I love Doris Day.
She probably was my first love, since my mother loved her, too, and we faithfully watched Day’s movies whenever they were on — which was a lot. I still find nothing quite as comforting as watching an old Doris Day comedy on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
On one such Sunday, during my years of struggling with my sexual orientation, Day’s classic Calamity Jane aired and I laughed as she paraded around in drag, undecided whether she wanted to be a boy or a girl. (She even lived with a femme.)
I’d seen the film dozens of times. But when Day started to sing “Secret Love,” I felt like I’d never heard it before.
I got choked up, thinking about the roommate that I was secretly in love with. And even though Calamity Jane was hankerin’ for Wild Bill Hickok, I found an odd kind of reassurance in the song. Plus, I wasn’t the only one who imagined that Calam really was singing about Katie.
Years later, I realized that not only Calamity Jane is a lesbian icon, but Doris Day is, too. From time to time, rumors crop up that Day actually is a lesbian, but they are based on little more than the fact that her marriages were unhappy and she is committed to animal welfare. Still, a girl can wish.
This week marks a comeback of sorts for the 87-year-old Day as she releases her first album in 17 years, My Heart. The album, which for now is available only in the U.K., contains previously unreleased recordings produced by Day’s late son Terry Melcher.
The songs include some from Day’s television specials as well as tunes written by The Beach Boys and Joe Cocker, among others. As Day told Advocate.com, “I had to sing some modern songs because I had already done all of the old ones.”
One of Day’s admirers, Paul McCartney, spoke to her about the album and her career for The Telegraph. If the interview seems unlikely, keep in mind that the two share not only a long musical career, but an active involvement in animal rights issues. Here are some highlights from the interview.
And I bet they love Doris Day, too. As do we all. I hope she makes an appearance or two to promote My Heart. I’ve missed her.
Is Doris Day among your personal dykons? What is your favorite Day song or movie?