It doesn't take a pair of homos to tell you that gay is in. But Billy Thomas and Paul Trenkamp have seen enough Queer Eye for the Straight Guy to know what's hot and what's not for homosexuals and metrosexuals alike.
Think of Thomas as Akron's version of Carson, Queer Eye's fashion maven; Trenkamp is its disposable party boy, Jai. Both honed their skills at Gay 101: Learn How to Be a Proper Homosexual, a weekly do-and-don't session at Babylon, one of Akron's edgiest gay bars. Clips from gay-themed films will be shown, and DJ Deanna will lead a discussion on proper queer etiquette, based on lessons learned from the movies.
Rule No. 1, says Thomas: Keep your wardrobe "trendy, hip, expensive, yet casual." He prefers to make his fashion statements in the latest Ben Sherman, French Connection, and Diesel fare. And a trip to the hairdresser every once in a while doesn't hurt, he says. "The new thing now is longer hair. Washed, but frazzled and unkempt."
With clothes and coif in place, it's time to hit the town -- but it's no place to play Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Trenkamp says. "People couldn't care less if I get a little fagged out," he says. "But I'm not gonna walk into the Ritz-Carlton and start screaming 'Girl!' and 'Miss Thing!' and be obnoxious." And referring to other gay men as "she" and "her" is sooo 20th-century. "If we were drag queens, then that would be OK," Thomas explains. "But we're guys."
When entertaining at home, a flash of feminine flair goes a long way. Splurge on fresh flowers and aromatic candles. And play retro music, preferably from the '80s. It's even cooler if it's on vinyl. But whatever you do, don't skimp on the food and drink. "We want shrimp cocktail, stone crab claws, and bread dipped in olive oil and spices," Thomas offers. "Liquor should be top shelf," adds Trenkamp. "And don't serve those little cocktail weenies."