Back in 2005, I was a care free dude that didn’t really adhere to the concept of “metrosexuality” and pampering yourself. To me, it was just another means of emasculating the human male and pushing the agenda of the superficial self-care and clothing industry. I was also hopelessly single at this time and struggling to understand why the girls I dated didn’t want anything serious out of me. I felt like I was a pretty good catch and what I lacked in fashion sense and self awareness, I more than made up for in masculinity and “real”. Then like a bolt of lighting from a fabulous storm of enlightenment, 5 gay men came into my life and showed me the errors of my ways.
For those not in the know, Queer Eye for The Straight Guy was a television show on the Bravo Channel that featured a team of experts in the fields of “fashion, style, personal grooming, interior design and culture” that helped less than refined straight men remake themselves. The Fab Five, as they were commonly referred to could take the stinkiest neck-beard on the planet and turn them into the kind of person that people actually enjoy being around. They were like a gay version of the The A-Team; strong on their own but unstoppable when working as a group.
They didn’t necessarily come in and only change who a person was on a surface level (though they did make me realize how important tailored suits could be) as much as they enhanced them. Their greatest gift to the community of “conservatively minded macho men” however, was to show us that our lack of effort didn’t demonstrate our fight against emasculation in a changing society as much as our general laziness. Putting on clean clothes and shaving takes effort, effort that we’d rather put into things like drinking beer, talking about sports and throwing the football with our buddies. While these are all accepted activities, they’re not exactly the best ways to meet that special someone.
After consuming every episode I could, I found myself slowly but surely becoming a more appealing human being. It definitely wasn’t an overnight thing, and I resisted at certain points during the journey but it ultimately led to a more intense focus on how I presented myself, what I could offer to a potential mate and most importantly a substantial increase in confidence. Those qualities combined with a few beers (you can never have enough confidence) one Thursday night culminated in me having the courage to approach the lovely (though in retrospect, a bit naive) waitress that would eventually become my wife.
Then in Late 2007, almost as quickly as they’d come into my life, The Fab Five disappeared from the Bravo channel. They’d eventually return in syndicated form but it just wasn’t the same. Without new episodes, I was slowly losing my foothold on a variety of important areas of self improvement.
Fast forward five years and I found myself in a position similar to where I was back before I was rescued by an expert team of improvement professionals. I’d forgotten how important shaving was, I only put product in my hair when my wife insisted and I’d gone back to viewing cargo shorts as an effective means of transporting goods as opposed to the fashion faux pas they most certainly were. I’m wasn’t at “socks with sandals” level yet, but I found myself testing it out a month or so ago just to see how it felt. My wife tried to help me, but she’s just too nice about it. What I really needed was a no nonsense man to man to man to man to man to man.
I began to pity myself a bit this past week, thinking that without my television based support system, I’d eventually shrivel into a hygienically challenged shell of a man. It’d been 5 years without so much as a peep from the Fab Five and reruns just wouldn’t help me at this point. I felt hurt. Why did they leave? Why weren’t they there for me anymore? After a while, I got angry as it’s easier to blame the television for your downfalls as opposed to dig deep and realize that the real enemy was you all along.
Then I thought back to the many straight men that’d come before me, the ones featured on the show, the ones brave enough to reveal their deepest self-care weaknesses. Those men didn’t need the constant attention from 5 gay guys to steer them in the right direction. Instead of leaning on Ted, Kyan, Thom, Carson and Jai, they absorbed their advice, no, their powers and righted their wrongs. Sure, some of them may have lost the fire, but I’m sure a larger majority kept the flames of self improvement burning deep within. Hell, Rocky didn’t just give up when Mickey left him, he used that emotion to punch his way into the history books and I could do the same (though none of the Fab Five needs to die to inspire me and I’ll keep the punching to a minimum).
Sure, having Queer Eye For The Straight Guy back on air would be helpful, but they didn’t give me the power to look smooth, they merely unlocked it. As I look down at my mismatched socks, mesh shorts and grungy t-shirt, inhale the stench of poorly controlled BO and Axe body spray, and run my hands through a head of hair that was probably cool in the seventies, I think to myself “WWTKTCJD”? The answer to that question is pretty obvious…it’s time for a makeover montage*!
*Makeover montage not included in current post.