Storyglossia Issue 36, October 2009.

This story is a work of fiction. Any similarities to actual persons, living or dead, including the musician Adam Lambert, are entirely coincidental.

Seducing Adam Lambert

by Tim Jones-Yelvington

 

Today, to prepare for my seduction of Adam Lambert, I got a haircut.

 

Longtime readers are aware of my profound ambivalence regarding hair care. In the past, questions posed by stylists—How long do you want it on top? Bangs or none? Sideburns or shaved?—have caused me anxiety. Furthermore, I've found it difficult to converse with my head motions constrained and eye contact mediated by a mirror.

 

However, I am happy to report with the success of my research I've developed increased social competence, and nowhere has this more been more evident than in my encounters with my hairstylist Tiffany, who has recently become a confidant. I could see Tiffany was puzzled by my frequent requests for radical alterations to my appearance, and so I felt compelled to offer an explanation.

 

"I have sex with gay celebrities," I told her. "And I blog about it. It's a research project."

 

I explained my goal to understand the social construction of celebrity and its relationship to shifting articulations of sexual identity, but it was clear she didn't follow this portion of our conversation. However, being a consumer of copious quantities of mass media, sex with celebrities was something she understood quite well. When I revealed my latest subject, she shrieked. Her shears fell, clattered against the floor.

 

"I love him!"

 

She pointed to a small photo of Adam Lambert she'd affixed to the lower left-hand corner of her mirror. He wore a silver jacket, collar popped. Legs spread, he fellated the mike.

 

She began grabbing clumps of my hair, pulling them across my forehead, holding up the back in crested peaks.

 

"Please let me hawk it," she said. "Or die it black."

 

"Sorry," I said. "I don't need to look like Adam Lambert. I need to look like I'm his type."

 

POSTED SEPTEMBER 4, 2009, 19:02

TAGS: Adam Lambert, seduction prep, self-care

 

 

                         ***

 

 

 

 

PERMALINK: ABOUT ME

 

This blog is a research project. My research methodology: I have sex with gay celebrities and blog about it. I've been stimulated by tete-a-tetes with David Hyde Pierce. I've appreciated Ian McKellan's oral generosity. In my crowning achievement, I orchestrated a three-way with The Amazing Race's Reichen Lehmukl and Queer as Folk's Robert Gant, the most difficult part of which was getting them in the same room. The rest took care of itself . . . who knew their fetishes were so compatible?

 

Much ink has been spilled on the cult of celebrity. Some say celebrities are role models. We look to them for lessons on how to (or how not to) live. This hero worship, so the story goes, is compounded for Queers, who grow up without examples for how to be ourselves.

 

But this doesn't explain why some of us, especially those of us who have long outgrown the need for role models and have recognized gay identity as a cultural construct, a regulatory fiction, are still obsessed with famous gay people. Fascinated with asking "are they or aren't they," with wondering what they do and with whom, and with wondering whether they'd do it with us.

 

What does it mean to be showered with interviews, book deals, speaking engagements on college campuses, to be considered some sort of expert, an authority, to be vested with authority, not only because you call yourself gay, but because people also know you from Adam? What does it mean to be famous and gay?

 

TAGS: identity theory, mission statement, research question, social construction of celebrity

 

                         ***

 

 

My ex-boyfriend abhorred costumes. He told me stories about the trauma of trick-or-treating, never knowing who anybody was behind their masks, how he cried to go home but his parents insisted he stay out, perhaps believing he'd later regret not having participated in conventional childhood rituals. He'd say, "I do not like when people pretend to be something they're not."

 

But what is it people are? The great Queer theorist Judith Butler tells us we've no "psychic core," that each of us in our daily life becomes a "copy of a copy for which there is no original." My ex-boyfriend's distaste for costumes betrayed his near-tragic attachment to his "essential self," a fantasy quickly dispatched by any serious engagement with social theory. We are all of us wearing masks, every minute of every day, and beneath each mask lies another, and another. Authenticity, I am afraid to say it, is a myth.

