By Bradley Bailey
Hurricanes! Killer bees! Shark attacks! Bombs at the Law School! The Poetry Lady! All these forces converge on New Haven, threatening to confine all of us little, defenseless Yalies to the squalor of our dorm rooms, deprive our growling stomachs of tasty pan-Asian finger foods and, worst of all, force us to carry on through each rain-drenched day without a hot, sodomite love fest! Don’t fret: even if you can’t make it to the CCL bathrooms, hope is not lost. Yes, you heard me right! Hardcore, anonymous homoboning in the Berkeley Bagel Bar is just three clicks away on Craigslist.org (puts the .org in pederast orgy! Sorry. Go Toros!).
I love this Web site: Free tickets to Learning Channel shows, trial gym memberships, and the aforementioned “casual encounters” organized by neighborhood and fetish. You need a bed? Craigslist! You need a pet iguana? Craigslist! You need a 45-year-old white male on the Upper West Side who’s free from 2 to 4 p.m. for a depraved spanking session? CRAIGSLIST! CRAIGSLIST! OH MY GOD CRAIGSLIST!
If explicit personal ads rampant with practically indecipherable abbreviations aren’t your thing, you could always use the modern miracle that is Craigslist to “better” yourself a la “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” You see, thanks to the amazingly laissez-faire policies of Craigslist and the Internet in general, you don’t even have to send in an application for the real show! For a price, a group of real-life “experts” in design, hairstyling, fashion and most importantly culture will make you over into a fantabulous, sassy straight male!
Don’t believe me? Consider the following post, taken from Craigslist (which was copied verbatim and not edited at all), bearing in mind that these people want to be considered savvy experts in modern culture and aesthetics.
A GROUP OF TALENTED, INTERIOR DESIGNER, FASHION MOGUL, ART HISTORIAN AND COOK–! WOULD LOVE TO TREAT YOU LIKE THE REAL TV SHOW AND SHOW YOU THE GOOD THINGS IN LIFE , WITH OUT WATING FOR BRAVO TO REVIEW YOUR PROFILE. IF YOU ARE A STRAIGHT GUY (WITH CASH) THAT WOULD LOVE TO LEARN AND GET YOUR APARTMENT RE-DONE. EMAIL ME WITH PICS AND A SMALL BIO. ABOUT YOURSELF.
Wow! Won’t yo.u Please. make me over….! Plea?se? (I have cash) and I CAN WRITE A SMALL BIO. ABOUT MYSELF. AS OP-POSED TO A BIO. ABOUT SOMEONE ELSE.
Ask yourselves, my friends, are these the sorts of people you want in your apartment with power tools, or near your head with scissors and glitter, or even operating a stove? Open flames and hair spray, though in a club setting a wonderful partnership, are chemically dangerous. I personally, wouldn’t even let the real group of Queer Eyes near me, especially that nauseating blonde “fashion” one. Someone needs to inform him and the “culture” expert that not only did both of these two things call it quits in the ’80s (unlike the Go-Go’s and the Bangles who are back WITH A VENGEANCE), but also the stretch denim and the coffee table books on Monet that they’re peddling aren’t going to convince anyone that you’re stylish, only that you’re from New Jersey.
Not to mention that I have bigger, more ideological problems with this show. The first is this:
“Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” ahem, excuse me, Queer “Eye” for the “Straight” Guy, affirms the polarization of gay men into two categories: the nonthreatening shopping partner (here) or the bathhouse-going pervert (on “Queer as Folk,” for example). Just as on Craigslist, you’re either helping someone buy new shoes or you’re looking for a quickie in a public park. This dichotomy of saint and slut is common to another disadvantaged group: women! You’re either Eve or you’re Mary, Mary.
Think about it, every gay character you can imagine on TV is either so helpful at picking out the right bag and Barbra CD, or else sex-crazed and covered with hot Vaseline. On one side you have certain unacceptable gay media personae: Stephen Cojocaru, Christopher Lowell, Andre Leon Talley (who has a degree in French literature from Brown, for Chrissakes! Write something worthwhile! I don’t care if Matador suits are in. Talk about Proust, you bitch! At least he was gay!), Jack and Will, and the Queer Eyes. On the other side: porn and the Abercrombie and Fitch catalog. When the only realistic portrayal of gay men on TV is “Jackass,” then West Hollywood, we have a problem.
Two questions: when are these horrific caricatures going to get makeovers themselves? And when are all these apparently neutered wonders going to realize that giving up sex for basic cable fame isn’t worth squatting on an unevenly loaded washing machine you’ve named “Ashton” just to maintain an extremely low level of sanity? The answer to both questions is: never! Blurring the lines at all would be regarding gay men as three-dimensional people, giving sinful sex drive to otherwise nonthreatening, feminized characters, kind of like seeing your favorite gossiping hairstylist at a highway rest stop glory hole! Ew! I even shock me!
Now, for the even bigger problem: People are beginning to think that makeovers are some self-affirming bullshit playdates at Barneys! No, this is work! Makeovers are births into the fashionable (translation: acceptable) world, and just like any birth, there should be pain, blood and torn flesh (not like that! Where do you think you are, the “Jackass” outtakes DVD?). “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” is the birth equivalent of a triple epidural in a birthing pool at a Montana spa! I prefer the tactics employed on another show, “What Not To Wear,” the birthing equivalent of rusty forceps and tequila in a Mexican elevator shaft! Unless you leave the show in tears, it’s not fashion, biatch!
Take, for instance, a recent episode of this show where the hosts actually reduced a woman to tears as they forced her to hurl a Christmas gift from her deceased mother into the trash. “No! You can’t keep it! It makes you look hippy!”
“But — but — my mother gave it to me for Christmas –”
“Why? DOES SHE HATE YOU?”
“She’s dead — Sometimes I like to hold it just to remem–“
“TRASH! IN THE TRASH!”
“But — (indecipherable whining and sniffling)”
Then the hosts explain to the woman that she was not chosen for a makeover to bring out her inner beauty, but rather to hide the fact that her ass is lopsided and that she has cellulite. YES! Finally, a show that has found the true essence of fashion. It acknowledges the fact that you are ugly. It seeks to mask your flaws in an effort to make you look better, not to make you into a “better person.” (Which is impossible. Believe me, I’ve met many of you and if $150,000 and four years of Ivy League liberal education can’t get you to care about your fellow man, it’s doubtful that a slimming pantsuit is going to do it.) This show rips you down, makes you cry, and then gives you $5,000 worth of clothing and free makeup. You smile and wax poetic to the confessional camera about how all the pain was worth it in the end (like natural childbirth, except this time, you’re not lying). The people who were telling you that you were fat and worthless are now your best friends! If loving the mean and cruel because they throw money at you isn’t fashion, I don’t know what is!
I realize this all sounds harsh, but really, do you think that Linda Evangelista and Carolyn Murphy are better people after fall fashion week? Hardly. They wipe the thick pancake makeup off their tear-streaked faces, throw back handfuls of Vicodin and light some cigarettes. Their faces and bodies are beautiful, but their lungs are coated with tar as black as their souls. Inhale deeply, my children. This is beauty.
Even if you do like “Queer Eye” (despite its essentially one-sided view of homosexuals and extreme overuse of limp-wristed high-fives), think about this: what woman wants to have loud, rough monkey sex with you and then hear your postcoital lecture on the differences between a duvet and a comforter?
Ahh, your bed’s cold and you’re all alone, but at least you were on TV, you sexy bitch.