Welcome back to Boys Who Talk About Girls, where we interview men who don't write for the Internet but do watch HBO half-hour dramedies that will make you wish your boyfriend killed himself, too. The mission: To get these men to speak without reserve or remorse about sex, relationships, and women in a manner most men won't, which is to say, in a way they would never do around Jezebel readers in real life, at least not without riot gear on.
This week's interviewee is a man who we'll call Diego. He's a 27 year-old gay Latino who lives in Chicago, and works in social services.
So, Diego, come around here often? Are you a regular Jezebel reader?
I am. I've been reading these every week.
So you probably know you're going to be our Token Gay Interview and Token Latino. How does this make you feel?
It's a well-worn title. This won't be my first time.
Glad to know you're seasoned. On that note: What do you make of the show, generally speaking?
I really like it. I like that it's a little raunchy. I really enjoy that. I think a lot of the stuff that's uncomfortable to watch is also the most fun, especially when you know it's going on in your life but whenever you're speaking with someone maybe a few years older, or who's married, that they might make a face at: It's kind of nice to see that on TV. It makes you feel a little normal.
It is nice to have something on TV that gives you something to relate to before (whereas, there wasn't anything of that sort prior to it).
Exactly. Especially if you're single. There are certain things that definitely resonate. It's also good to see on television this overlap I'm beginning to see between gay sex culture and straight sex culture.
What kind of overlaps?
Casual attitudes about sex you don't see most straight, young, and even realistic characters on television taking. Like open relationships. Or randomly hooking up in bathrooms a la Grindr. Or, I don't know....Anal.
Well, it's true. We did see an attempt at man-on-lady anal early on in the first season of this show. Threshold-breaking television, indeed.
Straight people try to portray anal play as such a terrible thing, and so traumatic. I mean...try it. (Laughs)
Straight couples who try anal, from what I've heard, usually end up enjoying it. What's funny is: I'm always shocked when I hear that, too. It makes me feel like such a prude. It's like, Really? Straight people actually do that? How strange.
It's funny when you hear your straight guy friends talking about enjoying the occasional finger up the ass, too. Because you never do. And you know so many of them are so terribly closeted about enjoying one.
Do what feels good! Whatever. If you're with a woman, just relax. It's just you two.
Relax. Literally. What do you make of the presence of gays on the show (or mostly: lack thereof)?
They don't have that much gay stuff going on. It is suspect! Liberal Arts girls especially Are. Going. To. Have. Gay. Friends.
You speak from experience?
Of course. But I love that Hannah's ex-boyfriend turned out to be gay. And don't forget that Hannah's father still might turn out to be gay.
That's right. What'd you make of that entire sequence, wherein Hannah learns the boyfriend she had for most of college was in fact totally and completely gay?
God, I loved it. Any time that character's on, I'm on the edge of my seat and committing it all to memory. I love how she tried to make fun of him, as if their relationship somehow spoke far more to him than it did to her.
Did you ever date any girls when you were in college?
Oh, god no. I think now, I would've wanted to do it, but more as kind of an experimentation thing. I've made out with lots of girls, but that was just because there weren't any guys to make out with those times, and I wasn't very particular. Also, it took being a little drunk.
Have you ever personally heard of any of your gay male friends being in relationships with women in college?
Oh yeah. For sure. It's almost a joke sometimes. You know, your girlfriends, they make you come to the Tribunal of Friends, where they asks: What do you think of this guy? Do you think he's gay? The case is usually "Yes." (Laughs)
I would assume so?
Right, but to convince them, you have to pull their Facebook profile, their OK Cupid profile, put the entire composite picture together. You have to make (logical) assumptions.
It always surprises me when I hear about this sort of thing. I've had my suspicious about guys who have dated some of my lady-friends, except, as a straight guy, I haven't exactly felt at liberty to do anything but tell them how great it is, and happy I am for them...
And you're thinking the entire time...
But he's fucking gay!
(Laughs) Exactly. Yeah. Everyone knows it.
Is it a cognitive dissonance thing? Like, even if the guy they're dating doesn't know, how do these girls not know? I understand the power of denial, but...
No, I think it's a type-thing. Certain girls have a thing for super-skinny guys, who are sensitive, who are fashionable, not that that's not...you know...
A description of so many of the actually straight guys they end up dating?
Right. Guys who want to be straight can be really convincing, I guess. And guys who want to be in the closet are going to do a really, really good job of hiding it.
We're consistently reminded in subtle ways and not-so-subtle ways what a selfish character Hannah is. Do you think not knowing her boyfriend was gay is symptomatic of this?
For sure. It's part of why I love the male characters on the show. They act as a great check on her, especially Adam: He calls her out on her shit. Like the other week, when he told her she doesn't ask him anything about his life. It's true!
What'd you make of this week's episode? Anything in particular stick out to you?
I thought it was more of a stage-setter than anything else. I enjoyed watching the woman Jessa babysits for putting her in her place. It was a really cool moment of mentoring, which was kind of a theme in this episode. Hannah's writer professor telling her to step it up, especially in the face of her "nemesis" being so successful.
Oh, yes. That scene. It seemed like a great reflection not just on the jealousy Lena Dunham held for some people she knew in college, but for the jealousy held to her for her success (like the references to Fresh Air and NPR, where she did her first major post-premiere interview). I imagine there's quite a bit of that especially concentrated in liberal arts schools.
(Laughs) Oh yeah. You have no idea. I've known people in college who are subject to intense jealousy now as writers-I'm jealous, even-people who were really bougie, uppity types who never struck you as artists. Even people who now write for, like, the Huffington Post.
I don't think writing for the Huffington Post is too much to be jealous of. If James Franco can do it...
What about the relationship between Hannah and her professor, who she loves, and who Marnie encouraged her to leave Adam and hook up with? I never understood the sexualized hero worship of academics. I mean, I know it exists, especially at liberal arts schools...
Oh yes. I'm a victim of it. And I think that's going to lead to something in the show.
Oh really? You haven't ever slept with a professor, have you?
He was a professor at my school. He wasn't out or anything, either. It added to the fun, but it added to the guilt. I can relate to Jessa on this front, because I've slept with married guys before. Straight ones.
Is that the appeal? The illicit nature of it?
I think it's way more simple. It's the narcissistic idea of having someone who is, in some way, where you want to be in life. It had something to do with me wanting to have some kind of insight into who they are. You want to absorb what they have. And I think you're going to see that emerge with Hannah.
I have to ask, what grade did you get?
I passed. With A's.
Well done. Is there anything you think is missing from the show?
Not really! I love seeing the adults on the show. They provide the best contrast to the girls, more than anyone else. I wish we'd see more of them.
Would you want to see more gay characters in it? Do you feel underrepresented?
I guess I would like to see more gay characters, but...I don't know. I wouldn't really want to change the show.
But doesn't the straight-woman/gay-man friendship, for example, deserve to be played better on television than it's been? And this might be the show to do it? For example, not that I didn't love Mario Cantone's character, but I feel like so many of the gay men on Sex and the City were just accessories or versions of him.
Right. We could use something fresh. We could use something a little different. Maybe we could get, like, a bear on there. (Laughs) Or maybe some lesbianism. Beyond the threesome that happened last week. It felt like it was so "quota"-written.