And the tears kept coming.
The stars of the Emmy award winner ‘Queer Eye’- Jonathan Van Ness, Tan France, Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown and Antonio Porowski have welled up our eyes with moving makeovers nay, transformations in every episode, every season.
Some of the heroes lucky enough to be blessed by the fairy gay godmothers were fathers nominated either by friends or family.
While the conversation around moms giving up on their looks and lifestyle choices have gained momentum, the bit about dads struggling to confront fatherhood has taken a comfy backseat on the lounge chair. Following the ‘Queer Eye’ 45-minute show template, we see the fathers going through a 360 degree transformation with new look, wardrobe, recipes, awesome interiors and a fresh perspective.
What seems to be every day lifestyle tweaks went a long way in transforming shy, anxious men sheltered in the comfort of extended bachelorhood into confident, responsible fathers.
In Queer Eye Season 3, Episode 6 ‘Elrod & Sons’ we see a dad who lost his wife to cancer 2 years ago and is trying to be the best possible father to his two sons.
Calm, composed and patient, Rob took over the responsibility of fatherhood gracefully after his wife but lost himself somewhere in the process. An emotional exchange with Bobby and Karamo reveals his pain of leaving behind. house filled with memories of his wife and moving on to a new home and life with his children.
Speaking to Socio Martini about his ‘Queer Eye’ experience, Rob shared how his life has changed-
“Gaining confidence to buy clothes for my boys that look good was a huge deal for me! Also, as a widowed father, confidence on myself to get back to dating again. The Fab 5 are amazing and have done more than they can show in a 45-minute show.”
In a world where toxic masculinity reigns supreme, fathers are expected to hide away their emotions and ‘get on with it’.
Queer Eye reveals the emotional aspect of fatherhood of striving to meet unrealistic societal expectations. We see the raw, vulnerable father trying his best, failing and yet, trying again. Every single day.
Let’s face it, men are not with parenting skills and the ‘perfect father’ doesn’t exist. Karamo’s ‘Baby Boot Camp’ looks promising but yet a far cry from the real stuff.
Queer Eye shows us that when fathers are willing to accept their shortcomings and work their way to become better men, the world will have better fathers.
And more handsome too.
Image credit: E Online.com
Image credit: The List
Apart from preaching the importance of being the best version of yourself, Queer Eye also addressed fatherhood essentials like showing up for your child. Figure skater Lucy’s dad thought his little girl had everything ‘figured’ out until he saw her figure skating alongside Olympian Michelle Kwan. The champion pointed out the areas she needed to work on with her father seated on the front row. This way, he could see his work cut out for him and later he rose to the occasion by guiding her in the finals.
Fathers can not only be the fun parent but also a mentor if he is willing to try and his child is willing to cast him in a second role.
Psychotherapist Karamo Brown shows how confidence shapes up when you overcome personal struggles like letting go of your past. Wesley Hamilton, father of a young girl lets go of the pain that stopped him from living his best life for the longest time by facing the man who shot him and paralysed him from waist down.
Free from all inhibitions with a renewed zeal for life, Wesley finally became the hero his mother and daughter deserve. Also, the leader of ‘Disabled but not really‘- an organisation providing equal access for the underserved disabled community.
“Having the ability to be comfortable at home has given me the opportunity to be a better parent. One that can teach life skills to their child. I feel my bond with my daughter has gotten better due to the mental chains I broke away from during the time of my episode.
On top of that I clean up pretty nice now when we go out on our little dates – “thanks Tan”
Dads often laugh over their droopy double chin, muffin top or ‘cleavage’ and others join in without realising how harmful this habit can be.
Father of 3, Robert Hitchcock had stopped putting effort on his appearance while struggling with heaps of self-doubt every single day. He didn’t stop to reflect on how making jokes about his flaws pushed him deeper into a toxic cocoon of insecurities.
Until he met Karamo.
The psychotherapist made Robert sit down and listen to himself criticising his flaws which literally changed the father’s life.
“The episode only shows a rather short interaction. I sat in the chair listening to myself speak very poorly of every aspect of myself for almost 15 minutes. That exercise has left a very permanent effect on my life. I have lost 50 pounds since the episode. I no longer speak poorly of myself. I even actively try to speak with people when I hear them speaking poorly about their self.”
Image credit: Robert Hitchcock
Queer Eye gave us a lot of amazing transformations that made us wonder what would dads look like if they made self-care a part of their daily routine.
As Jonathan would say-
“Because honey you can only be a better person if you are
the best version of yourself”
This Father’s Day, cut your old man some slack and reach out to him.
As our fairy gay godmothers would do, make him feel special with an impromptu visit to the mall, cook something delicious or simply get mani-pedis together. If Queer Eye has taught us anything, it is the little things that make the world go round.
Cover credits: Queer Eye Instagram