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Thread: Straight Guys, Post-Queer Eye

  1. #1
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    Straight Guys, Post-Queer Eye

    There was a long piece that appeared in some New Jersey papers Sunday on John Bargeman, the "Little Bit Country" guy who proposed to his girlfriend in the episode that was also shown on NBC. Here are some excerpts:

    "[The show] opened some doors on his way to building a career as a screen actor. An audition was scheduled last week with casting executives at NBC, parent company to the Bravo TV network that developed and now carries the 'Queer Eye' series. After having worked with an acting coach, Bargeman was getting ready to read 10 pages of dialogue, putting some last touches on his performance and detailing his delivery of the material. ... Bargeman never believed he would get to this point in his career from appearing once on a one-hour reality television series."

    " 'It's changed life a lot,' Bargeman said, 'just in my appearance alone. I pay more attention to what I put on in the morning and how I take care of myself. I have a lot more respect for myself than I used to, you know? And a lot more confidence. I don't think I would've thought about it unless these guys came into my life and did it for me.' "

    " 'One thing's for a fact: I have more respect for gay people now than I ever did in my whole entire life,' Bargeman said. 'Coming from a small town in Virginia, I was never mixed into different kinds of cultures and different ways of living. My town is Hickville, [it's] country. I love it, but I just wanted to broaden my horizons.' "

    "He no longer shaves against the grain. He realizes the inherent value of moisturizer. He now successfully achieves that perfectly unkempt hairstyle that movie stars commonly sport. Bargeman even now plans to get facials, manicures and pedicures every six weeks. The one thing he won't give up, however, is his signature dark tan needle pointed-toe boots."

    "Bargeman, like many others before him, came to New York City to make it big. He hoped to break his way into the glitzy world of acting.... Represented by an agent in Milan, Bargeman has been featured in advertisements for Dasani bottled water and other products. Although his modeling resume is impressive for someone with no professional training, acting gigs still eluded him. He scored a few jobs as an 'extra' on shows like HBO's 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' and 'Sex and the City,' but speaking parts were hard to come by. He said he hopes the exposure he garnered from his 'Queer Eye' time will give him more leverage in angling for roles."

    "Bargeman said he and Jersey City resident Kyan Douglas - the "Fab Five's" grooming guru - had lunch at Hamilton Park Ale House a few weeks ago."

    " 'It's funny, but I get checked out a lot by gay guys now and I feel more comfortable,' Bargeman said. 'It makes me feel good. It might sound weird coming from a straight guy, but if gay guys are checking you out, then you know you're good looking, you know?' "

  2. #2
    For Your Entertainment lobeck's Avatar
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    " 'One thing's for a fact: I have more respect for gay people now than I ever did in my whole entire life,' Bargeman said. 'Coming from a small town in Virginia, I was never mixed into different kinds of cultures and different ways of living. My town is Hickville, [it's] country. I love it, but I just wanted to broaden my horizons.' "
    Well, good for him...

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    Loserdork... and proud! ~*~Morgan~*~'s Avatar
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    Wow, that's so great! Good for him! I'm really glad that he was able to open up his mind and look outside his comfort zone. He sounds like a true Queer Eye success...

    I always wondered if the Fab 5 kept in contact with their makeover men... I guess that answers my question in this particular case .

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    Fort Beaudyfull BorderEevil2's Avatar
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    It's good to hear John's new outlook on himself and towards gay men & WOMEN! Let's not forget the ladies! When the F5 walked into John's home, I perceived him to be VERY open. Usually straight guys gets uncomfortable if a gay guy innocently gets flirted with like Carson shamelessly does with good fun on each episode.

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    I'm also glad that doors are opening up for John B. He was one of my favorites and seemed like such a nice guy. I still wish him the best.

    When is the wedding? Will he buy the tux and not rent? Who will help him? Bravo needs to show a follow up on that beautiful couple. They were so genuine.

    ****************************** ********************
    Quote Originally Posted by BorderEevil2
    It's good to hear John's new outlook on himself and towards gay men & WOMEN! Let's not forget the ladies! When the F5 walked into John's home, I perceived him to be VERY open. Usually straight guys gets uncomfortable if a gay guy innocently gets flirted with like Carson shamelessly does with good fun on each episode.
    Carson flirt? Are you sure it was him? Naw, maybe it's your TV reception. Carson is the shy, unassuming, reserved guy.

