Lauren Mayer: A Girl Can Dream

Like any woman in show biz, I’ve had a long history of crushes on gay men.  There was the cute scene partner in acting class, the fellow waiter who won my heart by knowing who Ella Fitzgerald was, and the incredibly talented sax player who had me fooled for awhile since musicians tend to be not just straight, but straight with a vengeance.  And there was the awkward-but-sweet college buddy with whom I reconnected after he’d come out to (and in) San Francisco and transformed himself into a buff, bronzed hunk, but with the same sweetness and intelligence.  We spent so much time commiserating about our bad luck with men that we half-seriously began to think we should just marry each other.  (My mother heard about this and objected, “But Lauren, you know there would be a problem marrying him – he’s not Jewish!”  When I told her that perhaps being gay might be a bigger obstacle, her response was “Oh, that’s no big deal, they can fix that.”)  (In case she reads this column I should explain, that was over 20 years ago and she’s MUCH better informed now.)

Having a crush on a gay friend can be really frustrating, knowing that he’d be perfect for you except for the sex thing.  (My college friend and I did try to date a little, but it just didn’t work, for obvious reasons.  He told me that if it wouldn’t work with me, he knew it could never work with a woman, which I hope was a lovely compliment instead of evidence that I turned men gay . . . )  But having a crush on a gay celebrity is stress-free – you know there’s no chance of anything happening, it’s just a fun fantasy.  And it’s not as illogical as it seems; these guys are never going out with me regardless of their sexuality, so why not have fun? Plus when a celebrity comes out as gay, he simply adds to his attractiveness by his honesty and bravery.  My list of celebrity crushes has included Ricky Martin, Nathan Lane, Victor Garber, Neil Patrick Harris, David Hyde Pierce, Nate Silver (he’s the political statistician who writes the NYTimes ‘538’ column and accurately predicted the outcome of every state in the presidential election – smart is almost as much of a turn-on as funny!)

I’ve never really followed sports, other than knowing my husband will be in a foul mood if ‘his’ team loses (which makes no sense to me, he doesn’t actually know any players on the SF Giants or the Warriers or Sharks, so why does he care?)  (In case he reads this column, I realize that on the other hand, he doesn’t understand my crush on Nathan Lane, et al., and since he doesn’t tease me about it, I won’t give him any grief about the team thing).  But I am now following the sports scene, thanks to Jason Collins coming out as gay.   Collins didn’t just come out, he expressed himself beautifully, he handled criticism with grace and dignity, and he comes across as smart, articulate, and thoughtful – but I almost can’t keep my mind on all those wonderful qualities, I keep getting distracted by his gorgeous physique, his rippling muscles, and that matinee-idol smile.   And I don’t think the depth of my crush is at all impaired by the fact that before his announcement, not only had I never heard of Mr. Collins, but I’d also never heard of half of the teams listed in his bio.  (Memphis Grizzlies? Minnesota Timberwolves?)

So while I still admire all my previous crushes, and I look forward to more cute-and-funny celebrities coming out, I only write love songs for really special gay men.  Nate Silver qualified during the election, but I think even more people will understand why I need to sing about Jason Collins!   (In case he reads this column, I would LOVE to meet him and I promise not to drool – at least not too much.)

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