I don’t care. It’s Queer Eye, a Netflix programme where five experts of varying styles of Fierce, Gay, Altogether, advise people who are stuck in a bit of a meh, about culture, fashion, grooming, hair, interior design and general YAS QUEEN.
It’s about real men. By real men I don’t mean people who fight bears, remember fighting the commies in Korea or who could cut turf with a butter knife. Just real men with their mundane problems talking about themselves, while simultaneously being hugged by the immaculately turned out, manscaped and no doubt fragrant Fab 5.
There’s no shortage of men talking in films and telly. You might have seen a simple little graphic doing the rounds last week. It looks at all the lines spoken in Oscar-winning films of the last decade and a half and shows the percentage spoken by men and spoken by women. Let’s just say the gender equality has a distinctly Saudi look about it.
And if you took out the lines spoken by women like “what are we going to do now?” and “promise me you’ll be careful. I love you so much I can’t bear to lose you again” and “LOOK OUT!” then the picture would look even more Wahhabi.
That this is bad for women goes without saying. But the kind of reductive view of interactions between an average sample of human beings is not much help for men either, because so much of that dialogue that we get to hear is a particular type of maleness. Either they’re being all wise-cracky and gun-splatty or endlessly ruminating on the nature of existence in Oscar bait movies or barking orders to insubordinates. There isn’t enough ordinary maleness.
We arrived at Queer Eye having struggled through two more hours of Men Talking About The World on a programme called Mr Robot. It’s a highly regarded show about a hacker who um… hacks and thinks about the way the world works and Christian Slater comes in from time to time to reinforce the point we’re all pawns and have sold our soul for a bit of social media dopamine.
As I approach 40, I don’t have a whole lot of time on this planet for the amount of TV that must be watched, if a must-watch series is not passing muster, only a few episodes are all my biological clock has time for. If we’re going to watch men talk about themselves, it might as well be a 50-something from Georgia smoking on a porch and saying he’s a bit lonely. And so the five help him spruce himself up a little to make himself a bit more fabulous.
It doesn’t take watching much of Queer Eye to start thinking about what would they make of me. They go into a subject’s wardrobe and start going through their clothes. I cringe at what they might say: “Can you believe? All your clothes have stains on them Colm, what. Is . Up. With. That? And why are they all navy? Are you aware of other colours?”
I’m ready to let Tan France, the fashion expert, go shopping with me, especially because the shop seems to be empty when he goes in. There isn’t even a fella young enough to be your nephew, much better able to wear the clothes hovering offering to help, when you’re feeling brittle. Tan will sort me out with a button-down shirt before you can say “Yes symmetry. Yes Balance”
Either way, Queer Eye, I’m sure I need help and hugs but mainly trousers that fit properly. I’m ready to tell my story.