Thanks to Queer as Folk, my friend's baby brother now knows how to give pretend head. Because, honey, everyone has got to be good at something."You kind of have to crouch and pump up and down, and cameras are spiralling overhead,' he recounted dreamily of his kneel-on role on this season's Queer As Folk. "That guy really needed to trim, though, may I say?'
Yes, Queer As Folk, the hugely popular queer, part soft porn, part soap opera, all fantasy material for fag hags, gaylords and filthy-minded perverts everywhere (yeah, us!) has just wrapped shooting its latest season in Toronto. Which, if you're a fan, you will know the show's been famously doing for three years now, featuring T.O. spots like Woody's and the Queen West strip, giving every Torontonian a Queer As Folk run-in story and scores of the city's actors an exercise in method acting.
"I was on Queer As Folk,' an actor once told me proudly, "and I did not have to eat ass.'
But QAF's graphic boinking and General Hospitalesque storylines -- at least one overdose, 213 jolly rogerings, 107 ingestions of illicit drugs, one sperm donation, one gay bashing and (oh, yes) two lesbians who are married and have a kid and careers and um, OK, that's enough about them -- have created a rabidly devoted fan base of queer folk and a contingent of perhaps slightly unhinged straight women. (Yeah, us!)
And we all showed up in full mouth-foaming form last week for a fundraiser preview of the first episode of the season, silent auction and (eeek!) Q&A with the actors.
When I promise my co-worker Leesa -- an otherwise seemingly normal nice girl, combed hair, no meds -- that she can be my date, it starts off a week-long round of her randomly muttering, "Mmm-hmm, tighty whities, here I come,' repeatedly telling me where she has spotted Justin (Randy Harrison) and signing her e-mails, "Love seeing gay guys going at it!'
Just for the record, series hunk Brian (Gale Harold) lives in my neighbourhood, and I have seen him buying toilet paper not once, but twice. Not that I care or anything. Blessed, blessed toilet paper.
The fateful day arrives, and we rush to make sure we get there in time for the silent auction of QAF merch. "Ooo, maybe you can get some prop E tablets,' a colleague offers helpfully. We tramp off excitedly, visions of sweaty castoff towels and pink thongs dancing in our loins. But when we arrive, there's only a sad selection of signed DVDs and unused T-shirts. T-shirts?! Puh-leeze.
"I'm not some gooey-eyed I-love-Queer-As-Folk boy,' insists a friendly fag skulking around the silent auction. "I know people like that, but they're all girls. They love the boy-on-boy action. A lot of straight women have a fantasy of putting on a strap-on and doing their boyfriend. It's empowering.'
"So all I need is a dildo to be empowered?' I ask hopefully.
"It's a good place to start,' he says, patting my shoulder.
A fight breaks out over who made the winning bid on the hotly desired set visit. "I did not cheat,' a woman says with gritted teeth. "I'm a Christian, you know.'
I ask a blowsy blond, apparently in from California, who her favourite actor on the show is.
"Gale!' she squeals instantly. "I'm happily married, but if I see him I'm gonna kiss him! I don't want to be psychosomatic about it,' she adds, "because people will think you're a freak. You have to play it cool or they think, "That girl is cracked!''
Her husband is sitting grumpily next to her.
"Do you watch?' I ask him.
"Where I'm from we don't do that shit,' he says in a thick Newfoundland accent. "We beat the fuck out of 'em. But me, personally, I don't care what they do.'
Leesa and I take our coveted seats near the front of the theatre. "We're going to be close enough to see foreskin!' Leesa hisses excitedly. After the screening (what, you think I'm going to give away the plot?), the cast -- minus, sadly, my TV boyfriend Brian -- files in to wild clapping
"We have sex meetings on the show. We sit down and talk about the mechanics -- where is my ass going to be, where is the camera going to be,' Emmett (Peter Paige) gamely explains for the audience.
"Ben (Maguire) smiled at me,' Leesa titters. "I was looking at his biceps and he caught me and smiled at me.'
"He smiled at me too, bitch,' I hiss back.
"I can see his package,' Leesa points out.
A woman at the mike confesses, "My husband lets me watch the show. He likes it. He just says I can pretend he's Brian.'
"My super-Catholic stepmom called me in a fucking panic when the show started,' says Paige. "She called me a whore, told me I was bringing shame on the family and that it was a slap in the face of God. But then she became best friends with her hairdresser and everything changed. I always say they come for the queer and they stay for the folk.'
And the tighty whities, babe. And the tighty whities.