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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 Outrage DC.
I look pathetic right about now. Last night I was at the most fabulous wedding of my life with Donald Trump. A mere 24 hours later, however, I’m naked, sweating on all fours, climbing through mountains of clothes and yelling at the computer, which is in the next room. In all fairness, my friend is on Skype and telling me about how he just scored some big PR job. It’s amazing, and I'm really happy for him, but right now, I have 10 minutes to get across town to meet up with this week’s interviewee, Panda.
I wrestle the luggage on my bedroom floor trying to find something – literally anything – to wear. “Alright, I’m going to have to switch you over to the phone,” I warn Mo as I hang up on him on Skype. Twenty minutes later, I finally make it to Sticky Fingers vegan bakery, categorically drenched. Damn you, D.C. summers. I apologize profusely and run in to get two large coconut waters (for myself) before sitting down to the interview.
Alexander: OK, so now that I’m finally here, let’s start, shall we? Who’s the ideal person to be trapped in an elevator with for 12 hours?
Panda: My friends and I actually have an ongoing joke about this – not necessarily about an elevator, but being trapped with someone else. It would be Princess Di, I’m pretty sure. Post-accident though, we’re talking dead Di.
Alexander: Are we talking corpse Di or spirit Di?
Panda: Corpse Di. I’m not really big on small talk, so if I was stuck in an elevator for 12 hours, I’d want someone who was ultimately quiet. Plus, what if I have to use the bathroom? Princess Di is not gonna care ‘cause she’s dead. And you could also say that you were trapped in the elevator with somebody famous!
Alexander: Um, that’s certainly is an unexpected answer. Since we’re on the morbid track though, what would your tombstone would say?
Panda: “He tried.” It’s a page right out of [Kurt] Vonnegut, actually. I mean, what more can you expect from someone? It’s not about having some great accomplishment -- you’re still dead. It doesn’t matter to you, but it’s nice to have people know that you tried.
Alexander: [laughs] Onto lighter subjects – what song are you embarrassed to admit that you love?
Panda: The Superchick version of “One Girl Revolution.” Not that I’m embarrassed by the song, per say; I’m embarrassed by the association I make in my head. It’s the opening song for “Cadet Kelly," that made-for-TV Disney movie starring Hilary Duff. It’s no longer timely to really love Hilary Duff, but I really do. [Pauses for a moment] OK, let me ask you a question. My friends and I were just talking about this. If you had to totally go Buffalo Bill on a celebrity, whose skin suit would you wear? Mine would totally be Hilary Duff. I just love her that much.
Alexander: I’d definitely wear Angelina Jolie. Non-sequitur: If you were drunk, who’s choreography would you emulate?
Panda: See, the thing is I can’t dance sober. And I can’t dance drunk. I really just can’t dance. It is not an aptitude for which I have been naturally selected. I end up looking like someone encountering high voltage. Patient No. 7 at Howard Hospital from the fallen power lines. That’s who would choreograph me.
Alexander: What’s a non-obvious end to the perfect date?
Panda: Getting saved from the elevator -- that’s perfect! Especially if the person I was on a date with (not Diana) was a firefighter because then I become a damsel in distress. I mean it’s apropos -- it’s practically romantic.
Alexander: What makes your mouth water?
Panda: Parliament Light 100s. I love smoking. Everyone has their vices, and this happens to be mine. I’m unapologetic about it, and we all have to die anyway.
Alexander: Fair enough. Would you sleep with a republican?
Panda: Yes. I masturbate.
Alexander: What’s the nicest compliment anyone has ever given you?
Panda: I just went to New Orleans with my friend Pete. He told me he can never go back there because it was like walking through what the inside of my mind must look like. That’s one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. I mean, at least I’m a mess on purpose.
Alexander: Speaking of mess, what person do you most regret sleeping with?
Panda: I don’t think I’ve slept with enough guys to build up too many regrets. I mean, I think when something ends, it’s piss-poor to say, “Hey, I wish this didn’t happen,” even in some small way. To regret bits and pieces of an experience is to belittle the whole thing, and who’s to say that the good things that have happened since aren’t because of that experience? With a few exceptions, of course, like sleeping with Princess Di’s corpse. That’s just regrettable.
The interview ends on that note, and it couldn’t seem more perfect. Panda and I walk out as they’re turning off the lights, and he heads off to the bars to take on the night while I head back to the apartment for a night of take-out and laundry. Admittedly, it’s no Bollywood wedding with the Trump, but it’s exactly what the doctor ordered.
Check out the latest installment of Grindrphiles over at Outrage DC.