The piece I had written for Radar back in September about "gaybies"? It no longer exists!
As such, it's repeated here (post-jump) just to archive its existence. (Actually, this is as it was originally written. There was some editing done that sort of changed my 'voice' a bit, though not in a bad way, just more "Radar", less "Rod".)
A side note: Less than a month after "Children of Men" posted, Aiken came out of the closet in the way that millions do - on a People magazine cover.
Tom Ford wardrobes, Fire Island homes, and Le Corbusier chaises have long been staples for power gays, but Clay Aiken, Ricky Martin and others have provided a new, more elusive essential, the gaybie. The gay baby is sashaying down the uteri of surrogate mothers worldwide, providing self-actualization, statusfaction, and, um, some awkward dating moments.
The August births of Parker Foster Aiken and the as-yet-nameless Martin twins brought fresh light on single father surrogacy. Bucking the celebrity trend of adopting internationally, the (for sake of brevity “sort of obviously gay despite publicist claims” is herein truncated as “gay”) pop icons arrived at the same point, albeit by different routes.
Aiken teamed with his forty-something record producer ladyfriend combining his sperm and her egg in a loving laboratory, announcing the news once the birth seemed certain. Martin’s twins just sort of popped out along with news of their existence once the gestational surrogate had fulfilled her contractual obligation of housing the product of Martin’s sperm and the egg of an unknown.
While different, both methods share one aspect – a hefty price tag. Unless one has a forty-something lady friend record producer handy, a surrogate is necessary. While receiving payment for surrogacy is illegal in some states, many gays must find that you get that for which you pay, so they flock to states like California (home of Martin’s surrogate, who has received surrogacy dollars before). In vitro industry leader Growing Generations of California advises its gay clientele to budget $115,000, inclusive of surrogate screenings and fees, legal expenses, and all of the assorted doctor’s bills. Adoption is considerably less, coming in at around $20,000, and it earns you Federal Adoption Tax Credit!
With such a better price tag, why don’t the power gays just adopt? Putting aside the narcissistic elements (for just a moment), there are a few pitfalls for the gay man, especially the single, private (to the point of not being out of the closet), gay man. Chief among these are the examination of one’s private life.
The investigative background check for any adoption can be grueling. Straights and gays can expect research of past relationships and of one’s home. So every gay starts to think about that chatty ex that’s in Promises, that “physical trainer” that visits twice a week, and the Dyna-Douche attached to the shower. While not really relative to the type of parent one could be, these little life elements may raise some eye-brows. For fertilization though, there is only one real question: “Did the check clear?”
Whatever the method or pricetag, the desire for gaybies comes from many cultural fronts. Gay marriage has always faced the argument that marriage is for children; the gaybies turn this argument on its ear. The argument that gay men are effeminate is defeated with proof that gay guns aren’t shooting blanks.
Perhaps though the desire stems from someplace deeper. Gayness often involves a sense of narcissism and a search for belonging. Surrogacy fulfills both of these needs allowing the power gay to have a portable mirror that loves him unconditionally.
Or maybe the gays aren’t even making conscious choices. In dance clubs, a remixed Mary J Blige has subconsciously influenced the homo masses with what could be the true cause of the gaybie boom. Since coming out in 1999, “Your Child” has subliminally pounded papayatini-addled brains with the repeated lyrics “holding a baby with eyes like yours”.
Whatever the motivation though, power gay daddies are here and non-power gays will have to get used to it. Their impact is already being exerted on (what’s left of the quickly dying) gay culture at large.
My first encounter with gaybie culture came on a date with a power gay in 2006. Over thupkas and momos, we chatted effortlessly, until he received a call from a friend, who happened to be one of the biggest female pop stars of all time. He ignored the call, but then told me of their history together and of her brother’s interesting surrogacy tale.
Like Aiken and Martin, he was big in pop music and was a very closeted gay man. Because of his success and fortune he could have it all, but felt a wanting. With no worry of the finance involved, he turned to his ex-beard, herself the daughter of rock and roll royalty, for an egg donation and paid a Florida woman for surrogacy.
The discussion led to the topic of children, which, for a first date, is a bit much and a bit of a sex-killer. Regardless, sex was had; he even stayed the night. The next morning plans were made to get together again. (In typical gay style, these plans never came to fruition.)
Almost a year later, out with another, more powerful gay, gaybies popped out in a more dramatic fashion. Over glasses of Gewürztraminer he told of recent stresses. Wolfowitz was causing trouble, and he hadn’t been to his home in too long. One bit of good news though: he was about to become a father.
Although no one was pregnant yet, he had gone through the process of selecting egg donor and surrogate and left behind plenty of sperm so that the process could begin in earnest. It soon became apparent, due to our living on separate continents and my inability to fly the eleven-hour flights regularly, that this was a last fling before entering into a fatherhood role. Still, the sex was had and the spooning ensued until that 4:00 a.m. call from Paris and his swift departure. Brief emails were exchanged for a time, the last of which gave the anticipated birth date for his new gaybie.
It’s not just the dating gays that the gaybies are affecting. Their reach is expanding into “the culture” as a whole.
Once sort of unthinkable, power gay Mecca Fire Island is suddenly a Gymboree by the sea. Strollers are as commonplace on the wooden boardwalks as Gucci sandals. My current housemates (doctors, architects, Fox News producers) have chosen our 2009 house, right on the bay with a gigantic kitchen, waterfront hot tub and pool, and a children’s room. This room (in which I was to stay) offered the only setting with two twin beds, decked out in tasteful pastel décor and featured a closet full of (non-leather) toys. Rejecting an abode with that “new child smell”, my summer plans for next year remain adrift. Bamboozled by gaybies.
Fully ensconced now, the gaybie is now part of the gay lexicon. Clay Aiken and Ricky Martin have opened a door for others. Perhaps Anderson Cooper or George Clooney will be next, or maybe even an out gay like Elton John or George Micheal. As the more gays at large start to follow their power gay icons though one thing is sure. The gaybie is here to stay.