I interviewed Michelle at 10:00 a.m. while she was in the van driving to San Francisco from Portland, Oregon. We were both under-caffeinated.
T: Good morning, Chelle, I have a question for you. Why aren’t we having sex?
M: God we’ve been friends for so long it would be really awkward! If I’m friends with someone in general the mystery is gone and I need a sense of mystery, there’s too much familiarity. I can’t romanticize the situation the way I need to. There’s also the fact that even though you are a total man you are really a lady, and I really like people who are entirely mannish. I don’t want to emasculate you. I feel like we like the same kind of people so we would turn to each other out of desperation and optimism. Plus I like to have that wild sex in which I like to get thrown around and you would laugh at me.
T: That is simply not true!! Why do you think I would find the throwing humorous?
M: Because you have gotten a lot of mileage out of the kooky dramatic violent sex that people like to perform and wear on their sleeves and I get a lot out of that even though I don’t wear a lot of latex or strap a flogger to my belt.
T: It is the performativity I find funny. The sex part feels totally separate to me. I kind of assume everyone is a wild weird tiger in the boudoir and then we go outside and have to act normal.
M: It is separate from the completely disgusting lifestyle it refers to. Amos Mac can’t stop saying “heepsy” all day long. And today Amos stole a bunch of fruit from the breakfast buffet and Ali called him cheapsy.
T: Will you explain heepsy to the audience?
M: Heepsy is short for histrionic personality disorder in which the afflicted over-sexualize every situation. They’re really showy about their sexuality or they want you to see them as a sexual person all the time through costume or behavior.
T: Or dog collar
M: Do you want me to ask Beth what the five characteristics you have to have to be heepsy are? There are actually something like nine but if you have five of the nine you are heepsy.
T: Yes! I’m sorry I’m so fried in the brain right now I’m not being a good interviewer.
M: Oh wait she’s on the phone. It would also feel incestuous in a bad way it would feel like if I was having a weird dream that you wake up from feeling really creepy and like I’m a monster.
T: Like whoops I just had sex with my mom on top of a float in a homecoming parade. My mom loves you.
M: Oh god I love your mom
T: It does make us even more like sisters
M: Totally totally.
T: Was there ever a time when you had sex with your friends? Remember when people were doing that a lot in the late 90s early 2000s?
M: I remember I shot this art-y soft porn film or something and it was four people and two of my friends were in it. One was a trans guy and one was a femme girl like me and we all stayed in the bad afterwards and the guy and the filmmaker started doing it after because they did stuff like that and the lady started kissing me and saying “You’ve been bad” and it was so weird and felt so awkward and silly. I had this one friend and she was hypo-manic and she would be dressed in a prom dress at a bar in the 90s and it was so weird so I humored her because she was my friend. I can be casual in that there’s not strings attached afterwards and if I’m having sex I like to be intense and I can’t do it with someone I know is a goon, you just end up cracking up. I think it’s just not the way I’m wired.
T: It’s an energetic thing, I feel like as things stand right now in my life I can’t possibly have sex with someone unless I’m really into them. Otherwise it feels like overload to have someone’s energy in my space who I don’t really want there, you know, in my heart.
M: I guess I feel like at this point in my life I’m just not interested in casual sex.
T: Also you’re in love.
M: I’m in love so that makes a really big difference. And that’s my preferred state.
T: I like that! Me too. Are there things you’ve learned about love that you’d like to share?
M: I don’t know, for me, I can be a really defensive person and if I get triggered or scared I get really defensive really fast and depending on the dynamic I’m working in I can get snappy or clammed up and I think it’s important to know that I’m not…I’m being so dumb because not enough coffee…that I can relax. That I can relax in a relationship. That tendency or impulse is useless, just constantly reminding myself that I can relax and be myself in the relationship and that my actions aren’t going to make or break the relationship, and there’s nothing I can do to secure everlasting happiness. Of course if you’re a crazy asshole you can destroy a relationship. I just recently realized that relationships make me really anxious and I forgot to take my meds recently for one day and started to feel so much anxiety and I was like whoa, that’s what I was dealing with in the past. It’s what you learn about yourself if you pay attention to how you act. I’m in a million 12-step programs that talk about a higher power and you can think of the relationship as having a higher power that is taking care of things and it’s out of your control.
T: I like that so much. Constant surrender.
ALI LIEBEGOTT AND BETH PICKENS
Now I interview Ali and Beth through Michelle, who reports their answers. I think Ali is driving?
T: Okay this is my first couple so my curiosity is at a fever pitch. Is there anything stopping you two from jumping into bed with me?
A: I’m a humorless individual.
B: I think for us to have a third, the third has to have feathers or wool that they naturally sprout from their body. Am I wrong?
A: I don’t know, maybe you’re wrong, but…that’s nice.
T: Have either of you seen me naked?
B: Yes. Onstage many times.
A: Yes. Probably onstage and on Sister Spit.
T: Okay I can’t pull off any ruse that I’m feathered.
B: The main reason we’re not jumping in bed with you is that we’re too medicated.
A: I don’t know if I’ve ever had sex with a blonde. I think the first person I had sex with was dirty blonde.
B: I can’t remember everyone I’ve had sex with. I don’t think anyone’s been blonde though. I’m not opposed to it.
T: I do use sex to showcase my hair.
B: Maybe when we take a vacation from our collective SSRI’s and SNRI’s we could re-consider it.
A: I will never have sex with you Tara Jepsen.
B: What about with me AND Tara Jepsen?
A: I know. It’s not proper.
T: I like how decisive this is.
A: She’s practically my cousin.
T: That’s true.
B: But you almost had sex with your cousin and that’s a fact
A: I was drinking moonshine in Pennsylvania
B: I historically only have sex with people who are strangers or people I hate. So Ali is a departure as it is.
A: I did not have sex with my cousin or almost have sex with my cousin.
B: She told me she considered having sex with her cousin.
A: Off the record.
B: OFF THE RECORD? I almost gave my dog a blow job when I was eleven, I didn’t do it, but we have these thoughts.
A: Not all of us have these thoughts.
BLAKE NELSON: I’ve never had these thoughts.
A: Thank you Blake, that’s why we’re the same.
KIRK READ: I lost my virginity to my dog Thatcher.
B: I’ve had a three-way, they never end well.
Blake: That is a very distinguished name, Thatcher. It must be a high-class dog.
Kirk: All our dogs were named after royalty or English dignitaries.
A: It’s not like Lassie or Blackie or Brownie or Whitey
Blake: Or Spot
B: In every movie or documentary ever made about a three-way it never works out.
T: What documentary?
B: I saw a doc at the True Falls film fest about five years ago and it was about a gay couple and they have a baby with a woman and they become a three-way relationship and one of the guys freaks out and jumps ship. And they were all there for the viewing and it was really uncomfortable. And this was at the tail-end of my three-way relationship.
A: I’m going to have a panic attack if I have to keep hearing everything said twice (Because Michelle is reporting over the phone)
T: COME ON.
Kirk: If we did have sex with Tara Jepsen it would be entirely nurturing mother fantasies.
T: Why is that?
Kirk: I don’t know why I said that.
Michelle: He can’t back up what he’s saying. We’re all brain-dead. Not enough coffee.
T: Was it a karaoke night?
M: It wasn’t but it could have been.
THE PHONE WENT DEAD!! That is one of my favorite endings in the world.