I don’t want to be “that guy,” but it would be dishonest for me to describe my gaydar as anything less than a well-oiled supermachine. Elton John? I caught the scent on that guy the moment he lazy susaned into Eminem’s “Stan” performance at the Grammys. K.d. lang was easy — no straight woman ever showed up for a shave in business formal. Now I’m ready to lay down this latest bombshell: ever since my new office buddy Fernando started inviting me over to his place to watch Almodóvar movies, I’m beginning to think that Pedro Almodóvar’s step might contain more than its allotted portion of pep, if you know what I mean.
Take Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, which Fernando played for me in his shared studio apartment after we came home wasted from the martini bar. If you’re going to sit there and tell me that this movie’s bed-on-fire scene, its old-lady-showing-up-at-the-airport-with-a-gun scene, and its having-sex-with-a-terrorist backstory don’t add up to just one thing: CAMP with a capital C-A-M and all the rest of it, then your gaydar needs a firmware update, like, yesterday. When I turned to discuss my discovery with Fernando, who was already looking into my eyes from his place on the divan before I’d even had the chance to crane my neck, I nearly missed the gazpacho-in-the-face scene. I mean, am I the only one getting this?
Then there’s Talk to Her, a film about a man who’s in love with a lady in a coma. I know this sounds pretty heteronormative so far, but if I didn’t tell you that this man’s got a lisp longer than the Mattachine Steps then I just wouldn’t be utilizing my gift. I was going to ask Fernando if he could hear it too but I didn’t want to wake him from his repose, his head innocently tucked into the space between my thigh and my thigh.
And just yesterday Fernando had me over to watch Law of Desire, which is when I knew for sure that I was on to something. It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it situation, but in my personal belief, this film has homoerotic undertones shallower than a single droplet of Gun Oil on Fernando’s bedroom floor. When I bolted up from my position on his medium-firm mattress to point triumphantly at the screen in an “a-ha!” kind of moment during the subtle homoerotic plot point when the aging male playwright has sex with Antonio Banderas, Fernando shot me a wildly confused look from under his satin sheets. I get it, buddy! Not everybody can be the Mel Gibson in What Women Want of noticing gay vibes.
Listen, I don’t mean to “out” anybody here. Pedro Almodóvar might not be ready to expose this side of himself with audiences just yet. Hell, it took Ricky Martin ten years after “Livin’ la Vida Loca” to surprise the world with his stunning and brave coming out shocker story. I’m just a guy who doesn’t think it’s wrong to utilize his gift. And I think Fernando agrees – he invited me over to his place again to watch another Almodóvar movie, something about a kid whose father is a trans woman suffering from HIV. It’ll be good to finally watch something that Fernando and I can enjoy together as bros without all that pink triangle stuff to distract me.