They're Just a Couple of COOKS!
The tabloid media is at it again. This morning's newsfeed contained no fewer than five headlines screaming claims about the alleged relationship between Giada De Laurentiss and Bobby Flay. From the moment Giada broke up housekeeping with her fashion-designer husband and Bobby called it quits with his actress wife, the gossip mongers have been trying to tie the two of them together. The pair are longtime friends and longtime coworkers and the fact that they were seen together soon after their respective divorces obviously indicates that they are off mattress pounding somewhere, right?
The parasites that make money from prying into other people's lives got their noses tweaked when, despite their predictions, Giada and Bobby failed to materialize as a bona fide couple. Instead, she turned up with a new boyfriend. Well, the sleazeballs tried to generate heat out of that by claiming that she knew him while she was still married. Yeah? So what? He's a TV producer and she's on TV. Network execs were trying to get him to produce a project that would feature her. So, yeah, I would expect that they knew each other. And now the latest from the garbage dump is that Giada's new boyfriend is just a red herring. That she's just using him as a decoy because she and Bobby are still secretly planning to get married. Uffa!
Well, I don't know either of them well enough to be involved in their personal lives.....and neither do you. I've met both of them and spent time talking about food and cooking with each of them, but the subject of their sleeping arrangements somehow never came up. And you know what? I. Don't. Care! And neither should you. And the reason none of us should care is quite simple: it's none of our damn business!
Thanks to “reality” television and its Internet offspring, our society has carried the cult of celebrity way too far. It used to be that “celebrities” were the people who personified our fantasies, dreams, and ambitions on the stage and the silver screen. They were the “glitterati.” We wanted to see them so we could be them. When Clark Gable took off his shirt onscreen and revealed that he wasn't wearing an undershirt, undershirt sales plummeted. When Lana Turner wore a sweater, sweater sales soared. Musicians like Frank Sinatra, Elvis, and The Beatles inspired intense scrutiny and generated screaming hordes of manic followers desperate for the merest scraps of association with their idols.
Fast forward to today and the people who currently personify our fantasies, dreams, and ambitions. Frankly, I could not possibly care less about the goings on between Mama June and Sugar Bear. I don't care if he wears an undershirt and she wears a sweater. I wouldn't care if she wore the undershirt and he wore the sweater. And their offspring, Honey Boo-Boo, is a brat. I don't care if the Robertson family has its ducks in a row and the “Real Housewives” of any particular place can just stay home. I. Don't. CARE! Kim Kardashian can run naked and Miley Cyrus can run amok and I still don't care. If I want to observe drama on a daily basis, I have in-laws! If I want pathos and bathos – or maybe Porthos and Athos, for that matter – I have family and friends. I don't need reality on TV: I'm up to my ass in it in real life.
And that's why I don't care what Bobby and Giada may or may not be doing. Because, in the final analysis, they're not celebrities. They're just a couple of cooks, for Pete's sake! Twenty or so years ago, Bobby was a high school dropout who was working his way up the New York City food ladder and Giada was the not-at-all famous granddaughter of a famous movie producer who was slogging it out in the restaurant trenches in LA. Would you have cared two whits about whether they were cheating on their spouses and screwing around with each other back then? So why should you care now? I don't. I care a lot more about what they put on the plates than I do about what they do under the sheets. Because what they do in the kitchen matters and what they do in the bedroom doesn't. Hey, I hear my plumber's wife has been getting it on with the husband of the woman who cuts my hair. Do you suppose I should call the National Enquirer?
I know, I know. “Public figures” are fair game. But who made them “public figures,” anyway? The public, that's who. Or, at least, the element of said public that has no life of its own and has to live vicariously through others. The defining line between real “celebrities” like Gable and Elvis and manufactured “celebrities” like Bobby and Giada is that the former actively sought out celebrity. They wanted to be “stars.” Giada and Bobby didn't. They never aspired to be “public figures.” When Bobby was working for Jonathan Waxman and when Giada was working for Wolfgang Puck, all they ever wanted to be was good cooks. Giada had an obvious leg up in the entertainment business, but she didn't want it. She just wanted to cook. When they were offered the chance to cook on TV, it wasn't a “star vehicle” they saw; it was just the next step up the ladder to success in the kitchen. Get on TV and get some exposure for your restaurant or get a boost for your career. We made them public figures: they just wanted to be cooks. In our obsession to idolize and glamorize and deify anybody who puts their face in front of a camera these days, we decided that we had the right to build them up and to tear them down. But we don't. They're still people. People just like us. “Enquiring minds want to know”? Maybe we should just mind our own business.
So leave Giada and Bobby alone. Let them cook. If they both got kicked off TV today, never to return to the public eye again, that's still what they would do. So watch their TV shows and try their recipes, or visit their restaurants and eat their food. Don't make them celebrities and they won't be celebrities. Then the only reason you'll have for being involved in their personal lives is if they up and start screwing on your table between the salad course and the entree. Otherwise, butt out.