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The Men Who Turned Dave Holmes Gay

The Men Who Turned Dave Holmes Gay

You knew Dave Holmes as one of MTV's few out VJs and, later, as a writer and frequent television presence. Now, Holmes has recounted his life so far in the memoir, Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs, which includes this appreciation for the sexiest men of the '80s.

SO LISTEN: I have no idea how sexual orientation is determined, and I don't really care. In my case, I credit--at least partially--a megadose of scorching hot men in the popular culture of my adolescence. I'm not saying these guys made me gay, though they probably did; what I am saying is that they cast a shadow that stretched all the way into my adulthood. Here are a few of the men whose impact on my young psyche made it impossible for me to commit to any actual human beings I met later in life.

Huey Lewis
The first ten seconds of the video for "I Want A New Drug" rearranged me at the cellular level in ways that I am only now able to understand. A hungover Huey Lewis wakes up and putters around his San Francisco apartment, in boxer shorts. He is just a grown man with a thick outgrowth of chest hair in a sensible pair of boxers in America's gay-friendliest city. He fills a sink with ice and water and dunks his head in, because this is a man who understands self-care. He is just the tiniest bit debauched. He does not try to be sexy, and he is therefore the sexiest thing going. He even gets a little come-hither stare from a guy on the ferry to Sausalito, and takes it in stride. The man is a magician, and I would still hit it, just tell me where to be.

Nicolas Cage in Valley Girl
This one has gone entirely off the rails in the last decade or so, to the degree that from today's perspective it's actually startling how hot he was in his youth. But good Lord, he is something in Valley Girl. Soulful basset-hound eyes, chest hair in a perfect Superman-logo pattern, the very best of Merry Go Round's 1983 men's collection, great taste in music. He has a goofy best friend who wears equally mall-punky clothes, and their relationship is either kind of homoerotic or I just remember it that way because I wanted to see them kiss. Either way, I credit him with getting me into two important things: The Plimsouls and dudes.

Ted McGinley
Before he was on Married With Children, I knew Ted McGinley as the Hot Guy Who Showed Up Places. Oh, there's Ted in short shorts on The Love Boat as jocky Ship Photographer Ace. Hello, here's Ted in running shorts in Revenge of the Nerds as the president of the evil jock fraternity. If a script called for an obscenely handsome guy with a tasteful tan and perfect legs, the casting director called Ted McGinley, and 2 to 5 percent of America's preteen boys took special notice.

Everyone in the Volleyball Scene in Top Gun
I mean, Top Gun is deeply homoerotic, full stop; it's Tom Cruise in the Navy, for Pete's sake. But by the time Maverick, Goose, Iceman, and Slider took to the sandpit for the volleyball game, it was all over. A young Tom Cruise who is somehow all trapezius muscle. A Val Kilmer in full bloom. An Anthony Edwards, who takes a good long look at his costars and wisely keeps his shirt on. And then there's Rick Rossovich, whose body is an absolute marvel of engineering, and who, in the middle of everything--as a fey Kenny Loggins song called "Playing with the Boys" hits the nail right on the head--strikes a bodybuilding pose. In this moment, anyone who may have been on the fence about their sexuality simply surrendered. Gayness had us on target lock.

Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles
Here's how hot Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles is: all we know about him is that he sits idly by while his girlfriend throws a party that destroys his parents' house; he's a little bit racist to Long Duk Dong (which, in fairness, so is John Hughes); and he sends his blackout-drunk girlfriend home with a boy who doesn't have a driver's license, with the clear understanding that this boy is going to at least try to have sexual intercourse with her. And yet every time I watch the movie, I am left thinking: That's the guy for me. That is a powerful thing right there. That is weaponized hotness. No wonder the actor who played him left the business and moved to rural Pennsylvania to make furniture; the responsibility must have been too great. (Unfortunately for him, the idea of a Jake Ryan who rejected the industry and makes armoires in a forest with his hands is about the hottest thing I can imagine.)

Herb Tarlek in WKRP in Cincinnati
Beats me, folks. I just know it's true.

Wearers of the High-Waisted Jeans of the 1980s to Early 1990s
There was a time when men's jeans actually told you what was going on in the crotch and buttock area of the American male. Things got kind of packagey. Back in the day, a pair of jeans straight-up announced a butt. Now, who even knows what's happening down there? Sure, we have banished acid-wash back to Hell, but at what cost? Hurry up and cycle back around, fashion.

David Lee Roth
Another questionable one, but the crotch wants what it wants. He is loose-limbed, flexible, hairy-chested, always up for a good time; his hair has body and volume. A friend of mine saw his comeback tour a couple of years ago, and I asked how old David Lee looked, and he said: "Like a creature from Hebrew mythology." But we'll always have the cover of Crazy from the Heat.

Adapted from Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs. Copyright (c) 2016 by Dave Holmes. Published by Crown Archetype, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

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