I've watched half-a-dozen episodes of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy", and I've picked up a few good tips.

1. Shave downward, after taking a shower. I used to shave upward, before my shower, and this was quite a change. I still don't feel like I get as close of a shave now that I shave with the grain of my beard rather than against it, but the whole process a lot easier on my skin. No bleeding or razor burn.

2. Don't be afraid of colors. I used to buy muted, even drab couture, but the queer guys have inspired me to go with a little more color. Not as much as Carson, but I've moved beyond dull earth-tones. As Thom says: don't match, coordinate. I've bought some more interesting and lively patterns with some brighter primary colors, and it's actually kinda fun to pick out clothes now. I still pretty much go linearly through my clean shirts, but at least I give more than a minimal amount of thought to how the end product looks.

3. Accessorize. This is my next step. I have a watch that I really like, and it's turned me on to perhaps buying another in a different style and color; then I could change things up a bit by wearing different watches on different days! I also want a pair of sunglasses, but I haven't been able to find any I like yet. I don't think I'm going to do much accessorizing beyond that. Actually, my mortgage agent had a huge gold ring with his initials in diamonds, and it looked pretty pimp... but nah.

4. Shoes. I can't even tell you how many times girls have told me that the first things they look at when they see a guy are his shoes. I have decent shoes (better than a year ago), but Queer Eye has inspired me to take it to the next level: the level beyond tennis shoes. I like my Vans and Converses, but I think I can find some comfortable, classy shoes that look a little more formal and a little nicer. New shoes, along with a couple simple accessories, should really help to accent my new, colorful look.

Queer Eye is a strange show. On the one hand, it can be a bit emasculating; the whole show is based around reforming a man to make him more feminine. But on the other hand, I should use scare quotes around "feminine"; it's only lazy, pseudo-macho, scruffy men who would reject the idea of sprucing themselves up a bit so that they can be more appealing to women.

Take from it what you will. My problem is that I've always wanted to look "cool", but I never really knew how. Now I feel more confident going into any clothing store I see and trying on anything that catches my eye. Well-dressed salespeople used to intimidate me -- but no longer. The little bit of knowledge I've gleaned from a handful of gay guys has freed me to explore my own sense of style with less hesitation, and it's a blast.



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