As I was watching “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” the Bravo reality series where five fabulous gay guys transform a straight, uncultured slob, I was struck by a moment where I identified more with the hetero than the homo.
It was a scene where Carson, the fashion maven, was going through the closet of Slob ‘O The Week, and came across his collection of replica NHL jerseys. Carson picked one up that said “Gretzky” across the back and remarked with puzzlement, “Gretzky? What country is that?”
C’mon, dude, I said to the TV. How can you not know who Wayne Gretzky is, maybe the greatest hockey player ever? At least you should know he’s married to B-movie actress Janet Jones; it was in all the tabloids. I’m certainly no fashion poster boy, but even I know about Prada and Tom Ford.
The Fab Five’s apparent lack of sports knowledge led me to an idea: teaching sports-impaired gay men the basics about the world of bats, balls and pucks. Call it “Queer Sports Eye for the Hopeless Homo.” This information can be very useful in those awkward social settings where you have to interact with your ultra-straight brother-in-law, or maybe break the ice with the dad of your new boyfriend. Or even, pray tell, if your significant other would rather watch “SportsCenter” than “Trading Spaces.” I consulted our Fab Five (no, not the Michigan basketball team from the 1990s) and we came up with these following helpful hints, tips and facts about the world of sports.
–Super Bowl Sunday is a rotten day to throw a surprise birthday party for your football-loving boyfriend. It’d be like him asking you to go bowling the night of the Oscars.
–Contrary to what you may think, “Fantasy Football” is not a shower scene between you and the Green Bay Packers starting offense. It’s a game where you “draft” your own team of NFL players to compete against similar teams of your friends. But don’t be like our friend who picked his entire 2002 team based on which players were the hottest. Talent and looks do not always go hand in hand. Just ask Warren Sapp.
–“The Big Dance” is not the Palm Springs White Party. It’s the nickname for the NCAA men’s college basketball championship, a three-week hoops extravaganza featuring hot, young, sweaty jocks slapping each other on the butt while wearing tank tops and shorts and drinking lots of water. Oh, sorry, it is the White Party.
–You need to get down with the nicknames. “Shaq” is Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal; “Kobe” is fellow Laker Kobe Bryant; “A-Rod” is Texas Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez. “Tight end” signifies a football player positioned to the outside of the offensive line eligible to catch passes, not the headline of that hot guy you saw on Gay .com.
–Gary Glitter’s addictive “Rock and Roll Part 2” (aka the Hey! Song) is the sports national anthem, heard in every arena across the land year-round. Here are the complete lyrics, sung for three minutes: “Hey!”
Even Texas A&M alums can memorize it.
— While watching a game, angel hair pasta tossed in olive oil and roasted garlic is a no-no. Doritos with a side of melted cheese product and a box of Krispy Kremes is as gourmet as it gets. We had a friend’s boyfriend come to a football party last year bearing oranges (it gets worse–they were seedless mandarins called “cuties.”) “You do not bring citrus fruit to a football party,” the boyfriend was told by his partner in a tone that resembled John Madden channeling Martha Stewart.
–Beer is the beverage of choice and it should to be a good, old, red-blooded American mass-produced brew like Bud or Miller. If you go micro, avoid foo-foo names like “Sweet Lavender Ale,” and choose “Snarling Pit Bull Malt” instead.
–A satellite dish with Tivo that can pick up the NFL Sunday Ticket and ESPN Classic Sports is de rigueur.
–You need a couch that’s functional, great to lounge on and the right color to hide beer and grease stains. Brushed leather won’t do.
–The kitchen should be within good hearing distance of the TV so you can’t miss a play. Better yet, go for a TV in the kitchen. And the bedroom. One fanatic we know (an ex-NFL player) has TV speakers in his bathroom so as not to miss a thing (how weird to listen to the Steelers going for 2 when you’re doing the same.)
–Contrary to what one friend’s partner thinks, a football trophy is a proper coffee table addition. Talk about a conversation piece!
–Avoid inappropriate combinations. A Yankees hat with a Red Sox sweatshirt; a Florida State visor with a Florida T-shirt; anything with “Los Angeles Clippers” on it. Would you wear your dad’s leisure suit to happy hour at the Boom-Boom Room? We didn’t think so.
–It is OK to go shirtless to a sporting event. But you first must be willing to paint “Hi mom! Go Huskers!” on your chest. Please do us a favor, though–before you bare all, at least have seen the inside of a gym in the past year.
–Tattoos are cool but must be appropriate. We have a good friend who’s a huge Minnesota Vikings fan, and he has a tat of the fierce Viking mascot on his behind. In the old days (before he found Mr. Right), he would go up to a prospective trick and if the guy knew anything about football, would say the Pickup Line That Never Failed: “Would you like to go somewhere private and see my royal Viking ass?” Try that with a tat of Madonna.
–Yes, many athletes wear jockstraps during competition, hence their name. And yes, people notice. Denver Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey (all 6-5, 215 pounds of him) and his wife were once interviewed. The questioner noted that Ed wears undersized shoulder pads and mentioned he must also wear a jock strap. The wife said the jock “is a very large one. That’s why the shoulder pads look so small.” And this was on ESPN, not the Spice Channel.
By J. Buzinski Out Sports – 2003