Don’t do it! This is a desperate plea to middle-aged men everywhere regarding a certain plastic surgery procedure. Please, I beg you, whatever you do, do not get an eye lift. Why? Because if you do, you will end up looking like an old lesbian. You may even—gasp!—be mistaken for a member of … THE MUFFIA.
Permit me to explain: There I was, sitting on my deck out in Shelter Island enjoying a bit of global warming and cruising my new favorite website: menwholooklikeoldlesbians.blogspot.com. Yes, I was chuckling, but I was also looking for answers. What exactly was it that was making geezers like Jon Voight and Denis Leary look so much like old lesbians and, more importantly, how could I avoid it? Just as my vexations were peaking, my pal Vickie, a landscape designer, called to fill me in on the prognosis of a white pine that has been looking a bit peaked of late.
As soon as she had finished opining about my pine, I lobbed the question du jour: “You are a gay woman: Can you please tell me what it is about George Steinbrenner, Tony Curtis and Bruce Jenner that makes them look so Sapphic and sisterly?”
“It’s really quite obvious,” she replied, in a why-are-gay- women-so-much-smarter-than-their-male-equivalents kind of way, “it’s the eye-lift!” I realized instantly that—by Georgette!—Vickie was onto something. A pudgy older guy with decreasing testosterone already looks a tad femmey, but the eye-lift is the coup de grace. Anytime an older dude gets a little up-tuck he immediately joins the sisters over in Carpet Village.
And what, you may well ask, is so terrible about looking like an old lesbian? O.K. Nothing. Nada. There’s nothing wrong with looking as if you are riding a one-way ticket to the end of the line and the last stop is the Dinah Shore Weekend. Absolutely nothing. So why the alarmist warnings? Why am I begging Al Gore—who is already starting to look a bit Gertrude Stein-ish—not to get an eye lift before he goes to pick up that Nobel Prize?
I’ll tell you why: Because the lesbian power club—the Muffia, as it’s affectionately known in West Hollywood—is already strong enough without recruiting any more of these machers, politicos and aging entertainment honchos.
Permit me, yet again, to explain: In the past, gay men have always occupied—some would say “hogged”—the spotlight. While we poofters sparkled and shrieked our way through the last century, the lesbians languished in the Well of Loneliness. As preposterous and revolting as male gayness was to society (see Victim, starring Dirk Bogarde), lezzie activities were deemed a thousand times more unacceptable (see The Children’s Hour, starring Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine). Even through the process of Gay Liberation, the dykes on bikes were always just a warm-up for male faggotry.
In the past few years, however, there has been a giant switcheroo. Did it start with Madonna and Sandra Bernhard making jokes with David Letterman about hanging out at the Cubby Hole? Out gay women are now at the center of our culture. They are everywhere: holding hands in public and talking about their kids, just like mainstream celebs. There are no male equivalents to Ellen or The L-Word. Last Oscar night saw gay women openly chewing up the red carpet while gay men were all but invisible. (See my column, March 5, 2007.) Male gayness has, after all the dust and glitter and tambourines and bottles of poppers have settled, proven to be more marginalizing that female gayness. (This fact will not sit well with many lesbians who will now be obliged to find something new to whinge about, which will probably be me, and this column. Sisters! Relax! I adore you. At the end of the day, these scribblings pay delighted homage to your newfound supremacy.)
While gay men can still make a ton of money szhooshing people’s hair and such, it’s the power dykes—HBO Entertainment president Carolyn Strauss, film executive Nina Jacobson, producer Christine Vachon et al.—who are pulling the strings in Hollywood. To which I say mazel tov! Let the Muffia and the straight suits duke it out for the big bucks. Give me a nice, no-hassle, set-decorating gig any day.
The only problem: once those straight machers get their eye-lifts, it will be impossible to tell them apart from their Muffia colleagues.
Come back to the Five and Dime, Nancy Kulp, Nancy Kulp.