Grindrphiles: Willary

The following interview was conducted by pop-culture poster boy, freelance blogger and executive editor of Gunpowder & Gold Alexander Mayfair. It originally appeared on Washington, D.C.-based online magazine Outrage DC.

“I’m only having one.” The waiter at Ping Pong asks us if we’d like the tableside mimosa bar option, but as tempting as that sounds, I’ve got an interview right after brunch. By the time the first dim sum start arriving to our table, however, my lychee mimosa is almost done, and I decide to order another one.

Ten minutes later, my phone goes off. “Bonjour Bonne Maman!” My girlfriend lets out a soft giggle as I excuse myself from the table to “go native” and talk to my French-speaking grandmother. There is another mimosa waiting for me by the time I make it back to the table. I give my girlfriend the look. “What?!? Brunch is on Daddy today!” she announces with a big grin. By the time the bill arrives, there are no less than 11 mimosas on it. Being the responsible one, I’ve decided to stop at five.

We kiss, promise to meet up later, and I run off to go meet Willary, this week’s interviewee, at the Donovan House rooftop bar. Willary arrives shortly after I do and we grab frozen margaritas and settle down in the cabana before kicking off the interview.

Alexander: So you’ve just had a sh*tty day. What’s your go-to song?

Willary: I have a new go-to album: “Fantasea” by Azealia Banks. Her mixtape and EP take me there, y’know? She’s my spirit animal.

Alexander: Speaking of spirits, what would you like to be most remembered for post-mortis?

Willary: Blazing my own trail. Being completely different from anyone you’ve ever met. Not being boring. I think Madonna said something like, “One thing in life I don’t want to ever be is mediocre.” I definitely want to be remembered as someone who was eccentric and always brought the excitement, someone who lived life to the fullest and never held back.

Alexander: Now let’s talk music. What song are you embarrassed to admit that you love?

Willary: It’s kind of hard to be embarrassed when you’re a homo because you’re able to like so much music.  It’s not like I can’t name any bubblegum pop some or whip out some musical theater.  In the gay community, I guess a song I would be really embarrassed to like is, well, pretty much any song by Phish.

Alexander: From music to dance, if you were drunk, whose choreography would you emulate?

Willary: I was actually a dance minor in undergrad. I know “It’s Gonna Be Me” by N*Sync because I performed it on stage in 2004. So if I’m gonna be drunk at the bar and that song comes on, I would totally do that choreography.  And “Bye, Bye, Bye” too. I guess I did a lot of boy bands with my dance group.

Alexander: [straight-faced] Shocking. [We both erupt in laughter.] What about when you’re attracted to someone? What is something you can’t live without?

Willary: They have to have to have some sort of intelligence. I can’t date a dumb person. I have dumb people in my family, so I know that they exist. It’s not their fault that they’re not smart — I just can’t be a part of that. You have to be knowledgeable about something. Even if you’re just a renaissance man and know just a little about a lot of things. Oh, and being a conservative, that’s a deal breaker.

Alexander: Conservative and dumb?

Willary: Omigawd! That’s the worst. Disenfranchise every single dumb conservative person, and I’m saying that on the record. Don’t scratch it!

Alexander: That does tend to be a tragic combination. On to influential people… who would you name as the one person who shaped who you are today?

Willary: My mother, for sure. Not that she’s always been like, “Be who you are and you’ll survive,” she just created survival situations for me where I had to be a survivor.

Alexander: What’s the worst thing anyone’s ever said about you?

Willary: Probably the worst thing that anyone has ever said about me, which was true, was that I was selfish. Not even selfish, but self-centered. That came from someone I was dating. That hurt. I felt like we were sharing something and that I was being the right person in the relationship, but I guess I wasn’t. Looking back at that time in my life, he was totally right. I was in my mid-20s, living abroad, and completely self-involved.

Alexander: When do you feel most uninhibited?

Willary: When I’m traveling by myself to a place I’ve never been and I know absolutely not one soul. That’s when I feel like I can just let loose and do whatever without any consequences. No one is going to tell anyone because you don’t know me. That’s when crazy sh*t pops off with strangers, and you’re like, “This is amazing.”

Alexander: Which person do you most regret sleeping with?

Willary: That would be this guy, Yacub. He ended up being three years younger than what he had initially told me, but I still dated him because I already had started liking him. He was a virgin and still very well into his teen years, and it was legal because we were in the Czech Republic!

One day we met up with my best friend who still lives in Prague, and we all drank a bottle of Absinthe. Actually, Yacub was smarter than us decided not to partake. I really don’t know what happened but we ended back up at my place and ended up having sex. We weren’t officially boyfriends or anything. We woke up in the morning, and I felt  guilty, so I turned to him and said, “I think we should be boyfriends.” I mean, I took his virginity! I was his first boyfriend. He hadn’t come out to his parents yet, and he was still in high school. I had already graduated college and had a job and an apartment. I couldn’t kick the kid out of my life. I liked him. We dated for a good three months, until I broke up with him. He’s an amazing person and I’ve tried to foster friendship, but sometimes you never fully get over your first love. He definitely loved me and I definitely broke his heart. He resents me for it in a way he will never resent another person for it. I regret serving that role, because he’s such an awesome guy.


