TWO DRINKS IN
if you've gotten your hands on issue two, you may have read the opening excerpt of our new interview column, "Two Drinks In," featuring a candid conversation between editor-in-chief Taylor Yates and creative director Molly Cranna. read the rest here.
back in March, when we got together to start talking about issue two, creative director Molly Cranna proposed we try out a conversational interview piece. we decided it might be interesting to utilize the space to air some candid grievances. welcome to TWO DRINKS IN, a new regular and experimental interview column during which--well, you get it.
[as we hit record]
Molly Cranna: --just to get it. just in case we say something really brilliant.
Taylor Yates: right. this is true.
MC: to an idea that’s been long in the making.
so, I’ll tell you why I was thinking about this— I was at a barbecue, and I was definitely more than two drinks in. but it was white wine in the afternoon so it was okay? and when I get drunk, I get a little melancholy - as you do. in those moments I just start questioning everything. and in this particular instance, I think I was feeling really sexually drawn to some girl and I was wondering how I was going to make amends with that - because I’m basically married. and I was thinking about how I’ve always had feelings like that, but I’ve always dated men.
TY: that was one thing that, when you mentioned this idea, I related to a lot, because you presented it as something about those of us who are…and I don’t use this word, bisexual, because it’s such an annoying word? at least, coming out of specific mouths. that idea of, oh, you just like everyone then, or, you’re greedy! you wanna have it all! but being in that place where those same-sex relations, whether they’re full-blown relationships or just encounters, are in the past and now we’re both dating men and people tend to look at it like oh, that was just a phase then. one guy I dated very briefly—because he was terrible—at one point said something like “you were a lesbian once, right?”
MC: as if you were that rebel in high school who made out with some girl on the soccer team once.
TY: like that one time. the idea of it being so black and white in terms of, “I’m back to dating men. I’m BACK everyone, I’ve made it. what a wild ride that was!”
MC: “those were my crazy years!”
TY: so when you proposed this idea I was very interested, because that is something that I think about a lot.
MC: well I brought it up with a couple of friends from home recently. I told them how I’ve been feeling angsty because I have a crush on this girl from Instagram, and I’ve been thinking how do I reconcile this? they asked if I ever talked to my boyfriend about it and I said no, because I’m sure I would approach it in the wrong way. so one night I told him, “I have a crush on this girl and I want to hang out with her because I feel like we’d be good friends, but also I don’t trust myself.” and he was like “well what are you asking for, a free pass?” and I found myself admitting “yeah, kind of?” and he said, “what makes this any different than if you had a crush on some guy? I’m sure you’re attracted to guys who you don’t get drinks with because you know it would be weird. why is it that because it’s a girl you feel like you’re allowed to get it out of your system?” and I was pretty drunk at the time so I was like “I don’t know, I think I just need that!” and the next morning I felt terrible. yeah, maybe I didn’t get it out of my system back in the day, but you don’t get to just…
TY: there is that double standard, whether consciously or unconsciously…maybe it started with guys saying it’s not cheating if it’s a girl cause that’s hot!
MC: I always thought that! I thought that until I was 23 or 24. my roommate cheated on her boyfriend with a girl and I was like oh my GOD, you DON’T need to tell him! it’s SO different!
TY: with an ex-boyfriend, there was a point where I brought up so yeah, my ex, who is a lady, and it became a way for him to segue into the topic of well let’s have a threesome! the sort of simple math of oh, two chicks, that’s hot.
MC: the men who want to find a way to get involved. like that really works in my favor! except it’s like wellll I actually don’t want you there.
TY: even to get to the point where two people find the same girl attractive, like that’s a lot. but it was interesting because...I can’t say that I wasn’t a little bit interested, because at the time it did feel like that free pass. but of course the logistics became overwhelming, and I started to freak the fuck out because I was like well are you gonna fuck her? there are suddenly a lot of rules. and it never happened, because everyone has feelings.
MC: for me, it feels even more like forbidden fruit because I’ve had very limited experience with women. I never use the word bisexual because I’m honestly too pussy to use it. or I cringe at the sound of it. with sexuality, there’s such a spectrum - there’s a lot of grey area, and it’s hard to know where you fall. I’m attracted to women occasionally; pretty much in a solely sexual way. I really like waking up with a man next to me in bed, I really like that comfort. I’m romantically attracted to men. I’m pretty attracted physically to men…but a friend said something once like “there’s just something about a hard dick that gets me every time” and I said “really? because it just doesn’t for me.” I guess I like that feeling in a man’s pants against my leg but you can pretty much get that anywhere.
