The Marquess of Queensberry, unfortunate oafish father of Bosie, Oscar Wilde’s once lover and companion, left a card for OW at his gentleman’s club with the above misspelt phrase written on it. In Victorian times even posing as a homosexual attracted criminal penalty. The theorist Kosowsky would have described this as the ultimate in male homosocial paranoia, the syndrome whereby hetero males are constantly monitoring each other for signs of deviant behaviour, of letting down the side.
Previously Queensberry had delivered a grotesque bouquet of vegetables to the theatre on the opening night of OW’s play. The misspelling prompted OW to consider defamation proceedings, and began the three trials that demolished his public life.
In the Australian entertainment industry posing is a drawcard, big business in fact. You engage in coy, ambiguous skits, laced with double entendre, you interview hunky US soapie stars and play up to them gaily. Everything is of course rehearsed, nothing would go down worse than a brusque retort onscreen of ” you sound like a poof”. Then with a career established in cutting edge roles and calculatedly risque humour, you turn up on industry night, kiss your fiancee and collect the reward.
This for the hetero male actor is just plain horse sense; what annoys and saddens me is how eager we in the gay world are to relish the meagre references to our existence. Were we all so unloved in childhood, so desperate for attention & affection? Guess so. I was. And OW, had he been here for the performance would have repeated that there is only one thing worse than being talked about, that is not being talked about.