Guy Fieri allowed me to ask: who do I fear noise and brightness for?
July 29, 2019 11:47 AM   Subscribe

Love, Peace, and Taco Grease: How I Left My Abusive Husband and Found Guy Fieri "The day I left my husband I devoted myself, with the single-minded purpose of a Talmud scholar, to the show that made Guy Fieri famous: Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. [...] Loving Guy Fieri was a safe, simple rebellion against the memory of my husband. My husband the preppy man-boy in Sperrys, who never saw a bleached blond man he didn’t sneer at, who pruned at my too-soft body like it was a troublesome topiary, who only believed in loudness when he was employing it against me. On the other hand, Guy Fieri, uncool and bold and tacky as hell, offered such generosity and praise to the restaurant owners on his show. He was uncouth for a cause."
posted by stoneweaver (35 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
Shane Torres is also a Guy Fieri fan, and I think he's right that Fieri receives too much reflexive hate.
posted by axiom at 12:19 PM on July 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

I don't even know how to comment whenever I read something like this and bits of it come do close to my past that I get the eerie feeling someone was reading my old emails about my ex

mine was never food shows (except a little bit) but god damn every little bit of this is like pulling off scabs
posted by FritoKAL at 12:22 PM on July 29, 2019 [7 favorites]

Man that's the saddest most depressing thing I've read this morning, and it's probably not right, but my only thought is this:
I personally love Guy Fieri's enthusiasm and main show (even if I'd guess his actual restaurant is overpriced and not that good), but I feel bad that she is still taking the blame for this guy's shortcomings. His top-shelf tastes are something *he* couldn't afford, not *we*.
posted by The_Vegetables at 12:39 PM on July 29, 2019 [8 favorites]

He is uncool. Does anyone dispute this?

I do!

He doesn't care what people think of him. That is approaching Buddha-level cool.

I think it would be wonderful to follow his path to each of those stops on the Triple D, and spend a couple of days at each one, feasting.
posted by chavenet at 12:40 PM on July 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

Her asshole ex-husband sounds like the epitome of the type of man who is disappointed in himself and his lot in life but projects all of these failings outward at hurricane force, to similarly destructive ends.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:49 PM on July 29, 2019 [17 favorites]

I love reading stuff like this. "Love" maybe isn't the right word, because the author clearly had to go through a lot of pain for my enjoyment, but it's good to have a reminder once in a while that people sometimes (often?) like what they like for reasons other than the immediately-obvious aesthetic value. God knows I do, but I have a natural tendency toward snobbiness that requires frequent checking.
posted by kevinbelt at 12:51 PM on July 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

He is uncool. Does anyone dispute this?

I do!

Are we still in high school where being cool is believed to be a good thing?

The best thing I ever did when I escaped my high school was to abandon all desire to be cool or to care what or who was cool. It was probably the most revolutionary and liberating decision I ever made. Cool is a socially imposed governor on your ability to live, feel and enjoy your life. Disable it and live free.

Guy Fieri is not cool and I salute him for it.
posted by srboisvert at 12:53 PM on July 29, 2019 [20 favorites]

He doesn't care what people think of him. That is approaching Buddha-level cool.

“See the bowtie? I wear it and I don't care. That's why it's cool.”

This is a lovely piece of writing.

Comedian Nicole Byer is another Guy Fieri fan. She wanted to go on a date to one of his restaurants, but the only one in the LA area is past security in the Burbank airport, so she bought a pair of refundable plane tickets.
posted by Ragged Richard at 12:55 PM on July 29, 2019 [9 favorites]

Jesus, her ex-husband sounds like a dick.

For different, but similiar reasons, a good friend and I are both big fans of Triple D. Guy Fieri is enthusiastic and friendly. He feels safe. He's complimentary. He's professional, always calling people "chef" and discussing their diner steaks with the same food service vocabulary he'll use in a high-end joint (they're always "joints").

