Friday, March 6, 2009

Closet organizers


I was reading last Sunday's Parade Magazine interview with Liza Minnelli (Oh, like you didn't!), and I chuckled knowingly when I read this exchange:

Interviewer: “You fear nothing?”
Liza: “Yes. Organizing a closet. I mean it. I’m hopeless at all that."

Oh yes, honey, I thought. We ALL know how bad you are at organizing things in the closet. And then it occurred to me that I could all too easily have end up like Liza - married to some David Gest-like creature with a Lalique collection, a very arch sense of humor, and a thing for the houseboy. Let's just say that if you're reading this, there's about a 75% chance you're a gay man. It has ever been thus. So it's pretty much a miracle that I ended up in a long and happy marriage to a straight guy. (No, really, he is. Yes, he's a foodie. Yes, he's in the arts. But his mother's French, which is almost like being gay.)

Anyway, I was pondering this odd state of affairs (or the lack of them), and trying to figure out how it is that I actually found a straight man I liked enough to marry. There are lots of straight men that I love - mostly relatives - and even straight men that I really like. But would I choose to hang out with them all the time, for ever and ever, I do? Nope. So how is it that I ended up married to one of them, and happily? Here's what I figured out. He comes from a truly miserable family. His parents were almost Dickensian in the amount of misery they spread around. My dear boy sensibly spent most of his time in emotional hiding from the cross fire, keeping undercover until he could find a safe place and time to emerge into the world. Like gay men do. Like women do too, though in a different way; women spend a lot of time hiding behind smiles, behind making nice, or paying in one way or another for not doing so (I have been accused of not being "ladylike" more than once....). So, luckily for me, I seem to have found that rare creature, a straight man who knows what it's like to live in A closet, if not THE closet. And thus I have been spared a life sharing plastic surgery tips in the closet with my very own Mr. Minnelli. Thank you Parade Magazine. Your incisive articles about how celebrities suffer (just like we do!) deepen my self-knowledge weekly.

13 comments:

Willym said...

You're so right - there are all sorts of closets: Liza's father lived in one for years, so did her mother in many ways.

As fortunate as you have been, so of course has he. To find a woman who understands who, where and why he is and to recognize those things for what they really are - that's serendipity of the best sort.

Willym said...

Hmmm I just reread the above and realized more than ever that I need a copy editor .. but you know what I meant.

Anonymous said...

Yes, *of course*, I read that piece. Remember the time I was visiting you and we practically had a collective heart attack because People magazine had just released their Ten Worst Dressed of the year? Did we snap up that baby and chortle for hours over the bad fashion choices? Yes, we did! I just had a mammoth chuckle at the thought of one of those separated at birth spoofs, with husband and David Gest's pictures side by side.

claire

sageweb said...

I am part of the 25% here. I always think it is wonderful when people match up perfectly. Not that they are alike but they are good for each other, it all ways..I am still looking for mine...but I have a lot of fun looking.

yellowdog granny said...

maybe that's what I need..
a gay husband..and I'm 65 years old and no one has ever said I was lady like..hehee

retrogoddess73 said...

She looks like she is posing with a waxwork figure.

a thousand shades of twilight said...

Ha! I never thought I'd see a reference to the Living Egg, David Gest, and your K in the same entry - genius! Oh Liza, you knew how we would latch on to the c- word, didn't you? Or were you just off your face?

K sounds like a real treasure and is, of course, lucky to have found you. He is lucky to have gone from such a cold-sounding family environment to your warmth and general life-embracingness. Your comment about the French Mother also made me laugh out loud.

I must say that I cherish my few close friendships with straight men but it makes me realise how much macho baggage a lot of them still have - it's such restrictive nonsense, and I take no end of pleasure in pointing that out. One of the good things I have found about being gay is that once I crossed that line of societal expectations re my sexuality, I found it easier to cross other lines - it really frees one up to be the nutter one wants to be! Best fly - I have to slip into my kaftan and drink champagne for breakfast...

Elizabeth said...

Willym - Yes, the Liza apple didn't fall far from the tree, did she?

K's needs do dovetail in a weirdly wonderful way with who I am. His mother is a tense, controlling, alcoholic neatfreak who put her needs before those of her family. I'm neglectful of everything (house-wise) BUT my family! But really, any of us who find love are lucky, aren't we?

Claire - I remember it well and very fondly! And now you have me laughing at the idea of a "K.S. and David Gest: Separated at Birth?" feature. Ever one for the glam life, that's my boy!

Granny - It worked for Liza! Oh, wait, no it didn't. Honestly, I always thought I might marry some gay friend who needed US citizenship. We could have been the happy odd couple, with me as the Walter Mathau slob character.

retrogoddess - They both look like waxwork figures! That's what too much plastic surgery will do to you.....

1000 shades - If we could stand K. side-by-side with Mr. Gest, the comparison would become even sillier. K is very tall and skinny. He is also unassuming to a fault and completely incapable of glibness.

Oh dear. Now I really want to put him side-by-side on a stage with David Gest.

He is, however, still a straight guy and does occasionally require some gentle reeducation as to whether he does or does not know it all. Let's just say that I'm there for him in those times of need.

Elizabeth said...

Sage - And I thank you for representing us here in these pages!

It's probably good I don't live in CA, because I'd be setting you up with women all the time. I always want everyone to find true love. Not perfect love, cause that don't exist. Just true love.

FrankandMary said...

Is Oprah's BFF Gayle in that closet too? Check behind Clay Aiken.~Mary

Doralong said...

Truthfully is a very perverse and twisted way I actually thought they could have been perfect for one another.

yellowdog granny said...

just occured to me..maybe she would have been luck at organizing her closet if it wasn't so full of gay exhusbands..

Sparkleneely said...

Oh Elizabeth, you are so right -- I loved this! (And funny, I just had a long conversation about Liza today with a six-year-old. Liza was the original "Eloise," you know! So it was destiny destiny destiny.)

I've had 2 gay ex fiances, and now I always tell my straight fiance, "You're just gay enough." Case in point -- last night I caught him watching a Joan Crawford biography special on PBS. Hmmm. When the "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" part came on I asked him, "Have you ever seen this movie?" he said, "No. I've never even heard of it." Huh. And then he said, "Joan Crawford was really hot in the 20's!" So yeah... Just. Gay. Enough.

So happy you found true love! xoxo