Queer Eye for the Straight Guy

Emily,

What the heck happened to these guys?

Dorigen

Dear Dorigen,

Oh, the boys did well after “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” and I, for one, am relieved. 

I fell in love with the show and “the fab five” on the first commercial, promising high energy gays making over the lives of straight men in less than 24 hours, and targeting the five fundamentals of being a presentable human being – fashion, grooming, home décor, food, and culture (which, in the earlier episodes was just gifting an Erica Badu CD). 

on a mission

So many unexpected fans popped up and emulated the promoted “metrosexual” style, a term previously unknown to me.  At the time of the first season, I was working for a family owned, blue collar, union focused, manufacturing company in Madison, WI.  I recall a beautiful moment when a straight Engineer literally interrupted a corporate meeting I was in to drop off a VHS of an episode I had uncharacteristically missed.  Sigh.  Decadent. 

It was a refreshing time of homosexual and heterosexual acceptance, slap stick humor, and self improvement through unabashed consumerism.  “Queer Eye” lasted from 2003 – 2007, and you can watch the sometimes dated makeovers on Netflix – it’s basically lots of jeans with blazers, dangerously fast shaves, putting “a living room where the crack den used to be,” clueless men setting fire to the simplest of salad recipes, and Jai (“the culture guru”) going on and on about how he “scored tickets from a friend of mine, [insert unknown ‘celebrity’ name here].”

So let’s see how these gays, I mean guys, I mean gays made over themselves post “Queer Eye”…

Carson Kressley – Fashion

BEFORE

Carson is my favorite.  In a show fundamentally built on playing up homosexual stereotypes, Carson was the poster gay.  He really hammed up the homophobia by sharing tiny dressing rooms, unbuttoning flies, asking for kisses, and offering many a “back door” pun / direct proposition.  Oddly, I think this was Carson’s way of breaking down barriers – he was humorously self-effacing and all of his touchy-feely moments were techniques to loosen up a needlessly tight (ass) heterosexual. 

AFTER

I feel success is often defined by a quality personal website, and www.carsonkressley.com is workin’ it.  Apparently Carson is/was on a season of “Dancing with the Stars;” he has a show on Opera’s OWN network; and… oh, dear…  he has two “hit” singles courtesy of Auto-Tune – “The Tough Go Shopping” and “You’re Beautiful and Worthy.”  What is conspicuously not listed on his website is Carson’s stint with QVC – the woman’s clothing line was called “Perfect.” I would argue that it was less than, but I might be in the minority

 Kyan Douglas – Grooming

 

BEFORE

On an aside, he was NOT born with the name “Ryan with a ‘K’ instead of an ‘R;’” however, even his given name is decadent – Hugh Edward Douglas, Jr.  On an additional aside, Kyan and Carson had such a great rapport that I convinced many (including myself) that they were dating.  A simple web search would have put that fantasy to rest, but I still like to think they will one day find each other. 

On topic, Kyan was tasked with hair and body refurbishment, which often included necessarily dumbed down explanations of why it is important to shower, what facial cleanser and moisturizer looks / tastes like, how to shave, and how to treat many a filth induced fungi.  Kyan really had sincere hopes for the heteros in his hands, but they often fell short of his most basic expectations – after the makeover many did not shower or shave, and if they did, they would inexplicably use a lotion as a shampoo.

AFTER

Where is the Kyan Douglas personal website?!  Hmmmm…  Well, there’s this from TLC, which (at the time of me posting this link) includes only two “Facebook Likes” (perhaps it’s just me and one of his relatives or, dare to dream, Carson).  I like to think that any additional “Likes” are in direct response to my provided link – hint, hint, show some love.  Kyan also published a book and worked as a spokesman / advisor for L’Oréal, which is, of course, crazy awesome.  And, I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say that Kyan is still perfectly groomed and sharing words of wisdom with anyone with a scruffy beard and/or “garfunkles” (my childhood word for excessive armpit hair). 

I'm just sayin'... can you imagine what Art Garfunkel's armpit "garfunkels" look like?

Thom Filicia – Design (i.e. home décor)

BEFORE

Thom was often teased by his fellow “Fab Fivers” as the “fat” one, which is ridiculous, but perhaps the fake tan really IS slimming.   Thom always did a great job of complimenting the person’s furniture “style” with functional, interesting pieces, but I nearly always disliked his choice in rugs – lots of free-floating geometric shapes; however, perhaps that was just a sign of the times.  Also, he was unabashedly unafraid to use wicker, up to and including wicker carpet balls as a dining room center piece.  Still, he was a close second to Carson on the hilarious factor, and I was completely won over by Thom during a London episode, in which he wore a miss-match brown suit with an identically matching plaid shirt and tie.   

enjoying a spot of tea

AFTER

Thom’s website is awesome www.thomfilicia.com.  He is a decorator through Thom Filicia Inc, he sells furniture through The Thom Filicia Home Collection™, and has had at least one of his own TV shows, making over people’s craptacular homes.  Of course, my favorite of Thom’s successful moments is shamefully not listed on his website – remember when Thom Filicia took over as the Pier 1 spokesman, when Kirstie Alley got too fat; further proof that THOM IS NOT FAT.  I’m just sayin’, and now he’s also super successful and I want him to redesign my abnormally long office-living-dining-kitchen room. 

Ted Allen – Food (and drinks)

BEFORE

Ted was considered the “old” one, because he was 5 years older than most of the members of the group, and jokes at his expense often included references to a bad hip.  Most everything he had the heteros cook /assemble seemed doable for any supervised five-year-old (including detailed, written instructions), but they nearly always found a way to burn it, drop it, or break the very expensive, one-of-a-kind glassware that he thoughtfully gifted.  Like his basic name and square glasses would imply, Ted was sort of the gay “straight man” of the comedy troop, and his moments of subdued wackiness were often oddly by himself in the kitchen.  Ted is likable and intelligent and a necessary, stable force in this nonsense whirlwind.

AFTER

The Food Network smartly embraced Ted.  He has appeared on, hosted, or judged many of their top programs – “Chopped,” “Iron Chef America,” “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” “The Next Food Network Star,” and also Bravo’s “Top Chef.”  Ted’s website is clean and straightforward www.tedallen.net, just like him.  He remains this likeable, knowledgeable, and consciously quirky guy that I want to have over for raspberry mojitos.    

Jai Rodriguez – Culture

BEFORE

Jai was the younger “sister” of the “Fab Five,” by 10+ years.  It was his responsibility to culturally and socially enlighten inept straight men, many of whom rarely left the house due to unemployment, fear of women, or grueling 8 floor Manhattan walk ups.  Again, the initial assistance included just a quality music CD and a tip about shaking hands, but it evolved into introductions with celebrities you actually heard of (ex: Ahmad Rashad, Kathy Griffin, Tyson Beckford), all expense paid Caribbean vacations, a $10,000 engagement ring, and even an actual job (not just an interview).  Because of his age (early-mid twenties), Jai’s advice sometimes seemed forced, like relationship or parenting tips for a grandfather.  But it truly was all sound advice, and if you rewatch some old episodes, you’ll see that Jai was smizing even before Tyra dropped that bomb on us.    

AFTER

Jai is primarily an actor – stage, TV, film, and he’s also done some hosting work.  His Wikipedia page reads like a well connected extras actor – he was even in a Lady Gaga video.   Unfortunately, like Kyan, Jai does not have a website, but he still has a MySpace page for some reason, where you can check out his latest beats, and unlike Carson, they are not Auto-Tuned. 

So, Dorigen, the boys are happily doing well, and I hope they stay in touch.

Em

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