 

As a child, I've discovered, Adam Lambert loved costumes. He wore capes, lip-synched into mirrors. His Halloween wardrobe stayed out year-round.

 

I too have always loved costumes, have latched onto various personas as though they were mine from birth, a quality that comes in handy when getting famous people to take of their clothes. Few understand attraction is thoroughly psychological, our desires nothing more than our own egos projected onto the bodies of others. During the course of my research, I've learned I can bed practically anyone through my methodical provocation of such projection, which I direct toward my own person, transforming myself into whatever it is will make my subject drop his pants.

 

But Adam Lambert is himself an adept engineer of others' responses. On a recent magazine cover, widely remarked upon and visible in public space, a neon green snake slithers up his thigh. This image, with its attendant suggestions of sexual prowess, original sin, was Adam Lambert's own idea. He is an artist fully conscious of his own iconography.

 

So how does one play the player? Perhaps Adam Lambert craves a sparring partner, an opponent equal to his calculations. Or perhaps I'll convince him I've been successfully played, have become, like countless television viewers, putty in his hands. Becoming putty, it occurs to me, might be kind of hot.

 

POSTED SEPTEMBER 6, 2009, 1:17

TAGS: Adam Lambert, evil ex, identity theory, seduction prep, seduction tips, social construction of celebrity

 

                         ***

 

 

"At least this one's worth your time," my friend Sophia said, when I asked her to review my notes on Adam Lambert. She sat at my dining room table, my notebook spread open before her, and massaged her head, which she recently shaved to resemble an early Meshell Ndegeocello.

 

A clothes line stretches across my apartment. I use brightly-colored pins to attach articles, images and key phrases enlarged on copy paper. I've found when I remain in the constant, visceral presence of my research, insights both strategic (how do I get Adam Lambert naked?) and analytical (how do I interpret said nakedness?) flow freely.

 

A photograph dangled above Sophia: Adam Lambert in front of a mirror, applying eye liner.

 

"He's more relevant than your last," she said, referring, as regular readers will no doubt recall, to my encounter with Australian gold medalist Matt Mitcham, for whom Sophia unjustifiably claims I betrayed a reverence that compromised my research.

 

"This part here," she said, directing me with her red pen to a page in my notebook, "How on the one hand, Adam Lambert claims rockstars never stop playing make-believe, then on the other, he's all about criticizing fakery."

 

"Right," I said. "When he bashes cocaine."

 

"I think you should explore his contradiction further, but connect it with this other part—" She flipped pages, landed her pen on another line. "About sexuality. Where he praises gender fluidity and criticizes assimilationist gays, then turns around and says he doesn't want to be an activist. Address those contradictions, that's a paper I would read."

 

She slammed shut the notebook and pushed it away.

 

"I can't believe I'm lending you my credibility," she said. "What you're attempting could easily be accomplished with simple discourse analysis. There's absolutely no reason to have sex with anybody."

 

"It's my hook," I said. "Haven't you ever heard of grounded theory? I'm influenced by feminist theorists. I value personal experience."

 

She shook her head, said, "I don't think that's the kind of experience they meant."

 

Still in my apartment, Sophia crosses the room, and is now hovering over my shoulder while I type this post.

 

"Are you putting me in your fucking blog again?" she says.

 

This has become an ongoing point of contention between Sophia and me. Sophia hates how I characterize her, as the sarcastic black best friend with no life of her own save to counsel or criticize the white protagonist.

 

She's right, of course. I've paid insufficient attention to Sophia's own research, which examines reality television as a form of contemporary black minstrelcy and highlights the minstrel's subversive agency by drawing linkages, across the Black diaspora and with attention to historical context, between Josephine Baker's banana dance and Tiffany "New York" Pollard's quest for companionship on Flavor of Love and its spin-offs I Love New York, New York Goes to Hollywood and New York Goes to Work. Sophia's writings have been published in multiple academic journals and have garnered praise from colleagues globally; she is widely considered a "scholar on the rise."

