Lifetime Television, often referred to as "the network for women and gay men" for its excessive repeats of Designing Women and The Golden Girls, will get even more girly and more gay (if that's possible) Monday night, when it premieres its new reality dating show, Gay, Straight or Taken? I've seen only one episode, but if GST? is really what it's like to be a straight woman trying to survive the dating scene, then, man, are single gals shit out of luck.
Like most of these shows, it starts off innocently enough. Twenty-seven-year-old real-estate agent "Jenner"—a cross between a Bush twin and Miss Nevada—cozies up to three supposedly straight guys who each possess six-pack abs, killer butt dimples and enough product in their hair to fuel a DC-10. The big twist in this piece of trash is that our damsel in fake tresses needs to find out, through a series of gender-stereotypical activities such as touch football, ballroom dancing and yoga, which one of them is the single, straight man. If she's right, the lucky guy joins her for an "exotic" Hawaiian vacation. If she's wrong, then, like in life, she gets squat.
In 2004, the Fox network played a similar trick on a gal with Playing It Straight. That show's premise—a lady must pick a straight needle out of a mixed haystack of hets and homos—was more of a Duke lacrosse party than this intimate foursome, but just as telling.
For time infinitum, mainly out of basic instinct, gay men passed themselves off as straight men. That's common knowledge. But these shows also reveal to our collective conscious something we might all be better off not knowing: It's a bit of an ego trip to think you're completely unavailable to your non-choice of sex.
In what can only be considered a weird role reversal, and maybe a step up for evolution, straight men are now fooling themselves into believing everyone thinks they're gay. They thrive on it. And why wouldn't they? Gay men are the social equivalent to a full open bar of top-shelf alcohol. So what if we can't get married? We can, and do, get laid pretty much any minute of the day and look damn good doing it. It's started to mess up everybody's gaydar (that thing in your head that instinctively figures out which man in the room enjoys his legs up in the air). And the "everybody's queer" genie doesn't look like it's about to go back into its sweet-ass little bottle anytime soon.
Although this doesn't bode well for women, it does make for interesting pop culture. So is it any surprise the show's executive producer, Joe Livecchi, is also the guy behind the sewer-dwelling Maury Povich Show? Like Povich's show, GST? brings out the worst in the best of us, making us all a bit more "gullible," "stupid," and even more than we realize, "taken." Now that's good television.