Genre Man of the Year?

By |2005-01-19T09:00:00-05:00January 19th, 2005|Entertainment|

BLOOMFIELD HILLS – He calls himself “just a regular guy,” but 33-year-old Joe Fitrzyk staked out new territory late last year when he became Genre magazine’s first-ever Genre Man from Michigan. And now – along with 83 other hopefuls from around the country – he’s in the running to become the first-ever Genre Man of the Year.
“It’s not a beauty contest,” Fitrzyk, a creative director for one of Metro Detroit’s top advertising agencies, told BTL last week. “It’s supposed to be about the whole package.”
A Genre Man, according to Fitrzyk, is supposed to be an openly gay man who contributes to the community in a meaningful way – and who possesses that “certain something extra.”
Those attributes got Fitrzyk thinking. “I have a lot of clients and friends that I’m constantly promoting. I wondered if I took just an ounce of that effort and put it into myself, what would come out of it?”
The results were revealed in the November issue of Genre. “It was a pretty exhaustive screening process with the publisher,” Fitrzyk said. “He was tough. There must’ve been 20 e-mails and phone calls before he finally said, ‘Okay, you’re in.’ It was a big deal for me to be the ‘gay-will ambassador’ from Michigan. It meant a lot to me.”
So would becoming the first-ever Genre Man of the Year. “Unfortunately, there’s some pretty stiff competition – and some really talented guys,” he said.
The winner will be chosen based on votes submitted via an online poll conducted on Genre’s Web site throughout the month of January. It’s not the highest number of votes that will determine the outcome, however, but rather the best average ranking. (For example, as of 1 p.m. on Monday, Fitrzyk had received the highest number of votes overall, and was ranked first based on an average score of 7.25 out of a possible 10.)
That’s where the beefcake factor comes into play, Fitrzyk believes. “People voting based on the photos only are defeating the purpose of the contest. It’s supposed to be about real, everyday men. If it were about it being a beauty contest, I don’t think I would have entered because I have too many scars from growing up in Detroit – although I am tight as a tiger for a 33-year-old. But I’m a little banged up in parts,” he laughed.
The multiple Caddy Award-winning native Detroiter earned a degree in art direction from Detroit’s internationally renowned College for Creative Studies. Although he has lived in Chicago, Los Angeles and spent time in Miami, Fitrzyk is one of Detroit’s biggest boosters. “I’m a Midwestern boy, so I choose to stay here. Detroit is my home, and I have the best clients here. A lot of people mock Detroit, but I’m reminded every day of all the great things it has to offer.”
One of which could be the Genre Man of Year. “I’d like anyone from Michigan or anyone who cares about Michigan to give me a shout out or drop me a line or vote for me just so I know there are other people who appreciate everything Michigan has to offer,” he concluded.

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