 

Outside the Academy, Sophia entertains multiple lovers of both genders, and anticipates at least one of these dalliances will develop into a relationship of spiritual and emotional consequence. She particularly values hours spent with Vanessa, a performance poet and burlesque dancer who possesses both a predilection for Greek classics and a slammin' bod.

 

It should be mentioned Sophia exhibits minor flaws, not the least of which is her irrational fear of fire hydrants, which frequently complicates life in her urban milieu. Sophia, in all her complexity, calls for a book-length treatment and perhaps a blog of her own.

 

POSTED SEPTEMBER 11, 2009, 14:47

TAGS: Adam Lambert, identity theory, seduction prep, social construction of celebrity, Sophia

 

                         ***

 

 

Point of clarification: Sophia hijacked my last entry. Those last paragraphs are all her.

 

In other news, I've purchased a plane ticket to Los Angeles, to track down Adam Lambert. I leave in three weeks.

 

POSTED SEPTEMBER 12, 2009, 1:49

TAGS: Adam Lambert, research timeline, Sophia, travel plans

 

                         ***

 

 

Adam Lambert occasionally worries he should get to the gym more often. In the past, I've written about the challenge of being at once too fat and too skinny, my arms resembling pencils while my abdomen accumulates. I'm happy to say since Operation Matt Mitcham, I've maintained a steady training regimen, managing not to fall off the wagon, as I have in the past, for doughnut and reality television binges. Recently, Adam Lambert's cover of Steppenwolf's "Born to be Wild," piped through my headphones, has proven an effective motivational tool. My pectorals have grown, my forearms expanded. My current goal: lean definition. While I have yet to dispense with my belly in its entirety, if I hold my posture erect and suck my gut in only slightly, I'm able to approximate flatness.

 

I supplement my gym visits with exercises on my Wii. For those unfamiliar with contemporary technologies of leisure, a Wii is a video game system that detects movement in three dimensions. I stand on top of a plastic board that measures my balance, or I hold my game controller, while I box, do yoga, play tennis, the system charting my progress. How many pounds have I shed? How long can I stand on one foot without stumbling? Onscreen, these activities are undertaken by my Mii, a cartoon avatar that resembles me.

 

Last night, I spent an hour designing a Mii in Adam Lambert's likeness. This may seem like time better spent on more substantive research. However, my meticulous study of Adam Lambert's facial features, necessary to reproduce them electronically, will undoubtedly prove useful later, for recognizing him in a crowded public spaces, most especially if he declines to wear makeup.

 

My favorite Wii exercise is the hula hoop. I stand on the balance board and swivel my pelvis, much like Adam Lambert onstage. Onscreen, my Adam Lambert Mii throws me hoops, and I duck to catch them, then continue revolving, make them spin. I am proud to say I've caught every one of Adam Lambert's hoops.

 

POSTED SEPTEMBER 15, 2009, 22:20

TAGS: Adam Lambert, seduction tips, self-care, skills development

 

                         ***

 

 

What I'm about to share, I'm sharing for the sake of full disclosure. Something in Adam Lambert's performances, which I've spent the past 25 hours examining on YouTube, unleashes chemicals I've come to associate with the physical experience of infatuation. I am of the belief acknowledging this momentary lapse in objectivity can only strengthen, in the long term, the integrity of my research, the cogency and thoughtfulness of my analysis. Ultimately, my "crushing" on Adam Lambert—to use the layman's language—is of consequence only to the extent it reveals Adam Lambert's effective construction of his own celebrity. By studying my feelings for Adam Lambert, which I'm certain will prove fleeting, I may come to better understand his influence as a Queer public figure. Admittedly, his down-tempo interpretation of Yvonne Elliman's Saturday Night Fever classic impresses, how as he sings—"If I can't have you, I don't want nobody baby," his timbre shifts swiftly from crystalline, open, to a full-bodied rock and roll wail, plaintive, yearning, half-broken. Briefly, before I think better of it, I'd like to pose a question to the blog's readers. Purely hypothetical, of course: Is it possible to fuck a voice?

