It’s not uncommon for me to get into discussions about celebrities that go something like this:
Him: Hey, you’ve heard of Mr. Big Name [a world-famous icon of masculinity], right?
Me: Sure. Who hasn’t?
Him: Well, he’s gay.
Me: Really? That’s interesting.
Him: Yeah, my buddy Al, who was a stuntman on a bunch of his early movies, told me.
Me: But isn’t he married to that supermodel?
Him: It’s just a front.
Me: And don’t they have several kids who look just like him?
Him: Everybody in Hollywood knew he was gay way back when.
Me: And wasn’t his wife threatening to divorce him a couple of years ago because he was sleeping with his leading lady?
Him: His publicist must have made it up.
Me: And didn’t his ex-wife sue him to get his child-support payments raised to $100,000 per month? And didn’t he almost ruin his career by insisting that his crazy Danish girlfriend be cast opposite him in all his movies? And didn’t he hire private eye Anthony Pellicano to wiretap those script girls who had filed paternity and sexual-harassment suits against him? And doesn’t he maintain a secret second family in Bakersfield?
Him: It’s all part of the act.
Me: And didn’t he buy that expensive golf course? Heck, I saw him hitting golf balls at the local driving range years ago while he was still on that TV show. How many gays play golf? And before you claim that golf is a devious façade, why would anybody devote thousands of hours playing golf just to bamboozle the world into thinking he’s straight when nobody except me has ever noticed that gay men almost never play golf? I mean, I once read up on everybody on Golf Digest’s lists of the 160 actors and singers who are the best golfers in the entertainment industry, and only one, 1950s great Johnny Mathis, is obviously homosexual. But who else does that? So all I’m saying is, this guy doesn’t sound gay.
Him: He’s gay as a French horn.
It seems like I’ve had this conversation at one time or another about most male celebrities other than, maybe, old linebacker Dick Butkus.
Granted, I am as interested as anybody else in gossip about whether or not Mr. Big Name is secretly homosexual. But I’m also interested in the more statistical question: Overall, how many famous male entertainers really are gay?
I don’t know. So I’ve been trying to think through the various possible explanations for the scant data we have. In this two-part series, I’ll lay out the potential scenarios, all of which are likely true to some extent. I’ll conclude next week with a rather disturbing possibility that doesn’t get much press coverage, perhaps because it would violate the media’s current Prime Directive of portraying gays solely as powerless martyrs.
First, maybe straight guys just make up rumors about celebrities they envy. Sylvester Stallone acknowledged in 2006 that Richard Gere still blames Sly for making up the popular rumor about Gere and the gerbil. But it’s only a rumor, Sly said.
We’ve seen something analogous to this with the bizarre rumors among blacks that white fashion designers such as Gloria Vanderbilt in the 1980s and Tommy Hilfiger in the 1990s and 2000s had gone on television talk shows to proclaim their hatred of black people.
Presumably these allegations start when some black teens are out trying on designer clothes, and one girl who doesn’t want to admit she can’t afford them makes up an excuse about how she won’t buy any Tommy Hilfiger items because she saw him on Oprah talking about how much he loathes blacks.
Or maybe gays like to make up fantasies about handsome straights. Consider baseball players. I’ve read gay rumors about Sandy Koufax, Mike Piazza, and Keith Hernandez, all of them handsome and none of them—I would bet a sizable amount of money—gay. In contrast, one of Hernandez’s teammates on the Mets was a much more plausible candidate for the distinction of best gay ballplayer ever, but he’s almost never the subject of rumors, possibly because he’s a little pudgy.
Or perhaps all those rumors are always floating around because a lot of stars really are gay. Where there’s smoke, there’s often fire.
For example, back in 1972, everybody in my 9th-grade class knew that Rock Hudson and Jim Nabors (the flamingly effeminate star of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.) had gotten “married.” That wasn’t exactly true, but it was closer to the truth than outsiders normally get. According to the Standard Narrative, the entire world was amazed in 1985 when Hudson announced he had AIDS. Yet as a former 9th grader, I can’t say I was terribly surprised by the news.
(to be continued)
Copyright 2013 TakiMag.com and the author. This copy is for your personal, noncommercial use only. You can order reprints for distribution by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.