Ed. Note: GRINDRphiles moves to its new home on Wednesdays!
It’s 12:30pm on Saturday, and while the world seems to be buzzing along loudly outside, I am still in bed, buried face down in a pile of pillows. Thanks to the World Bank and IMF gays’ ‘Masquerade: Masks, Music, and Magic’ event, and more specifically, the subsidized cocktails, I am literally unable to lift my head or open my eyes. I’ve spent the last hour, internally yelling at myself and trying to motivate to get up and be productive – to no avail. I’ve got work to do, and being on death’s door was totally not part of my plans for the day.
I finally manage to roll over and grab my phone. After all, one of the perks about this is I can log on anywhere – even the dark den of gloom that currently is my bedroom. Within minutes, I’ve struck up conversation with someone named ‘Kevin’, according to his GRINDR profile. Unsurprisingly, he’s hesitant. After I spill the deets, he initially disappears for several minutes (I later learn he goes straight to BYT to read the first GRINDRphiles post). Just when I think it’s a lost cause, he hits me back up and we agree to meet at Kramers at 4:00pm.
I show up dressed up head to toe in black, rocking a cross – ‘nun style’ as I like to call it, the perfect hangover disguise. I wander over to the Chuck Palahniuk section, and browse for a couple minutes before my phone goes off. We sit down, and after some casual conversation, we delve into the interview, along with a couple of hot toddies.
Alexander: So, tell me, what does your ideal Saturday night look like?
Kevin: My ideal Saturday night would probably be the ones where I end up playing board games with my friends, drinking wine, and then we end up going out and singing karaoke at DIK bar. We usually turn it into this ridiculous thing where we end up wearing costumes and wigs…even if it’s not Halloween.
Alexander: I mean why wait, right? Now if you were a music genre, what would you be?
Kevin: I would say Classic Rock because I’ve always had an appreciation for that time period, the late 60s, early 70s, ever since I was a teenager. Stevie Nicks, Grace Slick, Mary Unfaithful, the whole ‘sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll’ was kinda glamorous to me. It seemed like an exciting time in music so I’ll have to go with Classic Rock.
Alexander: Wow, I totally wouldn’t have pinned you as the ‘sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll’ type. So this’ll be interesting…who’s your dance icon?
Kevin: [Takes some time to think about it] Oh I know! I would go with Liza Minnelli because I loved all her stuff from ‘Liza with a Z’ from the 70s. I though it was really cool, and really fun, and her choreography was amazing. Not anymore though, she’s had hip replacement and knee replacement surgery, and is kind of a broke down mess at the moment, but back in the day, she was a force to be reckoned with.
Alexander: Grace Slick and Liza, man, you’re full of surprises! Now when it comes to men, where do you take a guy when you want to impress him?
Kevin: I don’t take him anywhere actually. I invite him over and I make him dinner. I do a lot of cooking and baking so I would typically try to find out what his likes and dislikes are, and tailor a meal to that. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach so I try that approach.
Alexander: I couldn’t agree more, I’m a bit of a foodie myself. Speaking of which, where would you consider to be the best bite in DC?
Kevin: Well I haven’t there in a while, but my favorite dinners I’ve had have been at Nora, the organic restaurant. The two times I’ve been there, I’ve had phenomenal meals. The last time I went there was the night before my parents moved from the DC area down to Florida. After the meal, I walked home by myself and cried because my parents were leaving. It was the first time in my life that they were going to be reeeaaly far away from me, and so it might be for nostalgic reasons as well. It has held a nice spot in my heart for those reasons.
Alexander: Clearly, you are close with your parents. Tell me, who has been your greatest inspiration?
Kevin: There have been a few figures in my life that have been influential – outside of my parents. I had a tennis coach in high school that was very good at guiding me and helped spark a passion for sports. I’ve always appreciated that, and in fact, to this day, I still keep in touch with her.
I used to work at the Human Rights Campaign, and I had a boss there that I learned a lot from as well. She helped me strive to be the best that I could be, without doing anything half assed, and I’ve taken that all along throughout my career.
Outside of my own life, I’ve appreciated Martha Stewart because I love baking and cooking. Although she’s a little notorious, I’ve always appreciated her approach towards cooking, baking, and entertaining. She’s been a fun person to look up to from a far.
So lots of women I guess…
Alexander: Sounds like it. When you have those moments that so much is being thrown at you, where is your sanctuary in the District?
Kevin: Honestly, my sanctuary is always my kitchen. I don’t consider myself to be much of a creative person, but when I get in the kitchen, it’s the only time I feel like can create and invent things. I feel very at ease, very peaceful, very at home when I’m slicing and dicing, and crying and baking.
My friends and I do a monthly supper club that we’ve been doing for the last three years. We choose a different theme that forces us to think outside of the box and cook dishes that we otherwise wouldn’t make. It’s really been my one sanctuary, I feel very relaxed there.
Alexander: What if you won the lottery? What’s the first thing you would buy?
Kevin: One of my dreams is to have a cabin in the mountains. I would find a spot that would be really cozy and a wonderful weekend escape from the city. My grandparents used to have a farm up in the mountains in West Virginia and it was my happy spot when I was a kid. I used to go there during the summer. I share those memories with my brothers, and my cousins, and it would be a nice way to keep that part of my childhood memories alive.
Alexander: The mountains in West Virginia, hunh? That sounds incredibly peaceful. What would your ideal vacation spot be?
Kevin: Well I’ve had some great vacations over the years, not going to lie. One of my favorite spots has been when my friends and I get a beach house together. We’ve done it in Sandbridge, Virginia. There’s not much there apart from sand and beach houses. We’ve done it multiple times over the years and it’s just a great way to spend quality time with my friends. It’s not a big wild scene, it’s really just us. We all just take turns cooking meals, we all go to the beach during the day, and we play games at night. It’s a relaxing way to spend the week with your friends.
Alexander: Finish this sentence for me. In 2012 I’d like to see…
Kevin: I’d like to see continued progress within the gay rights movement. I would like to see rights being given and less hatred being spewed towards the community. I don’t know exactly what that would look like, but it would be nice to see. I would like to see a more peaceful, accepting society. It’s not going to happen over night, but it’s happening slowly.
We finished our hot drinks, and headed out into the freshly fallen snow. On the way home, I thought about this whole project again. So far, I had had two very different interviews. Both interesting, but incredibly different. Then again, wasn’t that the whole point of this? To showcase different men in the community? So to all you otters, bears, fems, butches, jocks, daddies, twinks, queens, and everyone somewhere in between, put on your Sunday best and let’s hear what you have to say.