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What Is It About Adam Lambert?

March 26, 2011

WLLHere is where it all began, with this inspired bit of writing by Allegra Huston that launched 35,000+ comments, our book, this Salon, the radio show and this expanding, global community of fans. Nearly two years after many of us first felt Eros’ arrow pierce our jaded breasts (wonderfully recapitulated in Idolholic’s American Idol Redux series), we are still examining the repercussions. The axis of our lives has lurched, our landscape shaken by the tectonic forces set loose by Adam’s energy. We are re-posting Allegra Huston’s essay, with her kind permission.


The author of Love Child reflects on the panty-throwing days of yesteryear … and on the latest inspiration for the flinging of undergarments from ‘American Idol.’

What Is It About Adam Lambert?
By Allegra Huston

In the early ’80s, I moved to London and discovered that housewives were throwing their panties at Freddie Mercury. I found it baffling. Tom Jones I could understand, though I didn’t buy into it; but Freddie Mercury was so obviously gay. These 40-something women in polyester dresses and perma-set hair were making idiots of themselves on the BBC, as if they didn’t understand what gay was.

Could they really not know? I was only 16, but I knew perfectly well – maybe it was because I came from Los Angeles. I’d gone to Frederick’s of Hollywood with my stepmother to buy pink ostrich-feather mules in a size 13 for her friend Philip, to assist in his transformation into Marcia Hardridge.

And now I’m in my 40s, and, if I were the panty-throwing type, I’d want to throw mine at Adam Lambert. What has happened to me?

I’ve never liked the front-combed hair-in-the-face look. I don’t know that I’d actually vote for the black nail polish. And I’m a bit worried that he’s got some ghastly secret piercings. To be honest, I’m not really sure I want to find out. But there’s something about him that keeps me — and half the women I know — replaying old “American Idol” episodes on DVR and gazing at photographs of his blue-penciled eyes. (Let’s not forget that Brando did eyeliner too.) Bravery, maybe — he hooked me with “Ring of Fire.” The damn-the-torpedoes flamboyance, the oh-my-god-what-did-I-just-do look when he finished. The intense self-discipline obvious behind the recklessness. And the sweetness. And the smile.

Frankly, I don’t mind whether he’s kissing a guy or a girl in that photo with the overcoat and scarf and purple hair held back by sunglasses; it’s a very sexy photograph. I wouldn’t want to print it out if he was kissing a girl. I’d be jealous of her. A guy, I can’t compete with.

I’m thinking it may be better to have a crush on a gay man. I haven’t had a crush on a famous person since my yearning, aged 14, for John Travolta to rescue me from the mountaintop house that, behind my grandmother’s back, we called Gloom Castle. I felt like an idiot then, and I’d feel like one now if I was mooning around over photos of Johnny Depp or Denzel Washington and wondering whether, if we were stuck in an elevator together, they just might be up for it. Of course, they’re more my age. I was at university listening to the original “Mad World” when Adam Lambert was born.

He’s utterly unattainable. So what am I thinking? This way, I can really laugh at myself. I’m not like those Freddie Mercury housewives; I know the score. This is not a sad obsession. I’m hoping it might be chic.

Author Allegra Huston

Allegra Huston‘s complicated personal life is detailed in her gripping memoir, Love Child. It’s a redemptive tale of growing up in the enormous shadow of her famous father, the director John Huston, shuttled from household to household after her mother was killed in a car crash when Allegra was four. We were floored by the painful honesty and elegance and humor of the writing. The ending took our breath away with its beauty and generosity of heart. Go buy it!! Allegra now lives in New Mexico where she writes and teaches. She has just launched a short film, Good Luck Mr. Gorski, that we can’t wait to see. Check out her professional bio. You can see why we are inspired by her.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. March 26, 2011 11:00 am

    And here I am. Mooning over a guy who would have absolutely no interest in me even if I were forty years younger and was a beautiful actress or model. But, I love him and I always will. Keeps me young and interested!

  2. Ali permalink
    March 26, 2011 11:54 am

    All of his manifestations make me happy. For me, it’s as simple and complicated as that.

