Saturday, January 12, 2008

Oy vey -- just what we need -- NOT!

Okay, Carson Kressley, or whatever his name is, one of the campy, bitchy "fab four" of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy -- which finally ceased production, although undoubtedly it will live forever in reruns -- has a new show out in which he will undoubtedly dish with (and swish for) the straight girls and give them fashion tips and the like. Pass me a barf bag. [That's Miss Carson dressing up as Carmen Miranda. NOTE: I could stomach only one episode of Queer Eye. I didn't even like the title. Today "queer" refers to the entire GLBT community. It shouldn't be used to refer strictly to gay men because at one time it was used in the same way as "faggot" or "fairy" and in many quarters still is.]

Okay, I'm not a meanie. I often find myself liking the more "fabulous" or colorful members of our community. It's just that I do get tired of this whole image of gay men, as one bright person on a message board put it, as "accessories" for straight women (for some reason these guys always seem to cater to straight gals, perhaps out of a disturbing anti-lesbian bias, who knows?), their sole function being to advise them on their hair, clothing, and make up. Guys like this not only don't seem like men, they don't even seem remotely sexual. It's the gay male as eunuch, the court jester. And it's so out of date and inaccurate that it isn't funny. [The very worst "court jester" is Ross the Intern on the Tonight show. He's such an absurd caricature that he hardly seems recognizably human let alone gay.]

They seem to be popping up all over, "queer" guys who will tell straight women how to maximize their assets and minimize their flaws, mix and match cosmetics, where to shop, and how to throw the best dinner party, and -- Enough! Like I said, pass me a barf bag.

Of course the "fab" gay boys have a right to do their thing and carry on in their own stereotypical style. If only they weren't considered "typical" gays. If only straights -- and even many gays -- didn't think that "being fabulous" was the only way to be "gay." If only the bear and leather communities, the butcher guys, or at least gay guys who were different (not so "fabulous" but great in their own way) from the stereotype got a little more visibility in the media. I don't think even bears realize how fuckin' huge the bear community is.

Look, I'm not a super-butch Charles Bronson and I'm more of a city boy at home with a martini or at the concert hall than a back-packing, camping type, but I think most gay men have more of a purpose in life than advising women -- or anyone -- on their hair (of course, being bald, this is really not an issue for me). If only the gay community could be seen in its full diversity now that we're in the 21st century, for crying out loud.

I'm not against "fabulous" gay guys, believe me. Ironically, just the other night I was sitting at my favorite butch gay bar feeling -- and this was really odd -- bored out of my mind. I looked around and had the oddest sensation that I was not in a gay bar in the West Village but in a straight bar out in Brooklyn. There were no willowy young queens in sight, but rather middle-aged, often paunchy [not that there's anything wrong in that!] macho guys who looked for all the world as if they had just come out for a beer to get away from the wife and kids (of course, there are a lot of men with wives and kids who are also gay, but that's another story) and were busy watching sports on the TV. I almost longed for a big campy drag queen to walk in the door and shake things up. I later realized I was only temporarily "bored" because on either side of me were guys, clearly on dates or with their lovers, who I sensed were not really open to outside conversation (I'm rarely bored in a bar because I'm friendly with everyone). Everyone in the fuckin' bar seemed to have a lover (how dare they?) What was a poor guy who wanted to cruise to do? (Luckily a whole pack of single guys came in a little while later and I was bored no longer.)

Of course, the fact that it felt like a "straight" bar for a time is just the point. The world -- and even members of the gay community itself -- should know that gay men like this exist, and while some can seem as comparatively dull (not to be "heterophobic") as some straight guys, many are a hell of a lot of fun, even if they'd no sooner don a dress or give hair advice than order a syrupy drink with a cherry in it. They're "average" guys only in the sense that they don't have an "outrageous" or campy component -- and what's wrong with that?

Butch or femme, we're all gay brothers, and all discriminated against by a homophobic society, which is why we should all get along, regardless of our personal styles.

But please -- enough with the gay man as straight woman's "accessory."

Many of these advice gurus are big on personal style. I say, if a person's style is to be a slob, leave them be. They tell everyone how to dress and wear their hair, but they sure as hell wouldn't like it if someone told them to tone down their act or put on something a little more masculine or just a bit different.

If you truly believe in personal style, why tell everyone else how to dress?

As for those of us who are not so "fabulous:" We're here, we're men, and we are definitely not eunuchs!


Queers United said...

people like carson just feed the gay stereotype, the fact is carson should be on tv but so should the butch gays and everyone, we are a diverse community

Bill Samuels said...

I agree with you. Let's celebrate the diveristy of this fascinating community!

Thanks for your comment, and keep up the good work with your blog!