We used to record his show on DVR and then marathon it, watching it with friends and girlfriends; then, when everyone else had gone to bed, my friend and I would stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning watching episode after episode. It was in that time, watching line cooks prepping ravioli or pastrami sandwiches (or the odd vegetarian option, with a shoutout to Guy's late sister) that we would talk about other stuff. We both came from backgrounds that made it hard for us to be open with people (this website "benefits" from my anonymity), and this was the time that we had to just talk.

I wouldn't bring this up, except that something resonated in the way she described Guy Fieri as the improbable catalyst for something real. I don't know if I shouldn't be seeing myself there, and if I'm overwriting her story with aspects of my own, but I don't know, I feel like I really get it.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 1:06 PM on July 29, 2019 [12 favorites]

`Cool' is the opiate of the classes.
posted by clew at 1:08 PM on July 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

DDD is fun even if the catch phrases get repetitive. One of those shows you can just throw on in the background when you're too sick or tired to pay attention to anything else.

There are douchebags in all subcultures, and the ones who've been groomed to not look or sound like douchebags are some of the most dangerous.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:09 PM on July 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

You'll have to pry my Sperrys (actually Sebagos, but still) from my cold, dead hands, though.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:10 PM on July 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Just your periodic reminder that Guy Fieri (in addition to DDD) cooked for 5,000 evacuees during the 2017 Santa Rosa fires, officiated 100 same-sex marriages in Miami, opened a grocery store in SF that is the Redwood Gospel Mission's largest donor, and started the Cooking With Kids foundation
posted by Ahmad Khani at 1:21 PM on July 29, 2019 [73 favorites]

tobascodagama: "You'll have to pry my Sperrys (actually Sebagos, but still) from my cold, dead hands, though."

LL Bean Bluchers or GTFO
posted by chavenet at 1:24 PM on July 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

One small thing that you keep seeing once you realize it:

When Guy bites into something and says, "Boy, you can really taste the [special ingredient]!", what he is actually saying is "There is way too much [special ingredient] in here and I don't like this," but he understands that just because he doesn't like too much [special ingredient] doesn't mean that it's bad, just that it isn't to his taste. And he's not going to kneecap some local restaurateur on his national TV show, so he's just warning people who don't like [special ingredient] to stay away from that thing.
posted by Etrigan at 1:34 PM on July 29, 2019 [38 favorites]

Guy came to my college town for the show once, and (according to those In The Know) he had to make some last-minute changes to the list of restaurants he visited because one of them was unexpectedly closed or something. I've only seen the show a few times, but this made me realize that the restaurants he picks aren't always - or maybe even usually - outstanding restaurants. They're just decent local restaurants in the area he happens to be shooting that week.

But that actually makes me appreciate the show more. The whole point is, most places aren't straight-up bad, lots and lots of them are pretty good, and those thousands and thousands of pretty-good places are worth a look, even if they're not five-star best-in-the-nation caliber. It's a good thing to remember.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:06 PM on July 29, 2019 [8 favorites]

I hate Guy Fieri. He featured one of my favorite restaurants on his show, and afterwards I couldn't go there for lunch because there would be a line of tech bros down a full block.

(In all seriousness, I was very happy for the owners of that place. They deserved the attention and business, and Fieri seems like a really standup guy.)
posted by brundlefly at 2:11 PM on July 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

This is the place. We called it a "greasy spoon" back in the day. It clearly is no longer, but Kimchee burritos, y'all. They're good.
posted by brundlefly at 2:12 PM on July 29, 2019

I'm reminded of a remark quoted in the thread about smooth sharks from a couple days ago:
Apparently for dudes who've got a compulsive need to be the smartest person in the room, "someone who's wrong in a really stupid way who has unshakable confidence that they're smarter than you" is their kryptonite. You can play dumb on almost any subject and their ego, their staunch belief that the masses are so far below them, will blind them to the fact that you're just fucking with them, and as long as you don't admit you're fucking with them or acknowledge that there's anything Off about what you're saying, they won't be able to stop themselves trying to get you to Respect Their Authority, and they won't be able to see that will literally never happen.
I think something similar is going on with Guy Fieri, but with a couple differences: 1.) He is perceived by certain dudes to be "wrong" about matters of taste/opinion/aesthetic, as opposed to factual matters, and 2.) he's not actually messing with anyone. He is, as far as I can tell (not sure if it matters one way or the other), truly excited to be enjoying whatever spicy/greasy thing that he's eating. Even if it's not fully to his liking — "wow, you can really taste the [overpowering ingredient]!" — he's still just happy to be sharing this experience with viewers.