We are silent for a few seconds. This could be a really personal moment, but upon catching each other somberly nodding our heads in knowing agreeance, we burst into slightly drunken laughter. We’d all broken someone’s heart, and those are certainly experiences that mark us, but today was too beautiful to dwell on that.  We leave the cabana, stick our feet in the pool, and continue to laugh.

Check out the latest installment of Grindrphiles over at Outrage DC.

Grindrphiles: Panda

temp_file_photo2_267_400The following interview was conducted by pop-culture poster boy, freelance blogger and executive editor of Gunpowder & Gold Alexander Mayfair. It originally appeared on Washington, D.C.-based online magazine Outrage DC.

I look pathetic right about now. Last night I was at the most fabulous wedding of my life with Donald Trump. A mere 24 hours later, however, I’m naked, sweating on all fours, climbing through mountains of clothes and yelling at the computer, which is in the next room. In all fairness, my friend is on Skype and telling me about how he just scored some big PR job. It’s amazing, and I’m really happy for him, but right now, I have 10 minutes to get across town to meet up with this week’s interviewee, Panda.

I wrestle the luggage on my bedroom floor trying to find something – literally anything – to wear. “Alright, I’m going to have to switch you over to the phone,” I warn Mo as I hang up on him on Skype. Twenty minutes later, I finally make it to Sticky Fingers vegan bakery, categorically drenched. Damn you, D.C. summers. I apologize profusely and run in to get two large coconut waters (for myself) before sitting down to the interview.

Alexander: OK, so now that I’m finally here, let’s start, shall we? Who’s the ideal person to be trapped in an elevator with for 12 hours?

Panda: My friends and I actually have an ongoing joke about this – not necessarily about an elevator, but being trapped with someone else. It would be Princess Di, I’m pretty sure. Post-accident though, we’re talking dead Di.

Alexander: Are we talking corpse Di or spirit Di?

Panda: Corpse Di. I’m not really big on small talk, so if I was stuck in an elevator for 12 hours, I’d want someone who was ultimately quiet. Plus, what if I have to use the bathroom? Princess Di is not gonna care ‘cause she’s dead. And you could also say that you were trapped in the elevator with somebody famous!

Alexander: Um, that’s certainly is an unexpected answer. Since we’re on the morbid track though, what would your tombstone would say?

Panda: “He tried.” It’s a page right out of [Kurt] Vonnegut, actually. I mean, what more can you expect from someone? It’s not about having some great accomplishment — you’re still dead. It doesn’t matter to you, but it’s nice to have people know that you tried.

Alexander: [laughs] Onto lighter subjects – what song are you embarrassed to admit that you love?

Panda: The Superchick version of “One Girl Revolution.” Not that I’m embarrassed by the song, per say; I’m embarrassed by the association I make in my head. It’s the opening song for “Cadet Kelly,” that made-for-TV Disney movie starring Hilary Duff. It’s no longer timely to really love Hilary Duff, but I really do. [Pauses for a moment] OK, let me ask you a question. My friends and I were just talking about this. If you had to totally go Buffalo Bill on a celebrity, whose skin suit would you wear? Mine would totally be Hilary Duff. I just love her that much.

Alexander: I’d definitely wear Angelina Jolie. Non-sequitur: If you were drunk, who’s choreography would you emulate?

Panda: See, the thing is I can’t dance sober. And I can’t dance drunk. I really just can’t dance. It is not an aptitude for which I have been naturally selected. I end up looking like someone encountering high voltage. Patient No. 7 at Howard Hospital from the fallen power lines. That’s who would choreograph me.

Alexander: What’s a non-obvious end to the perfect date?

Panda: Getting saved from the elevator — that’s perfect! Especially if the person I was on a date with (not Diana) was a firefighter because then I become a damsel in distress. I mean it’s apropos — it’s practically romantic.

Alexander: What makes your mouth water?

Panda: Parliament Light 100s. I love smoking. Everyone has their vices, and this happens to be mine. I’m unapologetic about it, and we all have to die anyway.

Alexander: Fair enough. Would you sleep with a republican?

Panda: Yes. I masturbate.

Alexander: What’s the nicest compliment anyone has ever given you?

Panda: I just went to New Orleans with my friend Pete. He told me he can never go back there because it was like walking through what the inside of my mind must look like. That’s one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. I mean, at least I’m a mess on purpose.

Alexander: Speaking of mess, what person do you most regret sleeping with?

Panda: I don’t think I’ve slept with enough guys to build up too many regrets. I mean, I think when something ends, it’s piss-poor to say, “Hey, I wish this didn’t happen,” even in some small way. To regret bits and pieces of an experience is to belittle the whole thing, and who’s to say that the good things that have happened since aren’t because of that experience? With a few exceptions, of course, like sleeping with Princess Di’s corpse. That’s just regrettable.


The interview ends on that note, and it couldn’t seem more perfect. Panda and I walk out as they’re turning off the lights, and he heads off to the bars to take on the night while I head back to the apartment for a night of take-out and laundry. Admittedly, it’s no Bollywood wedding with the Trump, but it’s exactly what the doctor ordered.

Check out the latest installment of Grindrphiles over at Outrage DC.

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