I got a few cheeky (boorish) in-person comments about my last post which was about drinking (or not drinking) because the picture I posted in my blog showed me with a beer, not a martini, in one hand and my Yorkie, Junebug in the other. This is what I have to say about that: There are very few pictures of me with a drink or a cigarette in my hand and I have been very mindful about that. Although it is one thing to allow your friends to get to see the real me, it is another thing to let the general public or my reader fans get a real close-up of the genuine fantastical yet messy existence that I call my life.
I grew up in Hollywood. And unless you lived there you wouldn’t have realized that everything you read in print or watched on TV about your favorite stars, celebrities or a 15-minute famous person was almost completely false and purposely generated. Everyone in Hollywood knew the truth about these people and yet we who lived among those who were talked about kept our mouths shut and let the rest of the world believe what they read and saw.
When I was 16 I would sneak out of my parents’ house and drive the 35 minutes from Glendora to West Hollywood where I would use my fake I.D. to get into a club called Studio One. In a short time I became friends with a group of popular guys who were called The Village People (yes, those guys). They were a wonderful bunch of fun dudes who made sure I never did drugs and that no one ever hit on me and they also made sure I never drank too much so I could drive safely home at 3 or 4 am in the morning. This is why I dedicated my book Mafia Hairdresser to them on page one: I believe I would not have made it to the 80s had it not been for them and they taught me that I didn’t have to do drugs or alcohol to have fun. Thanks again, guys! At the time, 1978, 1979, 1980, the teen magazines and the talk shows that the Village People were on always alluded that they were heterosexual and dating women. Every reporter, writer, photographer (me!) that came in contact with the same airspace as these guys would have known they were gay. Two of them were thuper-lissspy. But I learned that as long as they were in control of what the public saw of them, then they would sell more records and that was a powerful thing.
When I was of actual legal drinking age I used to hang out at a bar called The Silver Fox in Long Beach, California, to watch Dynasty on Wednesday nights. I’d always sit at a table with two guys named Chris & Mark who were both friends with Rock Hudson (yes, the movie star) who was always kissing on this other dude named Christopher at another table. I never actually talked to Rock Hudson but I was pretty friendly with his pals and even when they told me that Rock wanted to be on Dynasty I kept it to myself because that “scoop” was nice for me to know while not having the rest of the world know it. If the media and public’s thirst for scandal had been as bad back in the mid 80s as it is today all I would have had to do is snap a picture of Rock Hudson in a gay bar, post it on Twitter, and, because of the homophobia outside of Los Angles at the time, his career would have been over–and he never would have been on Dynasty. Of course when it became known that Rock Hudson died of AIDS and was gay, even I was shocked at how most of the world was shocked at their new discovery.
So: I’m consciously choosing to put out content to lead the general public to believe that I am much butcher than I really am by posting pictures of me like the one with the beer in my hand. My book fans will never now that I smoked nor that I still pop out my pinky finger out when I hold a martini glass, even after only one drink, and that I flip my non-existant hair out of my eyes for dramatic gesture. (My Yorkie in yesterdays picture may be a little too gay, but it is infinitesimally more masculine than my voice.
I am exactly what I want you to see, America & World. It’s called premeditated branding and I think I’m doing it very well at it because you seem to like me…well, at least the me I want you see.
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