this little number became a pop-culture phenomenon. remember? when such things were a little more relaxed. there was a freeing freeze in the air, people could hang loose for the first time and try new things. they were too busy smiling to frown. maybe they came in to some money so they let bygones be bygones. they finally wrenched themselves out of that bad relationship and were ready to mingle. and experiment.
of course this show ISN'T another makeover show about shampoo and the latest date tips. it is ABSOLUTELY the time America mellowed and became more accepting of all people. it's a human interest story, and a triumph. you simply HAD to see these fabulous men as men, REAL men. cool dudes like your frat bros, cos they were. we're all human, we all laugh at the same bad jokes, get our feelings hurt deeply, whether we show it or not, and have shitty love lives. we all want the same things. we get it. you get it. why is there a divide? for fuck sake there is no hidden mask or fakery or naughty illuminati agenda under the tarp, no trap, no warping, just winning, no fear, except fear you create inside your warped mind. people. that's it, people. people who need people.
now it took me awhile to be so ribald and robust about this, everyone has to adjust to change, but this show was a breakout. and i'm not talking about acne, although the fellas could help you out with that and recommend the strongest alcohol patch. they were the breakout boys who finally allowed the country and Canada to breathe.
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i was straight and a straight-A student and a know-it-all. it was good to be taken to my knees and floored a little bit. it allowed me to widen the aperture of my male gaze and truly see the world differently. everyone needs a breakthrough. you think you know but you don't know until you really know, you know?
three words: Carson Lee Kressley. this man is a gem. he is funny as fuck, clever as a well-coiffed fox, and he gets it. he gets life, the entertainment industry, and his place in both. and he looks like Cobain when he had the grunge locks. Kurt wished he were gay to stick it to the homophobes, so here we are. nothing sexier than confidence in one's own skin. and a nice pocketsquare. from the start Carson was the de facto leader of the group of groomers and a star. the starting star. he's killing it on Apprentice and i hope he has a long career. we all need a laugh with our gay best friend everyday now. mint chocolate chip with your chippy ain't enough.
metrosexual wasn't a dirty word anymore. it was sought. the ladies like it, right? at least one lady? all i need is one lady to.
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Ted Allen: wine expert of the Beatles. i liked Ted. no i loved Ted. i don't like Seth's Ted. it's the glasses. he was cool, had that professorial New Englander thing going, astute, well-bred, well-read, and the best kind of foodie: a wino. i mean that in the most dignified way possible. i'm sure he was a crab connoisseur, too. you know what i mean. he smoked a bubbles pipe in private he had to. happy 420 everyone. he was my guy, my secret crush, and i hope he plays Professor Plum in the remake.
Kyan Douglas: the grooming guru. and all-around god. his name was Kyan after all. the Hootie and the Blowfish of hygiene. i always thought Kyan was a little jealous of Carson, Kyan was supposed to be the leading man, the tall dark hunk of the show. i was tempted to go on this show knowing full well Kyan would have been the one in my bathroom ordering me to take a shower and not caring that i was an artist.
Thom Filicia: the door man. if you needed a door, he was your man. or window or drape or rug or cup or posy or coffee table or a book about coffee tables on your coffee table that opens up and forms a coffee table. i use that Seinfeld reference because Thom looks like Jerry Seinfeld's cousin.
Jai: OMG JAI! i remember Jai! pop culture prince, you need a song, he owns it, his cousin has remixed it, he knows the club where it's gonna debut, and can get you tickets cos tickets have sold out. culture vulture implies the dark circling of vultures and picking of bones and such, let's just call him a maven. he was social before social media. and he tells you what to say on dates so you don't choke on your water and might eventually get laid. wingman extraordinaire.
sure it played into long-held stereotypes. or did it? i dunno, people are people, remember? this show put Bravo on the map. it's the only show i've seen on Bravo. before or since. i remember coming home from a long day of taking the bus and posing on the couch. i'd watch the show whilst dunking my head into a tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream, afterwards scraping the sides of the tub using E.L Fudges as spoons. i would imagine my shack was one of those swanky Manhattan lofts i'd see on the show. i'd dance at midnight with the dining-room light on and the neighbors would get upset. they had to work the next morning or something. my next-door neighbor called the cops on me and accused me of being queer.
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i'd be remiss if i didn't mention a show that was very special to me when i was a young kid of schooling age. i've had to undergo hypnosis to retrace the steps and pull the memories out of me cos this happened during a very small sliver of time. they wanted me to go to conversion therapy but i rejected that in favor of a short man with a Freud beard. the show was called QuizKids. no not the San Francisco one, the one from the '80s. i'm not sure if it was just a local show. it probably was. area schools from Los Angeles competed in this game show of general knowledge and a ding bell. the teams wore red shirts and blue shirts. this was before the gang wars. i remember the host wore a fuzzy light-blue sweater and i want to say he was Filipino. and the lights. there was this huge half-ring of circular lights in the back behind the kids. the lights got bigger the closer to the floor they were. when a student buzzed in the light array would go off, just that student's side, starting at the top small circles with thinning light down to the bright light of the big balls at the bottom. i remember that light setup distinctly. anyway. it was on at like 5AM Saturday mornings before the cartoons would start. right after the Knight Rider repeat from the week before. i was a strange kid. QuizKids, i know you're out there...
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