He insists that the hook of “Dirty Love,” which goes, “I’m not scared of your dirty love / You think that you know me but I’ll call your bluff / Better raise your game come on let’s make some dirty love,” is not about actual sex but about his relationship with ice-skating judges and journalists.
According to Weir, his sixth-place finish had less to do with his skating than with his relationship to glitter. “I felt going into the Olympics that I had very little support from my own country, from the U.S. Figure Skating federation,” he says one summer afternoon. “I went out there and I did everything I could possibly do, and I knew going into it that a medal wasn’t in my sights. It was political. In figure skating, there’s this thing, there’s a way that you can say, ‘Okay, if you help this skater, our skater, and promote him and push him to the top of the podium and help him get there, we will help yours.’ There’s a lot of that that goes on, and America likes to try and stay away from that issue, but everyone does it. I skated great, Evan skated great, we probably both should have been on the podium somewhere, but you know, the team official came to me and said, ‘We didn’t know you were going to skate like that.’ ”
In Weir’s opinion, Lysacek, who enjoys discussing his heartbreak over the breakup of the Belbin affair, is “easier to put on a Wheaties box.” He behaves. He plays along. (And, never mind, he skates very, very, very well—and certainly more athletically than Weir.) Weir always registers himself in important skating events as “Johnny Gaga Weir.” He’s always speaking Russian and has even turned up to Olympic events dressed in the warm-up jacket of the Russian team. He taunts Lysacek (he recently called him a “slore,” which is half-slut, half-whore) and wears stiletto heels and women’s clothes, not in a drag way, but in a completely matter-of-fact, what’s-in-my-closet kind of way. Often, he has a full face of foundation, even off the ice.
“It’s very hard,” he says, “but you know, someone literally came to my coach while I was crying behind a curtain and said, ‘We wish we had known Johnny was going to skate that well, because we were pushing the two other Americans.’ And that takes balls to say that.”
Weir will be nearly 29 when the next Olympics rolls around, which is really pushing it, age-wise, in the world of international competition. In July, he decided to take himself out of competitive skating for at least a year. He started smoking menthol cigarettes. He wanted to be a little bit wild—like lots of athletes, he missed the “collegiate” experience the first time around, and he’d now like to have a little time with his friends, he’d like to go out dancing, he’d like to experiment with being bad. “Realistically, in four years I will be over the hill for a figure skater,” he says. “It would be a dream to compete in an Olympics in Russia, but I’m realistic. There will be skaters who are 19 and 20 who will be at the top, and even if I did make it, it would just be a nostalgia thing. If politically I couldn’t make it work and do well at this age, and I couldn’t do it four years ago, I’m not going to be able to do it at 29. And I’m very understanding of that. I have to make the most of what I can while I still can. I’ll be public as long as people will have me.
“I work myself to the bone,” he continues. His cheeks are pink and clear. His eyes are round. He looks like a plush toy, or something from a comic book specifically designed to register “cute.” He is sweet and friendly and earnest. He doesn’t shout “gurl” even once. “I work hard to make the people who support me happy,” he says. He peers through his thick, dark eyelashes, blinks them slowly. “I’m training hard and I’m skating and I’m working, and I just don’t want to disappoint my fans.”