Angela is the hot fag hag who has lots of sex, even more than her own gay best friend, Gabriel, and doesn’t feel guilty about it. “A slut is a woman with the morals of a man” is her motto. She also has an interesting filing system to keep track of all of her tricks: a stack of printed photographs with the guys’ pseudonyms (“5-Second-Man,” “Nice-But-Boring-Guy”), age, ethnicity, and dick size (the most hung is 10 inches). It’s not clear if Angela’s card collection is meant as memory aid or exhibitionist evidence, but it sure comes in handy when she gets pregnant and needs to find out who the father might be.
The gays who hailed The Kids Are All Right as the next best thing after, perhaps, the right to marry will love The People I’ve Slept With. Those who are easily overcome by the novelty of external acknowledgement and willing to overlook the nasty ideology reproduced by heartwarmingly gay-friendly façades will embrace director Quentin Lee’s story of anonymous sex, heterosexual barebacking (intentional and accidental), and redemptive matrimony and the way it embraces the irresistibility-of-cock politics of director Lisa Cholodenko’s ode to bourgeois normativity.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Beggars can’t be choosers, and every gay knows the blinding force of newly felt reciprocity on a body so unaccustomed to returned glances. But movies like The People I’ve Slept With, while supplying an easily digestible diet of gay-world depiction to an incredibly hungry gay audience, might be selling, ironically, the same straight story along with the delightful experience of watching gays flame out with their female allies, for once, on screen.
Lee spends the entire film treating guiltless, multi-partner pleasure as that thing one does before one finds true love and the elixir-like powers of monogamy. That’s precisely the notion that drives so many queer theorists to recoil in intellectual pain at the sight of queers fighting tooth and nail to have their desires legislated too. The People I’ve Slept With sells marriage as existential panacea and mature denouement of an otherwise very gratifying but childishly hedonistic way of life. While the fag hag here may, ultimately, choose new modes of kinship other than man-woman-baby, it’s the gay character who seems to get the better deal, as if he’d simply gotten a new addition to his doll collection in the shape of a baby.
The People I’ve Slept With does have its share of funny lines (“No smoking, no drinking, no coffee. Getting knocked up is the worst STD ever”), and it interestingly approaches race as a non-issue. But even its portrayal of the resilience and singularity of the hag-and-fag dynamics never goes further than sharing mani-pedis and the occasional coke snorting.