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Her gaydar needs a major tuneup

May 29, 2003|Samantha Bonar | Times Staff Writer

My loyal readers will recall that I recently went out a couple of times with a guy whose sexual orientation eluded me. I called this Shakespearean actor "Hamlet," after the ambivalent Dane.

My poor gaydar was humiliating, as I had completed the final for my gay gal-pal training at Hamburger Mary's in Long Beach months ago.

My gay pal and mentor, Bryan, assured me I had passed -- but maybe he's just an indulgent grader.

And now, let the curtain rise on Act II.

Hamlet invited me to an opening-night cast party for the play in which he was starring. I asked my savvy friend Eve to go along. I gave Eve the address of the party. She looked it up on Mapquest and announced, "This is in West Hollywood."

"Your point?" I asked.

She glared at me.

"Straight men live in West Hollywood too, you know," I said. "Besides, it's at his friend's place. Hamlet doesn't live in WeHo."

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks," she said.

"We'll just go, you'll meet him and you can give me your opinion," I said.

"Right. Lead on, MacDuff," she said.

"Wrong play," I said.

We got to the party and entered a beautiful apartment with gleaming Spanish tile floors, wrought iron fixtures, soaring ceilings and angular clear glass vases filled with orchids everywhere. I stood there agog like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.

Hamlet greeted me with a hug and a glass of wine and offered a home tour, which I accepted.

"He just painted the walls in 'latte,' " he told me. There was a lot of upholstered white furniture and several plasma TVs mounted on walls, along with tastefully framed art.

After the tour, Eve and I meandered into the dining room and surveyed the spread: crudites with spinach dip, vegetable sushi, fresh blackberries, many kinds of cheesecake.

I chatted with the host. A cute young guy wandered over, and he was introduced as his boyfriend. At least that was settled.

Hamlet, warm and loquacious as always, talked politics, his play, acting, home decor.

Later, I asked Eve, "Well?" She looked around the room dramatically. Or maybe she was just rolling her eyes. "I told you my answer last week," she said. "Hello, he's gay."

When we left, Hamlet gave me a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. "We'll do coffee soon, sweetheart," he said.

A couple of weeks later, I found myself sandwiched between two Hamlets at a bar, drinking a pina colada out of a coconut and snacking on chicken satay. Hamlet had brought another Shakespearean actor along for our "date."

The handsome, swarthy Hamlet to the left of me, Hamlet Deux, quickly mentioned an ex-girlfriend. That makes one straight Hamlet.

The Hamlet to the right of me, the original, perhaps emboldened by the other Hamlet's easy disclosure, then mentioned how he had recently been at here in West Hollywood, then crossed the street to dance at Club '80s, where a guy bought him a drink, "but he wasn't my type."

As the real Hamlet, the one penned by Shakespeare, said, "What an ass am I!"

Good night, sweet prince. I think this could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

Samantha Bonar can be reached at

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