And this certain type of dude is going to react like, "No! Guy! There is too much hot sauce! Why will you not say there is too much hot sauce? You just said you could really taste it! Clearly it is there in too great a quantity!"

When your self-identity is based around "I am a person who likes Thing X because Thing X is the best thing," someone else saying, "I like Thing Y!" can feel weird and threatening to your identity. But it's not obvious why it feels weird and threatening, so it manifests as "This guy who likes hot sauce and Camaros is an asshole."
posted by compartment at 2:56 PM on July 29, 2019 [8 favorites]

He is perceived by certain dudes to be "wrong" about matters of taste/opinion/aesthetic, as opposed to factual matters

I don't dispute what follows from that premise, but it's not just dudes that start from that point. There's a lot of people of every gender who have the Guy Fieri hate.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:18 PM on July 29, 2019

I mean, I love talking about Guy Fieri a lot, but this article isn’t exactly just a free for all about him or the hate he gets. It’s a little jarring to go from this emotional article about a woman finding space and come to a thread where she’s being erased.
posted by stoneweaver at 4:04 PM on July 29, 2019 [11 favorites]

I hadn't heard of Rax King before - found her website. Her work Things I can easily imagine Elon Musk Doing is pretty great, and I kind of wonder if any of it was inspired by her ex.
posted by bunderful at 4:46 PM on July 29, 2019 [14 favorites]

I mean, I love talking about Guy Fieri a lot, but this article isn’t exactly just a free for all about him or the hate he gets. It’s a little jarring to go from this emotional article about a woman finding space and come to a thread where she’s being erased.

Thank you. I know it's really fun and easy to talk about food, which is why food threads here get a lot of comments (I just caught up on this one) — but the linked article was about a lot more than the appeal or not appeal of Guy Fieri. (And also can we drop the boat shoe derail?)
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 5:27 PM on July 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

I tested this hypothesis tonight. Feeling kind of down, I turned on a random episode of Triple D. The first joint turned out to be one of my favorite places in my old city, about four blocks from my old apartment for which I'm desperately homesick. I didn't even know they'd been on Triple D. So yeah, hypothesis confirmed. Guy Fieri can indeed make you feel better.
posted by kevinbelt at 7:25 PM on July 29, 2019 [5 favorites]

Some people are calling this guy an asshole:
At the heart of this meal was a pair of frozen Texas Toasts, which I’d heated in the oven. Inadequately, as it happens; the edges of these Toasts were crisp and hot, but the middles were still damp; the frost on them had melted and left them chilly.

It was rarely my husband’s style to hit or scream. Instead, he said, “Your carelessness is unfortunate.” He then interrogated me for three hours about why I’d prepared these Toasts the way I had, the mistakes I had made. Why must all my cooking be so sloppy? Did I intend to poison him? No? Then why did I insist on disappointing him?

I was still in college and had an evening class I needed to catch, but now I had a crime to answer for. [ ... ]

Finally, I had to beg him to let me attend my class. I’d already missed it four times that month and was in danger of being kicked out of school, which would have forced us into a move we couldn’t afford. He extracted from me the promise that I’d never ruin a meal like that again and, unsatisfied by my delivery, extracted it several more times, once while holding a fistful of my hair. Not pulling it, just reminding me with his grip that it was his to pull if he needed to.
Calling this guy an asshole is a bit like calling Joseph Stalin a "mammal".
posted by smcameron at 8:16 PM on July 29, 2019 [21 favorites]

What's important about Guy Fieri, frosted tips and all, is that he has never pulled someone's hair and forced them to self-criticize for three hours on the quality of their toast, all the while imperiling their education. A little bit of greasy, but honest human validation is worth far more than being forced to dash and dine at a real two star place, even though that's a meal Fieri will never be able to achieve. It doesn't matter. Fieri isn't perfect, but he spends his time building others up, not trying to break them.
posted by bonehead at 8:27 PM on July 29, 2019 [10 favorites]

I hadn't heard of Rax King before - found her website.

