Thanks for the weekend tribute to Bea Arthur. And also for the not-so-long-ago tribute to Eartha Kitt. I agree with your assessment that these departed gay icons attained their status in some ways by being "tough, sassy, and unafraid." Can I also add that they were, in some way, dominating and slightly mannish, as well as unlucky in love? Plus, they ALWAYS had a great back story (perfect for a one-woman-show).
In other words, they were quite a "hoot."
Not only were they funny, they were fabulous, but in some ways had never been fully accepted. I can see how a gay guy might identify with that.
Many older women fall into the "Hoot" category. Can't the whole "Golden Girls" phenomenon be classified that way? Young women don't seem to qualify, do they? Though I suppose Kathy Griffin and Margaret Cho are well on their way. Britney and Lindsay are not Hoots, they are still hot messes, but they have long term Hoot potential.
I hate to break it to those women and the gays that adore them, but from out here in Straightsville, "Hoot" is not a compliment. Wasn't Bea Arthur the gold standard of unattractiveness to straight men? The metaphorical "last woman on earth" with whom we must be forced to procreate. Don't call me cruel... that was the core of her schtick!
I mentioned my "elevator test" in our Eartha Kitt post. Most Hoots would also flunk this test, in that I would NOT enjoy being trapped in an elevator with them. I assume that many gay guys would savor the chance to have Bea or Eartha's undivided attention for an hour or so. Not me. Yes, it's partly because they are intelligent, powerful, and intimidating women. But also because they somehow stand in judgment of us, the generic straight guys. Isn't part of the unlucky-in-love-routine that none of us men have ever really measured up? Been man enough to handle these ladies? Aren't we always just moments away from a withering put-down for being the dolts we naturally are?
Here's a short list of female gay icons who make straight men uncomfortable. It's a proud tradition dating back to Mae West, or further, what do I know?. I'm no expert on the icons themselves, just my uncomfortableness with them. I'll rate them on a Divaness and Hootability 5-star scale, as these criteria are core in determining how intimidating they are. And, correct me if I'm wrong, GG, to be a gay icon, it seems you need a bit of both.
Extra hoot points for drag-queen mannishness.
Very intimidating. Could convincingly deliver DeNiro's "Are you talking to ME?" monologue wearing a bedazzled turban and mink stole.
The exception proves the rule. Meets all criteria, but passes my elevator test. So sue me.
Low on Hoot score, because who (gay or straight) wants to listen to Cher for long periods of time? Still frightening, though.
Ultimate diva. But hoot factor has risen in each decade.
Madame (of Wayland and Madame):
The perfect storm of demanding divaness, one-woman-show hootability, and manishness out the wazoo (literally!).
Readers, let us know who's on your list, or whether I've gotten any of these completely wrong. Click "comments" below.
Gay Guy / Straight Guy Archive
- ► 2012 (32)
- ► 2011 (109)
- ► 2010 (195)
- Suzanne, Sophia, or Charlotte: Games Straight Men ...
- Divas vs. Hoots: Gay Icons Who Make Straight Men U...
- Dead Poets Society Protest: "Hating on Everyone"
- Bea Arthur, Golden Girl, Gay Buddy, Dies at 86
- Shakespeare. Rhymes With Queer?
- Gathering Storm of Hot Air
- Manly Man Names: Gay/Straight Guy Shortcomings?
- Does This Bib Make Me Look Hot?
- Collar Stays: Gay/Straight Haberdashery 911
- Helluva Town
- Gays Don't Care About Beer?
- Iowa and Same-Sex Marriage Means American Gothic C...
- Peep Show
- Gay/Straight Ad Watch: Progressive or Subversive?
- Flirting With Disaster?
- Checking Our Equipment
- Gay/Straight Sniff and Mate
- Gay/Straight Ad Watch: Sex Sells
- Guys Gone Wild = Guys Gone Gay
- Gay / Straight Advice: Sleepover Secrets
- Girls Gone Wild? OK . . . Guys Gone Wild? Gay.
- Rained In
- Straight Guy Gift Guide, Day 5: Dining Room Ping-P...
- ▼ April (23)
- ► 2008 (148)