 

POSTED SEPTEMBER 23, 2009, 3:33

TAGS: Adam Lambert, identity theory, seduction prep, social construction of celebrity

 

                         ***

 

 

I've arrived in Los Angeles, and am beginning to worry.

 

The celebrities I seduce are generally easy to locate. Most famous gay people occupy the C list, the D list, or rungs below (longtime readers need not be reminded of the Steven Cojocaru incident, an unfortunate chapter in this blog's history).

 

Adam Lambert, however, is a superstar. In addition to the bodyguards he was recently reported to have brought on staff, I'm concerned about his legion of copycats. In my own city, I've begun to refer to a particular bar patron as "Adam Lambert guy," and a preliminary sweep of this city's nightlife suggests the situation is more pronounced on his home turf.

 

POSTED OCTOBER 4, 2009, 23:09

TAGS: Adam Lambert, research timeline, seduction prep, seduction tips, travel plans

 

                         ***

 

 

Locating Adam Lambert proved not to be a problem. I was standing in line for the bathroom at a popular club, when, without warning, a man pressed me into the wall and pushed his tongue inside my mouth. Despite his proximity, I recognized Adam Lambert's features almost immediately, and his body, his height and weight so closely resembling my own. He grabbed my wrist, slid my hand inside his spangled jacket and across his torso. I felt him press his groin against mine and in my mind saw his magazine image, the serpent that slithered up his thigh toward Eden.

 

"Cockarazzi," Adam Lambert said, pulling away. "Fucking famous faggots! . . . I fucking love your blog."

 

I didn't ask him how he knew about the site, which on average receives under ten hits per day (I've always neglected to improve my google rating, devoting the bulk of my energies to the more substantive dimensions of my research). Nor did I ask how he recognized me, considering my user image (as readers have no doubt noticed) obscures my visage.

 

"I figured you'd be here," he said, as he grabbed my hand and pulled me in the direction of the exit. "I've been reading your posts. 'Conscious of my own iconography?' Fucking heady stuff. Have I told you how much I love making out with smart boys?"

 

With his other hand, he reached back and tapped my left buttock. Not expecting this, I'm ashamed to admit I flinched.

 

"Easy sexy," he said.

 

Still feeling light-headed from his kiss, I followed Adam Lambert out of the club, into the warm air.

 

"That's better," he said. "We need somewhere we can hear each other moan."

 

He extended one arm around my shoulders, pulled me toward him, erotically, like a sports coach.

 

"I've got my car on its way around . . . I don't know your name."

 

"T___," I said.

 

"Great to meet you. I'm betting this will be my favorite interview."

 

"It's not an interview, exactly," I said.

 

"Right," he said. "Research. You're reshaping discourse."

 

I must have betrayed a puzzled expression, because he said, "Just because I don't have a degree doesn't mean I can't speak jargon."

 

Another car pulled up to the curb before Adam Lambert's, and the driver rolled down his window and stuck out his head.

 

"Hey faggot," he said. "Is that burnt rubber I smell, or your ass?"

 

"Coming back for more?" Adam Lambert called after him as he drove away.

 

He turned toward me and said, "I keep it cheeky."

 

"Cheek chic," I said, an expression I'd earlier invented, scrawled in my journal alongside my notes.

 

"Love that," he said. "Can I use it?"

 

Adam Lambert's car arrived and carried us to his condo, where we occupied a couch in his TV room while he fingered the remote.

 

"You've got to see this," he said, and played a music video by the flamboyant electro-pop star Lady Gaga.

 

In the video, Lady Gaga's Eurotrash man lover carries her onto a balcony where, unbeknownst to Lady Gaga, he begins sucking her face while posing for hidden paparazzi. Lady Gaga catches on, and in the ensuing argument, her lover pushes her off the balcony. The camera follows her plummet, zooms in on her cadaver splayed on the pavement. Over the course of the video, Lady Gaga is reconstructed and revivified using mannequin parts, all the while singing:

 

I'm your biggest fan

I'll follow you until you love me

Papa—paparazzi

 

After being brought back to life, Lady Gaga deals her lover a fatal blow via poisoned cocktail. In the final shot, she's carted off to prison, triumphant, trailed by cameras.

