Saturday, October 10, 2009

#83-Queer Eye for the Straight Guy

It was the decade when...

Television audiences learned that gay men know how to dress, style hair, cook, decorate and, well, culture.

Straight men are disgusting. We knew that right? They're slobs, they eat cold day(s?) old pizza from boxes strewn about their unkempt bachelor pads; dwellings which receive too much sunlight in the afternoon because these hetero guys have, gasp!, forgotten to do a proper window treatment. They never would refer to anything they put in their hair as "product" (at the very least not without adding a definite or indefinite article), they wear the same boxer shorts for days at a time, as they do their faded baggy Levi jeans, and they can't spell - let alone cook -mirepoix. Hair is everywhere and I mean, everywhere! No books around to speak of, but some DVD's of Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Underworld:Evolution are laying about. How do they inject culture in their lives? Does Maxim count? Essentially, straight men are useless save for repopulating the species and scientists are working on fixing even that.

But gay men. That's a whole different story. Gay men live in meticulously neat urban apartments with beautiful track lighting modules on dimmer switches. They use words like "pomade" and "exfoliate" without batting an eyelash- about the only time they don't bat an eyelash as a matter of fact. Never hirsute, the gay man prides himself on proper "manscaping"to keep his pilosity in check. Gays throw elaborate dinner parties where, after a round or two of a divine vintage cocktail, a sumptuously prepared three-course meal is served on immaculately white china. "The vegetables were bought at the Farmer's Market this morning. I wouldn't make a mirepoix any other way," they inform their guests while wearing a slim fitting dress shirt and designer jeans which they purchased at a denim "bar." Ikea shelves are filled with art exhibit books, Herb Ritts photo anthologies, the newest release by a lefty New York Times Op-Ed writer, some Architectural Digests, a Thomas Keller cookbook, and maybe some Foccault (if they went to an ivy-league school). On their coffee table, right next to the New Yorker, are the Playbills of shows they attended this week, Clearly, on the culture, dining, grooming, fashion, and design front...gays have got things covered.

If only there was something gays could to do to help these poor tasteless men add some class to their jejune existence.

And then came the Fab Five. A Deus Ex Machina for style-deprived straight men everywhere, they appear as if from a cloud -like Mary Poppins!-whooshing themselves into a straight man's life to sprinkle their very-fairy dust everywhere they turn, usually with a pithy aside at the same time. As the zingers fly like arrows at some Benetton costumed Agincourt, the straight man hangs his head in shame as the whole of his life gets, usually literally, turned upside down. But he goes with the flow, knowing it's all for the best; in fact, it's his only hope to escape his plight. Sure he has a thought or two of reservation running around his head, like, "Does Carson really have to keep referring to my couture, because I have no idea what that is and I've never had a doctor look into it. He also keeps threatening me with my wire hangers and then laughing hysterically; what's that about?" Or, "Why does Kyan keep looking at me like I'm the whipped cream on his dessert course? Did he really have to giggle in my face when I admitted I've never had my ass waxed? And why are there no straight men named Kyan, anyway? And who is this Jai person again? Does he know what he's doing here?" But, selfless and desperate...the straight guy takes it all in stride. As the humiliations continue, - first with Carson at the designer "boutique" where he tries on shirts the colors of which he can't pronounce, then with Kyan at a beauty parlor/spa where the stylist Fabian cuts off all the hair he's spent 5 years growing out for his rock band (it needed to be "layered," they tell him), and lastly with Jai at the ice skating rink where it is revealed to the straight guy that figure skating is going to be the key to igniting his creativity - he sucks up all his pride and does what the queers say.

When he returns home to gear up for the party that has been planned for him by the producers of the show in order to facilitate a sense of drama, he finds an apartment transformed. Where once was a beaten hand-me down couch and torn bean bag is now a beautiful three piece sofa and ottoman set. The Bob Marley Poster attached to the wall with duct tape has been removed and in it's place are beautiful framed vintage rock and roll posters. The windows now have curtains, and there is a lamp in the room. The fluorescents have disappeared. Ah, the straight man could have never done this himself. It takes just too much style (and $20,000 but that's neither here not there...right?). Ted shows the straight guy (mouth still agape from the new decor) the refrigerator, now stocked to overflow with fresh fruits, vegetables, even organic wild lox-"from Zabar's" Ted mentions. "Strange how these guys keep mentioning brand names aloud." thinks the straight guy, but the thought passes. Finally, Ted reminds him of the recipe he is supposed to prepare for the big coming-out, I mean, party that evening. And then, the Fab Five, their work done, fly away as quickly as they came, leaving behind a changed and newly manicured man who will never be able to repay the debt. They retreat to their loft apartment in the sky (or maybe it's in Chelsea) where on closed circuit television, with Cosmo in hand and sass to spare, the Fab Five watch their little Frankenstraight take his first baby steps into the brave new world of Crudité, nose-hair trimmers, settees, V-Neck Sweaters, and, whatever it is that Jai does. They sit attentively with one hand cradling their chin, as the straight guy gets misty eyed and thanks the Fab Five for giving him a new lease on life and making him realize that to change someone inside it's really most important to change your outside first. Kyan, staring again at his whipped cream, says intensely "I'm proud of you Bro." "Cheers Queers!" shouts Carson, lifting his libation. The glasses clink together and all is right with the universe. Another straight man saved. All things just keep getting better.

You AUGHT to remember.

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