Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Painting the White House Pink

Over time, many gay couples begin to dress alike.This is not one of those couples.

Which do you think we'll have first, my friend Andrew asked over a rather nice dinner party he hosted last weekend, a homo president or an atheist president?

Andrew often talks about homos. One of his favorite games is Spot the Homo, which we sometimes play at business meetings.

Since Andrew is the type to host rather nice dinner parties, it should go without saying that he is not trying to spot the homos so that he can go after them with a baseball bat.

He is trying to spot the homos because he is a homo.

And a registered voter.

So I felt like I was raining on his gay pride parade when I broke the news to him.

We've already had a homo president.

Ladies and especially gentlemen, I give you James Buchanan.

Our fifteenth president, and the only "bachelor" to ever hold the nation's highest office.

Not that he was sleeping single in a double bed.

At least not during the fifteen years he lived with William Rufus King. (King was an Alabama Senator and later Vice President, though not under Buchanan. Well, maybe under Buchanan in the baby-if-I'm-the-bottom-you're-the-top sort of way, but not in the next-in-line-for-the-Oval-Office way).

I know what you're thinking. Rakish cravat and spiffy curls not withstanding, how can we be sure these two were lovers, and not just a couple of parsimonious pols trying to keep expenses down by sharing the cost of a single kegerator?

Perhaps because King was variously referred to as
  • Buchanan's wife
  • Buchanan's better half
  • Miss Nancy
  • Aunt Fancy
by such notables as Andrew Jackson (who, as the guy whose punim is on a bill that gets tucked into the most deserving of mid-range male stripper's g-strings, perhaps ought to know) and Aaron V. Brown (governor of Tennessee and Postmaster General in the Buchanan administration).

Buchanan and King's co-homobitation was interrupted for a stretch when King was appointed minister to France in 1844. I am selfish enough he wrote Buchanan to hope you will not be able to procure an associate who will cause you to feel no regret at our separation.

We all know good fairies can make wishes come true, and King's apparently did, because while he was gone, Buchanan wrote an acquaintance I am now "solitary and alone," having no companion in the house with me. I have gone a wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them. I feel that it is not good for man to be alone; and should not be astonished to find myself married to some old maid who can nurse me when I am sick, provide good dinners for me when I am well, and not expect from me any very ardent or romantic affection.

I believe that's the same personal ad Richard Gere used to land Cindy Crawford.

So why does a perfectly respectable dinner party host and homo spotter as Andrew not know about our great poofdah prez?

Probably because Buchanan was a terrible president. A pro-slavery Northerner, he advocated for acquiring Cuba as a way to expand US slavholding, tried to force Kansas's entry into the Union as a slave state, and completely mismanaged the financial panic of 1857.

His biggest failure by far was the failure to avert the Civil War: he spent the final months of his term twiddling his thumbs (along with who knows which bodily parts of Rufus King) while Southern states began seceding in the wake of Lincoln's election.

Not exactly the guy you want to claim as your role model and great American hero.

Even if he did go to war with Utah over disputes about what household arrangements should be legally sanctified as marriage. Which is pretty much what every homo in California is threatening to do this week. . . if only it didn't mean missing Sundance.

1 comment:

bono said...

i find that hell of interesting.