My, What a Guy! (31DC2014)

Gaston!I’m still neck-deep in Disney manicures as the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge enters its fourth and final week. Yesterday’s theme was “inspired by a song,” which posed a bit of a conundrum for yours truly, as there’s a long list of songs in the Disney canon, from classic musical numbers to movie scores to the steel drum-tinged tunes that play in and around the parks, that set my feet a tappin’.

But I do have a favourite Disney ditty, and I suspect it’s one a lot of people like, because no matter the form – stage, screen, blasting through your headphones – it’s a real showstopper and a true Disney classic. So what song am I speaking of? Why, the Gaston song, of course (simply and creatively titled “Gaston”), that drunken, rollicking ode to the Beauty and the Beast villain and some of his more Neanderthal-esque qualities. Gaston’s a real nasty piece of work, the town bully and an abusive, misogynistic ass whose behaviour is only just barely tolerated because he’s got purty, purty blue eyes and a swell cleft in his chin. He’s doted on by his toadie, a snivelling little jerk named LeFou, and lusted after by three of the local tavern wenches, star-eyed girls with heaving bosoms who collapse at his feet when he deigns to throw them a glance, yet positively reviled by Belle, the adventurous bookworm who turns his grotesque proposal down FLAT (good girl.) That, of course, irks him to no end, so when Belle ventures off and falls in love with the Beast, as one is wont to do, he does the thing any heartbroken guy would and has her father committed to an insane asylum before declaring war on the Beast’s castle and its occupants. That plan actually doesn’t work out so well for Gaston, a man who freely admits to difficulties with thinking, and – SPOILER ALERT! – after a rain-soaked battle with the Beast, during which he plays cheap and stabs the Beast in the back when he isn’t looking, he falls into a gorge and presumably dies. I mean, we can hope. Because nobody needs a direct-to-video “Beauty and the Beast 2: Gaston’s Revenge: The Body Hair and Antlers Edition.” They just don’t.

So Gaston might be an epic jerk, but his song is a delight. In the film and stage versions of Beauty and the Beast, Gaston’s ditty is performed by a tavern-full of drunken villagers who quite literally sing his praises, either because they really like him (LeFou) or because they’re too afraid not to like him (pretty well everybody else.) In between chugging sudsy steins of brew and leaping around the tavern, Gaston’s mates enumerate all of the ways they admire and are in awe of him, from his tree trunk-sized neck, to the dozens of eggs he consumes every morning to maintain his barge-like stature, to the antlers he uses in all of his DE-CO-RATING! It’s such a fun song befitting a much nicer, kinder, less douchey character, but we take what we can get, right?

For these nails I tried to capture some of the “qualities” that make Gaston the primeval jerk we all know and hate, from his red and yellow tunic, to the dandy little bow he wears while wooing Belle, to – my favourite – his ultra plentiful, super crispy chest hair. Gotta love a dude with hairy man-cleave, right? My, what a guy, Gaston.

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