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 Brightest Young Gays.
“Where should we go to brunch?” I keep shuffling across my roommate’s floor and throwing myself onto her futon. “What kind of brunch do you want?” I croak.
She almost seems offended by the question. Oh, that’s right — her girlfriends are in town from North Carolina this weekend; bottomless brunch cocktails are clearly the priority.
I close my eyes and try to think of options. A block away from 17th and R and seriously sleep deprived, the only thing my mind keeps coming up with is Level One. She likes the idea, and I offer to make a reservation for her. Luck is on her side: There’s tons of walk-in space.
Within 10 minutes, all four girls are seated at a table inside. And, within an hour, seven men and three tables have been added to the mix. Several pitchers of Mimosas and several Bloody Marys later, I realize the goldmine I’m sitting on … well, in. I whip my phone out and log on.
Chest, abs, chest and abs … I pick the first face I see. I ask him if he’s familiar with Brightest Young Things. Then, I ask him if he’s familiar with Grindrphiles. Emboldened with liquid courage, I grab my glass and make my way over to the bar after spotting him. We chat, we laugh, we make plans for a Monday night interview at Jack Rose in Adams Morgan.
Two days later, we meet promptly at 8 p.m. We get settled in at the bar, and I take a sip of my Jack and Ginger as we dive into the interview:
Alexander: So, if you were stuck on a desert island and you could only have one cocktail for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Mcdoogleton: The same cocktail I drink wherever I go: a bourbon and diet. Because if I had my bourbon and diet, I’d never feel alone [laughs]. I mean, it’s kind of true, and it doesn’t even matter what kind of bourbon. It can even be rye.
Alexander: I’m starting to see why you picked this place. Outside of drinks, what does your ideal Saturday night look like?
Mcdoogleton: Well, I generally work Saturday nights ’cause I bartend. There are two of us, and I’m cut first because I open and the other one closes. So I’d like to leave exactly at 9 p.m. and either meet up with some friends next door at a different bar, have plans to go to a house party, or meet up with some friends downtown. If I have the Saturday off, I’m generally going to offer to cook at someone’s house so everyone has a full belly before we go out for a night of drinking.
Alexander: I’m sure your friends love that. Now if I say dance icon, you would say …
Mcdoogleton: I would say Bob Fosse and Micheal Jackson. The reason that I consider them icons is because they both started with being classically trained and decided they wanted to be greater than that. They progressed the art of dance into new genres, which became completely stylistic and mimicked. People can say, “Oh, you’re doing a Fosse move,” or “Oh, you’re doing a Michael Jackson move.” I think that’s something completely respectable. To be able to move your body in a way that someone can say, “Oh, you’re doing that like him,” or “Oh, you’re doing that like her,” is definitely an art form. For example, Beyonce Knowles did a Fosse routine for “Single Ladies.”
Alexander: She actually also did an MJ one in “Bootylicious,” back in the days of Destiny’s Child. What about dating, though? What would you say is your top tip?
Mcdoogleton: It would be to know who your friends are and to know who your romantic interests are. You might get confused if someone is romantically interesting to you. They may be aesthetically pleasing and a charming person but turn out to be a great friend. Friends stick around when a relationship might fail. Knowing whether or not it’s appropriate to bridge that gap of friendship or relationship is a good thing to understand before you make a decision. You might end up losing a really awesome friend in the process of dating and breaking up, or you might have let a potential mate slip away thinking they’re just a friend.
Alexander: What about your most awkward first date?
Mcdoogleton: [Starts cackling] I’m laughing because I read Jamesson’s interview. My most awkward first date was, in fact, not a first date. I was in a mood where I wanted to go out by myself, and I went to a gay bar I don’t usually go to. I struck up a great conversation with a bartender and hung out with him all night. At the end of the night, we decided to swap numbers. I waited the standard five days, and asked him if he wanted to meet up for drinks the following week. [Ed. note: standard 5 days? That's just cruel.]
We met up and ended up having a great time. About an hour passed, and a really hot girl walked by, and he checked her out. I saw the look and asked, “Oh, you’re into chicks too?”
“You’re not gay?”
“No! I thought … oh, we didn’t talk about that, did we?”
“No, we didn’t. So we’re not on a date now, are we?”
“Well, guess who’s paying for their half now. I was going to pay for all of this until you told me we weren’t on a date.”
We’re still friends. It was an awkward moment, but nothing that four shots of Jameson — two each — fixed.
Alexander: Wow, that’s hilarious. I feel awkward after just listening to that. At least you guys have a great story! OK, moving on, what if you were president? What’s the first law you would pass?
Mcdoogleton: I would make it legal to smoke marijuana. I would do that because, first off, I think marijuana is pretty harmless. I think that the laws regulating it are completely archaic. It poses a lot less of a health risk than cigarettes or alcohol do. Not to mention the amount of tax you could generate from legalizing marijuana could do a lot for this country, especially when we’re so much in debt.
Alexander: What if you won the lottery? What’s the first thing you’d buy?
Mcdoogleton: The first thing I would buy is [financial services firm] J.G. Wentworth’s structured annuity and take the lump sum [bursts into giggles] … ’cause I want my money now! Once I got my lump sum, the first thing I would buy would be a diversified portfolio in the stock market to ensure that the money would never be pissed away. I’m assuming your question is more along the lines of what tangible thing I would purchase, though. Once I ensured that my money was safe for a good long time and for future generations of my family, I would buy a home on each coast of the United States, an island home, and a home somewhere in Western Europe.
Alexander: Yes, please! I’ll have one of each, thank you. Now international villas aside, who would you say is your greatest inspiration?
Mcdoogleton: I would say my friend Nicole. I look up to her a lot. We’ve known each other for 11 years. I’ve never known anyone that long in my life that I’ve continually kept in touch with. I look up to her because we both went through some really tough times together. Even though she’s been faced with personal adversity, she’s followed her passion, and she’s a year and a half away from getting her doctorate in psychology. I can’t wait to call her Dr. Wagner, which we discussed at her celebration upon her acceptance into grad school. We asked if we were going to have to start calling her Dr. Wagner, and she said, “Don’t be ridiculous! You can just call me ‘Doctor.’”
Alexander: Impressive, for sure. What about vacation? Where is your ideal vacation location?
Mcdoogleton: I really want to go to the Galapagos or Madagascar. I really just want to go to an island or location that has an ecosystem that is specific to itself, like Australia or New Zealand. The idea that there is life — be it plant, animal, or people — that is completely indigenous and completely all its own is very intriguing to me. I think I would have to go with the Galapagos, though, because it’s so fascinating to me.
Alexander: So what about reading? What was your last good read?
Mcdoogleton: “Good read,” to me, means something that I could engross myself in for more than a day or two. When I do read, it’s got to be an escape, so that means fantasy. I love the “Harry Potter” series, “Lord of the Rings,” and “The Golden Compass.” I tried to get into “The Wheel of Time,” but it just got too complicated. I would say any series based in fantasy or science fiction. I loved the “Dune” series — read all of those as well. It’s been more a means of escapism for me, a place where I don’t have to think about the things that are real but about things that someone else has created and what they look like in my head. So to definitively answer your question, the last one I read was “The Golden Compass.”
Impressed, I went home that night and attempted to delve into a new book. After all, I couldn’t remember the last time I had read something that didn’t come in the form of a newspaper or off of a computer screen. I was passed out, mouth open, after page two, but thanks to Mcdoogleton, I have a renewed interest in diversifying my reading — as well as learning more about the Galapagos. And bourbon.
Check out the latest installment of Grindrphiles over at Brightest Young Gays.