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The following interview was conducted by pop-culture poster boy, freelance blogger and executive editor of Gunpowder & Gold Alexander Mayfair. It originally appeared on Washington, D.C.-based online magazine Brightest Young Gays. Mayfair is now writing "Grindrphiles" for Outrage D.C. Check out his latest installment here.
“This is how you start a roadtrip.” I press play, and the bass starts to boom as Mariah Carey’s “Dream Lover” floods the car. All three girls in the back simultaneously squeal. We’ve just gotten on the beltway, the sun is shining, and I can’t think of a better way to kick off the summer than heading to the beach for the weekend. My hand rides the airwaves outside the window, and I lean back in my seat, enjoying the rays on my face while singing backup for MC.
Cut to two hours later -- the traffic is moving at the rate of molasses, the overstuffed car is starting to feel seriously claustrophobic, and despite the three hour suggested travel time, we still aren’t even halfway to our destination. The sense of light and airy excitement the five of us had felt just hours ago has been overtaken by quiet frustration.
Then it hits me. It’s Friday, I’m leaving town for the weekend, and I haven’t lined up my interview for next week’s article. I sit there in dismayed silence as my stomach starts to sink. I stare blankly out the window, thinking until my vision starts to blur. Then, suddenly, lightning strikes for the second time in 10 minutes. I whip out my phone and furiously start to text my Virginia Beach gays.
By the time we get off the highway, I already have a gameplan. We arrive to the house, set our things down, and start getting ready for dinner. No one knows the area, and I convince them that I’ve got a great recommendation in Ghent, Norfolk, Va.'s, gayborhood. By the time we finish dinner, I have an interview set up for the following morning at 11.
Adam shows up late the next morning, but I’m thankful for it. His delay has allowed me to suck down just enough mimosas to start feeling like a human being again. I pour us both one, and we sit down in the living room to start the interview.
Alexander: Well, it’s Saturday morning. If we were in an ideal world, tell me what tonight would look like.
Adam: It would have to start with dinner at a nice restaurant since I’m kind of a foodie. I like special food -- as long as it’s unique, different, and unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before. I usually skip dessert because when it comes to food, I don’t like sweet things. I prefer sweet drinks, so I’ll skip dessert and just have more sweet drinks later. My taste in music is like my taste in food. I like things that sound different and unique. I like things that feel good, so I would try to find something that’s low-key but still funky.
Alexander: Like a lounge?
Adam: Yeah! Definitely more like a lounge. I enjoy that atmosphere more, versus a club. I’ve done the club thing in LA and New York. I did that, and I’m way more mellow in my 30s. Whether I’m sitting down, mingling, or dancing, I just can’t -- it’s too many people. It’s the same reason why I don’t go to water parks. It’s just gross [erupts into giggles].
Alexander: I haven’t been to a water park in years, and after that visual, I may never go again. Thanks for that. By the way, do you know who else never goes to pools? Drag queens. So if you were on RuPaul’s Drag Race, what would your name be?
Adam: Omigawd! Well, I definitely would want to work with my roots. I’m half-Jewish. I’ve always gotten a kick out of Jewish ladies like my mother and her mother. I would probably be something ridiculous like Millie Diamondberg or something -- something along those lines, like Joan. A good Joan is great. So yeah, Joan Diamondberg.
Alexander: Tell me about her.
Adam: She likes gold and diamonds, obviously, but she doesn’t wear them too much because that would just be cheesy.
Alexander: What does she look like?
Adam: Well, she’s blond... going gray. I think she would definitely be older.
Alexander: You mean distinguished?
Adam: Yeah, she is distinguished, and she loves large glasses -- large sunglasses that she wears all of the time. I see Joan wearing a lot of throwback stuff. She’s very in the attitude of Gloria Steinem, but she likes to be taken care of. She’s very forward and progressive as a woman, but she still likes to be pampered and have things bought for her.
Alexander: So she has a fur coat.
Adam: She definitely has a fur coat! She has to have several because you have to rotate. And she’s funny. She likes to make the people around her laugh to disarm them, which is what a drag queen does already anyway. Joan was just doin’ it before the drag queen thing happened.
Alexander: [Laughs] I think I’d like to meet Joan. What if you were a music genre? What would you be?
Adam: I’m just going to be brave and say disco. I just think it’s fun. There’s a part of me that truly believes that in my previous life I was at Studio 54. I mean I probably died on that dance floor in my last life. That’s what I feel. So yeah, I’ll stick with disco.
Alexander: Funny, I grew up thinking the same thing. Now tell me, dancing queen, who’s your dance icon?
Adam: Dance icon? Well, I am totally impressed right now with Kazaky! I had no idea they even existed, and I’ve literally YouTubed the sh*t out of them like I’m sure every other gay guy in the world has. They are obviously classically trained, and I can appreciate that. I don’t hate on their beats, and they’re being produced well. They’re Ukrainian, I believe, and I’m constantly in awe of them. They are super sexy, even though they’re not my type of guys, per say. I tend towards guys who are bigger and built, but they are athletes in a whole other way. They are like gymnasts. They pull it off, though, and they ride this androgynous line of dancing in heels but singing from a male perspective about other men. I like them. If I could go back in time and re-pick a career... sure, I mean, I would look ridiculous, but I would be loving my life. So yeah, Kazaky.
