WASHINGTON, DC–Reeling from countless relationships gone awry, blind dates from hell, and one-night stands that were about one night too long, the American people received help Monday in the form of tart-tongued but shrewdly perceptive gay friend Garrett Blaine.
At a White House Rose Garden ceremony, President Bush named Blaine, 30, U.S. Romance Counselor-General. Charged with dispensing no-nonsense relationship advice to more than 250 million Americans, as well as providing citizens with a shoulder to cry on, Blaine will summon every ounce of his energetic, outgoing personality and gift for outrageous one-liners.
"All Americans–not just stylish urbanites–should have access to a sassy, supportive gay sidekick with whom they can share their romantic trials and tribulations," Bush said. "It is as basic a right as a good education or complete medical coverage."
Blaine, who when not attending to wounded veterans of the dating wars works at the Racy Stamen Floral Boutique & Oxygen Bar in Los Angeles, attempted to explain his knack for helping heterosexuals with their love woes.
"A lot of people ask me, how does a gay man know so much about solving straight people's romantic problems?" Blaine said. "Honey, if I knew the answer to that, I'd be God. And I know I'm not God, because I'm not black or female! Well, not black and only about a quarter female."
Continued Blaine: "I can always tell when something's wrong with the U.S. populace when they come into my shop. Their posture's drooping, or they avert their eyes, or they tell me they love my new turquoise polka-dotted shoes. Oh, boy! That's when I know something's wrong. So I roll up my sleeves, brew up a big pot of java, haul the cheesecake out of the fridge, and say, 'Okay, American people, this is Garrett you're talking to here. What's eating you? And don't say 'a Brazilian cabana boy,' because I won't believe you."
In the years prior to his appointment, Blaine tirelessly supported nearly 8,000 Americans as they braved the roller-coaster ride that is modern romance.
"If it weren't for Garrett, I'd probably be with yet another guy who's more committed to his health-club membership than to me," said Alyssa Ennis, an insurance-claims adjuster from Saginaw, MI. "Instead, he told me to take a chance on that nerdy-but-nice tech-support guy at work, because, as Garrett put it, 'He may wear a Star Trek necktie, but he's better than those Klingons you've been dating!'"
Continued Ennis: "Neil and I have been together for more than a year, and we just got engaged! Thanks, Garrett!"
Another American who has benefited from Blaine's help is Santa Fe, NM, bookstore employee Andrea Adkins. In 1996, Adkins was 100 pounds overweight and involved with a man who constantly derided her appearance.
"I was very unhappy with this guy," Adkins said, "but I felt that, looking the way I did, beggars can't be choosers."
Outraged by Adkins' predicament, Blaine closed his shop and moved in with her. "I took one look at Andrea," Blaine said, "and I immediately thought, now there's a gal who needs a flamboyant, frank-talking sidekick."
Over the course of the next year, Blaine coached, coaxed, and cajoled Adkins down to a svelte 110 pounds. He also encouraged her to pursue the open position of children's-section manager at her bookstore and helped her gain enough self-respect to dump her no-good boyfriend once and for all.
"Garrett saved my life," Adkins said. "There has been a 180-degree turnaround in the way I look at things. Instead of being the beggar, now I'm making them beg. As Garrett says, 'You go, girl!'"
Blaine's clientele is not entirely female. Brad Cochrane of Shreveport, LA, contacted Garrett in November after a second attempt to reconcile with his girlfriend failed.
"When I picked up Garrett at the airport, the first thing he did was put his hands on his hips, cluck his tongue, and say, 'Brad, old buddy, do we ever have our work cut out for us,'" Cochrane said. "I had no idea what he was talking about. But then he gave me the news."
Blaine, Cochrane recalled, bluntly informed him that his number-one roadblock to reconciling with his girlfriend was his slovenly wardrobe.
"We went straight to the mall, where I tried on clothes as ZZ Top's 'Sharp Dressed Man' blasted over the P.A.," Cochrane said. "Garrett chose enough Armani suits and Hugo Boss casual wear to outfit an army. I told him I didn't have enough money for all that stuff, but Garrett just said, 'Baby, you just need to hop on board a certain train called the American Express.'"
After receiving a crash course in etiquette from Blaine, Cochrane unveiled his new look to his girlfriend at a fancy French restaurant. Sure enough, she agreed to give him another chance.
"I'd still be sitting home alone in my pizza-sauce stained sweatpants if not for Garrett," Cochrane said. "He's a real straight shooter."
Informed of Cochrane's use of the adjective "straight" in describing him, Blaine emitted a mock shriek.
Though Blaine is renowned for his skills as a pal and confidante, little is known about his own love life.
"Garrett has been out of the closet for years, but I can't remember him ever having a steady boyfriend or even a date," Adkins said. "In fact, I've never even seen him kiss a man. Isn't that strange? It's almost like he's asexual."
"At first, I was kind of uneasy about Garrett's homosexuality," Cochrane said. "But after I found out he probably never actually does it with a man, he became safe and non-threatening."
Blaine will have his work cut out for him Thursday, his first official day in his new position: Karyn Robles of Grand Junction, CO, has not yet told her boyfriend that she hates his new moustache. Joe Barents of Huntington, NY, is still waiting in vain for a phone call from a lingerie model with whom he had a blind date two weeks ago. And Meredith Crouch of Durham, NC, was recently asked to dinner by her boss, with whom there has long been a simmering mutual attraction, but she feels it might jeopardize her career. Should she or shouldn't she?
"Hold the fort, buckaroos," Blaine said. "It's Garrett to the rescue!"