TY: I started off starving for positive attention as an adolescent so I had a crush on everyone? it occurred to me pretty quickly that oh! boys pay attention to girls! so it was you just said something nice to me and now I’m in love with you. but I got older and probably found out how to be fulfilled in other ways and now I’m just…really not attracted to most people. it’s definitely one of those, I fall in love with very specific people, not gender, and it takes a lot for me to be attracted to someone. I mean I have crushes on people, people are cute and nice and funny and friendly and that’s great but for the most part it just takes a lot for me to feel like oh my god I gotta take my pants off for this person. and sometimes it’s boys and sometimes it’s girls. maybe I have more crushes on girls? I’m also just such an awkward person. so maybe it’s that I’m just able to be more natural around girls.
MC: how can you even tell...okay, this has always been a mysterious area for me, because the only two times I’ve ever been with women have been brief and fairly accidental. one was a girl in NY who kind of lured me into her world and she was so surprised I was down. we were out together and she was like “I thought you were straight!” and I was like “I am..?” and she was like “I dunno…” like SHE was surprised by it. the second time was at a gay bar so it was clear that everyone in the room was a contender. but if I ever decided to commit to exploring both options I would have no idea how to go about it - I don’t think anyone would ever know to sniff me out. ha...sniff me out.
TY: I like that.
MC: like how would I track any down?
TY: question: where was this gay bar?
MC: West Hollywood. I was hanging out with a friend who wanted to go to a gay bar and I was like I only wanna go somewhere where I can have fun too, so we went to the Abbey. classic. and the first girl I spotted, we made out and then I went down on her in the bathroom for like a hot second before I was like “whoa, this is new for me.”
TY: it’s funny that you say that, because I feel that I...well okay. my first real girl experience was a party in high school. this is going to sound so...growing up in LA. so it was a fetish party--
MC: in high school??
TY: I know. okay so my mom, first of all, had a leather whip, that she let me borrow for this party.
MC: wait, that was the theme of the party?
TY: the theme of the party was that it was a fetish party.
MC: who came up with that idea?
TY: I went to school with people who--
MC: oh you went to sort of an artsy school.
TY: I went to an artsy school where people’s parents owned really nice houses and left town for the weekend a lot. so this one kid in the Encino Hills would throw parties. and there was lots of coke, and I didn’t actually do coke in high school - a lot of people did and I didn’t until college...well really I didn’t do most things until college- but I would drink, and there was a fetish party. and my mom had this like, Harley Davidson bodice, this leather bodice, that was lace-up and I said no, I’m going to put motherfucking giant safety pins in this thing. and she let me take this whip-
MC: this is unreal.
TY: so we’re upstairs in this bedroom and there’s a small group of us and I don’t know how this started. I mean I was 17, everything has been blocked out except for this one defining moment. but it was the cousin of a girl I went to school with and I was like okay, I’m making out with this girl. and then it was okay, and now she’s on the bed. this is awesome. and after that the only thing...this is weird but you brought it up so okay...this is weird but the only place I’ve dated women, like the only place women have ever recognized that within me, is when I was living in NY. and that’s just what happened. and since moving home, almost six years ago, I’ve wondered at certain points like oh, I wonder if that will happen again, and this just feels like a place where - like you said - wherever these women are, they are not looking for me. in NY they just saw me. I don’t know what it was about being there, but I dated several girls. here, it’s just been a whole different...something. and I’m not a part of it. I am not a blip on anyone’s radar. I’m not putting out the right...I don’t know, it’s interesting. where and how and...I don’t know. how long ago was your experience in NY?
MC: three, maybe four years ago? I had a boyfriend, and I cheated on him with this girl. and I even had a moment of - even my parents were like, like I’m so open with my parents, and so when it happened I called my boyfriend to tell him, he freaked out, we broke up for a moment, I went home, told my parents what had happened, and they were like, is it really the same?
TY: back to this point!!
MC: I know! and I said YEAH. it’s making me feel like shit and it’s making him feel like shit so yes. it’s the same.
TY: going back to that idea that we don’t use the word bisexual, part of it is that I don’t feel like I’m a part of this club, of this experience, something is happening and clearly that I’m on the outside.
MC: there are some people who go prolonged periods of time without sex, because they’re focusing on other things, and I don’t think those people are necessarily saying well I guess I’m not straight.
TY: true, they’re not necessarily saying well I guess I’m asexual because I haven’t had sex in a while. that’s a good point.
MC: I have a friend, actually the same friend who I went out with that night at the Abbey, he’s gay but he had the same experience. he moved to West Hollywood because his therapist told him he needed to immerse himself more in that environment because he was feeling like he didn’t know how to start dating and he wasn’t doing the online thing. so he moved to West Hollywood to get in on the scene and he just couldn’t. not everyone can just click into that. he had a roommate who was so in the scene, dating all the time, but he just didn’t find that happening for him.
