Frenemies of Dorothy
By Josh Kilmer-Purcell
I have seen our enemy, and his name is Andy Cohen. Curse you, you devilishly handsome centaur of silver fox and twinkish twinkle. The brainchildren that spring forth from your beguiling salt-and-pepper head have set us back generations in gay years. After years of worshipping troubled heroines like Judy, Billie, Liza, and Marilyn it seemed like we gays had finally moved on to spiritually and physically healthier one-named wonders like Gaga, Kylie, and Fergie. We'd broken our bad habit of women with bad habits. But just as we'd begun getting over our collective rubbernecking at female train wrecks, Andy unleashed his endless string of runaway housewife cabooses. It's a slippery slope, friends, from Dancing With the Stars to The Real Housewives of New Jersey to The Boys in the Band.
As gay men, we've made all sorts of rational excuses over the years for why we've historically associated ourselves with death-wish divas. There may be disagreement as to whether our most famous nickname came from Dorothy Parker or Dorothy Gale, but either way it was inspired by a woman with a very low-functioning liver. We worshipped these female fuckups because they were 'underdogs,' 'outsiders,' and 'misunderstood geniuses,' just like us. The Hollywood/Motown/vaudeville/Broadway system beat them down because, again like us, they didn't fit in. To our gay ancestors, they represented the most one could hope for'a standing ovation right before being beaten to the ground.
Our freedom from feckless females seems to have paralleled our path to LGBT equality. Stonewall might have been partially birthed by Judy's death, but it also set the stage for our new one-name demigods Cher, Barbra, and Bette. These were liberated women, flaunting their flamboyance. We were liberated men who refused to be hidden any longer. And even further down the yellow brick road we discovered Madonna -- whose only self-destructive habit was stealing our dance moves. And maybe Kabbalah.
Now that we can get married in multiple states, and don't even need to be asked to tell, it stands to reason that we no longer need to identify with celebrities harboring dark secrets. We've become about as visible as we could possibly get. We have out gay politicians, moguls, farmers, priests, parents, and cable network execs. Hell, now we even have out gay figure skaters. (OK, one.) Gone is the era of drowning our 'demons' in bottles, needles, and bad boys. Fittingly, our contemporary estrogen heroines seem to reflect our newfound self-loving. I just can't see Katy Perry dying on a toilet with a needle in her arm. I'd probably vote Tina Fey as the Girl Least Likely to Choke on Her Own Vomit. And Betty White is our new black.
For the most part, there's been very little backsliding. The gays just don't go gaga anymore for the Lindsays and Britneys of this world. Modern-day heroines of harlotry make us say 'ho-hum.' Instead, we'll take Modern Family and Glee. Meryl and Oprah. But just as we lower our guard, along comes Andy. And NeNe. Camille. Theresa. The Countess. These temptresses of tragic lure us in with their talons and neuroses. So I urge you: Resist the suicide by She by Shere'. Back off, Andy. We've come too far to turn back. I mean, who knows? Soon we might even look up to'men.
Kilmer-Purcell's show, The Fabulous Beekman Boys, is on Planet Green Tuesdays at 10 p.m.