I was playing Just Dance 2 on Wii the other day and one of the songs they have is Wham's "Wake Me Up Before You Go." Just as a reminder, Wham was George Michael's group, before going solo. As I danced to "Wake Me Up", I couldn't help but feel like a huge homo, but whatever, I'm not. Then I started thinking about George Michael (on the right) and his journey out of the closet.
As I remember the infamous 1998 bathroom incident, when an undercover cop told Michael that he wanted to play "I'll show you mine, if you show me yours", I noticed some major incongruities. I am not going to comment on any legal precedent set or the "entrapment" debate, I am more interested in how shocked the world was.
In 1998, I was only 18 years old. Growing up in a Greek American home is almost exactly like it is depicted in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." We don't do the Windex thing, but my dad will tell you the Greek origin of every word during "normal" conversation. In our home, any Greek person that was famous was deified. This included George Michael, Greg Louganis, George Stephanopoulos, and Pete Sampras. Any time any of these men were on TV, one of my parents would "shoosh" everyone so that we could hear what one of our cousins has done. Well, when the news broke about George Michael getting arrested for soliciting sex from a man, my dad couldn't have been prouder - now 2 of his heroes are homos. His reaction was the same as everyone else that was over 30:
"But how? He is so handsome, and famous, and rich, and can sing and dance so well. He could have any woman in the world; Shoot, he could have every woman in the world. Why a man? There must be some mistake."
First off, I think that the "how" part of the question was answered with "he is such a good singer and dancer." Now, I'm not saying that all men that sing and dance are gay, but it is a good starting point when questioning sexual orientation.
The magnitude of the world's shock of George Michael being gay was the most shocking thing to me. Have you ever seen a Wham video? There is absolutely nothing there that conveys heterosexuality - men in make up, pink head bands, choreographed dances, high pitched singing, and for God's sake, heavy emphasis on manbutt wiggling. I think that the British accent threw a lot of Americans off because British accents do make guys sound a bit gay. If it wasn't the accent it must have been cocaine fueled yuppies that attributed his hyper effeminate behavior to "just being an artist."
George Michael never fooled me. I figured out that he was different the first time I saw one of his videos. When the gay thing came out, I was happy for George Michael because he was allowed to live openly and freely. I can only imagine the stress of having to be Rock Hudson straight, when you are obviously Liberace gay.
What I took from George Michael being gay, is that homosexuality is something that people are born with. Sure, George had everything he needed to get any chick, but he didn't want ANY chick. He is a homosexual; which means he likes the same (homo) sex. Homosexuality isn't a choice that people make to piss off their fathers. Trust me, I have been so mad at my dad that I wanted to hit him, but I never thought, "I'll show you. I'm going to start having anonymous sex with men." Or maybe I just haven't been mad enough yet.
Either way we have all seen a child that shows "gay" tendencies when they are too young to know what gay is. When you go to an elementary school playground and all the boys are playing football except for one, and he's skipping rope with the girls, that's kind of a sign. When you see an 8 year old boy belting a Mariah Carey song as a hobby, that's kind of a sign. To be clear, I think that gay people are fun and I enjoy hanging out with them. Most of them are really funny because they say things that you would never hear men say. So next time you think you may be around a gay or lesbian, don't flatter yourself by assuming they want to sleep with you, treat them like what they are; a person.
Have you noticed that the most homophobic men are the exact ones that no self respecting gay would even consider having drunk sex with? I love when I hear a fat, unkempt, redneck say, "I ain't going to Piedmont Park so some fag can try to have sex with me." - Oh Yeah, I forgot how seductive a beer belly tucked into a plaid Eddie Bauer shirt is. If your horrid appearance doesn't deter a gay advance, your personality should complete the repulsion. So either way, you're safe.