    If there's flirting or pants buttoning to be done--Carson's the guy for the job!
    Last edited by eldee; 09-29-2003 at 01:48 PM.

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    Caged Maveno's Avatar
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    If there's flirting or pants buttoning to be done--Carson's the guy for the job!


    I think you meant to say, "UN-buttoning"....
    All things beautiful do not have to be full of color to be noticed; in
    life that which is unnoticed has the most power.

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    FORT Fogey eldee's Avatar
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    Huh. I figured people would object to John B. being an aspiring actor, in violation of the "no actors" rule, the same way people objected to Alan C. for being a comedian, which is sorta against the "no actors" rule. Is it just because people didn't like Alan C. to begin with, but wouldn't mind seeing some more John B. on their screen?

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    I think it's because John B really seemed to have an open mind and be invested in the whole process. He WANTED to look better and feel better and impress his gf. He took it seriously, even if he did have the ulterior motive of getting exposure (which is debatable, because that early on he surely didn't know this would become a sensation). Alan, OTOH, was, it seemed to me, playing the show for laughs--he wanted to be annoying and obstinate and get lots of people noticing him, and he used the guys and the show as props. It's NOT just a personal dislike, at least for me. I didn't personally like John V much, but he was sincere and so I don't really HATE him the way I do Alan.

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    A great article in Newsday:

    ...But what happens to the "Queer Eye" Cinderfellas once their fairy godmothers have left the building? Do they just lapse back into a fog of untrimmed nose hair, ossified Chinese takeout and Old Spice? Is it really possible to turn a slob into a style savant - and make it stick?

    If anyone makes a case against "Queer Eye" recidivism, it's Adam Zalta, 39-year-old father of three and star of Episode No. 102, "A Great Mess in Great Neck."

    "It's a Toys 'R' Us crack den!" exclaimed Filicia when he first glimpsed the family's toy-strewn living room. In the kitchen and foyer, the tile floors were exfoliating. And the storage spaces were so crammed that the term "walk-in closet" was pretty much a misnomer. "It's the House of Horrors," offered Zalta's mother helpfully.

    As for her son, an extremely likable computer-business owner, he needed a little sprucing up of his own. Zalta got his hair cut about every solstice and shaved in the car with an electric razor once a week. And let's not even get into the ear hair or the uni-brow.

    Then the Fab 5 descended on the tousled North Shore home, stuffing all the toys into the basement, redoing the red-carpeted living room and artfully repainting the built-in bookshelves to showcase the family's photos and objets. The kitchen floor was patched with tiles borrowed from under the refrigerator, and tone-on-tone corkboard tiles covered the "Where the Wild Things Are" wallpaper in the kitchen.

    Six months after the last echoes of clinking Cosmopolitans and "Cheers, Queers" left this leafy Great Neck neighborhood, Zalta is still stylin'.

    "I go pink, I go green, I even go stripes now," beams Zalta, at the moment decked out in a pink Polo oxford shirt. He's gotten his hair cut a whopping four times since the show taped in late March, although admittedly, he hasn't returned to the Fab 5-approved salon each time: "I still go to my guy a couple of times in between, because I think a $50 haircut is too steep." Ditto for waxing his ears and eyebrows: He enlists his wife, Karen, 35, for the touch-up work, with the plan to return to the salon for a professional job three times a year.

    "They opened my eyes," he says affectionately of his style mentors. "They didn't hold back. The show showed me how sloppy I was - and you don't realize how bad you are until you see yourself on TV." Reluctant to let the momentum fade, Zalta recently hired a personal trainer and embarked on a nutrition and workout regimen, dropping almost 10 pounds so far.

    To keep the Fab 5's handiwork intact, "no one's allowed in the living room - only adults," says Zalta, flopping down on his favorite piece of furniture, the "chofa" - a cross between a chair and sofa. He motions to a nearby lamp with a skewed shade. "That's the way it's supposed to be," he offers authoritatively. "On the angle."

    With the exception of a little backsliding in the shaving department - Zalta might go three days without lathering up - "95 percent of the stuff," he concludes, "we've kept up." (Among the 5 percent: the kosher foie-gras mousse, which everyone pretty much hated, including the Zaltas' 6-year-old, who threw it up.)

    And social pressure ensures at least a minimal adherence to Fab 5 standards: People Zalta's never met ask mutual friends to drive them over to see the living room.

