Extremist Makeover 

Utah’s dowdy moralists are no match for our queer eyes.

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Year after year in the Utah Legislature, the usual suspects roll out a bevy of bills intended to stave off the encroaching “gay agenda.” A couple years ago, Amendment 3 constitutionalized the belief that “the gays” are not, and should not be, like the rest of us.

This year was no different, with an ailing Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, risking his very life to introduce a bill that would outlaw gay-themed support clubs in high schools. The bill died and Buttars lived. For his part, Republican Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, succeeded in restricting child visitation and custody rights for nonbiological parents in same-sex couplings. However, lawmakers struck down Christensen-sponsored bills to nullify contracts between same-sex partners and to restrict municipalities from offering benefits to those partners. Whispering in his ear throughout those debates was morality maven Gayle Ruzicka. As president of the “pro-family” Utah Eagle Forum, the all-powerful Ruzicka was also instrumental in the passage of a watered-down hate crimes bill, which she’d lobbied against for years when it targeted crimes specifically motivated by bias against a person’s sexual orientation.

Buttars, Christensen and Ruzicka have made no secret of their staunch opposition to supposedly “special treatment” for homosexuals. But to Gyll Huff and Walter Larrabee, both gay men, it’s a hate-filled onslaught that comes at the expense of their dignity.

Both middle-age men grew up in Utah. Walter is a spot-on Carol Channing impersonator and, between gigs, volunteers for local charities. He was excommunicated from the LDS Church in the early ’90s. Gyll has worked in the entertainment industry for decades, mostly behind the scenes in theater, television and the movies. Rather the opposite of Clean Flicks’ mission to clean up Hollywood fare for Mormon audiences, he’s now considering “amending” The Work and the Glory to include penetration.

Though they can’t make over the hearts of those responsible for Utah’s cruel attitude toward gays and lesbians, Gyll and Walter think the hate could do with at least a little refinement. Responding to an invitation from City Weekly, they agreed to assess Buttars, Christensen and Ruzicka for style, class and soul. Going off of candid photos provided by City Weekly, here’s what two homosexuals had to offer in a satirical review of the threesome:


CW: Do you all follow the parade of bills in the Legislature?

Gyll: Sometimes it’s really, really painful. Honestly. Because there’s always this slamdown that you can depend upon.

Walter: I was toying with the idea of being a lobbyist, you know, right before it got started. And listening to Chris Buttars, it’s like somebody needs to be able to have the balls to stand up to that man and tell him what an idiot he is'a slap in the face to humanity.

Gyll: I can’t imagine he has very good friends because someone should tell him that humans are involved here and, honestly, people are different.

CW: Let’s talk how the way he looks might inform the person he is, and what perhaps can be done about it.

Gyll: Wait a minute. I’m taking out the examiners [to inspect a photo of Buttars mid-stride]. Oh, puh-lease, if I didn’t know better, I’d say that’s hip-hop.

Walter: It is.

Gyll: You know, always got to grab ...

Walter: ... your crotch like Michael Jackson.

Gyll: He got nothin’ on 50 Cent. I can’t believe it.

Walter: That’s fabulous. You know how Jay Leno has the headlines: “Utah legislator passes law against grabbing balls in public.”

Gyll: You couldn’t stage it. I’m offended that he’s doing it. Knowing that he’s groped himself, he just looks so tickled. And then there’s that afterwards, matter-of-fact-kind-of-look. [Motioning to the photo of Buttars sitting] What’s he thinking of?

Walter: Gayle? No, he’s praying, “Dear God, please don’t let them know it was me who farted.”

Gyll: And he’s earnest about it, but he’s excited as well. But look at his house [referring at a photo of Buttars’ West Jordan tudor]: All of these Venetian blinds are bent. Either he’s got an errant cat ...

Walter: ... You mean his pussy went to stray?

Gyll: Yes, his pussy could have gone astray.

Walter: How old is this man? He’s just a sad, old man.

Gyll: You know what, it could just be desert living. Look at my face. But you know he smells like sour washrags.

Walter: He uses Glade Plug-ins everywhere he goes.

Gyll: With a car adaptor.

CW: He is reportedly in bad health.

Walter: I would hate to see him in the hospital gown. That’d be bad.

Gyll: Because he looks like he’s got a flat butt. I can’t even see the thing, but it looks like a flat one.

CW: They were talking about him risking his life to come down from the hospital and push his bill.

Walter: Risking his life? Honey, stay there. Doctor knows best. I’m sorry for him if he’s in bad health, but risking your life for a bill that’s so hateful? Can I quote a song lyric?

CW: Sure.

Walter: Do you remember Romanovsky and Phillips? It was a gay group: “Only an a'hole would care what goes in my a'hole and who put it there.” So there you are.

CW: Does he have any hope of being a stud at this point?

