But the notion that the most irresistible man in the world has marital cold feet and zero paternal instincts doesn’t sit right with everybody. How can an anguished populace make sense of this crazy news? Theories about what’s really going on here abound. First, of course, faster than you can say, “He must be gay,” Internet commenters have been chiming in that Clooney, who has dated Italian model Elisabetta Canalis for two years, must be gay. “I know agents in Hollywood who, in the strictest confidence insists that Clooney is gay,” confided one CNN poster, while another on E! quickly surmised: “He is as gay as Rock Hudson. He’s fooling no one.”
Others can’t make sense of his quitter attitude, like the commenter on Us who said, “I don’t get his negative view of marriage. He has also failed at some movies yet he tries again.” And then there are those who simply refuse to believe the man. At The Stir, writer Amy Boshnack opined, “We’ve heard so many other celebs (and regular folk) say they were never going to marry again, just to end up eating their words,” and optimistically observing that ” If [Howard] Stern can marry again, I think anyone can!” And E! blogger Bruna Nessif pep talked, “Oh, chin up Georgey! Practice makes perfect,” while musing, “Can’t help but wonder how Elisabetta is taking this news.” Here’s a kooky idea. Maybe he just doesn’t want to get married. Maybe he doesn’t want to have kids. In fact, that’s the theory I’m going with.
I’ve been pretty fortunate in that my mom has only dropped a couple hints about grandchildren and continuing the family line, and even that hasn’t happened for quite a while. My parents wondered if I were gay as a teenager simply because I was a loner (granted, the long-haired, androgynous rocker look probably helped encourage such speculation). I don’t know what they think now that I’ve been single for several years, but at least they don’t bother me about it.
I just think it’s funny how personally people take it when you refuse to identify as fish or fowl for them. You aren’t interested in dating or getting married? What are you, gay? A serial killer? High maintenance? Damaged goods? A pervert with an embarrassing secret? TELL ME WHAT YOU ARE, GODDAMNIT! I’M LOSING SLEEP HERE! WHY DON’T YOU WANT TO BE LIKE ME? WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?
And that, of course, is what I think it’s really about. The spectacle of someone consciously resisting the gravitational pull of custom and habit stands as an implicit rebuke to the thoughtless way so many people stumble into the biggest decisions of their lives. Being forced to consider someone who has made different, contrary, and difficult choices and still attained contentedness is enraging to those who have sacrificed so much in deference to authority and conventional wisdom for the sake of an eventual happiness that may never even arrive. It ruins the illusion of security offered by a herd mentality.