Scott D. Pierce: Utah’s ‘Queer Eye’ guy, Tan France, did NOT name (or invent) the French tuck

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) In this March 15, 2019, photo, Tan France, a cast member on the Netflix series "Queer Eye," poses among his clothes in the attic of his home in Salt Lake City. The series touches on some of the country's deepest divides with persistent optimism. The makeover program starring five gay men tackles the contrast between urban and rural, white and black, liberal and conservative.

Yes, Utah’s “Queer Eye” guy, Tan France, has popularized a little fashion tip he likes to call the French tuck. No, he didn’t name it after himself.

“This is insane. No!” said France, the fashion guru on the show, which starts streaming its fourth season Friday on Netflix.

For those of you who haven’t seen the show, the Fab Five — France, Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Antoni Porowski and Jonathan Van Ness — descend upon one person in each episode and help remake his or her life. Everything from clothes to hair to homes to attitudes gets a makeover.

And the French tuck is a simple tip France — who makes his home in Salt Lake City — has given to several of the show’s “heroes”: You tuck the front of your shirt into your pants and leave the back hanging out.

“If you want to appear taller, you have to use every trick in your arsenal,” said France. And the French tuck “makes my legs look longer and so therefore it gives the illusion of length and height.”

He said he’s “vertically challenged,” although he’s not all that short — 5 feet, 9 inches.

“When people meet me, they’re, like, ‘Oh my God. You’re, like, regular height,’” he said. “I am surrounded by white giants and Karamo.”

(Berk, Van Ness and Porowski are all 6 feet tall; Brown is 6 feet, 2 inches.)

Tan’s been doing the French tuck for “about 20 years” since he first saw it in a runway show. But he didn’t have a name for it until a “Queer Eye” producer wanted to highlight it on the show, and he had to call it something. France found the name in a story online.

“And I thought, ‘Oh, that sounds cute. We’ll call it the French tuck’ — never thinking people would assume that I called it that because I’m Tan France. I so wish I was that smart! I’m not.”

(Photo courtesy of Christopher Smith/Netflix) Karamo Brown, Bobby Berk, Tan France, Antoni Porowski and Jonathan Van Ness return in Season 4 of “Queer Eye.”

The Fab Five return to the Midwest for Season 4, which begins with a trip to the small town in Illinois where Van Ness grew up — and was bullied mercilessly. He got death threats when he was just a teenager because he didn’t fit in. But he enthusiastically embraces going home to help his high school music teacher — and odds are that Jonathan won’t be the only one crying when you watch the episode.

And in the second episode, the guys help a former gangbanger who was shot and paralyzed and has become an advocate for the disabled — another inspiring show.

The other “heroes” this season are a struggling single dad, a demanding drill-team leader, a lonely bachelor, an arts advocate, a veteran who builds houses for homeless vets, and a divorced farmer. “Queer Eye” is changing the world one person a a time.

“The gays are taking over the world,” France joked. “We can show anyone just what it is to be decent and kind and loving with each other. ... I know that’s a bold statement. Well, the gays are going to save the world.”

Obviously, he was being a bit hyperbolic. But there’s truth there. The Fab Five aren’t changing the world one person at a time — they’re affecting millions of viewers.

Including right here in Utah, where France makes his home. He was shocked when a man visiting from Florida struck a gay Utahn back in February.

“It’s 2019. We are meant to be an incredibly civilized city and state,” said France, who said people have to let homophobic friends and family members know that kind of behavior can’t be tolerated.

“We have to be better at calling out our family members [and] our friends. ... Talk to your family. Talk to your friends. ... Just say, ‘Hey, do you not see how hateful that is? I know that you say, Christ first. Where is Christ in your behavior?’

“People need help everywhere, and we’re not talking about their fashion.”