“Help! My Husband Enjoys Sailing Naked and Drinking Beers With Gay Men. What do you think this could mean?”

We found the above question in the advice column known as “Dear Prudence” in Slate Magazine. Check out the full query, below… and Prudence’s response, afterwards:

Dear Prudence,

My husband has a gay friend from high school. As an adult, before we married, he traveled to see his friend and for a week hung out with him and other gay men. Once, they went sailing where all of them stripped naked and drank beers—I’ve seen the pictures. My husband is very particular about his appearance and grooming. He recently started to lisp. I suspect he’s gay. When I told a (straight) man about this, his response was that no straight man would have done that (sailed naked with gay men). Am I correct that he is probably at least bisexual?

— Am I Naive?

Dear Naive,

It would feel really weird for me to make a guess about the sexual orientation of a stranger (or really, of anyone), but in the interest of providing a thorough answer to your question, I’ll entertain the points you’ve made. And … I think everything you’ve written here can explained away!

Particular about his appearance: So are a lot of straight men. That’s why nobody says “metrosexual” anymore. It’s called self-care. And it keeps you from being the subject of advice letters from a wife who finds you utterly disgusting because you have food in your beard, smell like an old towel, and haven’t clipped your toenails for a year. This is a good thing.

Stripping while sailing and drinking beers with gay men: This strikes me as an activity that would be among the very last things someone who was gay and trying to hide it from his wife would do. Perhaps he’s just secure in his orientation and up for a good time?

New lisp: It’s unusual but not unheard of for an adult to develop one. Ask him to check with a dentist, ENT, or speech therapist if you’re concerned before accusing him of living a lie. (And of course, not all gay or bi men have lisps!)

The only real red flag about your marriage here is that you are asking a random, probably-homophobic straight man, as well as me, a stranger, to weigh in on your husband’s sexuality. Again, I have absolutely no idea if you’re correct that he is “probably at least bisexual.” Your gut feeling is worth something. What he says about himself, and how you feel when you hear it, is worth more. Can you—I realize this seems wild but stay with me—start a conversation with him?

The fact that you seemingly can’t talk to each other and that you believe he would hide a major part of himself from you concerns me much more than his honestly pretty amazing-sounding vacation, the way he speaks, or the fact that he likes to look nice.

Stop playing detective and sit down for a heart-to-heart with the person you married. If you still don’t believe what he says or trust him to be honest, deal with that rather than asking someone else to judge him against a list of stereotypes.

What do you think? Is this good advice? What are your thoughts on stereotypes? We’d love to hear what’s in your head after reading this article…