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Queer Eye for the Quintessential Rockaway Guy


The big news in the RBVL has nothing to do with volleyball and everything to do with five gay guys making over John Sica and his Rockaway house. That’s right, the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy met that challenge in March and televised the results nationally Tuesday night. Showing a high tolerance for embarrassment, John watched the episode for the first time with his family and friends at a Hollywood style screening in the Kerry Hills Pub. DeNiro and Eastwood could not make it but much of the Sica nation showed up with bells on, along with over one hundred of John’s buddies and Shed brothers.


            Springsteen couldn’t make it either but the Brian Monaghan band performed as well as the Boss ever did for their old friend and colleague. The crowd enjoyed some of Carmel’s house specialties, including lasagna, meatballs, ribs, chicken and her famous Shepherd’s Pie. The band whipped the crowd into a frenzy right up until the moment of truth at 10:00 PM. Then a hush fell as the episode entitled, “Raising the Stakes” began.

            The sight of the Fab Five invading Rockaway brought a roar from the spectators. They summarized their mission, “We've got a poker-playing dad who is ready to walk away from bad hair and bad beer.” They set out to bring a little bit of Monte Carlo to the USG – Ultimate Straight Guy. Rita Sica begged for some more class and style in her husband’s outfits and grooming, and if it wouldn’t be too much trouble, her home, too.

Design Doctor, Thom Filicia led the charge in breaking down the old house, even taking an ax to the woebegone coffee table. Fashion Savant, Carson Kressley joined Rita in tossing out an entire rack of outdated clothing. Jai Rodriguez found a pair of handcuffs in the bedroom and fantasized about sexual adventures only to find that they were real and had no key. That’s why he spent the first half of the show attached to a lamp. (Don’t ask how.) While the boys were working on the house, Grooming Guru, Kyan Douglas took the patient to the City for a tune-up.

            First stop, a beauty salon! Pounds of shaggy hair were cut off and John’s beard was trimmed neatly. He received a manicure and a pedicure for the first time in his life, although he was worried about how the card players would react. Then it was off to shop with Carson who picked out several lovely ensembles of sports jackets, seersucker shirts and slacks, substituting his Ocean’s Eleven look for John’s Beach Homeless style. Designer flip-flops completed the package. Finally, Jai consulted with Celebrity Poker expert Phil Gordon and the folks at Blatt Billiards to upgrade John’s poker game. Phil’s tips on “tells” and body language might be helpful but the custom-designed, casino-style poker table and personalized poker chips will definitely be a big hit at the monthly tournament. After a tour of the Brooklyn Brewery (“Beer is the official drink of the straight man.”) it was time to return home.

            Years of unfinished projects had left the house with bad paint, missing doors, old cabinets and dying furniture. Thom noted John appeared to be a great husband and father who, “just sucks at woodwork, painting and decorating” with Rita adding, “and fixing and showering and cleaning.” She remembered the time John took a picture of a hole in the wall, framed the picture and hung it over the actual hole in the wall. Now that’s decorating! Thom had to use all of his magical powers to transform the old place but he performed a near miracle. Fresh paint, paneling and furniture were blended with great effect while maintaining the laid back feeling everyone wanted. John was particularly smitten by the kitchen drawer handles that doubled as bottle openers – quite an ingenious addition! However, the piece de resistance sat in the dining room – the new poker table.


            John headed upstairs to prepare for a poker night to remember. He surprised Kyan by voluntarily shaving off his scraggy beard but he horrified him when he didn’t mix his hair conditioner before spreading it throughout his locks. (“There was no emulsification!”) Carson was unhappy that he chose to wear flip-flops but otherwise liked his fashion choices. (“I’d do him!”) And John fooled Ted Allen by artfully assembling his new Rockaway Club sandwich instead of serving chips and dip but appalled him by using the new drawer handles to open and drink beer after beer. (“Major foul!”)

            It was now time for Rita and Trish to see the improvements and John walked them right past the new couch, curtains, wall unit, table and artwork to the kitchen to show them the new drawer handles while opening a beer for himself. The Fab Five noted that, “Trish is either excited or she’s going to vomit!” when they saw her stunned reaction to her new home. The girls then headed into the City for a night on the town and John readied to greet the rest of the poker players. They shocked him by arriving in designer clothes instead of their usual tee shirt and jeans style. Before he served them the Rockaway Club with beer in glasses he pointed out his favorite upgrade, the twenty new drawer handle bottle openers. The Rockaway boys agreed it was the best change.


It was time for the grand finale, the Texas Hold ‘Em Poker game or as Carson likes to describe it, “All the male bonding you’d like without going to Riker’s Island. It’s a Festival of Manhood.” The action was hot and heavy and so was Carson who took a liking to John’s nephew Brandon. (“I’d do him!”) After much raising and bluffing, John was eliminated and Brandon outlasted the other classy gentlemen to take home the championship. (“Yeah, the hot one won!”) The Sica’s concluded the evening by toasting and thanking their new friends for a job well done.

So the Fab Five were able to upgrade John Sica’s food presentation, his wardrobe, his look, his home and his card game. (He has won the last two games.) However, they could not change everything. John remains in love with his high school sweetheart, Rita, after 24 years of marriage and he continues to live for his three children, Brian, Trish and Mike. Not everything can be made over!

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