    ***

    Another "Queer Eye" alum, Vincent Taylor of the Bronx (Episode No. 106), who gets stopped on the street a minimum of three times a day, says public scrutiny keeps him on his toes, too. "I used to go to Pathmark at 2 in the morning and throw on anything," says Taylor, who is a casting director and studio manager. "Now I have to shave and iron my shirt."

    Pre-"Queer Eye," Taylor's big problem was having more stuff than his Co-Op City apartment could accommodate. So the Fab 5 spirited off all the excess to a storage center.

    "A lot of it we didn't need," Taylor admits, adding that he and his wife threw out 45 bags of rejects from storage once their free three-month rental expired. Some of the things he couldn't part with - like the sound equipment parked on a handtruck in the corner of the master bedroom - have re-infiltrated. ("He likes clutter," confides wife Vivia conspiratorially.) And a busy life with two precocious kids - Brandon, 8, and Brianca, 4 - means that the kitchen table might be strewn with papers and the bathroom shelves outfitted with nonapproved grooming products. But the Fab 5's sleek design and fashion tips have stuck - largely because they work, says Taylor.

    "Smell ... caffeine and peppermint," he says, proferring his bottle of N\>DN Rejuvenating Body Wash and noting with concern that it's almost depleted. Taylor is now pretty much addicted to his "Queer Eye" skin regimen, adding that strangers ask him about the products all the time. And being the only man of color among the show's makeovers has made him a bit of a trailblazer.

    "I get stopped by a lot of black women on the street who say their husbands are going to spas now because I did on the show," he says, recalling the singer who visited him for a studio session. "She said, 'Most African-American men thought it was very feminine to go to a salon until you did that facial.' It was like I justified it."

    Like Zalta, Taylor likes every piece of clothing that Kressley selected for him. (And, like all the furniture, the wardrobe was free.) "One of my favorite pieces of clothing they got me has sparkles on it," he says, retreating to the bedroom to produce a pair of flocked jeans and a purple-and-blue iridescent shirt. But like his Great Neck counterpart, he finds the price tags - a cool $200 each - more than he's willing to pay for apparel.

    ***

    When it comes to toeing the well-manicured "Queer Eye" line, both Zalta and Taylor have been maintaining a little more smoothly than Tom Kaden of Episode No. 103, whose messy Long Beach house prompted Kressley to request "a Ritalin smoothie." Pizza boxes, half- eaten bowls of cereal and snack-food wrappers littered the floor, and the living room's focal point was a boomerang over the window.

    Kaden, 30, has the distinction of being the only "Queer Eye" graduate to survive with long hair intact - "Jesus meets Howard Stern," one of the Fab 5 mused - requiring only a trim and some layers to add volume. But he hasn't cut it since the show taped in April. And while Kressley addressed his "shoe drought" by lugging in suede Birkenstocks and driving mocs, Kaden retrieved his favorite pair of black boots from the backyard, where they had been tossed out and rained on for weeks.

    Working with the Fab 5 required learning a whole new vocabulary, he says. "They asked me where my products were. I was like, 'What's a product?'" After getting "yelled at for using Head & Shoulders - I didn't know that was a bad thing," he has settled into using the Robert Kree products recommended by Douglas, who wisely taped numbers under the three bottles in anticipation of the fact that Kaden wouldn't know a molding paste from a pomade.

    As for the house, "it goes through peaks and valleys, but it still looks good when we have people over," says Kaden, wearing a Diesel shirt that he bought for himself. After six months, the space isn't "Queer Eye" perfect, with piles of CDs in the corner and excess mail stuffed on the once-artfully arranged living-room shelves. But helping to maintain order is girlfriend Lisa, whom Kaden endearingly invited to move in at episode's end via a to-do list on the kitchen chalkboard - "Eggs/Ravioli/Lisa, will you move in?/Bread" - which he has yet to erase.

    "'Need' is a strong word," he says, reflecting on how badly he required the makeover. "I could have gone on without it. But it did help." Staying presentable "is a lot of work," he concedes, "and I might lapse here and there, but I would be disappointed if I didn't keep it up."

    Indeed, all the "Queer Eye" alumni now find themselves facing the same challenge going forward - not only to maintain what the Fab 5 have created, but to build on from there.

    Zalta, with his new health regimen and home-improvement projects, is already off to a strong start. While it's tempting to keep the living room an untouched shrine, new elements have crept in, including a display of family pictures. A new book sits on the coffee table in the living room: "Kosher Sex," the title reads.

    The Fab 5 would doubtless approve.

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