Gyll: Oh yeah, of course, he has hope of being a stud. I say he should go for the gay-rodeo look.

Walter: No, let’s put him in a leather harness.

Gyll: That’d be nice. A little more demonstrative, a little bit more assertive, aggressive.

Walter: He might go for the Western.

Gyll: But then again, I can’t get it out of my head; I’m seeing a harness and a couple of rings.

CW: Make me see the gay rodeo look.

Gyll: I say chaps are always an option.

Walter: A cowboy’s a cowboy. You saw Brokeback Mountain?

CW: Certainly.

Walter: Tight jeans, a shirt and a hat. Why not? He’s trying to bring attention to his crotch area anyway.

Gyll: He ought to have things to do when he gets down there.

Walter: I dated a cowboy once. They were nice.

Gyll: Looking at this posture [sitting], I want to see that in chaps with a harness, and a vest.


Gyll: [Referring to a photo of Ruzicka’s Highland home, a long two-story in the style of a barn] It’s colonial splendor isn’t it? It’s the Cleavers’ McMansion. It’s sort of like not distinctive in any way, because there isn’t any imagination involved in its structure.

Walter: Gayle was born in a barn.

Gyll: And look how she resents living in a barn. I wonder if she ever leaves the barn door open. I wonder who is the closest relative of hers that is gay.

CW: That’s a good question. If you’ve got 12 kids ...

Gyll: It’s like 10 percent always.

Walter: I hope she pays for two airline tickets. Look, she’s giving birth to grandchild 19. That outfit reminds me of something Auntie Dee once wore to the emperor’s tea party.

Gyll: Look at the jacket; it’s a rug. Honestly, that’s a bakara.

Walter: A Brenda Bakara.

Gyll: I look at this and I think anger management is really, really, really needed. Or maybe a high colonic.

Walter: I just want to know what that couch did when she cut it apart for that outfit.

Gyll: There must have been some noise.

Walter: LoveSac went out of business, and she bought two of them and made an outfit. She’s so smart.

Gyll: Oh God, but she looks so angry.

Walter: Probably because somebody else was wearing the same outfit that day.

Gyll: Yeah, double-couch is really in.

CW: What about this scowl? I mean she always gets her way up there, why’s she so angry?

Gyll: She has to be indignant all the time, don’t you think? It seems to me if you’re angry at anyone who is not you, then you’d be mad all the time.

CW: She does her own hair.

Walter: Of course.

Gyll: Does she have a background in cosmetology?

Walter: There is no gay man in this country who’d cut hair like that.

Gyll: It’s kind of like a modified mullet. Go on.

CW: She periodically gets it cut and permed at the Hair Port in downtown American Fork.

Gyll: “Hair Port, down to the ’Merican Fark.”

CW: She loved the original Pride and Prejudice and anything written by Louisa May Alcott. I Googled Louisa May Alcott, and she was reportedly a tomboy in her youth and died at 56 having never married.

Gyll: And I quite think there were things that were told about her being gay. I can see where Gayle has a certain strength in her stride, because she’s got sturdy legs.

Walter: She does. She has to carry the freight.

Gyll: I know. She probably makes some sound coming down the hall. Clickety-clack all the way down those little tile floors. I don’t know anyone who would give her trouble: She has such a strong jaw.

Walter: A strong left hook, too.

Gyll: Yeah, I don’t want to get in the way of her—look at that paw.

Walter: Could you imagine if she was your den mother in Cub Scouts? I’d be afraid to go to den meeting. Louisa May Alcott I’m sure was into sport, and Gayle ought to go down to Beaver, to the high school, because she could play football for the Beaver team. She is a fullback all the way.

Gyll: Oh, she is a fullback, full front, all of them. But like Louisa May, working with girls might give her a little perspective.

CW: What about dolling her up?

Gyll: It hurts so bad to think about her.

Walter: You know what kind of dress looks good on her?

Gyll: What?

Walter: The Shirley Temple dress.

Gyll: It does.

Walter: You know, the high waist. It hits right on the bust. Get some crinoline.

Gyll: All of them in the whole land. Get all of the crinoline petticoats in the land, and put them on so the gingham just goes out straight.

Walter: Wal-Mart doesn’t have enough gingham for her.

Gyll: But they got the leggin’s, they got the leggin’s for her, and the Mary Janes. She’s going to be all right.

CW: What about the face and the hair?

Gyll: I say pink cheeks; ringlets. Actually, no. She ought to go with turbans. I think turbans are good, or a snood.

CW: Make me want Gayle Ruzicka.

Walter: In what way? In the worst way?

CW: Make me desire her.

