As simpering, senseless queens go, Craig in Big Brother comes a close second to a gay man’s worst nightmare. As he dotes doggedly on his (apparently) straight housemate Anthony, he seems to take gay rights back about 30 years. When they cast Craig, Big Brother must have prayed that he was going to live up to their expectation of two gay stereotypes for the price of one. And he has triumphed. Not only is he the kind of central-casting lisping queen, the human embodiment of draylon slacks, that we have largely forgotten, but also, in so predictably falling for his best friend, he’s re-enacting a working-class version of the Brideshead affair between Sebastian Flyte and Charles Ryder, to which Waugh gave a veneer of sophistication and a whiff of subtlety. In his passion for Anthony, Craig has opted for a love that screeches its name at full volume, mauls the object of his desire when drunk (perhaps his only real opportunity – as they say the difference between straight and gay is five pints of lager) and takes any opportunity to talk sex so that he can work himself into a complete lather only to wail, “Oh, Anthony! I can’t talk about it any more. I’m getting too excited now.”
Always trying to kiss Anthony, he brings back our schooldays – for me that cute little blond called James aged five, my partner in the crocodile walk to the park in Stirling in 1964. In attaching his affection to a straight man, Craig reminds us all of those Quentin Crisp moments of the years spent underground, barely out of the shadow of the threat of prison. The popular jury seems to be out on the precise nature of Anthony’s enthusiasm for all this. While Derek, one of the now evicted housemates, accused Craig of “sexually harassing” Anthony, the object of desire seems pretty cool with Craig’s bunny-boiler aspirations; he is unfazed by being fancied by a man. On Tuesday, he quite happily agreed to the suggestion from Craig that in the Big Brother play, they play each other.
While Craig, the camp crimper, as the tabloids have dubbed him, fulfils every leering stereotype of the predatory homo from scoutmaster to camping lech, in fact, he’s just become every saddo lusting after the man or woman they cannot have. Straight, bi, everyone knows what unrequited love is, and the lesson we learn form Craig is nothing to do with sexuality, but merely that hurling yourself at people without any discretion is always humiliating.
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