A bunch of things from this interview with Dan Savage for Interview magazine last week didn't make the final cut—including questions about Berlin, stale cake, coconut cake, Grindr, and Ashton Kucher. Here they are.
You once described bathhouses as “whorehouses staffed by volunteers.”
What do you make of Grindr?
Grindr is the whorehouse in your pocket. And that’s not necessarily a problem. And I've gone on Grindr, to check it out. I was one of those people without a picture and no stats. I've lurked on Grindr. I have to stay informed. What I hear from my younger gay friends on Grindr is that it's just a chat-a-thon and nobody actually hooks up on Grindr. But, you know, like the Craigslist freakout back in the day—everyone's apartment is a bathhouse now. So what do I think of Grindr? In some ways, it's a good thing and a bad thing. You know, there used to be kind of a high bar. When I was in college, there was a high bar for getting some cock if you were gay. You had to out yourself a little bit, you had to walk into the gay bar near your campus, if you were the type who wanted to suck people off in bathrooms you had to go to one of those bathrooms, where you might be seen by somebody else in one of those bathrooms, who knew you. So you had to take that first step out to get dick. And now Grindr makes it possible for a lot of young guys to get dick without having to take any even baby steps out.
More after the jump!
And you've described coming out as the single most important political act a person can make. So, is Grindr kind of a step backwards?
It is kind of a step backwards—for those guys. But you know, kids are coming out younger and younger. That’s part of what’s driving the bullying epidemic. You have kids coming out at 13 in a middle school where sex isn’t that much of an issue and it’s not quite as brutal as high school, and then walking into the buzz saw of freshman year of high school. I actually think more people are out sooner.
Are more kids dying or is there just more coverage of kids dying or…?
I don’t know. I do not know. Now we know many suicides were LGBT kids when we didn’t know that before. It was assumed to be just a suicide. Now we know, like, when a kid is gay and out and he’s bullied for being gay and he kills himself—any idiot can put that together.
Why are you so taken with morbid figures? The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, MacBeth, Helen Keller...
It’s just a perverse sense of humor. I mean, that’s not my obsession with the Second World War. I'm also obsessed with the English Revolution, and cutting off Charles the First's head. But, I dunno, I'm a joker and I'm campy. I have a camp sensibility. And my whole life is kind of just joshing around. Savage Love used to be just sorta joshing around with people about sex. Other people take me far more seriously than I have ever taken myself. That is disconcerting at times. When I have people parsing my column for inconsistencies? And challenging me on them? It’s like, well, of course it's inconsistent. I don't mean it. A lot of those things where there’s one thing in conflict with another—one of those things I probably don't mean. That's the key to that mystery. I was probably bullshitting or drunk when I wrote that.
Why do you love stale sheet cake so much?
Because my parents when I was growing up would have parties in their apartment—my parents married very young, had their first kid at 21, 22. And so they had a crowd of friends in their early mid-20s who were playing at being grownups and adults. And one of them worked in a bakery. So we would have these cocktail parties in our house as kids and everyone would always get really shitfaced drunk. But they'd always have a sheet cake, and people don’t eat sheet cakes and drink very often, so everyone would have some of the sheet cake and then it would be left there alone all night, and we would get up when our parents were hungover and and for breakfast we would just pick at the sheet cake, which had sat out all night from the party, and it would be stale in the morning, and it would be fucking delicious. And it’s this childhood sense-memory thing—cake is better stale and a little crunchy and hard around the edges.
Share your feelings about coconut cake.
I think coconut destroys cake. What is that famous quote? Oppenheimer? "I am the destroyer of worlds"? Coconut is the destroyer of cake.
And donuts. Put shredded coconut on anything and it fucking ruins it. And I once, at a party, didn't know that somebody had made this lovely cake. I thought that this was a coconut cake from a bakery or grocery store. So after everybody had had some I picked it up and threw it out the door into the street.
Share your feelings about microwave popcorn.
Microwave popcorn is really bad for you. If you have breathing problems? There’s such a thing as popcorn lung—that shit floats through the air, causes cancer I think. I’d have to Google it for the most alarming statistics. And it smells terrible. If somebody makes microwave popcorn in a microwave in a large open office, the entire place reeks of that chemical-popcorn neutron-bomb stench.
Your office-wide ban is still in place. New interns are told the only rule is no microwave popcorn.
Or dogs. You can’t microwave dogs in the office either.
You were once an Ashton Kucher afficianado. How do you feel about him these days?
Oh, this is so rich. I mentioned Ashton Kucher as an example of a sexy guy in my column. This was when he was on That ’70s Show and no one had ever heard of him. Or heard him speak. And somebody wrote in and said, “Who the hell’s Ashton Kucher?” And I wrote, “Just the sexiest man on television.” And I went off about how gorgeous he was. As Kelso, he had long shaggy hair, he had a big crazy face—you know what I like. And it was before Punk’d and before Dude, Where’s My Car? and before he exploded. And I was so into dopey, good-natured, stupid, slow Kelso Ashton. I wasn’t so into screamy, shouty, Punk’d Ashton, and my ardor for him cooled. Still objectively super-duper fucking hot. Uh, naked in Two and a Half Men? Like, that first scene? Yeah, I would still—if I could hold that down long enough to fuck it I would hold that down long enough to fuck it. I don't think I could. I don't think I'm strong enough.
Are you watching Savage U?
Yes, I have to. I have to watch the show and tweet during it. And I don't watch myself on television—I've never seen myself on Maher or Colbert. I don't watch the clips. And that shit of me on YouTube? I don't watch that stuff. It's hard to watch yourself on TV.
How well have you adapted to airport life?
I actually like airport life. I like being in airports. I don’t like being in airplanes.
But you spend more time in the airplane than you do in the airport.
No, not the way I do it. I'll go to an airport five hours before a flight and hang out. You get a lot done in airports. There's literally nothing else to do but write and sit. And there's something interesting about being in a place that everybody else is hurrying to get out of, that everyone else is rushing through. But actually, nice airports have some nice amenities. There are some nice airports out there. Detroit is great. And if you’re walking slowly, if you're the only person moving slowly through that, it can actually be kind of interesting. It’s calming to not be rushing through this place that everybody else is rushing through.
What do you miss most about Berlin, where you lived before you started writing your column?
In Berlin, the environment was so different and interesting and the challenges of getting through the day, in a place where you were poor and didn’t speak the language, made life compelling. And things were fascinating, like the grocery store was fascinating because it was all so different, particularly then. West Berlin, before the wall came down. And I love big failed cities. I love Detroit. I love Cleveland. I love Cincinnati. I love cities that have retracted, like Berlin, at least then. I like Vienna for that reason. I like decrepitude and things falling apart. Things not being tamed. I like rotting infrastructure. I like things that have been built out for a particular use and then they’re not needed for that anymore. That's what's so great about Vienna. It's an imperial capitol for an empire that doesn’t exist anymore. And that was still being built out in 1917. And it's kind of fascinating. Like, imagine if Maryland was a country and Washington, DC was its capitol. That's Austria and Vienna. And it's kind of fascinating to see this architecture that screams “WE RULE THE WORLD!” when you don't.
Is there anywhere else you’d want to live?
I want to live in New York. What Queen Elizabeth’s mother said, during the war? They were encouraging her to get out, to send Elizabeth and Margaret to Canada during the blitz? She said the girls won’t go without me, I won’t go without the king, and the king won’t go. It’s the same thing for me. I won’t go without Terry, and Terry won’t go. And Terry’s the king.
How long have you guys been together?
What was your last fight about?
I’m not at liberty to say.