Page Six today has a not-very-thinly-veiled item about Anderson Cooper going on a very gay vacation with his very gay boyfriend who owns a very gay bar. Enough: Anderson Cooper is very gay. It's time he said it.
Here's the New York Post's gossip column item about Cooper going to the "best hotel in the world" in India:
Anderson Cooper has been consoling himself over falling ratings by living it up in Jaipur, India, at one of the world's most opulent hotels. The CNN star was spotted Tuesday with his muscular friend, Benjamin Maisani, an owner of East Village bar Eastern Bloc, at the Rambagh Palace, named the best hotel in the world by Conde Nast Traveler. Cooper's $3,200-a-night room features a four-poster mahogany bed and views of the gardens of the former Maharaja palace. Our source said, "Anderson's room has a large round bathtub. On the first night it was filled with bubbles and sprinkled with red rose petals." CNN declined to comment.
Saying Cooper is gay is no longer a scoop. It's not a scandal. Even the humor involved in all the clever winking and nodding is past its expiration date. With today's item Page Six may have exhausted all the ways to say "He's GAY GAY GAY!": the room only has one bed, Maisani's "muscular," and perhaps most blatantly, he owns Eastern Bloc. Every 'mo in New York knows Eastern Bloc is a gritty, dirty gay bar ("a true man meat bar") that often has boy-on-boy porn playing on its TVs. (The stencil over the DJ booth offers "Free Moustache Rides" and one outside once read "One Gay at a Time, Sweet Jesus.")
All the patrons know Maisani, because he's big, and know he's dating Cooper. Word on the street is that Madonna's recent appearance there had less to do with her getting back to her East Village gay roots and more to do with the fact that she was with Cooper, who wanted to play "whose boy toy is hotter" with Madge.
Cooper's see-through closet is such a joke that it doesn't make sense to call him in the closet anymore. If he won't say it, we will: Anderson Cooper is officially out. There's no difference between him and Neil Patrick Harris. They both play it straight at their day jobs and then openly go about town with their boyfriends and do TV interviews about how much they love Kathy Griffin and The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
It's not like Cooper's in a club all of his own, either. He is part of an increasingly large crowd of notables who won't come out but have given up trying to hide that they are gay. Queen Latifah denied that she was going to marry her girlfriend, a girlfriend who she tries to pass off as her "trainer." Kevin Spacey got busted lying about being mugged in a London cruising park. Ricky Martin has stopped even trying to fight the gay rumors. Jodie Foster has never said she's a lesbian out loud, but she basically came out when she thanked her partner in an acceptance speech.
These gay-not-gay celebrities are different from the Hugh Jackmans, John Travoltas, Tom Cruises, and Kenny Chesneys, who are all constantly plagued with gay rumors that they strenuously try to deny or deflect. If they're gay, they're doing it in secret. Cooper and his set of cohorts live openly gay lives — and that's a good thing — but they refuse to acknowledge what the public already knows.
In Anderson Cooper's specific case, we sort of understand why he won't open his mouth and let the rainbows fly. All the guy has ever wanted to do was be an old-fashioned newsman and unfortunately him coming out would make him a part of the story. Every time he tried to cover something having to do with gay civil rights (or Madonna or Fire Island) plenty of people would claim that his reporting was biased because of his sexual orientation. It's not fair: Katie Couric doesn't have to worry when she covers pay inequality for women, and neither does Harry Smith when discussing new medicine that will eradicate baldness.
Coming out would open Cooper up to irrational accusations from those waiting to pounce on the "liberal media" just as quickly as A.C. pounces on his muscle man in an Indian hotel room. That sucks, but it's the way it currently is. How does it get changed? Well, by having some major national news figures come out and show that they can still get blown over in a hurricane or report live from a war zone without breaking into a anti-Prop 8 rant.
That's right, Anderson, it's going to take you to change it. Rachel Maddow has paved the way, but all the baby gays out there need you to man up and be our Jackie Robinson. The first step is the easiest, you just have to say what everyone already knows.
Top pic of Cooper and Maisani snapped in June by Pacific Coast News; pic of Eastern Bloc via Alice Bartlett's Flickr