I decided I was probably about $5 worth of curious about Johnny Weir, so I headed off to Amazon to find his book. Most of the reviews of this thing make a very big deal about him "coming out" in it. Is this some new definition of "out" that I had not previously been aware of? What do they think "in" looks like? The book came out in 2011, after he'd been to the Olympics twice. What the hell do they think he was doing before?

Self-delusion, as a force of nature, is slightly more pernicious than gravity, so I went looking around to find out if perhaps he was under the impression that this was news to anyone when he published it. Answer: No. Weir rolls his eyes at everyone who says that to him ("I was never in," he explains, with more patience than I'd have after the first half-dozen interviews -- although he does use that specific phrase every time, so he's probably doing it by rote). It wasn't a case of everyone noticing and pretending they didn't because they didn't think he wanted them to know, either; he and Tanith Belbin were both making cracks about it left and right when they were asked about rooming together in Vancouver. Not like, "Teehee, you care what your living quarters look like, what will people think?" More like, "Ohmigod, our common room is full of scented candles and posters of Audrey Hepburn, could you possibly be any gayer?" It sounds very much like one of those things that was hilarious because the usual ignorant idiot assumption was coincidentally right, which is pretty much the same reason I laugh when I happen to overhear one of my Jewish friends having a phone conversation of which their entire part consists only of, "Yes, Mom."

I don't normally describe people with phrases like 'screaming queen', but I'm pretty sure this is the exact impression Weir's going for. On purpose. It is a perfectly valid choice. Just because it's outdated as a stereotype and inaccurate as a generalization doesn't mean it's not allowed to happen to individual people. If you happen to be very into art and grace and self-decoration AND you hang around a lot of women into same AND you like to use your girlfriends as teddy bears AND you also happen to be gay, then, socially-speaking, you are allowed to fill niches like 'screaming queen' without getting flak for acting 'inappropriately'. It's one of those things that's sort of unfairly culturally restricted, by gender and circumstance. You catch all kinds of hell for it if you're a straight man -- people, mainly guys, get suspicious that you're just pretending in order to get grabby with their wimminfolk. What the wimminfolk think is generally not recorded, which is a completely separate problem.

It's also entirely possible to be all of the above and also be shy and quiet, although not if you are Johnny Weir. He's a whole lot of things other than 'screaming queen', and most of them are things like 'opinionated', 'articulate', 'stubborn', 'exuberant', very talented, and occasionally funny enough to make me snorf my drink all over. Weir tends to describe himself as a loudmouth, which is hilarious, because I didn't know that when I did it a couple articles back. He also once cheerfully informed one of the talk show hosts that he was "about as gay as a box of rainbows," which prompted one of the drink-snorfing incidents. He's very blunt and he snarks a lot; he does respond to people prodding him with stuff they think will irritate him, which isn't always a good idea, but I will note that the pettiness level of his response is generally the same as the pettiness level of whatever inflammatory statements are involved. Seriously problematic things get pretty serious answers, and bitchy catty gossip gets bitchy catty claws. He's occasionally better at differentiating the two than the people running the interviews. Apparently he told Bethany Frankel off on some reality show and she wrote something both inaccurate and insulting in response; everyone dredging this up seems to assume it's a serious slight, but Weir mainly rolls his eyes and says something wiseass about it.

I get the impression that Weir has been told he's a drama queen a lot. I have no idea if it's true. People generally tell you that when they want you to stop complaining. That might mean that you're being a hypersensitive whiny obstruction -- or it might mean that the people telling you that are being unreasonable about something, and want you to shut the fuck up about it. Tough to tell which it might be without knowing more about who he copped the accusation from. He's certainly loud and theatrical, and he likes being part of a spectacle, but that's not the same thing. Weir is almost certainly a perfectionist about things he legitimately has control over, like his glitzy costumes and his performances, because there's really no other way to get to the Olympic level of a competitive sport, but whether he's that way about anything else, I have no idea. He talks a great deal when allowed, but he doesn't seem to particularly need to take over conversations, and I've seen him keep his mouth closed and his hands to himself for quite a while before he gets a turn in a group of guests.

Weir is quite proud of his wedding ring. There may be an element of not having been sure that he'd ever be allowed to get married, but mainly I think he just never thought it would happen. In earlier interviews he consistently tells people he's married to his art and doesn't have much of a romantic life, although he'll also blithely continue on with everything he thinks about sex and love and other related things if asked. He doesn't sound lonely, overall -- evidently he has a good armload of very close girlfriends, any one of which he would actually have been willing to get hitched to, on the condition that they both got to have their boyfriends on the side. Meeting the man he would later marry seems to have been something of a surprise. His husband, Victor Voronov, is very very quiet whenever he gets dragged out to one of Weir's events, and doesn't seem much inclined to PDA, but they're never far apart. They look happy, insofar as I can really guess these things from brief video clips.

