Saturday, June 16, 2012

Scotty Bowers is a Flaming Queen: A review of "Full Service"

SCOTTY BOWERS IS A FLAMING QUEEN: A REVIEW OF "FULL SERVICE: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars." Scotty Bowers with Lionel Friedberg. Grove Press; 2012.

Oy vey! The lengths some people will go to to deny they're gay even while writing about all the guys they've been to bed with, and not always for money. Scotty Bowers, procurer for the stars and male prostitute in old Hollywood -- he is now 88 -- writes about many married men with wives and kids who were secretly homosexual, but seems to think because he keeps saying he really prefers women, adds one chapter about two women he was allegedly in love with, and has an [un-pictured] wife he married past the age of sixty, that this means he's not gay! One at least hopes he wouldn't resist the label "bisexual" although if memory serves me well he doesn't use it to describe himself in this pretty tedious book.

Look, we already know about Rock Hudson, Tyrone Power, Cary Grant and Randolph Scott, the phony "romance" between Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, and so on. The only thing that may be new in here is that both the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were bisexual [well on one page they're bisexual; on the next page they're "essentially gay."] Bowers claims to have had sex with both of them. You'd think he'd be embarrassed to admit it, but then this guy thinks Walter Pidgeon is "handsome."

If Gore Vidal and William Mann, who has written books on Hepburn and Gay Old Hollywood [hopefully not with Bowers as a major source], want to praise this piece of shit, let them, although I wonder if they wrote their endorsements before actually reading the book! It's not that many of Bowers' assertions about the homosexuality of Hollywood's leading players and the many closeted gays among the "straight" married community are false, but that Bowers is absolutely the wrong person to be relaying the information. First, rightly or wrongly, who takes whores and procurers seriously? Second, even if some of his claims are true, it's hard to believe that Bowers personally witnessed or experienced everything he says -- much of it actually sounds like second or third-hand knowledge [if not gossip and rumors]. Third, Bowers, despite his strong connection to the gay community [or the closeted variation thereof back in the day], does his unconvincing best to set himself somehow above and apart the "queens" he mostly writes about. He gives lip service to Gay Rights, but this is a guy who has fond memories of being molested at nine and of the men who molested him as well, which is just pathetic. Do we really want his support?

I suppose one could argue that his being molested [assuming the story is even true] made him sexually confused and non-judgmental about sexuality [and more adventurous], but he really just comes off like a self-deluding "old queen." [And in his book jacket photo, in which he seems to have Shirley Temple curls on his head, certainly looks like one, which is ironic.] He writes that when he read a piece Tennessee Williams [for a whore he certainly had a whole shitload of important "friends," all of whom, of course, were close confidantes] wrote about him, he urged the famed playwright to destroy it because it made him seem like the "fairy godmother of the entire gay world in the City of Angels." And that certainly wouldn't do for such a straight stud as Scotty.

While it may be entirely admirable that Bowers has a healthy, realistic and non-judgmental attitude towards different kinds of sexuality [although his acceptance of pedophilia is rather problematic to say the least!] his sensibility is still stuck back in the pre-Stonewall period. He talks about all the married men who like cock, referring to some of them as bisexuals, but then writes about many of the hustlers who had sex with his clients as "straight" guys just because they may have had girlfriends or slept with women. Duh! It's that whole tiresome "rough trade," allegedly "gay for pay" crap that in these days of "Out and Proud" just seems terribly unrealistic and dated, "sexual fluidity" be damned. Besides if his clients can supposedly be bisexual, why couldn't the hustlers be as well?

The book is so indifferently written that it fails to make any of these people come alive with any depth, and it certainly has no compelling erotic descriptions like well-written porn.

Amazingly, Full Service is kind of boring. I imagine unsophisticated straight people from Iowa [no offense,Iowa] may find this "juicy" but for everyone else I would recommend saving your money.  


Anonymous said...

He seems to be too open minded to be hiding anything. Why can't he be bisexual?

Bill Samuels said...

Never said he couldn't be, but I don't find his book credible.