i just finished reading boulevard of broken dreams: the life, times and legend of james dean by paul alexander. yipes! the writer insisted that he was gay but that wasn't the shocker. him getting molested at 13 by a Reverend DeWeere until he finally leaves home at 18 -- that was the shocker. the kicker? this same reverend (a well-respected pillar of the community and completely above reproach, i might add) eulogizes him at his funeral when he dies at 24 and again on the first anniversary of his death. how creepy is that?
there is no doubt that he had lots of sex with men but personally, i think james dean was on the downlow. i recognized his behavior immediately. when i say "downlow" i don't mean the closeted "i'm not going to tell anyone that i'm gay" approach that everyone is so familiar with these days. what i'm referring to is much more expansive than that. james dean saw sex as a commodity. it was something that he did to get work in hollywood. even though he knew that he was brilliant, he thought that's what he had to do to get "in" with the right people -- and he hated himself for it. sometimes he did it to augment a friendship. but to his way of thinking, it didn't mean that he was actually gay.
to him, sex with men didn't mean homosexuality. it just meant sex with men. this is the very definition of what "the downlow" is all about. to someone on the downlow, homosexuality is for "fags" -- at least that's the way its been explained to me, painstakingly and on numerous occasions. (it took a minute for all of it to sink in but i think i get it now.) that probably explains why he and rock hudson couldn't stand each other. by all accounts, rock hudson was flamboyant and liked to dress up in drag with his friends. james dean was something of an exhibitionist that liked to get blow jobs from men while he was speeding through el-lay. but as far as he was concerned, that didn't make him gay. that just meant that some guy was going down on him. that wasn't who he was. he was just having fun.
gee. i guess he was way ahead of his time in more ways than one.