As longtime readers know, I have a harmless crush on Jessica Alba. I think she's pretty, I think she's sexy, and I really feel no further need to go beyond that. I mean, I'm not going to become a stalker, and it's not like hearing she's in a movie is enough to make me want to see it (good looking though she is...she ain't exactly the best actress).
"You think Jessica Alba's sexy?!?" came the chatline.
Yeah. Why not? What makes her not sexy?
"SHE HAS HERPES!!!"
Well, I sure hadn't heard this before. A little poking around yielded this timeline -- it was in 2007, about the time of one of the utterly forgettable Fantastic Four movies coming out. Jessica Alba had dumped Cash Warren, a crew member from the FF shoot, because he wouldn't marry her. Apparently, at some point, a buddy of his revealed to a gossip rag that Alba has been refilling a prescription for Valtrex and taking it almost every day. She apparently told him that she got herpes from Derek Jeter. Personally, I think Alba should have dumped Warren for his choice of friends, but there you go.
Now, I don't have herpes. I did date a woman with it, though. She was upfront about it, explaining very calmly about the risks I would be taking being intimate with her and what could be done to minimize those risks. Nope, didn't chase me off, and I'm still clean.
The point I want to make is that Alba, assuming she actually does have herpes, is missing a chance to really do some good here. A lot of people think that herpes is some sort of death sentence, like a sexual leprosy or something. And it's not. It is treatable and controllable. It can be a pain in the ass (especially if an outbreak occurs on, say, the eye) and an inconvenience, but it's not the end of the world. In fact, the woman I dated told me that it has never stopped anyone from being intimate with her. I think it's because she was upfront, informative, and understanding. It's reassuring.
One of the biggest fears people have is that they are damaged goods. Assuming Jessica Alba has herpes, this came out over three years ago. She's still sexy and beautiful, she's still stunning guys like me, she still has a successful career, she's married, she has a perfectly healthy baby, AND SHE WANTS TO HAVE MORE. If there is anyone who could demonstrate to millions of scared people that there is ultimately nothing wrong with them, it would be her.
Not that it would happen. I mean, we're talking Hollywood. Image is everything. Neil Patrick Harris and Lance Bass didn't admit they were gay, they were outed and had no choice but to own up to it (thankfully, it hasn't killed their careers like they feared). But they'll never get traditional roles because their sexual orientation will be foremost in peoples' minds. "How can a gay guy play a straight man?" That's like asking how an actor with a room temperature IQ can play a scientist -- it's a role, not them. If Alba really does have herpes, she will never admit it in a million years for fear of destroying her career. In other words, she not only acts like someone she isn't in movies, she has to do it in real life, too.
And meanwhile, people continue to let sexual misinformation color their perceptions and actions....