So NYC Prep—Bravo's "real-life Gossip Girl" series—starts tonight. I must admit, I'm embarrassingly, Facebook-statusing excited about it. But one thing is weighing heavily on me: How the hell am I going to talk about PC?
The deal with PC: He's the fashion-obsessed, Chuck Bass-esque, rich boy who has troubled relations with some of the ladies on the show. See he wants a girlfriend, but he doesn't have one, and he has trouble keeping one when he does (or something), and in the clips I've seen you just sorta scratch your head and think nastily, excitedly, wickedly, gladly, even: Wait, but isn't he gay?
And therein lies the problem. By all outward indicators—the clothes, the voice, the bevy of girl friends, the overcompensatingly loud discussions of so badly wanting a girlfriend—the young fellow (who was an 18-year-old high school senior when the series was filmed) is a closeted homosexual. We are allowed to think that. But are we allowed to say it? Yes, angry pedantic commenter, I realize I just said it above, but I mean can we continue to, at length and with fervor? I'm planning on writing recaps of this thing because OMG it looks so good and ripe for making up weirdo fanfiction (for this I am paid money, ridiculously), and I'm sure I'll want to say SOMETHING about the glaring pink elephant in the room. But is that mean-spirited? Is it witch-hunty?
The thing is, as this job has worn on for the past eighteen months or so, and national gay rights politics have become what they are, and the swell of June pride nags at my edges this gray afternoon, I'm becoming increasingly unsure of how to write about Gay Stuff on a nationally-read website. What's the tone to take? Is there a tone to take? Is silence, unless you have something nice to say, golden? Or is anything welcome, whatever gets the word out? Most important for me, can it ever be funny?
Writing about gay issues, both profound and profane, on the internet has gotten me in trouble. Sometimes the commenting and emailing ire feels unwarranted (I believe I am allowed to state an aggressive opinion about Adam Lambert) and other times it's completely justified. Sometimes I royally fuck up and thoughtlessly post links to embarrassing photos of Oscar-winning screenwriters/young beautiful gay rights activists.*
And that's OK, I think. The worthy posts and the fuck ups alike, because they're all part of a conversation that I'm having with myself and with, I hope, you, dear readers. Sometimes everyone says/does dumb things in the pursuit of... clarity. Those are the pains of progress, both personal and political.
Still though I wonder should I go ahead, knowing full well that it's not exactly nice, and say what I'm gonna say about PC, some murky idea of decorum be damned? 'Cause sure it's not exactly nice, but does that make it needlessly mean? He and/or his parents signed the contract, after all, willingly stepped off that ledge into the abandon of the public domain. Calling someone gay as means to an insult is a stupid thing to do, and would never be my intent. Yanking people out of the closet—especially young folks who are struggling just like any one of us struggled (or are still struggling) at some point—isn't my intent either. But just how much of a sacred cow is the coming out process, the fraught and frustrating and difficult steps toward saying "This is me"? When is a person's path a person's path (and a private one at that) and when is it about All Of Us—are we just as negatively affected by the temerity of public figures as we are by the brash and poorly-executed Perez Hilton garbage?
I think, ultimately, that there is a happy (one could say gay even, snarf) medium to be struck here. I may find some of PC's antics sexually questionable, and I may say so. And you may find that shitty, you may find it funny, or you may find it some depressing blend of the two. Please tell me! We grow and learn and stumble together, even when it's about something as asinine as a Bravo reality show about bragging rich kids.
At least I think that's so.
*This isn't just me working through guilt issues, BTW. I spend plenty of time doing that when I'm home alone, and the computer is off.