Really Happening at Clark. No, I un-followed Clark Confessions for another reason: I am scared.

I’m scared someone will post stuff like “Raechel can’t properly tie a bandana” or “Raechel and I made awkward eye contact.” I don’t want to be featured in your Midnight Munchies, crazed cataclysm of frantic words, frantic thoughts, and frantic Oreos.

Although I un-followed Clark Confessions, I sometimes take a peek. Recently, I took a screenshot of “Confession 296” and sent it to my closest, queerest friends.

This confession was about gaydar; more specifically, it was about searching for rainbow stickers on cute girls’ laptops. While this post may signify very little, I think it signifies a lot. Navigating the queer community can be difficult. I mean, let’s face it: it’s fall, it’s New England, and there’s flannel. There are no Post-It notes declaring who’s what, who’s single, and who likes whom. You just gotta weave through all those thrift store flannel tops and beanie buffets until you finally, just maybe, have some sort of idea of what constitutes the queer community.

Gaydar is like checking off items on your grocery list. Did I pick up the kosher salt? Yes. Did I get the huevos rancheros? No, they don’t sell those at Price Chopper. Is this person out and loud and proud? Check. Is this person into me? Well, that’s where we rip the grocery list to pieces and throw it away.

And if you thought shredding your grocery list was stressful, well, you’re in for a treat. Often times, navigating is much trickier than “Oh yeah, that person is queer.” Why? There’s this big and scary thing we call the closet. I remember first hearing of “the closet” when I saw the Milk Man. No, not the real milkman, because I didn’t grow up in the ‘60s when there actually were milkmen. I mean Harvey Milk and that movie with Sean Penn.

My parents and I saw Milk back when I was a tween. My parents liked taking me to intellectual movies to open my mind and expand my horizons. There was also free popcorn.

When I saw this movie, I learned about the closet. Back then, I probably knew there were people who hid their true selves. I mean, I was one of them. But I didn’t know there was a word for it. I just thought the closet was where you hang your dresses and your pantaloons.

I’d like to thank Confession 296 for showing me that nothing’s crystal clear. The weather’s murky, the water’s murky, and few things are self-evident, except for maybe one thing: despite the nonsense found on Clark Confessions, sometimes, just sometimes, I find something beautiful. Thank you, Confession 296.


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