Dear Bitter Butch,
I have a huge crush on a celebrity. He is simply the most beautiful man I’ve ever laid on eyes on. And I’d like to send him a fan e-mail/message, just saying I think he’s very attractive, nothing more, but there are two problems. First, he’s not a huge celebrity, so there’s a decent chance he’ll interact with my message and/or me online. Second, he’s straight and I’m gay. Let me be clear by saying there’s no chance we’d ever interact beyond a performer/fan context.
I wish I lived in a world where it was okay for a gay man to tell a straight man he’s good-looking without the straight man reading into it any further than that. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. And even though I suspect he wouldn’t take it the wrong way, or mock me for the observation, I also don’t want to make him uncomfortable.
Should I send my fanboy e-mail? Or am I breaching social protocol because of the orientation difference? Should I just swoon in silence when I see him online?
– Crushing on a Cutie
I can see why you might be concerned. Certain straight men — especially more homophobic or more misogynistic men — cannot handle sexual admiration from gay guys.
Homophobic or misogynistic men (and homophobia is often the reverse of the same coin as misogyny) are unable to separate their own desires from fetishizing the objects of their desire or from dehumanizing the objects of their desire. To be desired, in this context, means to be less than human.
Which means if a gay man admires a homophobic/misogynist man’s butt? That somehow makes him an object. Makes him less than human. So men like this become enraged. They attack gay guys or trans women, whom they conflate. They freak out. They get “offended.” And you have maybe had reactions ranging from rage to quiet discomfort from men you appraised in the past.
That’s not the reason to hold off, though — if your celebrity crush is a homophobe or a misogynist, fuck it. Let him be uncomfortable or angry or offended.
But there is a reason to hold off, which I’d tell you no matter your orientation or gender: celebrities, especially minor ones, don’t need to know about your desires for them. They certainly don’t need a personal email that might make them feel pressured to respond when all you said was: “golly I think you’re hot.” How do you even respond to that, anyway? They don’t need someone to reach out to them in the position of interrupting their day to respond to mere ogling — or crushing, as you say, which can have some strange stalkerish undertones depending on the celebrity and what they have dealt with, rabid fan-wise.
If you adored his music/writing/juggling/macramé, you could write him a letter about that. Whatever it is that has made him famous, presumably he’d appreciate hearing about how much you admire his talent and hard work in that area. But a random drooling? I dunno. It seems beside the point and a little intrusive.
So, for completely different reasons from what you are worried about: beyond a tweet that says something like “@is soooooooo dreamy,” I’d leave it alone.
BITTER BUTCH aka Haddayr Copley-Woods is a queer, a cripple, a nerd, a mom to two kids with neurological differences, and has a truckload of opinions on everything including sex and relationships, parenting, disability issues, family relationships, work dynamics, gender/sexuality issues, and etiquette. You can reach her with all your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org