As I try to figure out fans and fandom and overall society, I can’t help but to think of three ideas, three conclusions to this strange situation of truly limited liking of JoSi. The first conclusion is one that I brought up in the last paragraph, which is just the reality. Some people might not really go so far as to think there might be/have been a real relationship between John and Simon simply because the reality says that isn’t true. Both of them are straight and married to women. There were zero indications of anything with Simon in John’s book, for example. Some fans can’t move past the facts of what is known. They don’t want or can’t go into the realm of fantasy. For those fans, maybe, they can with other combinations of people with chemistry. (Let’s face it here: John and Simon have chemistry together. They clearly are close and get along well, which is what the fans sense.) Thus, maybe this fans focused on reality can be fans of other couples, gay or straight, who are known to be together in real life or fictional characters in a story/show/movie, but can’t buy this one. That’s fair. Then, again, fans like this probably don’t get into JoSi at all. I am still more curious about those who do scream for them but can’t go so far as to think there could be something real between them.
This leads to me the second conclusion I have come to when it comes to limiting JoSi to flirting and nothing more and that conclusion focuses on fantasy. Let’s face it. A lot of fandom is about fantasy. Many of us became fans when we were kids or teenagers. Our fandom was filled with an attraction to one or more members. We would talk about our favorite member as if we had a chance with that person, despite the fact that there would be a significant age difference and a ton more that makes that kind of thought or statement nothing more than pure fantasy. Many thought, on some level, that if fave member just saw you or met you or had some interaction with you that he would fall head over heels in love with you. Heck, many fans went so far as to sign our names with the favorite band member’s last name. There were lots of girls who wrote their names as Mrs. LeBon, Mrs. Rhodes or Mrs. Taylor. I think that was common in the early to mid 1980s and nothing that anyone would think was strange or inappropriate. There is nothing wrong with fantasy. Of course, many of these fantasies were diminished when many of those members got married. I remember hearing the despair fans felt when Nick got married or Roger got married or Simon got married in the 1980s. The fantasy died a little then. Of course, fans could still hope for divorces, right? As we have aged, our fantasies might not be as obvious, as immature as these that I described from our youth, but I’m willing to bet that there are many out there who still have fantasies of some sort in the back of their minds. Let’s face it. Some fan fiction out there is exactly that–people’s fantasies. Now, before I go any further, let me be clear. I’m not judging fantasy or fan fiction or anything like that. I am just acknowledging that it exists and is completely connected to fandom–all fandoms. The passion that many feel about music or acting or sports or whatever often goes beyond that initial interest. So, why would fans who still have fantasies, either openly or buried deeply, like JoSi but stop at the point where something really could have or do happen between them. Why not want there to be a real romantic and/or sexual relationship between these two band members? Simple. I think if a real relationship was revealed, which would or could indicate that their sexual orientation was very different from what we thought, the fantasy would be completely destroyed. When they got married, one could still hope for a divorce but there is no hope if they are actually gay, right? (Again, I know they are straight. This is completely hypothetical.)
Since meeting Zachary Quinto, I have been paying some attention to his fan base, both because I’m curious as to what he is doing but also to see what his fans really are like. It is interesting to watch the fans react when they find out that he is, indeed, a gay man. Many of them are pretty open to this loss of fantasy that I have been referring to. Seriously, I have seen many women say things like, “Now I never have a chance with him.” Uh…I hate to tell them but they never really did before. Being a fan is not being a friend. It isn’t being a potential date. Anyway, I suspect that if JoSi was real there would be many fans who would echo these fans of Mr. Quinto. Fantasies, either on the surface or buried deep, would end. Reality would set in. I get why that might be tough to take.
The last conclusion I could draw about why someone might be a fan of JoSi on stage or in pictures but would never want them to actual engage in any sort of sexual act is simply due to the struggle that still exists with some about homosexuality. Obviously, society is still struggling with issues surrounding sexual orientation. Many people have come to tolerate or even accept the idea that people might be gay or bisexual, but still struggle with the idea of people actually participating in sexual acts. I suspect this will change as society accepts the GLBTQ community more.
As I try to wrap up this blog post, which took me a long time to write, I ponder if this is a mistake to even post this. I worry that the reaction will be big, bad and ugly. Truly, I am not pointing fingers or trying to make anyone uncomfortable or trying to insult anyone. I am not saying that I think John and/or Simon are gay or ever have been (not that it would be a bad thing, if they were.) Despite my participation in politics, I hate confrontations. I don’t want that here. That isn’t what I’m trying to do. I wanted to write about something I have been thinking about. I wanted to write out my conclusions to clarify MY thinking. Am I done with this topic or this area of fandom studies? Of course not. I still have much to learn, much to figure out.