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Claymate heartbreak?

What will the teen Claymate girls do now? Your gaydar would need to be in the repair shop if it didn’t go ballistic over my fellow Tar Heel and American Idol finalist Clay Aiken. I have no clue whether Clay is family or not, but whoever this Paulus guy is, I hope he’s got a good lawyer (well the Enquirer‘s got a stable of them). Clay’s fan base is of the clean-cut, Dobson-approved variety. (Contact Music):

AMERICAN IDOL star CLAY AIKEN is being urged to come clean about his sexuality by a former US Green Beret, who claims to have had a passionate tryst with the singer.

JOHN PAULUS, 38, took a lie detector test in a bid to prove claims he has made about Aiken’s sexuality in an American tabloid are true. Paulus tells the National Enquirer that he spent the night with Aiken after the singer emailed him just before Christmas (05) after seeing his ad on a gay website. He claims he arranged to meet Aiken at a hotel in North Carolina after the singer asked him to be his “discreet bf (boyfriend)” and the couple had sex.

NOTE: I agree with some of the commenters that this guy Paulus is sleazy. The fact that he felt the need to get a payday out of the Enquirer for outing a C-list celeb is an example of the kind of counter-productive nonsense that is out there.

Gay or not, the man is not anti-gay and has even been willing to acknowledge the rumors (see the link on his name): “Aiken denied he was gay in a Rolling Stone interview in June, 2003, and, in fact, he good-naturedly lampooned such speculation in the opening monologue featuring him as a member of a gay men’s chorus when he appeared as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live’s February 7, 2004 show.”

I don’t know whether coming out would hurt Clay’s career. Look at the Chad Allen post; there’s always going to be some numnuts who cannot get over their internalized homophobia. Clay’s audience is what it is because of his genre (non-threatening, asexual pop); it nothing to do with political conservatism really. He’s seen as a safe pop idol for young teens by parents; that would include a large slice of the bible-thumpers. It’s more likely that no one will care, as long as he projects the same image he always has.

I think of someone like Johnny Mathis. Did anyone give a flip when he came out (1982, in US magazine)? The talented, apolitical, non-threatening pop singer’s record sales or concert attendance didn’t suffer (in fact he’s nominated for a Grammy this year). My mom loved the guy, and assumed that he was gay before he came out. She attended a sold-out concert of his at Radio City in NYC in the late 80s and said the audience was filled with middle-aged women (and couples of all kinds) who couldn’t give a rip who Mathis slept with, they just enjoyed his music.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding