One week after my Los Angeles visit with Haynes, I reconnect with him in Manhattan during New York’s men’s fashion week, which has the self-described hermit scrambling from runway to runway, after-party to after-party. We meet at the Roxy Hotel’s basement lounge, the Django, for the unveiling of John Varvatos’s spring/summer 2017 collection, and Haynes is as in-demand as ever. Photographers practically pile on top of one another to take his picture, and though he claims that the only thing that scares him these days is people, he’s much better at this than he lets on. He schmoozes well and flashes the occasional playful duckface. “This is his shtick,” says Trey Alligood, Haynes’s guest and also his business partner for the forthcoming clothing line Harvey Haynes, set to debut this winter. (Alligood’s given name is Harvey Mack Alligood III.)
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For Haynes, the collection will follow a recurring role on the new season of Fox’s Scream Queens in September, his first gig as an out actor, and both will come on the heels of ColtonHaynes.com, his merchandise site that went live in early July. Since its launch, the site’s line of products has drawn ridicule from some (who’ve dubbed it uninspired, overpriced, or both), but it also sold out within days of premiering, its server occasionally crashing. Among the items for sale: a heather gray T-shirt aptly scrawled with the word anxious (Haynes intentionally chose the color to confront and embrace his sweating issue), and a black cap that reads daddy, about which Haynes is impossibly coy. “That’s what they call me on Twitter,” he says of his fans, all but ignoring the word’s sexual connotations. As we exit the Roxy, someone yells “Daddy!” from the sidewalk, while others wait to pose for selfies. Haynes obliges each of them.
“I haven’t had sex in—I couldn’t tell you how long,” says Haynes, noting that he’s been burned by love, that he’s been shy and reclusive, and that he’s been on two dates in two years. “I wish had more to tell you, but it just doesn’t happen.” When asked to describe his ideal man, Haynes says he’d want some combination of his three celebrity crushes: John Cena, Idris Elba, and Ryan Reynolds. “Someone who just descended from a mountain and said, ‘I don’t have any friends. Would you like to come live with me?’ I’d love that,” he says. But just as he doesn’t want to rush into trying to be a gay spokesman before properly educating himself, Haynes says that, next time, he wants to do the relationship thing right. He wants kids. Six of them. And maybe he won’t have to raise them alone.
“I want to somehow have a happy ending,” he says. “Or a happy beginning.”
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