If you were thinking of marrying a gay man because it kind of worked out for Linda Porter, Constance Wilde is here to advice you against that.
Reading a biography of Linda Porter, the wife of the (vaguely) closeted Cole Porter, made me wonder what it would be like to be the woman married to the most famous homosexual man in the world. Pause, insert your Tom Cruise joke, then let’s move on.
I mean, life was not terrible for Linda Porter, life actually seemed pretty great, but she may have been an anomaly in that her abusive ex-husband might have turned her off sex forever.
Oscar Wilde was gay – and known to be gay to such an extent that he is the subject of a joke in Downton Abbey where a homosexual is referred to as a “friend of Oscar Wilde’s.” It was this Irish writer who came up with the symbol of wearing a green carnation boutonniere to signify gay men in Victorian England.
I think a lot of people know this. That Oscar Wilde was gay. If you are the kind of person who reads this column, which is to say, someone who is interested in 1) history and 2) people and 3) reading, you 100% knew Oscar Wilde was gay. He was actually imprisoned for being gay, after one of the most infamous trials of the late 1890s.
You may not have known the boutonniere thing. That’s just a fun fact.
And even fewer people are aware that he was a devoted family man with a wife and children.
Which does beg the question – did Constance know he was gay?