STYLE & BEAUTY
09/07/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Gay Or Straight...And How To Tell

In the early nineties, Dan Rothenberg was having a gay old time--literally. A rising comedian in San Francisco, he spent his nights at clubs in the Castro, where he discovered, to his surprise, that he was "a bit of a boy magnet." Rothenberg, then in his early twenties, was for pretty much the first time in his life finding hooking up with people easy. A regular at the Stud's disco night, he was known for starting off his routine at local comedy clubs by saying "I like my women like I like my coffee . . . I don't like coffee." Fifteen years later, he sits outside a West Hollywood Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf reminiscing with a woman about his days as an out-and-proud gay man. The woman happens to be his wife.

Rothenberg and Colleen Crabtree, both 35, met seven years ago. Five or so years before that, Rothenberg was paralyzed by fear over the realization that he wasn't actually gay. Although it took about a year to admit to himself that his Castro days were over, one incident stands out. "I happened to see a female friend getting dressed," he says. "I remember watching her and thinking 'There's no way words can describe how much I want that.'"

Despite the insistence of many--straight and gay--that switching between sexual preferences can't technically happen, Rothenberg isn't the only man to have believed he was homosexual before deciding that he was wrong. These aren't gays who attend faith-based programs to be "cured," or bisexuals who rotate between male and female sex partners the way the rest of us alternate pairs of shoes. And they're not the type who hide gay urges in public while privately trotting off to the local bathhouse.

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