Photo via Flickr User Joella Marano
I say a lot of things I don’t actually mean to say. When I let my mouth run, I find myself implying that I can do 100 push-ups, that my favorite movie is “something French and old,” and that I “read books for fun.” I guess you could say I’m a huge liar with absolutely no shame. That’s why when I found out that Michael Douglas, star of Behind the Candelabra and the movie that came before Basic Instinct 2, claimed that oral sex gave him throat cancer, I felt like I had finally found a celebrity to admire. Sadly, he couldn’t even keep that story going, because he’s retracted his claim.
As you can see in the below quote from the Guardian, and this audio transcript, Michael Douglas strongly implied, if not downright admitted, he got cancer because he loved to go down on women. Yeah, Michael Douglas decided to talk about how he loved to lick, suck, and drool all over vaginas. This is how it went:
Xan Brooks: Do you feel, in hindsight, that you overloaded your system? Overloaded your system with drugs, smoking, drink?
Michael Douglas: No. No. Ah, without getting too specific, this particular cancer is caused by something called HPV, which actually comes about from cunnilingus.
I know when someone is being coy, and that’s as far from coy as a dog humping your leg. Instead of just owning up to that, Douglas released the following quote:
"I think we would all love to know where our cancer comes from. I simply, to a reporter, tried to give a little PSA announcement about HPV, a virus that can cause oral cancer, and is one of the few areas of cancer that can be controlled and there are vaccinations that kids can get. So that was my attempt."
Your attempt was pretty fucking poor, Michael. Sorry to break it to you. Pretty much the entire planet thought you were humble-bragging that you get “dat gash” on the regular. Perhaps media training is in order? Maybe a quick public speaking class?
Somehow, after his “clarification,” I'm still confused. I don’t know if it was because his publicist told him his admission was embarrassing or if he realized that bragging that eating tons of pussy almost killed him is something he should only mention at cocktail parties. Either way, he turned what could have been a moment of honest—if gross—preening about his apparently good-as-fuck sex life into another celebrity "misstatement" that had to be "apologized" for.
I hope you're happy, Catherine Zeta-Jones (photo via Flickr User David_Shankbone).
Michael got caught showing off, which I relate to. I know a show-off when I see one. The first sign of a shameless braggart is the feeble attempt to seem humble or awkward about what is about to be said. The stumbling preamble, “No. No. Ah, without getting too specific,” really means, “Hey, I'm a little ashamed about what I'm about to say, but I know it makes me so fucking cool.”
For instance, if I said, “No. No. Ah, without getting too specific, I know one of the better looking, more successful Backstreet Boys,” then you should know that I need to get some well-deserved props for my celebrity connections. I don’t begrudge Michael Douglas the right to throw down the gauntlet on the entire straight male population of the world, but why take it back? Especially when all evidence points to his assertion likely being true? Why take it back when the Guardian has audio evidence that they did not take his statement out of context? That is the first rule of a shameless brag: never, ever feel regret.
Michael Douglas’s career wasn’t going to end from people thinking he chomped so much box that he had to endure painful chemotherapy. In fact, it might have made him more popular. Studies do show that HPV can cause cancer, both in your throat and (ahem) in your anus. It's a rare two-step brag: "I got cancer—" Awwwwww, poor guy! "—from chowing down on the freshest young trim Hollywood has to offer." What a badass!
I just hope that all of you out there learn a valuable lesson from this. Making a big deal about how cool you are is fine, as long as you stick to the script. If you can’t even decide if you’re awesome or not, then you don’t deserve to have people talk about how awesome you are in the first place.