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.
As usual, I’m running extremely late. This time, it’s to brunch at Vinoteca with the boys. I make it to the outside patio just in time to see the waitress serving them their food as they’re sucking down their Bellinis. Oh, well. I grab the empty chair and order a bacon-and-habanero Bloody Mary before the waitress has a chance to escape.
Over brunch, I realize I’m rarely ever in this part of town. I usually stop at U Street Music Hall, or walk down to Nellie’s/District 9/Town, but these blocks in between are a total dead zone on my radar. I fake receiving a text message and log on to Grindr. Because of its proximity to both Logan Circle and Nellie’s, this area is unsurprisingly a hot zone. I start chatting people up, but most conversations end abruptly once I reveal my true intent … except for one guy, Albie. A recent transplant back to the East Coast after 12 years in West Hollywood, he initially seems somewhat reluctant, but he eventually agrees.
Albie meets me promptly at 4 p.m. in front of Busboys and Poets on Monday afternoon. We grab two chai lattes and set up shop on one of the empty couches.
Alexander: Now, if you were stuck on a desert island and could only have one cocktail for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Albie: Well, I call it the Lindsay Lohan — it’s a redheaded slut with a splash of Coke. It keeps me crazy, but not out-of-control retarded. I’d be by myself, so I don’t think it would be too much fun to be completely wasted alone, so I would have to go for the Lindsay Lohan.
Alexander: So you’re definitely a West Coast guy. Now, tell me, what does your ideal Saturday night look like?
Albie: Meeting with friends, grabbing a bite to eat, then starting off at a bar and going out dancing from there. I love dancing. It’s my thing. I don’t even have to go drinking. I can just go and dance until the wee hours. I just love it, so an ideal night would be a full night of hardcore dancing, all kinds of music, and just having fun with friends. Not getting too crazy, but to the point where my feet will hurt the next day from dancing too much. Basically, as long as I’m dancing …
Alexander: You are preaching to the choir — trust. What about music? What is your must-see concert of 2012?
Albie: I have sooo many people coming into my head right now. I’d probably — just because I’m into her right now — go see Lana Del Ray. I was at Mixtape last month and they played her song “Video Games.” My friend Shazammed it, and I just became obsessed with her. I had never even heard about her, and when I mentioned her name to a friend, she said, “Oh yeah, she bombed on ‘SNL.’” Then I checked it out and didn’t think it was bad at all. So I’d probably say her. I like more intimate performances. I don’t think you need major production to put on a good show. I just think you need quality.
Alexander: Lana, huh? She’s not exactly what I would call “dancey.” Who’s your dance icon?
Albie: It’s gonna have to be Shakira. The way she moves, I mean, her hips — they don’t lie. She has moves where people are like, “How does she do that?” She has an amazing body. You know, just like Beyonce has booty, she’s got hips. Seriously, whenever I see her videos, I’m like, “Is it wrong that I want to have that body?” I mean, it would probably look really weird on me, but she has an amazing body, and she looks sick!
Alexander: What about men? What’s the first thing that attracts you to someone?
Albie: I love tall men. Tall men are my thing. Because I’m 5’7, I find height very attractive. I have so many friends that are tall. I just wish I was tall. I’m also attracted to eyes though; I like light eyes. Everyone I’ve liked has been taller than me and they always have the pretty-boy look, or the muscly look, or just that manly look. They can just wrap their arms around you, and you feel safe. Even if you are having the shittiest day, they can just give you the biggest hug and you’re like, “I just needed that.”
Alexander: What if you won the lottery, what’s the first thing you’d buy?
Albie: I would build my parents a house. A nice house, anywhere they would want it. I would make sure to ask them every specific detail about how they would want it built. I just want to make sure they are taken care of. If it took up all my money to build that house, and I had nothing left over, that would be OK. I would be fine with them being secure wherever they wanted to be. I’ve always wanted them to have a house just for them.
Alexander: It sounds like you’re close to your parents. Who is your greatest inspiration?
Albie: My greatest inspiration? I’d have to say my parents. I know it’s two people, but with everything I’ve gone through within the last year, and now being closer to them, they’ve made me want to be a better person. Both my parents came from Peru to do what they really wanted to. My dad loves cars, so he’s a mechanic, and he loves soccer, so he’s a coach. My mom was teaching at a beauty school in Peru. She now has her own salon out here. They made their dreams come true, and so I think they are my two biggest inspirations.
Alexander: Talk about the American Dream! What would you say is your ideal vacation destination?
Albie: I would want to go to back to Peru. I haven’t been there in 17 years, and everyone says how beautiful it is and how much it has changed. Last time I went, the streets were rocky, and cars were serving and didn’t know which lanes were which, but that was such a long time ago. Now everyone says it’s beautiful. A lot of my family goes there now, and one of my cousins just went to Machu Picchu. I want to go there and see my heritage, where my ancestors are from. With how old I am now, and everything I know about myself now, I think I would appreciate it more. To go get in touch with my roots, Peru would be ideal.
Alexander: What makes your mouth water?
Ablie: [Without hesitation] Chocolate! I have a sweet tooth for chocolate. Not just any chocolate, the Cadbury Fruit & Nut chocolate. You put that in front of my face, and I will rip your limbs off just to … I mean, it’s my favorite chocolate. “Fruity nut kills for Cadberry’s Fruit & Nut” … Now that would be a headline!
Alexander: No kidding! You’re damn serious about your chocolate. Sweets aside, what was your last good read?
Albie: A book that I can pick up and read at any time is ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” It’s my favorite book ever. I actually carry it with me when I travel. It’s just always new to me when I read it. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the book, but it’s a really good book and it’s well-written. My friend wrote the book, and it just helped me during a really dark time in my life. I know other people who have had dark periods as well, and that book has really been a sanctuary for them.
I leave the interview feeling surprisingly patriotic. Here I am on President’s Day, an American raised abroad, interviewing someone whose family had moved to this country to pursue the American Dream. After all, how much more American can you get?
Check out the latest installment of Grindrphiles over at Brightest Young Gays.