Silver-spoon silver fox Mr. ANDERSON COOPER is not even pretending not to be involved with the owner of an East Village gay bar, Mr. BENJAMIN MAISANI. Coop reminds us that holding a press conference to “admit” one’s homosexualism, as by reading a statement prepared by a hired publicist, is a practice as outdated as the superannuated news organization that conditioned us to expect that sort of thing, The Advocate.
Not being in the closet is functionally equivalent to being out of the closet, which is what being out of the closet was always supposed to mean. If the definition seems circular, so be it. This is how out gays are supposed to behave: Like there’s nothing wrong with it.
Previously associated with gorgeous Latino “personal trainers” who are a dime a dozen in New York, Cooper seems to have scored a unicorn this time. And no wonder Gawker is interested: The last time I read about an homosexualist art major, he edited a Gawker blog for years before finally realizing a long-time dream of becoming a Kunsthallenführer. This time the object is Maisani, who graduated art history with a perfect GPA and valedictorized. Like my friend the editor, he set that aside and lived a life of the body.
And why the hell not?
The really seriously value-adding feature is the fact that Maisani isn’t just French but Corsican. That makes him a member of an intrinsically interesting non-Muslim minority group within an interesting country. Presumably it also makes him an actual speaker of Corsican. Just the word “Corsican” sounds great. And judging from my viewing of the various video podcasts, if he were Breton he wouldn’t be as handsome. (He’d be a total dog.) The Italian influence is important, it seems.
Uptight and proper Anderson Cooper is following in the footsteps of the non-archangel Gabriel in Trick, the 1999 trifle that is memorably mostly for the frequent near-nudity of its costar, John Paul Pitoc (no relation).
Mousy Gabe, a song-and-dance man, is ever so worried about being mistaken for the “queen” he is and presents himself in a gay sackcloth and ashes of saggy shirts and baggy chinos. He barely glances at a go-go dancer named Mark and cannot believe his eyes. It’s not only that he’s gorgeous – can he ever move. He’s a beautiful machine.
John Paul Pitoc has a lot to be proud of in this, his début picture. He can look back at his beauty and how well it suited the movie. Mark is all about being generous with himself, whether by dancing nearly naked, wearing a tight, wide-necked T-shirt that emphasizes his wide neck, or just finding Gabe more than cute enough to bed. (If only they could find one – the thin conceit of the movie.)
Coop can stand and deliver but he’s really quite rigid and upright. Balls-out Kathy Griffin reduced him to a giggling nerd on New Year’s Eve. (“ ‘Did you just bring your wallet out on television?’ ‘I keep it here because I – if I have it in my pocket, it hurts my back.’ ‘Oh, that’s oldschool New York money. OK. “How did you get your back injury?” “Um, my wallet, because I have so much money, I can’t even hold my own torso up.” ’ ”) Maisani is a perfect foil for him – foreign, gorgeous, free with his physical self.
They can surely carry on a conversation and, even though they may wear interchangeable Fred Perry polo shirts, they complement each other. Together they demonstrate a classic æsthetic of gay pairings – not a yin and a yang but a tad more than twice the yin. It’s a multiplicative or synergistic effect. Two beautiful but slightly divergent men together don’t look ridiculous, like tuxedoed penguins getting married. They make even the hottest hetero male look like not enough man for the job.
Cooper will always have a career. Maisani can have any career he wants even after Coop gets cold feet and dumps him: He just has to show up for an interview in a tailored suit, beam a big smile, and hand over his college transcripts. He may fare better than Pitoc, who has lost his baby fat and has shrink-wrapped himself into a kind of ultimate-fighter manqué, albeit with a dose of irony. (He certainly writes amusing Twits.) The acting roles have been kind of lousy, too. “Harsh, ripped, borderline emaciated” isn’t working for him.
Meanwhile, Maisani’s lush, arms-wide-open style serves him in better stead. Like hitting even a single baseball out to the boards, it’s something upstanding intellectuals can never pull off. They know the pain: They’re just dying for it and it hurts. The easiest way is to snag a boyfriend who’s already got it. 1 + 1 > 2.