Monday, October 19, 2009

What do Oprah Winfrey, Nate Berkus, and Quentin Crisp have in Common...

Absolutely nothing. But this has been going around in my head all day and I wanted to get it all into one blog post instead of two.

First, last night I watched "An Englishman in New York" starring John Hurt. It's a made for TV movie I saw on the Logo channel. I loved it. John Hurt played the perfect Quentin Crisp, and the film did him a great deal of justice. I've seen the documentary "The Naked Civil Servent," and I've read a few things by Quentin Crisp. I'm too young to actually remember him, but I'm still aware that he existed. And I think it's important for everyone in the LGBT community to be aware of people like Quentin Crisp. So if you've never heard of him, click onto the links above and check him out.

Second, late this afternoon I was waiting for the roof repair guy. We had a nor'easter here this past weekend and I had a small leak in the flashing on my roof. While I was waiting for the repair guy, I turned on the TV. I'm usually working at four in the afternoon so I never get a chance to watch Oprah. I was thrilled to see that Nate Berkus was her guest. But I was little confused about the theme of the show.

You see, Oprah and Nate were giving away one of those wonderful surprises. Some woman's best friend wrote a sob story about her best friend's sad life, and Oprah and Nate decided to give her something to cheer her up. I think that's fine. It's a little bit like "Queen for a Day," but it's a lot of fun to watch. Oprah's cool that way, and that's why people love her.

However, Oprah didn't get this one quite right, sorry to say. When Oprah and Nate described what they were giving this poor woman, I sat back and folded my arms across my chest. I thought the woman was getting money, or a new car, or that Oprah was going to pay off her mortgage. Instead, Oprah was giving her a date with Nate Berkus. Yup, Nate Berkus, an openly gay man. And she was giving the woman a date with him. So I'm like, okay, this is getting interesting.

And when the woman found out that Nate was taking her to her high school reunion, and that he was going to be her official date, she nearly dropped over. She screamed and shouted; her arms went up in the air. Everyone in the audience screamed, too. And I'm sitting there thinking, "not much going to happen on the way home from that date."

The thing I don't understand is why a middle aged straight woman would be so excited about going out with Nate Berkus, a gay man. They couldn't get Hugh Jackman? Don't get me wrong. I love Nate; I own his sheets and his duvet covers from I'll probably buy more. I also like the concept of making people happy with these wonderful surprises. Oprah does a lot of good for a lot of people. But in this case, if I were a divorced straight woman with a sad story, the last thing I'd want to do is show up at my high school reunion with an openly gay man on my arm. People who live in small towns can be vicious about things like that. I can hear the whispers now while she's on her way to the powder room.

Speaking as a gay man who is not very political and has never considered himself an activist, I think it would be nice to give some depressed gay man a date with Nate Berkus, too. There are plenty of them out there, Oprah. If you can't find any, I'll send over a short list of a few that I know. Because there has to be a nice shy queen like Quentin Crisp, who has always been waiting for a "great dark man" like Nate Berkus to show up on his doorstep carrying flowers.

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