  3. Scootersmom permalink
    March 26, 2011 11:58 am

    There’s simply no explanation for Adam Lambert’s effect on everyone who hears him and listens long enough to get to know about him. He’s so very, very much more than a singer, actor, entertainer, or gay persona – he strikes a note in your heart that simply will not go away, and you rejoice with each thing he does, whether it’s a plea for young people to “just hang on, it gets better!”, to his request that his birthday celebration be about donations so that others could have the most fundamental thing, fresh water to drink, or a beautiful song whose profits are donated to help further understanding among us all, to honor everyone, to quell the growing acts of bullying and violence among our young ones. He’s a phenomenom, just as I predicted he would be from the very first. He’s just become more and more an example for us to all follow in our own dealings with one another, and we must listen.

  4. sharon permalink
    March 28, 2011 4:00 pm

    Adam Lambert is a phenomenom both in his professional life and also in his personal life. He exemplifies everything that is good in this world and nothing that is bad in anyway. He has helped me better understand myself and the gay & lesbian community. I can now honestly say that I do understand it’s all about loving and caring about another person. Sharing their life and love. I wish only the best life for Adam and whomever he chooses to love he certainly deserves to be loved.

  5. March 29, 2011 9:36 am

    Not only does Adam deserve to be loved-but it’s impossible not to love him.

  6. number8gurl permalink
    March 31, 2011 9:51 am

    Thanks for posting this! I hadn’t read it before. I agree with everything the author said and although I have no plans to throw my panties at anyone, if I did it would be at Adam.

    I’ve spent the past 2 years trying to figure out just what it is about Adam Lambert and trying to understand what he does to me. I’m well past the stage of questioning it or worrying about it. I accept my obsession and enjoy it to the fullest. I distinctly remember the first time I had a personal pleasurable moment with myself while thoughts of Adam and a male lover filled my imagination, gazing at my Rolling Stone magazine….I thought ‘NO….this can’t be happening to me’ ! This guy is driving me insane!! But it did happen and I know I’m not the only one it’s happened to and it’s truly a phenomenal thing…..and damn sexy! The man oozes sex and I swear that photo of him on the cover of Rolling Stone is infused with pheromones or something!

    Adam has also changed me in a more spiritual, philosophical way. I guess I look the same on the outside but on the inside I feel different than I did before. I feel more open-minded, I feel my heart is more open and existing than before. I find that I don’t get angry or sad as much as I used to. I have much more compassion for other people and an more inspired to try and help people in whatever little way I can. Adam lifts my spirits. Adam makes me smile.

    I could go on and on about Adam’s amazingness but I’m getting a bit ferklempt….so I’ll just close by saying that I’m in love with Adam Lambert 🙂 He is such an incredible person. I will love and support him and be a fan forever.

    • March 31, 2011 5:48 pm

      I think you hit the nail on the head with your observation about feeling that you have opened up inside. That’s what I’m feeling, for sure. That was what was going on when I posted my first ever post in response to Allegra Huston’s essay way back on June 3, 2009. I had no idea what would come pouring in when I opened myself up like that. A big part of it was opening myself up to everything I’d experience in my life, and maybe that’s why he has had such a profound impact on so many of us women of a certain age . We’ve lived enough – and moved on from so many things – that this process of reclaiming ownership of our younger selves really is world-changing. Not that you have to be that old. Did you hear our radio show last night? Our guest, Tepes, talked about listening to Broken Open and how Adam’s voice made him realize that it is OK to be broken. That’s what owning your past means. And he certainly has had more pain in his life than most of us can imagine having to endure. Here’s the link for the show:

      Broken Open – One Man’s Troubled Life & Salvation

    • Scootersmom permalink
      March 31, 2011 7:19 pm

      Number8gurl, when you just wrote “Adam has also changed me in a more spiritual, philosophical way. I guess I look the same on the outside but on the inside I feel different than I did before. I feel more open-minded, I feel my heart is more open and existing than before. I find that I don’t get angry or sad as much as I used to. I have much more compassion for other people and an more inspired to try and help people in whatever little way I can. Adam lifts my spirits. Adam makes me smile.” you in effect explained what Adam has done to us all!!! Thanks!

  7. Shaunna permalink
    November 11, 2012 1:01 pm

    Why does it not surprise me that a search for this essay led me here?

    Organizing the random musings along the path… the link in my June 2009 “Tabloids, Cougars & Adam.. Oh, My!” ceased to exist, LOL.

    Thanks for the bookmark (for my research, not inserting it into that old entry) 😀

  8. June 4, 2017 1:12 pm

    Reblogged this on and commented:

    Here is where OMOAL all began, with Allegra Houston’s historic essay published in June of 2009. Worth some genuflections and a champagne toast to Allegra, and to all of us!

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