by Bruce Vilanch
I've been spending all week trying to find out if David Geffen married Keanu Reeves last month. This is a very foolish thing to do - unless you're Michael Musto or St. Clair Pugh or that guy who writes the four-color smut spread in the National Enquirer, the one who is always raving on about Martina and her latest "gal pal."
Still, that's what I've been up to, because that's all anybody seems to really want to know. There's a Contract With America, there's slaughter in Grozny, there are highways flipping over in Japan, but the phone doesn't stop ringing with questions about Keanu and Dave. Were you there? What did they wear? What didn't they wear? "We heard it was on a mountaintop, somewhere out near Calabasas." Doesn't anyone watch the news? The mountains have all been washed into Burgess Meredith's front yard. I saw him on Channel 4 giving a tour. "We heard they just had a few close friends." As opposed to whom - CNN? "We heard it was a candlelight ceremony." Listen, that's all anyone had last month: The storms knocked out all the power. And speaking of power: "We heard all the important Hollywood homos were there." That lets me out. Fun on picnics, but not really important. "We can't believe you weren't there." Yeah, well I missed Rock Hudson and Jim Nabors, and now I've missed this. Who knows if I'll live long enough for Macauley Culkin and the kid from Roseanne?
I haven't been able to work up the nerve to call the alleged groom or the alleged groom. If they wanted me to know, they would have sent a lovely little engraved announcement, like every other suburban couple. As it is, they have dealt themselves out of a swell set of matching tea towels. I don't know what's going on, though I suspect less than zero. My guess is that somebody saw somebody who looks like David Geffen with somebody who looks like Keanu Reeves at Barney's (the store, not the dinosaur's house), and it was cell phones abuzz from that moment on. That is usually the standing water at the bottom of these wells.
Here are a few things I do know. Keanu Reeves is an attractive actor who's having a big year. He has played a gay character and worked for an openly gay director - Gus Van Sant in My Own Private Idaho - so in the minds of at least 90% of the gay men in America, he's one of us. Why is this? Do we need him to be one of us because it's so awful to be us that having him in our club will somehow make us feel better about ourselves? Or is this an elaborate way of making him more attainable and easier to fantasize about? Like you or I might have a shot. What do we accomplish when we consistently (and here in Hollywood at least, openly) speculate on someone's sexuality, other than stroking our own fantasy furnace? Do we really believe we are coaxing someone out? More than likely we are playing into the number one fear of the straight community - that all we really want is a piece of them. That this is what we live for, to seduce and abandon. That we really are as predatory as those whales and hawks you see every ten minutes on those late-night Dark Secrets of Nature commercials. I thought we were all about proving we are not a dark secret of nature.
If we're going to continue this sort of behavior, we should at the very least start including some trolls along with the beauties. Why should George Stephanopoulos stand alone as the only rumor target in Washington? Is there nothing juicy on Sonny Bono or Gopher? They're in power! How about Tom Clancy and his oft-quoted remark about AIDS being the wages of sin? There's somebody it would be pleasant and fulfilling to spread some vicious rumors about. Bob Dole? Wasn't he seen in a gay pride march in Kansas City with the delegation from Avatar, Lovers of Leather? Of course not. Who'd want to picture that?
No. We have to settle for the young and the restless and the bold and the beautiful. Brad Pitt, who has just been anointed the Sexiest Man Alive, will no doubt soon be anointed the Homosexiest. He’ll be bandied about for a while, hanging out with Melissa Etheridge. Do you suppose he’d walk across the fire for one of us? And how about all that method bloodsucking? Who do you suppose coached him on that? Oh, he’s got quite a few juicy months ahead of him. I don’t doubt that. But then it will all blow over, almost as quickly as it began. When was the last time you heard a good Bruce Willis or Michael J. Fox rumor? Snort now, but a few years ago the air was fragrant with them. Spotted together in a car in the Beverly Center garage. Not even a limo. OK, a Range Rover. At least it was expensive and roomy. But who remembers anymore?
We wanted them then; we have left them to their women now. They exist only in our cultural debris along with that nifty collection of faxes of what is purported to be Richard Gere's digestive tract. I'm burning all these things just as soon as the rainy season is really over in a bonfire that will be more visible than the Hollywood sign. And I have instituted a new rule about these rumors. When somebody lays one on me, I simply ask if they were THERE. So far, nobody's been anywhere. Not even to Barney's.