What are you doing on this beautiful day in Washington Square Park?
I'm practicing my hula hoop. I'm a hula hoop and fire dancer. I'm based in Manila, the Philippines, but I'm back in New York for three months to perform in a festival and to collaborate on a few projects.
What's the dating scene like in the Philippines?
It's different. One of the main reasons I came back here is because I think that New York has one of the most interesting dating scenes I've ever experienced. The Philippines has a wonderful and progressing culture, but it's still very entrenched in Catholicism.
So the people don't have sex before marriage there?
Oh, they certainly do. They just don't talk about it.
So if we tried to interview people there, they wouldn't answer us?
You could probably. You'd just have to be in a dark place and there'd have to be alcohol involved. There's as much sex going on as here. I just think that guilt is a really interesting construct, and there's a lot less of it in New York.
Have you had any interesting sexual situations in the Philippines?
Honestly, no. I don't have a lot of sex there. I'm very politically involved in HIV awareness there. People are kind of intimidated by me, because I'm pretty vocal and public about being gay and that this is something you can be proud and loud about.
Are there many gay people there?
Oh yes, there are a lot of gay people, but they're not as accepted as they were in pre-colonial times. Gay marriage is illegal. Condoms are really hard to get, and they're also prohibitively expensive for most Filipinos. There's not much legislation in defense of queer people.
Are you in a relationship now?
No. I'm taking full advantage of being back in New York. I came directly before Pride, so it was like, "Yay, gay!" It was lovely.
Did anything interesting happen during Pride?
Yes, I slept with this magnificent forty-six-year-old French man. Actually, he's the oldest person I've ever had sex with. He was so smart — he was a neuroscientist and he taught at Harvard, and then he became an anthropologist. He's writing this 400-page tome on inventing the idea of homosexuality's unnaturalness, which is the sexiest thing I've ever heard. The easiest way to get into my pants is if you're smart.
How did you meet him?
I met him at a house party in Brooklyn that very quickly turned into orgy. I was talking to someone and then I looked down and I realized that someone was blowing him. I was like, "Oh, this is where I am now." It was like a welcome home. I started the conversation with this guy and ended up going home with him at six in the morning, so the sex was more cuddling, but it was still a lot of fun. And it's just great to wake up on Pride morning in someone's bed.
What's your favorite gay club in New York?
I don't really do gay clubs. I like bars more, because in clubs it's difficult to have a conversation. I used to go to Metropolitan in Williamsburg pretty often.
Has anything remarkable happened to you in Brooklyn?
Once I was coming home from the subway and there was this really cute hipster walking towards the subway, and I looked back and he looked back too and then we both looked back at each other again and smiled and then we swung by and asked each other's numbers and went on a date. In New York you live such a fast life that it's very hard to experience "traditional dating." Here we live like six lives.
Did you sleep with him?
Yes, but not on the first date.
Do you have any dealbreakers?
Well... once I went on a date, and the guy was wearing those "barefoot shoes," with the separate toes.
I know. We walked into a bar and I tried to talk, but I kept looking at these toe shoes! Finally I told him, "Look, I'm not superficial, but I can't believe you're wearing these shoes on a date. Are you mountain climbing after this?" I just couldn't get behind these shoes. I think he was very new to New York.
What else can be a dealbreaker for you?
I have three dealbreakers. The first, as I mentioned, is toe shoes. The second one is if you're exceedingly selfish and you don't know how to listen and all you talk about is your accomplishments. Number three, if you're prejudiced and you say some racist shit, I'm going to bite your face off. I'm half-Asian, so when I first hooked up with my first boyfriend in the city and I took my clothes off, he was like, "Oh, thank God you're half-white," because obviously he was expecting my penis to be much smaller than it was. I couldn't have been more turned off. That's the most offensive thing you can ever say to me! And he said it as a compliment.