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  1. Just in case there's any change left over in your curiosity account:

    You have no idea the flak Johnny's taken for not saying the words, "I'm gay." It started after a poor performance in the Torino Olympics and the insistence of Rudy Galindo, someone he considered a friend, that the media out him. http://articles.latimes.com/2006/feb/17/sports/sp-olyadande17 Johnny's been both hounded by the mainstream media and lambasted by the gay press for not coming out. And then when he finally said the magic words he was mocked for stating the obvious.

    Both Johnny and Victor's Instagram accounts are full of snippets from their lives together and PDA. It doesn't sound like either of them expected to fall head over heels and get married. Here's an interview in which Johnny buries the hatchet with Bethenney and gets his husband to come on camera and say a few words: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRxR6N7g310 . Here's a roundup of their second year of married life: http://misfitmimes.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-husbands-2013-year-in-pictures.html

    Finally, Johnny has a weekly column in which he writes about marriage, sexuality and fashion. It's just like him — glib and superficial or articulate and thoughtful, depending on what the subject warrants. http://fcnp.com/author/johnny-weir/

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    1. Quite right -- I had no idea. Typically I ignore Olympics when they are actually going on, unless someone drags me over and starts showing me impressive bits on YouTube. I hadn't nosed around in his life before, and when I do that I generally start with the man himself, rather than press coverage surrounding him. I'm more interested in what's in is head than in the ideas other people have about him, for the most part. That's terrible about Galindo. I get the impression that that's not common, bolstered by the comment at the end of the LA Times article -- the other skaters, being about his age, generally don't care, and were with him in being scared that the judges would take whatever random bits from their private lives and hold it against them in technical scores. It sounds like either vitriol or a personal bit of zealotry. I don't know anything about Galindo; was he forcibly outed and is now on a crusade?

      I've seen Weir's Twitter account a few times, and it's kind of adorable. I got the impression that Voronov (are they both Weir-Voronov now or is it Victor Voronov-Weir? I can't recall) is really nervous in front of Real Television Cameras, which is where most of the clips I've seen came from. I assume he's more outspoken when he's in his native element, 'cause, you know, attorney. They kind of have to talk a lot.

      That column is interesting. Scrolling down, I see something called "I Talk To Spoons", which promises to be creative, whatever it is.

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    2. Rudy Galindo came out on his own. Subsequently someone outed his HIV status, but I'm not sure if that was before or after he started to push the media to out Johnny. I'd guess his motivation in all of it was jealousy. Galindo made a particularly mean-spirited comment on his Facebook page about the anticipated attendance at Johnny's first book signing. That's all I have to go on, but five years is a long time to still be so invested in someone else's failure. They did meet again over the summer and seemed happy to see each other. I kind of hope that's the case.

      Both men are legally Weir-Voronov, although Johnny uses Weir professionally and that's how most articles distinguish between them. Victor went from "straight" to married to "Elton John's fanny pack" in the course of three months. He does look pretty deer-in-the-headlights in most of their early appearances. Now that he's had time to adjust to the spotlight he seems much more comfortable.

      I have a lot more to say about gay boys in skating, but I think I'll reply to your post on that subject.

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    3. Feel free to give me all the information you've got. I'm looking at this as a total outsider, and all I have to go on is what the skaters say themselves -- I have to sift through and figure out what they're all consistent about, which is not always easy. I've got a couple of supposedly tell-all books on hold at BPL, but A) they haven't come in yet, and B) then I have to sift the real stuff from the gossipy dirt.

      The name thing probably strikes them as apropos. A lot of Russian couples these days don't seem to do any name changing, especially if they're professional; I'm seeing a lot where the lady keeps her birth name, including the feminine ending, even in American media.

      Just be nice, please. I'm always terrified that the Angry Feminist Gender Expression Police are going to come pummel me when I write about this stuff, even thought Johnny himself is open in admitting he quite enjoys being sort of an honorary girl. I think he has every right to identify as male and perform in as many traditionally-feminine ways as he wants, even if he is doing a lot of them because they're considered girly, but it's hairy territory on a par with trying to talk about how conventional beauty is useful in activism.

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