I admit that I wasn't always open to people whose sexuality was other than the 'norm'.
This was probably because, when I was growing up in the 80s the word gay just meant happy. I didn't know then that my preference for boys put me in the 'heterosexual female' category because I had no idea that there even was a category!
We never dreamed that George Michael liked boys and wouldn't have believed it even if he had turned up at our school and told us himself (besides, we were all in love with him and the truth would have ruined countless adolescent fantasies).
In my mid-teens, I became vaguely aware, of course, that girls who liked girls and boys who liked boys did exist but any discussion about this always took place in hushed tones around class. It had a certain air of mystery and foreboding which meant that my friends and I spent a substantial amount of time speculating exactly what homosexuality, the male or female kind, entailed. I mean, how did they do it? Wasn't it, well, weird?
Fortunately, my small-town thinking has expanded over the years and these days I don't bat an eyelash about people and their sexuality - much less judge them. It IS a free world; people must be allowed to be who they are and everyone has the right to be happy about themselves. Besides, the world would be a far less colourful place if people like the Queer Eye Guys or Ellen Degeneres were forced to remain behind closed (closet) doors.
I've been rather proud of how far I'd come in terms of my outlook on homo, bi and whatever other types of sexuality there exists out there - that is, until today.
It seems that my mind isn't that open after all! I happened to catch a clip of the 2008 Ford Supermodel of the World competition. I really don't know what to say about the host.
I'd never heard of Andre J before today and frankly, I wish I had remained blissfully in the dark! Presenting the (hopefully!) one and only Andre J:
I have no idea what Mr/Miss J is trying to do. I don't even know if this look is related to his sexuality or just appalling taste! Could he be one of those straight guys who like wearing women's clothes - a cross-dresser? Honestly, though, his appearance more than raised my eyebrows. I'm a little ashamed to say that I found it rather a challenge to look right at him and what-is-with-the-beard??!!! I think he's aiming for memorable but he's missed that and gone straight (no pun intended!) into frightful. It was all really weird and uncomfortable.
Despite my misgivings, I think Andre must be doing something right because he was featured on the cover of French Vogue (no less!) - beard and all (you can't see it clearly but trust me, it's there - I zoomed in!)
This either means that I'm hopelessly close-minded or French Vogue is running out of ideas. I rather hope it's the latter! After all, one has to draw the line somewhere.
If you're going to do something different, you gotta do it right! Look at Ru Paul, (s)he was the face of MAC for a while there and with good reason:
I'm all for men who take the trouble with the hair, makeup, boobs and countless other details to get the look right. If you want to be a woman that badly then more power to you, girlfriend!
In comparison, Andre J just comes across as a man, who wants to be a woman - a woman who's just too lazy to shave, that is!
Once upon a time, the only 'Bearded Ladies' were the ones who had facial hair and used to (cruelly) be cast as a "freak" attraction in those awful Freakshow circus/fairs of yesteryear along with the poor Elephant man, the people who had hunched backs and anyone else who was unfortunate enough to have any kind of physical abnormality/deformity about them.
I think we've all come a long way since then but Andre J is successfully bringing back bad thoughts of Freakshows that are best left buried. There's a big difference between being different and having no taste. So, for goodness sake, someone do us all a big favour and hand Andre a Gillette!
image from viewimage.com, theimagist.com, seacoastconnects.com