Gyll: OK, let’s do it, but with a trap door, so it can all drop in front of him, just to show you can’t keep this up that long. I see a containment garment here [at the waist], and then some architecture here [at the bust], you know, a retaining wall. She should use a cantilever, like one of those overhanging decks, to hold these babies up. Because the girls should look happy. Right now, they just look like they’re buried in shame, like whipped dogs.

Walter: I don’t think she’s an ugly woman, but she’s an ugly person.

Gyll: I don’t think she’s an unattractive person; I really love that color a lot.

Walter: The blue is lovely, and her eyes, the blue in her eyes, they go boom. You know what we could do, we could paint her as a drag queen, because they do tons of makeup, and it’s very Janet Jackson, you know. Then we’ll find a fashionable designer that can design the AAA Tent-anani for the larger woman. I think glamour is the only way for her, because you know she’s going to lose in swimsuit.

Gyll: We know that.

Walter: But evening gown she might could win ...

Gyll: ... if we get the right cover-up. She could look hot with lowlights—really low lights.

Walter: She might have nice-looking legs. Many women may be heavier in the top, but they might have nice-looking legs. Show them off. Let’s raise the skirt two inches above the knee. Everything’s still going to be covered; it’s still appropriate. Give her shoes instead of the Lugz or whatever. The hair looks like it may be thinning up front. She’s got a high forehead.

Gyll: She worries a lot.

Walter: Change the hairstyle. Shorten it up, and spiky, so it looks a little fuller. Have a youthful look in the hair.

Gyll: I think that’s true. And then it won’t draw attention to those lines that are frown lines that just drag those jowls down'it looks sort of like a bulldog in a weird way.

Walter: Remember the song you learned in primary, Gayle: “If you chance to meet a frown, do not let is stay, quickly turn it upside down, when you learn your son is gay.

Gyll: I can’t believe you!

Walter: Honey, I don’t know any of her children, but you know what?

Gyll: I feel so sorry for them.

Walter: Yeah, because it’s not a humane way to be. Be nice to people. That’s what Christ taught. More than anything, he said do unto others, didn’t he?

Gyll: Yeah, I thought it was a really good idea.

Walter: And judge not.

Gyll: Don’t do it. I always dream of sending her photographs of Matthew Shepard, strapped to a fence, for Christmas. Because I see that much destruction in her work. I don’t see any community advantage from what she does.


Gyll: At what age, LaVar, did you discover your heterosexuality?

Walter: I mean, he was a stake president, and that’s a stake-president question.

Gyll: I know.

Walter: He gets to ask it to everyone: “How often do you touch yourself? Do you have a problem masturbating?” Oh, it’s no problem, it works every time.

Gyll: LaVar’s got a doughy kind of thing going.

CW: Yes, let’s go more superficial. He’s a doughboy who’s got a big house [sprawling red brick rambler in Draper] and drives a big Denali, and he gets his hair cut at Super Cuts.

Gyll: The house is very mortuary-ish.

Walter: And I’ll bet you he doesn’t tip. And he buys at Costco and Sam’s Club. And I wonder if the family loves China Buffet when they go out to dinner.

Gyll: I would bet—look at his girth.

Walter: It’s an all-you-can-eat, you know.

Gyll: That tie is extra long. Look, it has to crawl over that gut.

Walter: And the nice thing about China Buffet is two hours later you want more. And they don’t mind if you keep going back. I’m just amazed going back to Gayle—12, 13, however many—she is a baby factory.

Gyll: Get her a cork.

CW: He’s a sports guy. He was a high school baseball player.

Walter: He was a high school baseball player, but he wasn’t good enough to go on anywhere else? Well, he’s a mold; he’s a cookie-cutter mold. There you are. This city is full of them. Have you ever driven down North Temple about 5 o’clock to the bus stop? Fifty men, none of them look different, except for the color of their tie.

CW: What could we do to sex him up?

Gyll: OK, he can look good. Let’s think about LaVar. I think a cummerbund.

Walter: He might look handsome in a tux. Most men look handsome in a tux.

Gyll: But I’d say taper the pants, like in Pagliacci, you know, the white clown suit in the opera. Make sure the jacket is bolero.

Walter: It will have to have some spandex in it.

Gyll: Probably all they’ve got down there to Taylorsville. But yes, you need that, and with a larger sash. See, I say make it a hemisphere. Don’t hide it. It’s a beach ball, for goodness sakes, let it out.

Walter: And a little tiny diamond stud in the ear, just for splash.

Gyll: An eyebrow ring would be really good, because he could wink.

CW: Why would a high-school athlete let himself go like that?

Walter: Well, for anyone, there are things to do. If you’re a land developer, you’ve got plenty of time to go out shooting hoops. Or go to the Boys Ranch, and play sports with the boys. Do something. Eat healthy.

Gyll: Use it or lose it.

Walter: He should try taking more care of his physical shape than taking care of my off time.

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About The Author

Shane Johnson

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