"A-gays mark measurable societal progress," says Laura Gilbert, editor of the pop-culture website lemondrop.com. "People can now be out without being expected to swish. It's the Neil Patrick Harris/Portia de Rossi brand of gay."

Those of a certain pedigree have a tendency to stick together, and A-gays are no different. While they don't shun B-gays or C-gays, they tend to move in rarefied circles, and are apt to be found at upscale restaurants among their straight peers—not at bars with names like Rawhide. For the most part, they have opted out of the gay scene and its social networks and eschew the theme parties and bathhouses of the lower castes. They also steer clear of the typical pink vacation destinations; you will not catch an A-gay shirtless in South Beach or at a foam party in Mykonos.

"My favorite A-gay has to be dragged to gay bars," says Gilbert, adding that she sees the breed as a unique torment to straight women: "At first when we meet one, we feel a glimmer of hope for the existence of funny, charming, debonair, clean-shaven men. Soon, though, the reality sinks in."

But for straight men, the A-gay is even more confusing. The average guy might have a gay friend or two, but they rarely represent a challenge to his heterosexuality. The A-gay's success—with personal style, in business, with friends—has a gravitational pull. Often straight guys hope that some of that A-gayness will rub off on them and, before you know it, they've developed a man crush. And that's when their wives start giving them looks.