GRINDRphiles: Brett, After Several Glasses of Champagne
“Ken! Ken!” I pull my headphone out and look over. John, one of the DC Soviet Safeway’s resident cashiers, is enthusiastically waving for me to come over to his check-out line. I stand awkwardly in line, and by the time it’s my turn, we’ve already broken into our usual banter about how I look like the Ken Doll. “You know, not that 1960’s version. The new version that’s not into Barbie anymore. Comin’ out Ken!”
We have this same conversation every time he sees me and I’m still not sure whether it’s a compliment or a read. He rings me up and I reach for my wallet. The second I look down, I immediately feel a hand brush through the entirety of my hair, front to back. “Just had to make sure Ken wasn’t wearing a weave,” John assures me. John, this shit is real.
By the time I finish my errands and meet up with Brett at Meridian Hill Park I am late. Again. We find a free spot on the grass and pop some champagne before officially starting the interview.
Brett: I would have to say it’s not someone I know. It’s like a dream, you know? You can’t quite see their face, but it’s definitely attractive in case we hook up during that 12 hour time period. Maybe have some meat on their bones in case I get hungry. You know, in case it turns to cannibalism because 12 hours can quickly turn into 36.
Alexander: So you have all bases covered; fun, hook ups, and food. All in one person.
Brett: Or maybe they work at Taco Bell and are carrying a few burritos. Like, “I just happen to have a Crunch Wrap Supreme from earlier.” After you’re in an experience where you’re trapped for 12 hours, that’s probably the person you’re going to marry… even if they work at Taco Bell.
Alexander: If you were driving an expensive fast car, what song would be playing?
Brett: Trey Songz, “Say Aah”. Mostly because I feel like I’ll be popping champagne while I’m driving.
Alexander: What if you have had a little bit too much champagne, whose choreography would you be emulating, assuming you don’t crash?
Brett: In my head it’s Beyonce, but in actuality it’s probably closer to Helen Keller. This skin is pasty white and my hips do not lie. I’ll be a Helen Keller that can’t see her own look, but knows it looks good.
Alexander: What if you meet someone who’s into moves likes Keller? Tell me what a non-obvious end to the perfect date looks like.
Brett: Non-obvious? I feel like a perfect date is when it feels so effortless and all of sudden you realize, “Omigawd, we’ve been hanging out for 32 hours straight!” They’ve came home after the club or something, and they’re still here and you don’t want them to leave. Multiple meals, and we’re still just kicking it.
Alexander: When you’re that attracted to someone, what’s one thing you can’t live without?
Brett: In terms of looks, taller and darker than me. Oh, and furry. I’m short and pasty so if you’re shorter than me, and lighter than me, I’m not into it. There’s probably crossbreeding of my relatives way back. In terms of personality, a good sense of humor is key, and confidence. If you’re not confident, and have to ask too many questions in order to make things happen, I’m not into it. Don’t ask me if you can kiss me, just do it.
Alexander: Funny, we’re like opposites of each other. I usually go for short and brown.
Brett: That’s ‘cause we’ve both got the pasty thing down but you’re tall. Anyone taller than you, and you’d be like, “Ok, listen Yao Ming, I can’t do this shit.” Like they custom order shoes probably. Shorter than me and you’re approaching handicap or midget status. I’m sorry, I mean little person.
Alexander: What if you do end up with that ideal person? How are you going to propose?
Brett: I think I’d like to be proposed to because I probably wouldn’t come up with anything cute. I think that being proposed to doesn’t have to be dependent on top or bottom roles but people take it that way. Like, “Oh the top would ask the bottom out, or the top would propose to a bottom.” Forget all that… I would like to be asked to be married. Or I’ll do something super cute that I can’t even think of right now.
Alexander: Like a Hello Kitty theme?
Brett: A Hello Kitty themed pool party proposal thrown by the Pocket Gays!
Alexander: [in hysterics] You just emerge from the pool as Hello Kitty…
Brett: With a ring!
Alexander: But you can’t say anything because Hello Kitty doesn’t talk.
Brett: [crying Laughing] But I can see through the mouth of the costume.
Alexander: Well, I’m glad we figured that out.
Alexander: From important decisions to important people. If you had to name one person who shaped the person you are today, who would it be?
Brett: The biggest would probably be one of my friends in high school who was one of the first other gays I knew. I would sneak down to visit him in San Francisco. I had to lie to my parents and make up a fake permission slip for this club that I was in, and pretend I was traveling to a conference with the club. They were going to be paying for the lodging so all I needed was spending money! I was 18 at the time, but my mom wouldn’t have let me go somewhere like that by myself with parental supervision. I bought tickets with another friend and we flew down from Seattle.
Alexander: Ever get caught?
Brett: Nope. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that I actually told me mom. She said, “I knew something was weird about that trip. It just didn’t make sense that they would send you down to San Francisco for something like that.” That was my senior year of high school and it was the first time that I had ever seen other gay people, in real life. It was the first time I knew what gay people were beyond what you saw on TV, which at the time was just “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t found the real gays. I guess I would have gotten to where I am today, but who knows how long that would have taken?
Alexander: Now that you’re fully fledged, let’s indulge in some gays arts. If you could read someone, how would you do it?
Brett: From cover to cover. If I’m going to read you, first I have to like you. At least enough to call you out on some shit in public. So, it would be in a public forum. Not a malicious public forum, because I’m not going to paste it into your LinkedIn profile or some shit. Brunch is the best reading environment, especially over mimosas. Reading is fundamental, emphasis on the ‘fun’.
Alexander: What if you were internationally famous? What would you be known for?
Brett: Comedy. I like to make people laugh and I tend to do that fairly well, without sounding pretentious. So hopefully everywhere I go people will think I’m funny.
Alexander: What about when you’re not performing? When do you feel most uninhibited?
Brett: Probably when I’m a couple drinks in, surrounded by gays. Whether on a dancefloor not giving a fuck that I can’t dance, or during Pride or Southern Decadence, it doesn’t matter. Whether you’re a couple vodkas deep and loving it, or completely over it and ready to bail, all that matters are the people you are with and the great music. I like living for the moment and giving it all.
We eventually finish the interview over Russian Mules at dinner, and before I know it, it’s 11pm. I follow the rainbow flags home to the gayborhood like a drunken Dorothy. Ken, returning to the plastic dream house. Needless to say, I pass out sleep well.
Pop culture poster boy, Alexander Mayfair, is a freelance blogger and executive editor of Gunpowder & Gold.