If there's one thing the VICE UK editorial team realised after imagining how we'd do on Love Island, it's that we're all emotionally-stunted and deeply unpleasant to be around.
Because the new season of Netflix's Queer Eye premieres today – and because the Fab Five's whole shtick is making emotionally-stunted people more pleasant to be around – this morning, we took stock of what exactly is wrong with us, and imagined how Antoni, Tan, Karamo, Jonathan and Bobby might be able to help.
My entire life. It would be my entire life. You know the fun bit at the start of every episode where the Fab Five bundle into your home and have fun pointing at all the bad design choices, messy surfaces and unusual clothing items that they then play dress-up with? That would be the end of the episode.
"This is how you live?" Jonathan whispers to himself. Karamo doesn’t dare touch the sleeves of his satin bomber jacket on any of the surfaces in my home. Antoni wants to show me how to make a glass of water ("You need to start drinking this"), but there are no clean glasses and no washing up soap. Bobby is on the phone to my landlord asking what he can and can't do to my house ("So I have to renovate an east London flat and I can… only… use… Command hooks? How is tha— how?"). Tan has phoned his agent and left.
Eventually, we all just draw the curtains to keep the sun out and climb together into my bed. "It's bad in here, isn't it, lads," I say, and they all sadly nod. We spoon together deep into the night, sobbing at how bad life can be. I have broken them. They will never be the same again. Third season gets cancelled and fans coordinate a whole hate-mail campaign against me.
I am extremely lazy and the Fab Five are all weirdly proactive – and though I hate having a messy bedroom, I don't have the energy or motivation to tidy it. So they could help out there. Following that, Bobby will hear that I'm a writer and put a collage made from every pen I've ever touched on my wall, which I will hate. But as long as I don't have to tidy anything up myself, that's fine.
Then, Karamo – angel and saviour of souls – will wrap me up in a blanket and take me through the scrapbook he's carefully curated for me. It will contain photos of every defining moment in my life so far, from when I learned to ride a bike to my sexual awakening – i.e. Colin Farrell saying "breakfast, lunch and dinner" in that sex tape. I don't know how he's got hold of any of it, but it's Karamo: I trust him with my life. There's nothing he can't do. We'll hold hands and tear up together.
I'll never have to see my therapist ever again.
I've got low self-esteem and split ends, so I would very much welcome a Queer Eye transformation. In the introductory meeting – when the Fab Five pile into my home and ransack it; sweet, precious Jonathan careering around, screaming "YAS, HAT!" while wearing one of my bras as a sort of bonnet – I'd say something vague about liking RuPaul's Drag Race and, er, the colour green, meaning that after three days Bobby would have rendered my entire home into an emerald green runway featuring a wall-sized mural of Michelle Visage. I would adore it.
To Karamo – looking deeply into my eyes, asking me about my traumas and passions – I'd mumble something about how I sometimes enjoy creative writing in my spare time, and based only on this morsel of information he'd organise an entire event populated with everyone I have ever met, and force me to read my terrible poems to all of them. I would pretend to enjoy it just so he wouldn't be upset with me, because he had told me he believes in me.
Tan would put me in a pair of knee-high boots to make me look less short; Jonathan would apply eye-cream to my face, squealing. I would cry with gratitude and tell them they have changed my life. From Antoni, there is unfortunately nothing I can learn. I love you, my ripped, sensitive, Canadian angel, but my go-to meal is Quorn vegan nuggets and potato smiles, and even I don't need your help.
All I can imagine is Antoni's edamame arms sweeping open my freezer drawers. He sees the stockpiled Quorn nugs: "Oh... You really love those nuggets!" I look at the nuggets like I'm seeing them for the first time: "Nugs, yeah." As I swallow something like shame, he tosses them bag by bag onto the counter. "So much beige! Drowning in beige!"
In my bedroom, Tan France discovers a monotonous cache of band T-shirts. "But I've got to be comfortable while I'm… creating the content," I mumble. The remaining Fab Five discuss the possible significance of the pile of plushies on the bed of a 26-year-old, Jonathan ballroom dancing around the place with a stuffed fluffy dog. I'm asked if there's "someone special" in my life. I laugh and mention a third Tinder date conveniently happening on the penultimate day of filming.
From the sofa in their industrial loft, they would watch me awkwardly shuffle up to my date in Peckham. I model a "new and more age-appropriate 'rocker' vibe". As me and the date gracelessly try to eat tacos, the boys all snap their fingers and cry: "No more nugs!" This becomes a meme and is mercilessly repeated to me by strangers.
From a distance, my life looks like it's in order. I have a job with a salary. I know how to peel an avocado. I change my bed sheets twice a month. I don't have a serious drug problem, and I could count my enemies on one hand (Hi, Becca! Haven't thought about you in years!). Lean in a little closer, though, and… there are cracks. Okay, there are gaping cracks. I dress like a mixture between Spinelli from Recess and Jimbo Jones from The Simpsons, even though I am 25. I own a burner phone that doubles up as a fidget spinner. I live with four other people in a flat that might reasonably be described as "squalid" in a newspaper article if I was murdered. I have never flossed my teeth, ever.
So, I mean, basically, my Queer Eye experience would go as follows: the Fab Five would cram themselves into my flat, one at a time, their backs pressed against the walls. One of them (Antoni?) would drag a single pristine finger across my Marilyn Manson wall flag (yes), dust collecting rapidly, while mouthing to the camera, "Okay, then." All my clothes would go. We would burn them in a ritual on Hackney Downs. Tan would force me to wear colour. Jonathan would make me throw away my £7 Rimmel foundation and teach me to apply highlighter. Karamo would sit me down, on the steps outside, and ask me a simple question like, "Why do you find it so hard to speak in public?" which would, in the space of three minutes, spiral into an admission of social anxiety triggered by deep-set abandonment issues and emotional trauma. The final scene would be me giving a speech, to all my friends and family. We all hug. Everyone cries.