Reviewed by L.D.Y.
Hardcover (available in trade), 256 pages, 2004
Reason for Reading: I think the tv show is hilarious.
Synopsis: Television’s Fab Five continue their quest to improve straight men, this time in book form. Each expert focuses on their area of expertise in an individual section: food and wine (Ted); grooming (Kyan); interior design (Thom); fashion (Carson); and culture (Jai).
Why you should read this book: An informative yet informal book if you’re a guy looking for a little self improvement; or, just as likely, a female wishing for a more presentable boyfriend/husband, because eventually taco night on the floor in front of the tv with him unshaved and in boxers loses its charm. The presentation of all the tips is simple and easy to follow, making it easy to do a few suggestions at a time, such as figuring out the basics of wines or the meaning of “black tie optionial.”
Why you should avoid this book: There’s really not a lot included in here that you wouldn’t have picked up from the show, and some of it seems to be pulled directly from their on-air lines. Other than Carson’s section, a lot of the personality and humour that makes the show great is lost in book form, unfortunately. A lot of pictures make the book look nice, but it does drastically cut space for information. For forty bucks, it would be nice to go beyond a recap of the show.
In the last year, American men have come to know and expect that the dramatic arrival of five impeccably dressed gay men at their door can mean only one thing: Their life is about to get more fabulous. Hair is going to fly, horrible hetero habits will be exposed and eradicated, ratty futons and plastic flowers will get the heave-ho, the fridge will be carefully decontaminated. He must be torn down before a wonderful new, totally tszujed him can be erected. And you know what? He’ll like it. No – he’ll love it.
Here’s the secret: You can’t go wrong cooking for your love interest. You just can’t. Do the chicken right and she will do you right. And if you burn the chicken? It’s cute. An anecdote. As long as the entire house is not consumed in flames, you will not merely endure the trials of cooking for a woman, you will prevail.
This may come as a shock, but I don’t like the word fashion. People throw that term around a lot, and what they mean by it is “of the moment.” What’s in now, what’s out? What’s the rage today, and what’s so two years ago? But this is so not what being a stylish man is all about. My whole philosophy – my personal commitment to help keep you from looking like a complete jackass – is that we all need to find our own personal style. Couture that works for Carson may not be right for you. Don’t just buy clothes that people tell you are the things you should have. (Unless it’s me telling you.) Your wardrobe should be composed of things that fit and flatter you, things that tell the world something fascinating about your personality, and things that won’t embarrass either of us in the morning.
Also recommended: The Fabulous Girl’s Guide to Decorum by Kim Izzo and Ceri Marsh; The Fabulous Girl’s Code Red: A Guide to Grace Under Pressure by Kim Izzo and Ceri Marsh.
Also by this author: Esquire’s Things A Man Should Know About Sex; Esquire’s Things A Man Should Know About Handshakes, White Lies, and Which Fork Goes Where; Esquire’s Things A Married Man Should Know About Marriage; Esquire’s Things A Man Should Know About Style (all co-authored by Ted Allen).
Author’s website: bravotv.com
Â© Lisa Yanaky 2003-2007