Monday, April 27, 2009

Gay Crush

I have been seeing a lot of previews lately for this new potboiler movie coming out called Obsessed. Aside from my first novel sharing the same title, these previews always make me sit up and take notice. Not so much because I want to see the movie (but I do, sex and suspense are like eating and breathing to me), but because I get to see Ali Larter. Man, she is so beautiful, so hot, I just can't take my eyes off her. Everything about her just mesmerizes me, making me almost tongue-tied. I just want to stare.

Reality check: is this a gay man, talking about a sexy blonde woman? What's wrong with this picture? I thought a lot about that and I realized something: over the years I have had a lot of crushes on women. When I was a little boy, it was Natalie Wood and I watched everything of hers I could, Sex and the Single Girl, West Side Story, Splendor in the Grass, Inside Daisy Clover, Gypsy, and more. Those big brown eyes and that smile simply sent me.

Wait a minute, dude. Are you sure you're queer? Shouldn't you be rhapsodizing about, say, Clive Owen or David Beckham?

Well, sure, I guess. But I realized something about myself and perhaps about many other gay men as well: we can and do have crushes on women, physical crushes where we are just ga-ga over the beauty (come on, would a straight man use the term "ga-ga?") of certain women. Think about Marilyn Monroe. Statistics show roughly half the men whose hearts beat faster and pulses rise at a simple image of her are gay.

So what's this all about? It's about the gay crush. And the gay crush, to my mind, is more of tribute to a woman than a straight man's crush. Why? Because a gay man's crush is not all mixed in with physical desire. It's appreciation in its purest form: reverence for female beauty unencumbered by lust. A gay crush is what I have for Ali Larter, whom I can stare at and feel just wonderful, for Natalie Wood, who preoccupied my boyhood dreams and fantasies (but never sexual ones) and even for Lara Parker, the gorgeous witch from Dark Shadows, my grade school obsession.

Which makes me wonder: do other gay men have crushes on women? If so, who are they? And you lesbians out there...what hunky men knock your socks off? Leave a comment below and let me know. And if any of you straight folks out there (especially straight men) are brave enough to admit it: who are your same-sex crushes? Because the same principle of pure aesthetic appreciation minus physical desire applies here as well.

I look forward to hearing what you think.


  1. To make things more interesting: if you reveal your secret crush and become a follower of this blog (see above right), you will be entered to win one of five, autographed copies of my modern-day version of Oscar Wilde's THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY, which I call A FACE WITHOUT A HEART. This will be the out-of-print, first edition, illustrated version of the book.

  2. Blah, blah, blah. You know dude, there's nothing wrong with admiring beauty wherever you find it. You don't have to repress your mind or libido with self-censorship just because the culture outside your skull demands strict fealty to one cage or another. If you're free-range, so be it!

    As a straight man, I really don't know of any guys I have a secret crush on. A long while ago though, my libido got all shook up over a hot woman who my friends insisted was really a guy. So I guess that would have to be it. If it was a guy, that was one hot looking tranny!

  3. There are some unbelievably beautiful and feminine transsexuals and drag queens, Feo. You'd be surprised.

  4. I have explained to more than one ignorant person that drag queens are not mocking women but rather emulating and paying homage to women. Hey, girl power!

    It's quite normal for women to develop crushes on other females in a way that's not necessarily indicative of latent bisexuality (though straight women are allowed to get away with it more than straight guys who develop mancrushes, since we girlies are viewed as more "affectionate" or "nurturing" or what the heck ever.)

    I once dated a gay man, which was confusing to me, him, and everyone we knew, but it was one of the sweetest relationships I've had and transcended all boundaries. So it would make sense to me that any one person, in spite of gender or sexual orientation, could develop a crush on someone they might not ordinarily be attracted to, and in a nonsexual way.

  5. Men can be good lookers but the real beauties are women, you can't beat them they're adorable ;)))

  6. I love that you had a crush on Lara Parker--I'm more of a Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie) guy. However, I totally agree with you about Natalie Wood--I definitely had a crush on her as a child and teenager in "The Great Race" and "The Last Married Couple in America". She was a gorgeous and talented lady, whom I recently learned was quite supportive of her friend Mart Crowley while he was writing his play, "The Boys in the Band". As for other possible crushes, I adored Doris Day, Mary Tyler Moore and Dyan Cannon, who was quite the sexy, sassy lady of the 1970s.

