Thanks to this Netflix show, I want to refashion my unstylish, unadventurous life. The best place to begin is the pantry. Queer Eye of Karori
You’re going to love this. It turns out you should be getting a manicure every second week, if you consider yourself a well-put-together human being, and a pedicure once a month. Oh, and I’m not talking to the ladies, either. I’m talking to the menz.
I learned this from the trending Netflix series Queer Eye. (You’ve never watched it? Shut the front door!) It’s a makeover show for men with no style, taste, success or sex life, who are aggressively improved within a week by five insistent gay men.
Queer Eye last screened in the Noughties but now it, too, has been refashioned. The cast is basically the same. One of the five is always flamboyant; one cares more about finger food than you ever thought possible; one carries fabric swatches everywhere; one believes it’s only what’s on the inside that counts, which is ironic because he looks like something Michelangelo spent 20 years carving out of marble; and the fifth is so fashion he’ll wear wide-brimmed pimp-style felted hats. Unironically.
I’m telling you, these five men are the friends you never knew you needed. They breeze in, all giddy with horseplay, and toss around whatever they find in the bachelor’s grotty apartment. This usually includes something crusty with neglect, like old pants or an 80s microwave. Then they give him a shave, haircut and a pep talk, home-stage his house with thousands of dollars in new furniture and appliances, throw a party for his dazzled friends and hook him up with a date.
So far, so formulaic, you might think. But this isn’t just The Block for guileless guys. For some reason – the hosts’ charisma, the crises of masculinity in every episode, or maybe just the pay-off of seeing a damp basement turned into an artist’s loft (copper accents really do add sophistication to any space) – this series demands your emotional investment. Everyone who watches it reports crying afterwards. Good grief, I’m welling up just thinking about it.
Queer Eye has become my TV of choice when I’m at my most raw, spiritually vulnerable, and receptive to persuasive social messaging. As a parent of two young children, this is weekdays at 5 o’clock. As I’m cooking a protein, a starch and two vegetables (of which my children will reject the starch and vegetables), I flip open the iPad and tune in.
Jonathan, the unabashedly camp one, has dragged his conservative victim, Remington, into a nail bar.
“OK,” he says, shaking his long hair like a frisky pony, “you get to make up the perfect person to bring to a desert island. Forever. Mine would have, like, the physical form of The Rock with the personality of Justin Trudeau.” Remington looks blank, so Jonathan adds: “The Prime Minister of Canada.”
The manicurists don’t laugh but Jonathan doesn’t care. He gallops joyfully through life, scattering anyone afraid of horses. When he approves of something he shouts: “Yaaas, queen!” Usually about five times an episode.
The true star of Queer Eye is Karamo. He’s in charge of getting each antihero to focus on the prize, which is success. It might be business success (Karamo will build you a website), moving on from bereavement (Karamo will make you a photo album), or sexual healing (Karamo will dial a lady’s number and guide you through the call).
I love Karamo so I looked him up on Twitter, where he shares inspirational mini-videos featuring himself (trust me, if you were taking the ideal person to a desert island, they would have the physical form of Karamo with the personality of Karamo).
In my favourite of his videos, he says: “The next time you get [any] negative messages, look in the mirror and say, ‘You know what? I am perfectly designed. I am perfectly designed.’ Next time someone tries to say those messages to you, have in the back of your mind I am perfectly designed. Because, trust me: you are.”
Thanks to this, I want to refashion my unstylish, unadventurous life. The best place to begin is the pantry, which represents my subconscious. My nuts are jumbled together, I’ve started to buy vacuum packs of pre-cooked rice (the devil’s work) and my freezedried emergency food is taking up too much space.
“Honey,” yelps Jonathan. “What are we waiting for, a plague of locusts?”
“We’re putting all this into vintage glass jars,” soothes Karamo. “Let’s return optimism to your life.”
“Who would you take to a desert island?” whinnies Jonathan. “Michael Bublé,” I say. “It’s like you could have any icecream flavour you wanted,” says Karamo, “but you choose vanilla every time.”
“This is Karori,” I point out. “But OK. The physical form of Tony Curtis with the personality of Winston Churchill.” Jonathan looks blank, so I add: “The wartime British Prime Minister.”
“Yaaas, queen!” he shouts. “Yaaaas!”
“Queer Eye has become my TV of choice when I’m at my most spiritually vulnerable. This is weekdays at 5 o’clock.”