Interview: Style Guru Simon Doonan Dishes on His New Book
by Joann Jovinelly
Simon Doonan, Creative Director of Barney’s, best-selling author, and master of the one-liner, has a new book out that is perhaps his funniest yet. Garnering rave reviews from everybody from funny women Chelsea Handler and Joan Rivers to America’s favorite social anthropologist Malcolm Gladwell, Gay Men Don’t Get Fat is a satirical examination of food, fashion, and everything “fantabulosa”. It’s also a tongue-an-cheek look at American stereotypes as only Doonan can deliver.
We caught up with the style icon at Barney’s, where over the most wholesome of breakfasts, sweet berries and a heavenly combination of yogurt and oatmeal — foods Doonan describes as decidedly “gay” as opposed to typically “straight” fare like fried bacon and eggs — he read selections from his book and fielded questions.
We learned how he adores Lady Gaga, favors designers Alexander Wang, Rei Kawakubo and Christian Lecroix, doesn’t care if people parade about town in Uggs or Crocs, and hopes that Fashion Week delivers something as exciting as Bjork in Marjan Pejoski.
Since Gay Men Don’t Get Fat is dedicated to infusing some healthful style into the typical American diet, we centered our questions on how we might queer things up a little in order to shed a few pounds ourselves.
Joann: Many gay men would rather indulge in several vodka martinis and eschew food altogether. What’s your advice for them?
Simon Doonan: When it comes to staying slim and trim, alcohol is not your friend. Two or three drinks and most people start munching everything in sight. Paging Sbarro!
Joann: What are some of your favorite foods categorized as gay in your book, Gay Men Don’t Get Fat?
Doonan: Mexican burritos can be very scary and butch. Call me prissy, but my face gay food is a fluffy tostada.
Joann: Dieters sometimes offer advice, such as shopping only the perimeter of a market in order to avoid processed foods. Any shopping tips for readers who’d like to eat more healthfully?
Doonan: Before you go food shopping it is vital that you watch something really gruesome and appetite-destroying on TV. Horrifying shows like Lock-up and Hoarders will suppress your appetite for days.
Joann: It has been said that adding color to your meals will keep them healthier. Have you any quick, easy-to-remember tips or advice to make the standard American diet more colorful?
Doonan: I am not a fan of food coloring, especially not the blue. I always assume that Windex was somehow involved.
Joann: What are your thoughts on integrating raw foods into your lifestyle?
Doonan: I recently went to a raw food restaurant in Manhattan. The food took forever. Eventually I stormed into the kitchen and demanded to know why, if no cooking was involved, it was taking so long. The chef told me he had to massage the kale in order to make it edible. No boiling.
Joann: What would be on your personal menu for a gluttonous feast, say for six people?
Doonan: Six people could split an organic apple and bag of locally harvested prunes. They could burn calories fighting over the meager fare.
Joann: Would you pass up a perfectly gay food such as a strawberry if it was dressed in something straight, like dark chocolate?
Doonan: The chocolate-dipped strawberry is a perfectly balanced gay/straight item, i.e. a watering mouthful of gayness, enrobed in butch black chocolate. Highly recommended.
Joann: Most women order salads on first dates. What do gay men order?
Doonan: Gay men are always trying to reassure each other that they are super-butch. On a first date they always order the hearty meatloaf with extra country gravy. Once they get comfortable with each other then it’s arugula, arugula, arugula.
Joann: Is it gay or straight to swim directly after eating?
Doonan: If you are wearing a teal colored Speedo, then it’s probably a straight moment.
For even better bon mots, dash on over to Barney’s and pick up a signed copy of Gay Men Don’t Get Fat, out now from Blue Rider Press/Penguin Group.