  7. I think for straight guys man crushes are partly sexual, partly aesthetics, but mostly about hanging out with your idealized self—especially if you're generally of, shall we say, non-action figure appearance. Every guy wants to be James Bond (Connery, I hope). I want to be Jason Statham or Christian Bale (sans the public apeshit outbursts) some of the time. Once I saw Bill Kurtis in a restaurant, and the man was so tall, dashing, and ramrod straight I told my friends, "If he comes over here and asks me to help him fight a grizzly bear, I'm gonna do it."

    Of course, everyone's supposedly just three beers away. I imagine an attractive same-sex person can cut that formula by half. Rupert Everett occasionally made me wonder if I was on the right team. By God, that's a good-looking man.

  8. I would say that I've been attracted to women like Drew Barrymore, who really don't fit a mold and I've always found Katherine Hepburn to be terribly attractive, But I could (and actually did) fall in love over the phone so I think personalities appeal to me more than looks. I had a tremendous author crush on Joan Didion in my twenties (still do) and a really powerful attraction to Lillian Hellman, who, when you look at it, seriously, is no Ali Larter. ;-) Do falling in love with same sex words count?

  9. I think I get crushes on people I would like to be. As a girl, I wanted to be Adam Cartwright (the young Pernell Roberts) so badly I'd fall asleep at night dreaming of him. I am not at all attracted to the man sexually, but I DO own a sexy black cowboy hat!

  10. Well, many - hell, most - of my friends say I'm far too cerebral for my own good. But, as a straight woman, I guess my version of a gay crush is woman. Unfortunately, mine is too easy. When I saw Salma Hayek lying naked and seemingly make-up free in "Frida," my jaw dropped. It doesn't hurt that she's smart as hell. For years, I've had photos of Angelica Huston and Juliette Binoche on my fridge. Does that count?

  11. As a straight female, I tend to go with personalities as far as women. I can immediately think of several women on TV that I love watching:
    Mariska Hargitay from Law & Order:SVU. Beautiful strong face, wonderful acting and lucky for her, a character to die for.
    "Abby" from NCIS: The actress has so merged with her character for me, I can't remember her name other than Pauley! The characters is so clever, smart, quirky and adorable.
    On the same show, Cote de Pablo as Israeli Mossad agent Ziva David. Cote is so sexy with her pixie face.
    I was a big fan of Natalie Wood. One of my favorite movies was "Love with the Perfect Stranger".
    Yvette Mimieux was also a stunner. I think I saw "Light in the Piazzo" about ten times.
    There was a gorgeous Italian actress popular about the same time as Gina Lollabrigida who was a transsexual, but for the life of me I can't remember her name!
    Jeanne Barrack

  12. Oh, CelticGoddess reminded of someone I should never have forgotten: Salma Hayek!
    First movie I saw her in was "Desperado" with Antonio Banderas. Talk about a feast for the eyes! My neck hurt from going back and forth gazing at Antonio and Salma!

  13. I think for me the attraction is wanting to be that person-because of their looks maybe but also because of who they are as a person even if we only know them from afar. I am a straight female but my crush would have to be on Heidi Klum- she is a very beautiful lady but she also seems very approachable and never takes herself too seriously or even cares what she looks like when she is not working-(check her appearance on Ellen -it was not flattering -but she was having fun!)-side note- many of my other crushes are on gay men so what is that about? Some of them are just so damn cute!

  14. My gurl-crush? P.J. Harvey. I mean come ON, y'all. "Rid Of Me"? Oh my GAWD. That song is THE sexy/scary stalker tune of the freakin' century. Or, well, the last century, technically speaking...
    Some friends and I went to see her play at the Paradise in Boston several years ago, during the tour for Uh Huh, Her. Her legs in those damn ankle boots convinced us we were all Gay For P.J. *g*

    Oh, er, must add to the votes for Salma Hayek as well. If I wasn't married? Oh yeah. I'd hit that O_O

  15. I, too, had a crush on Lara Parker, and later Kate Jackson, both on Dark Shadows. I had the opportunity to meet Lara who is just as gracious as she is beautiful. She waited at a DS Festival until she greeted every fan who waited to see her, long after the other stars had left.

    My other "crushes" have included Cher, Karen Valentine, and Mrs. Dawson, my 7th grade English teacher.

  16. first crush was on Glen Cambell, my second crush was a girl I rode the bus with in Jr.high school. Can't remember her name, but she set my heart aflutter. Then there was Mike...on the same bus. Damn, I'm amazed I survived the ride!

  17. I think the only real crush that I ever had was once I figured out that I was gay, I had this real thing for Gina Gershon. I have seen everything that she has done, and really fell in love with her in Pretty in Pink. She has all the femininity of a woman, but all the masculinity of a man at the same time. She can be sweet and tender, or tough as nails. THe only other female I have ever been attracted to is Tobey Maguire

  18. Being bi, I can crush on either, any way I want. I have had gay guy friends crush on actresses so I don't find it too surprising. And Lara Parker was hot even when I was six. That's a crush we can share.