Alexander: I’m a big Kazaky fan myself. You said you like bigger guys, though, so tell me: What’s the first thing that attracts you to someone?
Adam: It’s an energy thing. It’s a heart and soul thing. I know that sounds absolutely ridiculous, but... OK, wait, let me back up here a little bit. The first thing that’s attractive to me is really good triceps, nice calves or a good ass. I mean, that’s across the room, and I have no idea who they are. That’s the answer -- that’s the first thing, and I think everyone who’s reading this article can probably relate to that. I’m not going to lie. There’s more to it, but that takes a little time to figure out. You asked for the first thing, so I’m talkin’ about the physique.
Alexander: Fair enough. Honesty is always appreciated. Moving from initial attraction to dating, however, what’s your best tip?
Adam: My best dating tip? If it doesn't feel right, then don’t bother with it. I have always gone with my gut when it comes to dating. If it’s not right, I give it a chance to get right, but if I don’t start feelin’ something, then I just let it fizzle out or do whatever I have to do to get out of it. Hopefully there’s a conversation with the other person that’s like, “Look, this isn’t working.” It’s not a personal thing. It’s just that your chemicals aren’t working together, so just move on. That’s the way it is. Every time I’ve followed that advice, I’m happy I did. I wasn’t wasting my time, and I wasn’t wasting somebody else’s.
Alexander: What about when the chemistry is there? Where do you take someone on a first date when you want to impress him?
Adam: I love to take boys on dates to a restaurant in Norfolk that everyone loves called Luna Maya. It’s a good date atmosphere ‘cause there’s people to watch, there’s delicious food to eat, and their drinks are great. No matter who I take there, they are always left wowed by the experience. In fact, that was my second date with my current boyfriend [whom Adam actually met on Grindr just over two months ago].
Alexander: Sounds like quite the place. As we all know, though, not every date is a success. Spill the beans on your most awkward first date.
Adam: It was actually a Grindr date. We met for drinks, and I was in a place in my life where I wasn’t sure where I was going to be in six months. I made that very clear. I made that clear halfway through the date, and it was like I dropped a bomb on the table. The tumbleweeds just rolled by, and he kind of just sat there. I felt like he thought there were going to be wedding vows that night or something. He stopped and looked down at the table for a good two minutes and didn’t say a word. Now, I’m a talker, so I didn’t know what to do. I gave it a minute and then I was like, “Are you ok?” and he said nothing. Then finally he looked up, took a deep breath and said, “Well I guess that’s that, isn’t it?” and I said, “Um, I guess so.” He then took care of the check, got up from the table and walked out. I think he maybe said two more words to me before he left, like “Good night.” It was awkward, but after I felt relief ‘cause when it’s not right, it’s not right, and he acted like a total b*tch. That’s not how I roll. At all. It was rough.
Alexander: Wow, that’s abrupt. Guess he didn’t want to waste any time. Onto lighter subject matter... who would you rather: Kourtney or Khloe Kardashian?
Adam: Gawd. You have to remind me. I’m so bad with this stuff. Who’s the one with Kanye right now?
Alexander: That’s Kim. Khloe is the taller one who’s married to the basketball player...
Adam: A little heavier?
Alexander: Yes, a little heavier -- sort of looks like a drag queen. The other one is the eldest sister. She’s petite, has a child and is pregnant again.
Adam: I think the one who’s with the basketball player. I like her. I like her energy. I was a heavy kid, and I’m not the lightest lady in the room, so I can relate to her. The reason she’s funny I get. It’s about disarming people and protecting yourself. I can relate to that. I think there’s a lot of gay guys out there that can.
Alexander: The fat kid in me certainly can! As I’m on a bit of a mini-vacation myself, it only seems fitting to ask you: Where’s your ideal vacation destination?
Adam: Somewhere warm, quiet, and not overly developed. I love Costa Rica because of that. There’s a respect for preserving nature. It’s very laid-back. I don’t surf, but it doesn’t really matter. Costa Rica has been my best vacation yet because of seclusion, sunshine and beautiful views. I also like to be up high, looking down.
Night falls, and I meet up with my best friend, Rachel, who lives in downtown Virginia Beach. We start off with 151-infused Rum Runners at Harpoon Larry’s, a local dive bar. Our next destination is only a couple of blocks away, but by the time I walk up to the bouncer, I feel fantastic. I hand him my ID, take a look around, and realize we have gone from dive bar to divier bar. The crowd looks like a mash-up between a tattoo convention and a Rick Ross concert. My friend Michelle tugs at my shirt and whispers in my ear, “Let’s clear the dance floor.” I’m way too sober for this, so I herd the group over to the bar to indulge in some more liquid courage. Skrillex comes on two shots later, and I grab Michelle’s hand and begin to dart through the crowd to the packed dance floor.
By the time the song ends, not only have we completely cleared the dance floor, but there are open-mouthed locals literally pointing at us. Having given them my best Kazaky impression, I think of Adam and laugh. "I may look ridiculous, but I am loving life right now."