I Asked a Top About “Bottoms”

After I saw the feature film Bottoms, I had an urge to interview a top about it. I knew what I, a bottom, thought about the feature film Bottoms. But what about tops? I wished to hear from a top on Bottoms. Conveniently, I attended my screening of the feature film Bottoms with the top I happen to be engaged to.

Immediately after we left the theater, I sat down with my fiancé Kristen — a top! — at a bar near our house and asked her about Bottoms, the movie. Over $5 old fashioneds in a bar that would have throwback speakeasy vibes if the lights weren’t so bright, we discussed this vital work of queer cinema that I would like to see 75 more times.

Below, read a transcript of our brief but passionate Bottoms interview, which I’ve also footnoted with important and probably very bottomy additional commentary. Enjoy!

Kayla: All right. In three words, describe Bottoms, the movie.

Kristen: Goofy, perverted, tender.

Kayla: Oh, wow. Now, in three words, describe Bottoms, the people.

Kristen: Goofy, perverted, tender.1

Kayla: Okay. So what did you think of the movie Bottoms more specifically?

Kristen: It was a lot funnier than I thought it would be because it was very satirical. I think I was not as prepared for it to be as making fun of itself as it was. It felt like watching Scream Queens, maybe.

Kayla: Yeah.

Kristen: It was really digging into its own cliches and expanding on them in very, very, very funny ways, which I liked. Our audience that we were in was half gay people, half aggressively straight people. Old straights, which I say with love as an old person, but it was like 70-year-old straight people in there being like, here I am, to see the feature film Bottoms.2

But I think the jokes were especially not afraid to be like, oh, the ways in which we make jokes about sexuality and bodies and assault and things like that — people were not prepared for it. And so you could hear, ha ha ha. And then you hear a very quickly dead silence for things. I thought it was great.

Kayla: Who were the biggest bottoms in Bottoms?

Kristen: Oh, the cheerleader that was with the football player was a bottom.3 She punched a lot, but I think that could also be a bottom.

Kayla: Bottoms can punch.

Kristen: Yeah.

Kayla: That’s true.

Kristen: I had to show you how to punch.

Kayla: You did have to teach me how to punch.

Kristen: So you don’t break your own thumb.

Kayla: In a way, we had our own fight club.

Kristen: We did not. We did not. I had you show me how to make a fist, and then I had you punch my hand.

Kayla: Yeah, you let me punch you.4

Kristen: My hand, yeah.

Kayla: You said punch as hard as I could.

Kristen: And it was not very hard, but I was proud of you.

Kayla: So then who are the tops in bottoms? Wait, is that the only bottom in Bottoms?

Kristen: No. I mean, I think it’s hard to know with some of them because they’re supposed to be teenagers. Teenagers are like, you don’t know what the hell you want. You’re just aggressively horny. And that can translate into maybe that you’re a top, but you’re not a top. You’re just so horny. You feel like you’re going to die.

Kayla: Yeah, that was me at that age. And I wasn’t a top then or now.

Kristen: So the two main characters5, right? Those are both tops.

Kayla: It’s ironic.

Kristen: Yes, but okay. You could see Josie6 was going to be the top in that situation. When they cut away when they’re having sex, she climbs on top of that other girl.

Kayla: She was literally on top.

Kristen: It was actually very cute and very funny to see the other character. I can’t remember either of their names.

Kayla: I’m just going to fill them in after the fact for you.7

Kristen: Thank you so much. They were in bed together doing homework, and she was doing those cute jokes. She was finally flirting really effectively in a way you could tell she’d wanted to the whole time and then leaned in for a kiss. She’s a top but goofy, not good at it. None of them have ever had sex before. So maybe at that point, essentially, technically everyone’s a bottom. You don’t know what the fuck you’re doing.

Kayla: Wait, bottoms know what they’re doing.

Kristen: Not when you’re in high school.

Kayla: No, but do tops?

Kristen: No one knows what they’re doing in high school. That’s what I just said.8

Kayla: Okay. I thought you were saying that made everyone bottoms.

Kristen: No, I just think no one knows what they’re doing.

Kayla: Yeah.

Kristen: I think I said maybe that makes essentially everyone a bottom, because you don’t… I think I’m describing this wrong, but it’s just like there’s not a tops or bottoms. It’s just being bad at sex and not understanding. I thought they did a great job at that. Where it’s like being so horny, you feel like you’re going to perish. But then being so stupid and goofy that nobody would want to have sex with you.

Kayla: Yeah.

Kristen: I don’t know. I mean, I had sex with people when I was in high school9, but it’s not like I did anything really erotic.

Kayla: Did you make a fight club?

Kristen: No. I was in show choir, so no.

Kayla: Did you use show choir in the same way that they used fight club?

Kristen: That’s why anybody got into show choir.

Kayla: For pussy?

Kristen: You could be in a changing room. You could be doing-

Kayla: Oh, that’s true.

Kristen: You could be singing Les Mis to another woman’s face.

Kayla: That’s hot. It’s erotic.

Kristen: Someone’s dying. You’re holding them.

Kayla: Yeah.

Kristen: If that’s not erotic, I don’t know what is.

Kayla: That’s true.

Kristen: Singing Phantom of the Opera, and one of you is the Phantom.

Kayla: Wow.

Kristen: Get out of here.

Kayla: Yeah. Even more erotic than a fight club. Arguably.

Kristen: I loved watching them punch each other.

Kayla: I did too. That was the highlight of the film, which I guess is the whole premise. We can end there.

1 I strongly believe tops are goofier than bottoms, on average. But I’ll allow.
2 I would like to own a shirt that says “here I am, to see the feature film Bottoms
3 I can’t explain it, but it feels like extreme top behavior that Kristen can’t remember a single character’s name for the movie we just saw.
4 I maintain that we had a fight club.
5 Josie and PJ
6 I added this name in just so the sentence would read more smoothly.
7 Whoops!
8 IS IT?
9 Okay BRAG!

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 870 articles for us.


  1. My ex, now best friend (a gay cliche I know) actually started a fight club with her female friends in high school in her living room. She said it was because they were all repressed and wanted to sleep with each other. Just a lot of horny bisexual female rage. We saw the movie together & it was basically a biopic for her.

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