Being read aloud to by Simon Doonan is a rare treat--one that I was privy to yesterday when Barneys' creative ambassador-at-large held story time at the department store to promote his latest book, Gay Men Don't Get Fat ($24.95, Blue Rider Press). The book is Doonan's fourth, and it's a hilarious piss take at French Women Don't Get Fat, dedicated to "the straight women of the world, whose lives seem insanely more complicated than my own and whose shoes must surely hurt like hell." Being read to from it was like getting a slightly dirty totally hilarious bed time story from the gay uncle you wish you had, only at 9 a.m. over yogurt and berries at Barneys--so, even gayer.
Speaking of yogurt and berries, Doonan would tell you that they are totally gay foods. Foods, according to Doonan, can be categorized by their sexuality. He discussed this theory, and much more yesterday, including: why fashion people should stop being so masochistic, why he'd be a horrible addition to Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, the abysmal state of the red carpet, and why you shouldn't get offended by his book.
On categorizing foods: I can't believe people always thought there were four food groups. It's so obvious that there's two--there's gay food and straight food. I mean a bean burrito, hello, it's a phallic symbol, it's obviously straight. I'm not advocating gay food though I'm advocating a balance of the two. For example you order a steak then you need a nelly salad.
On the gayest food: The gayest food has gotta be macarons. If you lived on macarons you'd explode in a nuclear cloud of gayness. [and later] I think sushi is the gayest food because you're taking these big sloppy pieces of fish and turning them into little bon bons.
On whether food is getting gayer [I asked this one, citing the expansion of Ladurée into the US as an example]: Food is getting gayer but it's not because of gay men. When I did Iron Chef these two big hairy butch chefs were cooking against each other and the secret ingredient was sparkling wine, which I thought was very gay, and the dishes that they prepared were so gay. All that food as architecture thing with the little triangles, that's not coming from gay men, that's coming from straight men. I just want that on the record. At some point people are going to ask when food turned into this insane thing--foam, dry ice--and that was invented by Ferran Adrià, and he's straight. But we gays will be blamed for it I'm sure.
On his book and stereotypes: I hope it plays to stereotypes. I love stereotypes and sweeping generalizations and everything that's un-PC. It's a humor book. In a way you diffuse stereotypes if you throw them around.
On why he'd be a miserable addition to Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: I don't have that helpful gene. You know on Queer Eye they were so helpful? I never understood that show. They would take men who were kind of fun looking and had a mullet and a goofy outfit and make them look sensible. If I met a guy who had a mullet I would say 'OK, let's make it a bit longer and glossier.' In Star magazine I always like that page where it says 'What were they thinking!?.' I don't want people to look sensible. I want them to be fun and crazy and try new things and be reckless.
On why the fashion industry should stop being so self-serious and self-conscious: Plenty of people in fashion are very self critical and masochistic in the way they approach their bodies, themselves, their personal styles. They should be reckless and have fun and not be self conscious. I'm always very uncomfortable if I feel people are very self-critical. That's why all my books encourage people to go nuts.
On red carpet dressing: I'm hoping that we've reached some kind of critical period where people do let rip because I'm sick of hearing about Bjork and the swan dress--people always go back to it simply because no one's worn anything that interesting in years. Tilda Swinton I'm always looking forward to seeing. Oh and that chick from the Dragon Tattoo. That film was meh but she's pretty great. If she can take some of that insanity onto the red carpet...
On whether he's worried about any backlash from French woman: No, they're all at home eating macarons admiring themselves and smoking gitanes. But I'm not walking past the French embassy anytime soon.