Wester&Lacroix.Seeing Straight Throught the Queer Eye

With his head and arm powerfully locked in close

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: m. Kyan often touches straight men’s faces and hair while discussing skin care or hair style options. Carson frequently adjusts his clients’ clothing, coming dangerously close to the men’s genitalia on many occasions; so much so, in fact, that this tendency is sometimes joked upon by him and by his comrades. For example, in the Thomas Kaden episode, Carson, kneels down in front of Thomas, fusses at his crotch, and says, ‘‘and cough,’’ mimicking a doctor checking for a hernia during a medical examination. D o w n l o a d e d B y : [ O h i o S t a t e U n i v e r s i t y L i b r a ri e s ] A t : 1 7 : 4 5 7 J u n e 2 0 0 7 Seeing ‘‘Straight’’ through Queer Eye 437 Although much of the touching is associated with the formulaic grooming of the Fab Five’s clients, some instances occur spontaneously. The transgressiveness of such touching is often heightened by commentary or teasing remarks supplied by the Fab Five. In an episode featuring the Bravo Twins, we learn the brothers enjoy wrestling (Episode 127). As the episode opens, they are shown wrestling each other. Later, Brandon wrestles with Carson, throws him on a bed, and puts him in a leg lock. With his head and arm powerfully locked in close proximity to Brandon’s crotch, Carson is rendered uncharacteristically speechless. When he finally is released, Carson fans his face, and comments archly, ‘‘That was fun.’’ The Fab Five’s straight clients are the focus of all this teasing and touching, and of the homoerotic interest it reflects. While Queer Eye ’s formula affords the Fab Five liminal license to hint at homoeroticism in their encounters with ‘‘straight’’ men, they are not permitted to go beyond such playful hints. This is in keeping with Sedgwick’s (1985) observation about a strictly observed limit to male bonding in ‘‘straight’’ contexts, with homosocial behavior of this kind stopping just short of overt homoeroticism. As a ritual of rebellion, Queer Eye temporarily bends but does not break this rule. We do not necessarily expect to see Carson or his colleagues romantically or sexually involved with any of their clients. However, we must point out that the possibility of such involvement is frequently introduced, only to be precluded by the limits imposed by the series’ ritual formula. Ritual Rupture and Ritual Restoration Spatial invasions and retreats also play an important role in the ritual formula of Queer Eye . Most episodes begin with the rapid integration of the Fab Five into a straight man’s life and home, and conclude with the Fab Five comfortably confined in their luxuriously appointed loft, seated in front of a television set to view video of how their newest made-over straight man acquits himself during the date, party, or social event for which they prepared him. This penetration of heterosexual space by the Fab Five, and their subsequent exile from the same, bookends most episodes. These bookends ritually emphasize the provisional nature of the Fab Five’s forays into the heterosexual world, and underscore the fact that they are temporary trespassers. They are not permanent fixtures in that world. Indeed, if Queers were regarded as a natural and normal part of the cultural mainstream, there would be no need at the beginning of each show to enter visibly a world to which they already belong, and no requirement that they leave that world by episode’s end. That they must enter and leave speaks volumes about their place * or more accurately, their lack of place * in the heterosexual world. The Fab Five forcibly invade the lives and homes of their straight clients. They do not walk but rather run from their SUV and into the men’s homes, where they quickly move from room to room. They are often shown ransacking their clients’ homes, trashing their possessions, engaging in messy food fights, and parading around in clothing culled from their clients’ wardrobes. These violent entrances emphasize that the Fab Five’s presence and participation in the straight world is a sudden and violent D o w n l o a d e d B y : [ O h i o S t a t e U n i v e r s i t y L i b r a ri e s ] A t : 1 7 : 4 5 7 J u n e 2 0 0 7 438 R. Westerfelhaus & C. Lacroix rupture of the normal sociosexual order. In the Rob Munroe episode, for example, Ted breaks something in the kitchen, while Kyan damages what appears to be a very expensive African fertility statue. No item or space in a straight guy’s home is deemed forbidden. The Fab Five look into closets and under beds. They examine personal correspondence and peruse porn collections. In the Josh Diaz episode, Kyan scrutinizes the bathroom with a flashlight and seizes upon a bottle in Josh’s medicine cabinet, yelling, ‘‘I’ve got pubes on the baby oil!’’ The Fab Five invade their straight clients’ privacy as well as their personal space. This transgressive rupture ritually emphasizes the potential for the disruption of the heterosexist order attending any incursion of gays into straight spaces, whether cultura...
View Full Document

Ask a homework question - tutors are online