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September 13, 2010 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

The Cher question

A couple of weeks back I had all of my wisdom teeth yanked out, which apparently was reason enough to watch DVDs for a week without being called a lazy bastard. Pretty cool, huh? As I tend to exemplify so many gay stereotypes, there were lots of Cher movies on the cards. This prompted some friends to ask that age-old question: “Why do gay men like Cher?” Firstly, not ALL gay men like Cher; though they really should. And so should you. I don’t care if you’re gay, straight or otherwise. She is just awesome. Nobody can deny the enthusiastic gay following that Cher has enjoyed for the better part of 50 years, but could the fact that I like sticking my tongue down the throats of gorgeous boys in skinny jeans determine my fascination with a 64-year-old woman who performs campy shows in Vegas?

First of all, we have Cher as a figure of beauty that appeals to gay men. As a gay man, I can be a little disillusioned by the way the type of girls lusted after by many straight boys are plainly dressed with vacant looks on their faces. I have nothing to work with here. But let’s take Cher in comparison. She goes to the Oscars with a two-foot high headdress of rooster feathers, a see-through dress showing off her underwear and a ridiculous amount of jewellery. Now we are starting to burn up on the fabulous scale. How about dressing as a scantily clad Viking with big hair and a fierce look on the cover of an album entitled Take Me Home? Let’s just say if I were to take her home, I would probably undress her just to try her outfit on for myself. Excuse me for that tragic line, but you get the idea by now, I’m sure. Any woman who out-camps a drag queen is in for bonus points.

Next we have Cher as the tragic figure who always comes back bigger and more ridiculous than ever. Take her split from her controlling husband to become a star in her own right, to her late seventies disco comeback, to her next reinvention as a dance music queen of the nineties and the naughties, she overcomes everything to become a fantasy for gay men spanning generations. Her upcoming movie with Christina Aguilera is sure to extend her reign to Generation Y as well. We can mirror this attitude in the gay community. Look at all the boys who grew up fearing verbal and physical abuse because of their sexuality who would later become larger-than-life queens—showing that they are going to be themselves, despite all of the shit that goes with it. Can you see why Will & Grace’s Jack McFarland dreamed he went to heaven and saw Cher as God—she has gone through these experiences hand in hand with us and we’ll love her forever because of it.

Now, I haven’t really even talked about the quality of her music yet. I don’t even like ‘Believe’ or ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’, but gimme songs like ‘Bang Bang’, ‘Take Me Home’ or ‘Shoop Shoop (It’s In His Kiss)’ and I get campier than a pink mosquito on poppers at a Bette Midler bathhouse show. Yes, I realise that made no sense. And somehow I really feel like the song ‘Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves’ speaks to me. Take the chorus; it slams the hypocrisy of a straight society which victimises minorities.

Gypsies, tramps and thieves
We hear it from the people of the town,
They call us gypsies, tramps and thieves,
But every night all the men come around
And lay their money down.

So hopefully by now you can somewhat understand the gay community’s admiration for this diva extraordinaire. And you’re next! With any luck, one day you’ll be under her spell as well. Even if you don’t dig her music, check out movies such as Mermaids, Moonstruck (for which she won an Oscar), Silkwood, Witches of Eastwick, If These Walls Could Talk, and my personal favourite, Mask, a tearjerker where she plays the crack-sniffing biker mom with a heart of gold.

And to finish, does the phrase “to put one’s tongue down one’s throat” make you quiver? Yeah, me too. Soz.

Side note: UniQ does not condone the disliking of Turn Back Time in any form


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