Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Anything but Sex

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Anything but Sex

Article excerpt

"GOOD MORNING, THIS IS THE HAYS GAYS OFFICE. WE PROTECT America's moviegoers from excessive on-screen homosexuality. We have a few notes about your script, which is about to be filmed. Although we have changed our Production Code and eliminated the requisite gay suicide at the end of the movie, you have violated several other sacred tenets of the code, and we wish to apprise you of them at this time. For example, you depict two gays in a double bed, when the code clearly states that only single beds may be used, and when two gays are occupying one of those beds, at least two of their feet must be on the floor."

"Can the other two be on the ceiling?"

"Look, sir, if you're not going to cooperate with us, we don't see how this movie can get made. At least not by a major studio."

This is a call I fully expect to receive any minute. The mainstream media have gone Vatican. Homosexuals are allowed to exist as long as they never have (homo)sex. Even the lingering kiss seems to be an object of nobody's affection. Nobody can get laid. Rupert Everett in My Best Friend's Wedding and Greg Kinnear in As Good as It Gets had a very dry white season. Ellen DeGeneres's character enjoyed lesbian sex (off camera, to be sure) on ABC, and you see where that led.

Paul Rudnick, a writer I admire boundlessly, went from a movie in which a gay man was afraid to have sex (Jeffrey) to a movie in which a gay man had no sex at all (In & Out). I never was sure what was running through that high school coach's head while he watched those boys hit the showers for 25 years, but no matter. The movie was so effective at neutralizing straight fears about gay people that Rudnick deserves some kind of Gaybel peace prize.

Likewise, Wendy Wasserstein's The Object of My Affection creates a universe in which the casual acceptance of gays in a straight world is unquestioned, and that's certainly refreshing. But you are asked to believe that an attractive man like Paul Rudd could come out of a four-year relationship with another man, move in with a strange woman, and never have so much as a phone call from any gay person he's ever met. Not to mention sex.

You also have to accept that a well-off old queen (Niger Hawthorne, working very hard at not being George Sanders in All About Eve) would harbor a cute young man in his home, never have sex with him, and allow him to carry on, unobserved, with tricks in the spare room. …

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