Sunday, April 03, 2016

Full Service: my adventures in Hollywood and the secret sex lives of the stars

by Scotty Bowers

This book didn't feel as scandalous or subversive or titillating as I though it ought. Which says something about me (that I'm jaded, or that I'd hoped I wasn't) or about the world (that, in my little corner of it at least, society has progressed beyond some of its prudishness about sex; or, if it hasn't, maybe these particular secrets simply weren't really secrets anymore). Perhaps I already knew these "secrets" because I'm gay? I promise you, we don't have some kind of gay intranet or newsletter that tells us all the celebrities who are "secretly" gay, but straight people still ask me as if I would know something they couldn't have learned just by reading gossip blogs or tabloids or even People.

Anyway, this bisexual author apparently made quite a few connections, so to speak, and arranged many more in the hidden gay Hollywood of the 1950s-60s-etc. He worked at a gas station that served as a sort of mini-brothel (it had restrooms and a trailer or two) and referral service for gay and lesbian celebrities and other well-heeled homosexualists to meet the (usually) younger gay, lesbian, and hetero-flexible freelancers with whom discreet arrangements were possible.

The writing is serviceable, leaving the story to do all the work. I was by no mean bored, but I wasn't enthralled either. A quick read, dishy enough even if some of the revelations are old news. Katherine Hepburn apparently had very bad skin, requiring lots of makeup, lighting and soft focus, and also was rather unpleasant and unliked.

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