Monday, August 4, 2003


Bravo's Queer Eye For The Straight Guy is generating lots of buzz, so I decided to watch last night and see if it's really all that. I've watched TLC's What Not To Wear (I don't know who I'm more embarrassed for, the fashion victim they makeover or the smug doofuses doing the makeover -- it's like a trainwreck of shame and humiliation, a shamewreck, to coin a phrase, that you can't look away from once sucked in) so I felt I could appropriately benchmark it. I will it say it's far more entertaining and less painful to watch than WNTW. I suppose I ought to be wringing my hands about the reinforcment of stereotypes but the Fab 5 seem to be having fun ... who am I to judge? I laughed out loud several times. When they went through the straight guy's dirty laundry and poked fun at the skidmarks in his Hanes ("Somebody had Mexican last night!") I almost hurled from laughing. Later when the clothes consultant issued the guy some black boxer briefs and commented, "this way, if you crap yourself, no one will know," I got a whole new chuckle out of it. Some of the points hit a little too close to home: "only losers rent tuxes," -- Hey! Why would I buy a tux I'm going to wear exactly one time??? -- and when they picked a shirt that I also happen to own and made a crack about a rave in Oklahoma missing its shirt, that stung but, if that guy can live through having his briefs inspected on tv, I guess I can deal with having bad hetero clothing sense.

Here's my big problem with the advice of the Fab 5: it's all about deferring to name brands and elite taste with no regard to fiscal sanity. Need a snack? Find the the trendiest upscale place you can find and pamper yourself. Need to tame your hair? Buy soy paste from a boutique. Clothes should be Ralph Lauren. And on and on with the image conscious conspicous consumption. Are we really supposed to believe being hip is really the exclusive domain of the rich and those willing to spend way beyond their means? I guess I was hoping there'd be a little more of an outsider perspective on hip-ness. It turns out the gay man's advice to the het man is: be rich and irresponsible.
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