According to queer gossip Liz Smith, Scarlett Johansson was so mortified by the breast grope she received from out designer Isaac Mizrahi on the Golden Globes red carpet, she fumed to friends, 'If he hadn't been gay, I would have slapped him.' This got me to thinking about just how much we gay guys can get away with when it comes to straight women.
I remember a birthday dinner party I went to at a Mexican restaurant in Santa Monica. It wasn't a big party, and I found myself in the unusual position of being the only gay person at the table. The margaritas flowed freely and soon the straight boys were peppering me with the usual 'gay questions' (everything from 'When did you know?' to 'How do you know?'). They were liberal, fun guys, who weren't hung up about their own sexuality, and one playfully asked what the advantages to being gay were. Sitting across the table from me was a sexy, young soap opera starlet (whom I shall call 'Kristi'), a gal with gumption who could see where this was heading. 'Kristi,' I beckoned, 'come over here.' The perky redhead came around the table and sat on my lap. 'Let's make out,' I said. And we began making out, as the straight boys' jaws hit the floor. I thanked Kristi, she went back to her margarita, and I turned to the guys and said, 'Well, that's one advantage. I get to watch you all drool.'
Gay men can 'play' with women in a sexual way and it's really not a big deal. Well, usually it's not. Unless Grace finds herself in love with Will. That can be a little sticky, but in general, the line is pretty darn blurry when it comes to the relationships between women and gay men. In most cases, there's no sexual tension, so interplay that might otherwise be considered sexual is just, well, play.
Yes, I have heard stories of women who feel harassed by gay men and don't understand why we have a 'license to grope.' I'm not going to make generalizations about these women. I am sure each has her own good reason for feeling violated when someone who has no interest in them sexually makes a faux-sexual gesture toward them.
On the flip side, we got why comic Kathy Griffin was pissed off when Ryan Seacrest (who's straight, by all accounts) unhooked her bra when the two were on stage at the American Music Awards a few years back. I mean, really, if you're going to be violated by someone on stage, shouldn't it at least be by someone like Colin Farrell?
The fact is that most women who have gay men in their lives feel like we're their sisters, for better or for worse. They're going to trust our fashion advice, ask us if they look fat, and cry on our shoulders when straight assholes screw them over. This, my friends, is the 'license,' implied though it may be.
Unless Scarlett Johansson has never met a gay man in her life, I would be shocked if she were truly offended by Isaac's touch. The designer did seem legitimately interested in the fact that the upper 'support' in her stunning dress was built in. And when he told her he was taking notes, she even quipped, 'Take all the notes you want.' She (reportedly) said, 'If he hadn't been gay, I would have slapped him,' which could easily read that she was cool with a gay guy doing it, but if a straight guy did that on the red carpet, she'd have popped him one. (And we wouldn't have blamed her.)
Besides, the whole conflama was probably started by some straight guy who was jealous he didn't get to touch her boobs himself.