 

"Isn't that video fucking fascinating?" Adam Lambert said.

 

"It's a rich text," I said, becoming aware of my intellect's appeal to Adam Lambert. "Particularly her eroticized corpse."

 

"It's like she's using familiar shit," he said. "The bionic woman, the femme fatale. But she's putting it all together in totally fresh ways. Like you can watch her create her own—what did you call it?—her own iconography, right before our eyes. I've got this theory there's this whole generation of us who play the game instead of the game playing us. We'll take the industry for all it's worth, reduce it to rubble, then we'll build it into something beautiful and true."

 

"Everybody thinks pop music is formulaic," he continued. "But it can have personality. It can have art. I feel like in one way, people take pop music too seriously, but in another way, don't take it seriously enough."

 

I nodded.

 

"Kind of like with sexuality," he said. "Of course it's important, being Queer, but not in the way people think. So then they ask if I think it's important, what should I say? Because we're never really talking about the same thing."

 

Adam Lambert pulled a business card from his pocket and handed it to me. The card was stark white save for a single telephone number.

 

"My private cell," he said. "Call me. We're hanging out tomorrow night."

 

POSTED OCTOBER 6, 2009, 2:41

TAGS: Adam Lambert, identity theory, seduction execution, social construction of celebrity

 

                         ***

 

 

"Who's seducing who?" Sophia said when I called to tell her about last night.

 

"He takes the lead," I said. "We knew this. It's all in the psych profile. If I let him think he's in charge, I retain control."

 

"So what's he like?" she said.

 

"What kind of question is that? He's the same as in interviews. He's great at making you think he cares about what you say."

 

"Maybe he does care."

 

"Bullshit. He's using me for my blog."

 

"Your blog nobody reads?"

 

"People read. Or they'll read about Adam Lambert. Anyway, all his peace and love and hippie bullshit is totally self-conscious, I'm positive. All part of his rockstar pose."

 

"Maybe it's not a pose. Maybe he likes you."

 

"That's irrelevant."

 

"I'm serious. Or if he's posing, maybe he wants you to pose with him, for family photographs, on red carpets, vacations abroad."

 

"I'm hanging up," I said, and did.

 

POSTED OCTOBER 6, 2009, 17:56

TAGS: Adam Lambert, Sophia

 

                         ***

 

 

Last night, just after I arrived, Adam Lambert insisted he do my astrological chart. He asked me the place, date and time of my birth, made notations, drew a diagram, circles criss-crossed by lines.

 

We sat on the floor in his crash room, a cozy, carpeted space stuffed with pillows in graded shades of red and purple, a room he'd envisioned, I remembered, in a magazine interview. He piped early Goldfrapp, eerie, snaking mood music, through his sound system, and lit a bowl we passed back and forth.

 

"Your moon sign represents your unconscious, pre-rational self," he said. "Your most spontaneous reactions and deepest needs. Your moon's in Pisces, so you feel intensely. You easily fall in love."

 

I listened to him and, already getting high, fixated on the music. A quivering high-pitched interlude sucked me outside myself, circled and repeated, patterned. I became suddenly aware of the hippie stoner cliché of our entire scene, Adam Lambert talking astrology while I communed with the music, and began to giggle uncontrollably.

 

"You're really cute when you smile," Adam Lambert said. Then—"OMG, can I do your makeup?"

 

Adam Lambert propped me against a pillow in front of a mirror. He lined my eyes, extended my lashes, spread cream across my cheeks. I watched myself becoming something unfamiliar, feline, some jungle animal that stalks glossy, long-limbed creatures.

 

I remembered a magazine article where the reporter called Adam Lambert's a "show pony voice," and felt the expression "show pony" gallop across my tongue, tingly. I watched him bend over to color my lips, felt his breath, looked down his torso to where his abdomen met his hips, his legs spread in a plie second position, thighs filling his pants. I thought about ponies, their haunches, how they buck and thrash.

 

He went to switch the album as it came to a close.