    T.D. McKinney

  19. MMMM, I would have to say Sarah McLachlan, Kate Winslet and Tilda Swinson.

    You have some pretty hot choices as well!!

    Oh, I added you to Twitter :)

  20. I don't know if I have a girl crush. There were women I would have liked to look like, but that was about the extent of it. There have also been women I admired for their skills in other things. For instance, I would love to have the swimming ability of Dara Torres. An Olympic medalist in her 40s. Amazing woman! There are divas like Lily Pons that I would love to be able to sing as they can. I am not sure if that would be consider a crush, though.


  21. I loved Lara Parker back in the day, it's great to hear she's nice, too. The only crush I can think of more recently might be David Beckham. Typical, I know, but he's hot!


  22. I'm as gay a man as they come, and I must own up to having a gay crush on Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica) and Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty).

    As a child, Barbara Eden, Elizabeth Montgomery and Karen Carpenter were all my girlfriends. They just didn't know it!

  23. You know people might say this such a cliche when I mention this lady but I didn't even really know what gay was when I was a kid and sat raptly in front of the TV every afternoon and watched her show. My first woman crush would have been Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman. But oh wait I guess that could be the latent homosexuality rearing it's head even at such a young age. I was about nine at the time when I started to watch episodes of the show. I could just sit there for hours and stare into those bright blue eyes and watch for that dazzling white smile. She was just as beautiful in a military uniform as well as civilian clothes. One other thing was she must have known she was very beautiful but never actually put it to use on the show. She was all about being good and very wholesome.

  24. Totally unfair here. I'm bi so I go ga ga over people who just 'do it for me' of both sexes. Sigh. The best of both worlds folks, honest.

    Tyra Banks, now that she's added a little extra padding makes me drool. Sean Connery still has that something and I'd follow him anywhere. Patrick Dempsey is just getting to the age where he's got some character lines and that's definitely made him sexier. I remember seeing Lauren Bacall when I was very young and man oh man, I could barely catch my breath while she was on screen.

    Sigh. Going to work on edits now. LOL

  25. *laugh* I won't get into labeling my orientation since that's one of my fields of study and it's so, so complicated. However, I will say, getting crushes (ie, feelings of stunned admiration) isn't just limited to people for me. Have you ever seen the video of Secretariat winning the derby? My brain exploded, and I promise THAT was not sexual. That was a damn gorgeous horse.

    I mostly self-identify as lesbian (like I said, complicated) so I'll leave out the girl-crushes as irrelevant to the current discussion, though I really could go on and on and on about Alex Parks, Brandi Carlile, Melissa Etheridge, and Joss Stone right now...

    Guys I've had lezcrushes on? Hm. Hugh Jackman, definitely. I love his personality, and he's pretty, too. Robert Downey Jr. Jeremy Northam. Viggo Mortenson (esp. as Aragorn). Liev Schreiber. Martin Luther McCoy (JoJo in Across the Universe... mmmmm!). Adam Lambert. Paul McCartney. I also get crushes on musicians for their music, not necessarily their looks - like Bono, Paul Simon, Sting... Michael Nesmith for his lyrics and because he fits the "tall, ridiculously scrawny" stereotype I seem to find adorable in men.

    CARLOS QUENTIN, OMG, HOW COULD I FORGET? And Jason Varitek and Jacoby Ellsbury and Jonathan Papelbon and ... *cough* Sorry. Baseball fan. Polysoxer, at that. (When the White Sox and the Red Sox play each other, I am a happy girl.), yeah, don't know how informative THAT was. *laugh*

  26. LOL! Lara Parker, Natalie Wood.. You have good taste! Hadn't thought of either of them in years, but looking back at what caught my attention as a kid -- both those ladies, Lt. Uhura... AND Spock and Illya Kuryakin? -- it's pretty obvious I'm not at either end of Kinsey's scale.

    I'm in a w/w marriage now and intend to be for the rest of my life, so I guess it's fair to mention man-crushes Jamie Bamber of Hornblower and Battlestar, Patrick Stewart,, and what can I say, as far as teh pretteh is concerned, Barack Obama is absolutely stunning, and Michelle's not bad either.

  27. My girlie crush is on Melinda Clarke of 'The OC' fame and Summer Glau from 'Firefly' and 'The Sarah Connor Chronicles'.

    I could so imaging having a little gay fling with them but I think I really just want to be them :) Beautiful women with something about the way they hold themselves.