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Gay Dad Alec Mapa Says Goodbye to Glamorous

Gay Dad Alec Mapa Says Goodbye to Glamorous


Having a kid can change your life, and for gay comedian Alec Mapa, it can change your bathroom too.

Mapa has appeared on virtually every popular show on television, including Roseanne, Seinfeld, Friends, Dharma & Greg, and more recently, Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty, and Gossip Queens. Mapa is now appearing in a one-man show centering on his biggest accomplishment -- becoming a father. Baby Daddy runs February 9 to 11 at the Laurie Beechman Theater in New York City.

He spoke with The Advocate about life as a new dad, why his home's glam has turned to grime, and how circuit parties helped prepare him for fatherhood.

The Advocate: November is National Adoption Month. Did you ever think that you would become a spokesperson for gay parenting?
Alec Mapa: Never. You have to understand that my role models as a kid were Lucille Ball, Gilda Radner, Bette Midler, Cher, Lily Tomlin, and Carol Burnett. I was gonna be a glamorous, funny lady. I like to think that I achieved some semblance of that. But in all my daydreams I really didn't think I was going to be a parent or married. It just wasn't on my radar as a gay kid. Driving down Sunset and seeing my family on a banner promoting LGBT parenting is an experience so bizarre and surreal. I'm still processing it. Having said that, as a little boy I always played with dolls and all my imaginary play was about keeping house, so my life right now makes perfect sense.

Is parenting as glamorous as it sounds? Any tips for new parents on how to stay fabulous while raising a toddler?
If there's a way of making poop, barf, and pee glamorous, let me know. There's no parenting manual, class, or piece of literature that fully illustrates what a mess one little boy can make. My husband always ran a fairly tidy house, but now the effort of keeping things neat is sisyphean. We used to have a super-gay bathroom with gorgeous towels and bubble baths and cucumber water. It was like a spa at the Four Seasons. Now it's like a Porta Potti at Mardi Gras. Zion was 5 when he came to live with us, but his frustration level was infantile. As a gay man who's been on a lot of gay cruises and circuit parties, I'm no stranger to infantile behavior. Talking a toddler through a tantrum is pretty much the same thing as talking a circuit queen out of a K hole. Keep a calm, cool voice, maintain eye contact, and get them some place where they can't hurt themselves.

Is "America's Gaysian Sweetheart" strict?
Yes. I'm not doing my son any favors by letting him act like a brat. It's not natural for little boys to have manners or sit still. They have to be taught -- unless they're gay.

Your character from Desperate Housewives, Vern, knew a thing or two about pageants. Do you think you would make a good pageant dad?
Seriously, I think kiddie pageants are bad for everyone.

If there was an "Adopt a Celebrity" program and you got Kim Kardashian, what fatherly advice would you give her?
"If you want privacy, turn off the fucking camera." I once saw Britney Spears at a Starbucks being besieged by the paparazzi and thought, Lady, do you really need a frappuccino every goddamn day? Buy a blender.

You grew up gay in a traditional and Catholic household. It sounds like the makings of a successful comedian. Was comedy always an outlet?
Humor always defuses tense situations, and I found early on I was always able to get away with murder if I made people laugh. Consequently, my son has also learned that cracking me up is the quickest way to get out of trouble. I yelled at him in a grocery store because he was running into people. "Be considerate, this isn't a playground. You're not the only person here." He sighed and said, "And the Oscar goes to ... " It was hard to stay mad after that.

My favorite tweet of yours lately is, "I wouldn't count Rick Perry out just yet. You can totally be an incomprehensible idiot from Texas and become President. Twice." Which GOP candidate do you fear most?
I grew up with Anita Bryant, Dan White, and John Briggs on the TV telling people that gays were evil. I lived through the callous disregard of Ronald Reagan and the smiling maliciousness of Jerry Falwell when all my friends were dying of AIDS. The political pendulum will always swing from the left to the right, but each time it swings back it seems like homophobia is less socially acceptable. It's getting harder and harder to equate any kind of hatred with intelligence. So, in answer to your question, I'm not all that afraid of anybody. What did Gandhi say? "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." I like to think we're about to win.

You just shot a pilot for a new show. Can you give us a tease?
I just shot a reality show pilot. It's a runway fashion show competition for dogs. It's going to be a huge.

See Alec Mapa in action in videos on the following pages.

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