A brand-new gay?

A summary of what's been in the tabloids.
April 4 2002 2:56 PM

The Gay Way

The tabs take a walk on the same-sex side.

With violence in the Middle East escalating to crisis proportions, the good people at the Globe have elected to turn their attention to another matter of pressing global concern, specifically: Does plastic jewelry fuel the fires of pedophilia? A riveting contribution to the annals of American investigative journalism by the Globe, entitled "Do Chokers Drive Pervert Killers Wild?" explores the startling possibility—confirmed, of course, by "experts"—that "cheap plastic jewelry may provoke child molesters to kidnap, rape and murder their innocent victims." Top forensic psychologist Richard Walter explains that "the type of person who is unnaturally attracted to a child needs to depersonalize her before he can perform sexually. If the child is wearing the kind of jewelry a woman would typically wear, that gives mixed signals to the predator, which can anger him to the point of violence." Hence the theory that wearing plastic chokers is a recipe for disaster.

Now consider the Globe's stunning evidence: The late JonBenet Ramsey "often wore chokers as part of her elaborate pageant costumes." Murdered 7-year-old Danielle van Dam "loved the inexpensive jewelry and was never seen without it." And missing Portland preteen Ashley Marie Pond "was also a big fan of plastic chokers." Pond's friend Miranda Gaddis, who disappeared two months after her, "didn't normally wear a choker, [but] she looks like Ashley and shared the same fashion sense." Case closed. We're now officially concerned that perverts are stalking the entire plastic-draped sixth-grade population of America. For which the obvious remedy is for all of you to join Keeping Tabs' personal crusade to shut down every Claire's Boutique in existence. ...

The tawdry implications of sporting plastic chokers are par for the course right now in tabloidland. There's a lot of weirdness out there, particularly when it comes to sex. And gayness. For instance, the overwhelming message this week is that those who stage elaborate weddings could secretly be gay. And those who are supposed to be gay—like Carol Burnett's daughter Erin Hamilton—could allegedly be dabbling in heterosexuality. (She's fallen for "… a GUY!" screams a Globe headline.) Who can keep up? Well, KT tries.

Liza Minnelli's recent freak show of a wedding is, not surprisingly, the subject of much tabloid ink. Last week's Globe hinted at trouble looming on the horizon for the newlyweds. Friends of Liza were quoted expressing fear that her new husband, producer David Gest, would "break her heart." "David is a mercurial dazzler, a schmoozer and hustler who's the life and soul of every party—but husband material he's definitely not," confided a pal. ("Mercurial dazzler"?) But it wasn't until this week that the Globe cut to the chase about the facts at the heart of Gest's potential difficulties with married life: Rumors that he is gay are supposedly "rampant" in New York. (According to the New York Post, singer Elton John recently told an audience that he was getting Minnelli "a heterosexual husband" as a wedding gift.) Meanwhile, All My Children veteran Ruth Warrick is reported to have come forward to say that she served as Gest's beard for years and that he even begged her to marry him to complete the charade. "If Liza was expecting passion with David on her wedding night, believe me, she's still waiting," Warrick is quoted as saying. "David's been secretly into men, not women, for the entire 25 years I've known him."

The accumulated evidence—as compelling as the case against the choker—once again speaks for itself. Says Warrick, for example, "He walked and talked in a manner that people called 'swish.' " And while Gest's PR rep is quoted as assuring readers that his client is "100 percent heterosexual," friends allege he is "totally unconvincing as a heterosexual." The Globe quotes a pal as saying: "He looks gay, acts gay and talks gay. It's not a big deal among those who know him, but for reasons only he knows, David persists in acting heterosexual." Ah, yes. Nothing confirms one's heterosexuality like marrying a woman whose father and first husband were gay.

Anyway, if Gest is gay, he's certainly in good company right now. This week's Globe is also reporting that—are you sitting down?—Elvis may have been gay, too. In a story titled "Elvis' Gay Secret," we learn that according to a new book by writer David Bret, Col. Tom Parker had such a Svengali-like grip over Elvis because he continually threatened to reveal that Elvis romanced a young actor named Nick Adams. According to the story, "Elvis' sexual experimentation began with a 'teenage crush' on movie star James Dean that grew into an obsession." The King is said to have seen Rebel Without a Cause some 44 times and ultimately is said to have had a brief affair with Adams, who appeared in the film. Parker supposedly "found himself shelling out substantial amounts of hush money to people who wanted to 'out' his star." Well, he did swivel those hips an awful lot.

NASCAR star Jeff Gordon also gets drawn into the Globe's web of gayness. Gordon's recent split from his wife has reportedly "reignited inflammatory talk that the racing hunk is gay." His wife, Brooke, is said to have complained that her husband was a "cold fish" who didn't satisfy her in the bedroom. And a friend explains that "because he's good-looking and dresses well, he's an obvious target to pick on." Obvious. As if the nice clothes weren't enough, the story further explains that "Gordon's slight build and soft-spoken manner also sparked the gay gossip, not to mention that here was a clean-cut California kid kickin' butt in a Southern sport." Oh, for heaven's sake, Jeff! Kickin' butt in a Southern sport will give you away every time!

Finally, the Star reports that newly single Drew Barrymore has also been trying out life on the Sapphic side. But evidently Drew feels no need to be secretive about it; she apparently got pretty intimate with two women on the dance floor of a Los Angeles nightclub, and the Globe has the photographic evidence to support it. "It was like a soft porn movie. I've never seen anything like it before in my life," says an eyewitness.

Advertisement

Supposedly Drew's interest in women—about which there have been tabloid murmurs before—was the cause of her split from husband Tom Green. A "close pal" speculates just why it is that Drew may have lesbian leanings: "Because Drew is such a sensitive spirit, it doesn't take much for her to flip out," the "pal" explains. "That's when she turns to her girlfriends—at those times only a woman's touch will do." Of course. But what will she do at those times when only a mercurial dazzler will do? Stay tuned.

Jennifer Mendelsohn is a free-lance writer based in Baltimore. Visit her Web site at jennifermendelsohn.com.

  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 30 2014 7:27 PM The American Horror Story: Freak Show Podcast, Episode 4 The “Edward Mordrake (Part 2)” edition.