Her piece "ON SPRINGSTEEN AND OTHER FATHERS" is in a very similar vein. Thanks bunderful.
posted by bonehead at 8:35 PM on July 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

I once saw a few episodes of Triple D and my main conclusion was LOUD LOUD LOUD LOUD LOUD LOUD THIS SHOW IS SO LOUD. I'm glad to hear he's a decent guy, though.
posted by nnethercote at 12:14 AM on July 30, 2019

I still have my Occupy Flavortown pin.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:31 AM on July 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

At the risk of derailing further, a lot of Mefites went to Times Square Flavortown in 2012 and reported on the experience.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:45 AM on July 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think that what really moved me about this piece is that for many people, especially women, the thing that initially repels them about Guy Fieri is exactly what they end up loving about him (if they change their minds).

When you spend your life being told to disappear and be smaller and blend in better, Guy Fieri's entire brand is like an attack: he refuses. He is the size he is. He makes choices that make him bigger and louder. He treats bigness and loudness as inherently good. He lives in the body that he has and will not apologize for it. He will be kind and cheerful in any setting. He will affirm anything put on a plate in front of him. He wants you to know that the place you have made is special. He likes the food and he likes the sauce. No, more sauce.

Every time a person apologizes and offers future penance before eating a piece of cake, they are rebuking the gospel of Flavortown. Every time someone sees a person in a "tacky" shirt and raises their eyebrows snidely at someone else wearing tasteful neutrals, they are ignoring Guy's good word. Every time a family member who has never made a fat-shaming comment in YOUR direction nevertheless comments on a celebrity's weight gain with "wow, she really blew up," it is decidedly not "money."

The realization that hating yourself is actually optional makes some people feel liberated and it makes some people feel FURIOUS at the implication that their self-loathing might have always been optional.

(Also I'm eternally interested in narratives of people coping with trauma through reality tv-- I treated my mom's death with a full season of "Tool Academy" and wept like a child over it in a way I hadn't been able to with my own life. Meta-narratives, man. They sneak up on you.)
posted by a fiendish thingy at 8:02 AM on July 30, 2019 [34 favorites]

Had to stop reading when she described the unceasing rant he was on and not letting up over the toast. I got out of an abusive marriage where, once the impossible-to-foresee issue came up, the ranting, screaming, hectoring verbal abuse would not stop. Exits blocked, or she would follow us (kid too) into the driveway and scream so loud neighbors across the acres could hear it. I hope this shitstain reads this and sees himself and has some regrets, but these people never take responsibility for anything. Good for her. If she found salvation in Thomas Kincaid, or Hummel Figurines, or Arby's drive throughs all that matters is that she got the hell away from this guy.
posted by docpops at 9:53 AM on July 30, 2019 [11 favorites]

This was an odd article. On the one hand, Guy Whatsizname isn't one of my faves, especially after he featured a place I always liked on his show and he didn't even go there. On the other hand, there's this ex-husband guy that is clearly a psychotic criminal. The two "guys" are only featured together because the husband abuses the woman and the woman likes Guy W.

I am still not a Guy W fan, and I couldn't bring myself to read the whole story after I got a read on the ex, but please tell me that a safe ended fell on him or something, at least...
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 3:43 PM on July 30, 2019

I've slowly been cultivating a fashion aesthetic that I call "dude who sells jetskis to Guy Fieri." I mean look at this shit right here.
posted by sugar and confetti at 7:32 AM on August 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

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