 

"I've got this theory there's three kinds of music," he said, spinning his thumb around his iPod's click wheel. "Music that makes you want to dance, music that makes you want to fuck, and music that makes you want to fall in love."

 

He pressed down on the iPod and a song started, a song I recognized. The vamping, the drum machine, the oboe. Dear Lord.

 

"Madonna?"

 

Adam Lambert held out his hand, pulled me off the floor.

 

"Dance," he said.

 

I hadn't heard the song, a treacly mainstream ballad, in years, yet found that, embarrassingly, I remembered every lyric. Adam put one hand on my lower back and made me sway, like a junior high dance but minus the twelve inches between our bodies.

 

Madonna sang:

 

I see you through the smokey air

Can't you feel the weight of my stare

You're so close but still a world away

 

In high school, I fell for a boy, but never told him. This song had been our song, although he'd never known. I rode the commuter train home after class, listened to headphones and mooned. I pictured us in a room from another decade, a room decorated by crepe paper and clouded by dry ice. I'd eye him across the room and we'd meet in its center, cleave onto one another, and dance, communicating with our bodies what we'd been afraid to say with our mouths. Even back then, I recognized my feelings as stereotypically adolescent, but imagined if I found someone in a similar state, we might giggle together at our drama.

 

I once told my ex-boyfriend about this other boy, the one from high school, the one I wanted more than the other boy ever knew. One evening, while my ex-boyfriend tried to watch the newscast, I played the Madonna song, grabbed his hand, tried tugging him off the couch to dance.

 

"Jesus Christ," he said. "Does everything you do need to resemble a fucking movie?"

 

I knew that if he'd gotten up and danced, we'd only be playing pretend. But without pretend, I wondered, what was left? How much more enjoyable our lives would be, I thought, if others would simply accommodate the scripts we've written for them.

 

The song faded, and I realized I was crying, my head having fallen on Adam Lambert's shoulder.

 

He grabbed my chin between two fingers and lifted my head. He licked me right where I'd cried, slid his tongue along my cheekbones, across the skinny black rivers of mascara that snaked beneath my eyes.

 

"You're fucking beautiful," he said.

 

Adam Lambert lowered me onto a pillow, pulled my pants down without a hitch and lifted my ankles onto his shoulders, my heels against his ears.

 

POSTED OCTOBER 7, 12:12

TAGS: Adam Lambert, evil ex, seduction execution

 

                         ***

 

 

I know what you're thinking, that I lost control, compromised my research. On the contrary, quite the opposite. Feelings are chemical responses to external stimuli. We must realize any meaning we attribute them results from culturally-specific interpretive frameworks. Perhaps readers will interpret mine as a moment of vulnerability, a cracking of some fašade. I choose to interpret differently. So maybe, in a marijuana and music-induced haze, I shed a tear. So what. Ultimately, my behavior only underscores my thesis, that Adam Lambert deliberately provokes certain responses from his audience, responses that shore up his celebrity.

 

A moment ago, I heard somebody knocking. I crept to my hotel room door, peaked through the peephole, and saw Adam Lambert.

 

"T___," he said. "I know you're in there. I can hear you breathing. I brought something for you."

 

He slid a CD in a paper sleeve through the crack beneath the door.

 

"I wanted you to know it wasn't just about your blog," he said.

 

I waited, held my breath.

 

"Whatever," he said, after a moment. "I guess you're not going to open up."

 

He left and I popped his CD into my laptop. It's playing while I type, a recording of him singing the Madonna song, the song we danced to in his crash room. Just like when he sang the Yvonne Elliman song, he begins elegantly, then lets it rip. I must admit his version is thrilling, and hearing him, I could almost let myself, could almost believe, but Jesus Christ, it's just a fucking song.

 

POSTED OCTOBER 7, 18:07

TAGS: Adam Lambert

Copyright©2009 Tim Jones-Yelvington

Tim Jones-Yelvington lives and writes in Chicago. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Annalemma, Keyhole, Monkeybicycle, PANK, Ampersand Review, Smokelong Quarterly, elimae and others.

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