Hey you know what's cool about Pete Wentz? Absolutely nothing. Well, OK, fine. It's cool that the Fall Out Boy bassist, professional celebrity, and Joe Simpson son-in-law is not homophobic, as is evidenced by his recent Out magazine cover story. But the way he scampers along, teasing about his various make-out seshes with boys "on a dare" ten years ago is just so pandering and false. He claims that he's sorta queer, but only "above the belt," because male "equipment" just doesn't do it for him. He doesn't even like his own cock! How zany, how hip, how fucking rock 'n roll. Except, you know, it's not at all because it's as put-on as his "so silly by now that he's almost doing a pastiche of himself" eyeliner. Some choice quotes from the article after the jump.
And if people are confused about Wentz's sexuality, he deserves at least half the credit for that too. Onstage he'll lick a stripe up the neck of his bass or his bandmates' guitars. He hooks his chin over singer Patrick Stump's shoulder, mouthing his own words against Stump's cheek. When they covered the Killers' "Mr. Brightside" on a recent tour, he would punctuate the line "it was only a kiss" by aiming with varying success somewhere in the vicinity of Stump's mouth. In "Sugar" he boasts of "always sleeping in and sleeping for the wrong team"; the line "He tastes like you, only sweeter" in "Thnks Fr Th Mmrs" paraphrases what's spoken by a female character in the play and (by Julia Roberts) in the movie Closer. It loses any jealous, alpha-male edge when repeated over and over as the song's key emotional refrain. Eventually, I point out to him, it just sounds, well, gay.
"It is pretty gay," Wentz easily agrees, grinning as we discuss how the crowd still sings right along. "A big portion of our fan base are these white-hat jock dudes who maybe actually have some kind of homoerotic behaviors," he says. "They're so violent — but they feel pretty free at Fall Out Boy shows." So does he: "It's all because I know I'm going to get a reaction — but it's all things that I believe anyway. I don't get on stage and give a social diatribe. I am a performer and an entertainer."
He doesn't seem to think he has much to prove to Out, and I ask a lot of follow-up questions. Wentz answers them all, even when he's not sure I'll like the answers. "When I said that I make out with dudes, there was a slight sense of sexual rebellion in that," he admits. "And I probably even made it a bigger deal than it was." He thinks the first time he kissed a guy was when he was 16 or 17, probably on a dare at a party: "Like, 'You make out with this dude and we'll make out.' " And of later experiments, at 18 or 19, he says it was more like, "I'm going to try this thing." And most recently? He actually apologizes before responding. "A long time ago," he says with a slight wince. "Probably when I was 22?"
He has no qualms talking about his attraction to men (including a big, stupid crush on John Mayer), which still puts him on a very short list of famous young male musicians and actors who haven't been convinced that confession is in and of itself a career killer. But as he said in The Advocate in 2007, the stopping point truly does come when the action strays below the belt. "It's really about the equipment," he tells me, gesturing at his crotch with a grimace. (Decide for yourself: The first unfiltered hit for an image search on Wentz's name still yields the shots he took of his equipment in hand, which leaked from his Sidekick in 2006.) "I really don't think it's an attractive quality. That's what it comes down to. I don't even like my own. Like, I really don't like it. I don't like anything about it."
John Mayer! Hah! So am I wrong to think that Pete is a complete poseur?