TY: I don’t know if it takes a lot for me to be attracted to someone on my part, or if it’s because those things don’t seem to click for me as naturally as they maybe do for other people. which I think might be a weird statement considering I don’t go very long between relationships, so that feels contradictory to say, but I do feel like there are some people who just make lots of these connections. maybe I feel lucky that I can say that I’ve only been presented with the right ones, versus being overwhelmed with like, oh my god, who do I fuck? how do I choose? so I don’t know, it’s not like I’ve been single for ten years, the right people come at the right time and it’s great. but it is weird to watch other people have those experiences occur, like that roommate, who can say oh I’m dating everyone, and then your friend saying I’m not.
MC: like saying something like I’ll fuck the friend you bring home who has a friend.
TY: right, the wingman status.
MC: so here’s something I’ve been thinking about.
TY: let’s hear it.
MC: so a moment that I’ve fixated on: when I was with my original lesbian lover-
TY: can we trademark that? The Original Lesbian Lover™!
MC: perfect. and it was really the first time in my life that I had been confronted with this, like whoa, because she was sitting across from me at this table in a bar saying you’re not really straight.
TY: like you’re here with me right now…
MC: right. so there was a part of me that was really resisting it, that’s not true, that’s not true. at that time I was very conflicted with the title that would come with acknowledging that.
TY: it opens a whole Pandora’s box of questions, and thoughts, and ideas.
MC: but I remember also at the same time, feeling like I’ve never felt so confident in my body as I do sitting right here because for the first time in my life, if I had taken the blue pill, and this is obviously a grass is greener kind of thing, but I remember thinking if I do this, I never have to face the judgment of men, straight women, or gay men. like I am free of all of that. I remember thinking all I think about is whether my arms look fat in this shirt or not and right now I don’t care. and then of course, I didn’t choose that path, and the thing is that of course that’s not true, you’re never free from judgment, but I’m curious to know if you have felt that way when you’re in relationships with women, if that changes your perspective, or who you’re trying to impress.
TY: there are a lot of boundaries that are lifted or knocked down. I’ve found that the connections I’ve made with women tend to be more fluid - there’s room for sexuality but also friendship in a way that is different than what I’ve experienced with men, and that very well might just be me and my experiences. I mean if you watch The L Word then yeah you’ll see a lot of just, dramatic situations that are reminiscent of typical male-female dynamics like possessiveness and resentful exes and men and women can’t be friends. but, and obviously I can’t make a blanket statement like all lesbian couples are best friends and share clothes! but there is, in my experiences, a sense of understanding and compassion that comes more easily in those relationships than the ones I’ve had with men. one ex was a hopeless romantic, she always made me feel great about myself even when I felt horrible, she did over-the-top romantic things like leave a trail of notes in the hallway, there’s a surprise, etc. and of course that’s a specific type of personality, but--
MC: this is such a straight-person question, but was she more of the male person in the relationship?
TY: good question, because physically, she expressed herself in a more traditionally masculine way. she liked her mohawk, and I would help her keep it up, and she liked button-up shirts and liked to downplay what she felt were female traits physically. and I’m physically much more of a femme. but - here’s a weird thing that I’ve never articulated before, but there’s something I’ve figured out that with men I’m behaviorally more submissive and with women I’m more dominant. it’s a strange, I don’t know what that’s called. something about being with women, I just take on that role of being protective and “masculine.” I’ve never really figured that out or what that means, but socially I tend to be submissive - I’m loud but I’m not a social leader. I don’t like to make the plans, I’m pretty much happier when someone else leads. but - oh here are some thoughts that are connecting as we’re talking. something about being in NY makes me feel less submissive. I feel more confident in myself and what I’m doing. and in other places I tend to default to other people.
MC: but why? you grew up here in LA, you know your way around.
TY: I didn’t like growing up here. I was never...I felt below everyone here.
MC: this is not your spirit city.
TY: this is not my spirit city. and I always just felt like, like I was part of this city and I saw that other people fit into this city and I was just standing alongside them.
MC: I don’t know, Taylor, you were getting invited to fetish parties when you were 17. but yeah you’re realizing that you haven’t dated any women since you’ve been here.
TY: it’s true. and with women I’m much more comfortable stepping into that lead role.
MC: do you think it’s because when you’re speaking to women you feel like you’re speaking to someone who understands like, there’s less fear, maybe, when you’re talking to a woman, of being turned down, like your ideas might not be turned down as quickly.
TY: there was a time when I was scared because I wondered what if I’m this way because I recognize that women are socially more submissive and I’m just subconsciously manipulating that? and I scared myself until I told myself like, DON’T GO NEAR WOMEN. YOU’RE JUST PART OF THE PROBLEM.
[more wine is being poured.]
MC: pause while we pour our second drinks. originally I thought that we wouldn’t start recording until we were on the second drink, but it just happened. I just figured we should start recording in case something magical happened.
TY: no you’re right! we’ve said a lot of important things already. a lot of really magical things. [singing] reeeallly magical things.